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Wedding Day Planning Tips to Make the Occasion a Success

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Wedding

Wedding

Did you know that couples and wedding planners spend 200 to 300 hours preparing for the wedding? Depending on the size, location, and dreams of your wedding, there are many things to take care of.

If you are getting married soon or want to help a friend prepare for theirs, there are certain steps you should follow. Continue reading to discover some of the best wedding day planning tips and tricks that will make your day magical!

Make a Plan

The first step to wedding day planning is identifying what you want and how you will get it.

You can set goals and plans for your wedding at this point to start getting the ball rolling. Keep in mind that your goals and plan should be realistic and achievable. You should start looking at the prices of venues you are considering to determine if you can afford that option or if you need to go another route.

Think about where you want the wedding to be, who you want there, and how you picture the ceremony and reception going. It is okay if some of the details are vague at this point.

Set a Budget

Once you have a plan being developed you can start thinking about your budget and prepare financially.

Take a look at your income and the extra money that you and your significant other have each month. Determine how much money you want to put towards wedding expenses and do your best to stick with your money-saving goals.

You shouldn’t be putting all of your savings and disposable income towards the wedding. Otherwise, you could be unprepared for accidents or job loss. Always make sure that you leave some cushion so that you don’t go broke.

Consider Your Wedding Day Meal Plan

Have you started thinking about cocktail hour snacks, dinner, and wedding cake options?

The wedding day meal plan is an important step of planning that you must take some time to organize. By working with vendors you can create a menu that is unique to your tastes and will satisfy guests.

Many people are getting wedding cupcakes towers instead of cakes because they are easier to distribute and are fun to eat. You should also think about those with limited diets, including a vegetarian option might be a good idea.

Keep Your Guest List Light

If you want to know how to plan a wedding day that isn’t swamped with people, keep your guest list light.

The smaller the guest list, the easier it will be to accommodate everyone’s needs. Having fewer guests attending the wedding will also save you money in the long run.

Think about family members and friends that you definitely want at the wedding. If you have someone on the list that you haven’t spoken to in years, consider leaving them off the list and sending them a note. A smaller wedding is often more intimate and casual.

Ask for Professional Help

No matter what point you are at in the wedding planning process, there is always someone that you can ask for help from.

Professional wedding planners, vendors, and stylists are at your disposal waiting to help you with any issues that come up. Getting professional help can save you time and money, it can also prevent frustration when dealing with all of the details.

Wedding professionals often have inside connections and resources that they are willing to share. These resources can resolve issues that you didn’t think you could overcome and you don’t have to worry about managing everything.

Notify Guests With Plenty of Time

When it comes to wedding planning, you will want to ensure that you give your guests enough notice of the wedding.

Guests may have to take off work or find a babysitter for your wedding. The sooner you can get your wedding day details out, the sooner you can find out how many people will be attending.

Waiting until the last minute to notify guests of the wedding could put you in a situation where you overspend and overcompensate. Be prepared for guests to decline the invite, even with notification in advance.

Determine If Kids Are Welcome

If you want to save money and make things go smoothly at your wedding, you will need to determine if kids are allowed.

Most people recommend allowing kids to the ceremony and not the reception. Reception parties can get crazy and be overwhelming when kids are running all over the place. If you want to save money, notify guests that only adults are welcome.

This is becoming a common trend with weddings because there are fewer details to consider. Without kids at the wedding, you won’t have to ensure they are kept busy with toys and games or that they like the food options.

Be In the Moment

When planning a wedding, it is easy to become overwhelmed with all of the tiny details.

Being in the moment can help keep you level-headed and appreciating each step of the way. Losing yourself in wedding planning can lead to disappointment if things don’t go exactly how you planned. Instead of letting the small things get to you, take a deep breath and remember the love you have for your fiance.

Don’t be afraid to take time away from everyone to relax and unwind. This will make the memory of your wedding much happier and not as exhausting.

Crush Your Wedding Day Planning

There are many steps to consider when dealing with wedding day planning.

By utilizing this guide, you can stay on track with planning and always be prepared for the next steps. These tips can help you take care of the most important factors that guests and you will notice on the big day.

Don’t forget to take time for yourself and be in the moment. This will make the memory of your wedding much happier.

Be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more articles about how to plan a wedding day and incorporate delicious foods!

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Food

7 Tips on Cooking Asian Meals for Beginners

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Cooking Asian Meals

Cooking Asian Meals

Asian cuisine is booming all over the world. A 2018 survey revealed that Chinese and Japanese cuisine are two of the top five most popular cuisines internationally.

You don’t have to order takeout to enjoy a succulent Chinese meal. You can start cooking Asian meals in the comfort of your own home.

What ingredients and tools should you have on hand? Where can you go to find the most popular Asian recipes? How should you plan out your meals?

Answer these questions and you can prepare delicious chicken and broccoli in no time. Here is your quick guide.

  1. Get Your Ingredients

Asian ingredients are varied. Asian meals use many different proteins, including non-animal sources like tofu. Grains include rice, noodles, and powders like cornstarch.

Every pantry should have some basic ingredients, and you can buy the other ones you need for particular recipes. Rice wine is essential for adding flavor and removing pungent odors in dishes. Garlic, ginger root, and spring onions are aromatics in many dishes.

You should have several bottles of different sauces on hand. Oyster sauce is savory, while soy sauce is salty. Oils are also important, namely sesame and peanut oil.

  1. Buy Your Tools

A wok has several advantages over a traditional frying pan. Its bowl shape distributes heat evenly, and it requires less oil to fry food.

Find a flat-bottom wok with handles and a lid. You can choose one of any size, depending on the recipes you are making and the number of people you are cooking for.

Many people think a cleaver is for cutting large sections of meat. You can use one for that purpose. But a cleaver does act as a great all-purpose tool, good for smashing garlic and small ingredients.

Find a cleaver made from stainless steel. Buy a sharpener so you can keep the blade precise. You should also get a knife block that insulates the blade from moisture.

  1. Learn Essential Techniques

When you are stir-frying, you need to get your pan piping hot. Stand back and let your burner come up to heat.

Then add your oil. Find a high-heat vegetable oil, like safflower or sunflower oil, and do not use olive oil.

You must defrost your meat before cooking with it. Let it sit out for 20 minutes at room temperature. You can take advantage of this time by marinating the meat in seasonings.

When preparing your vegetables, you should cut them on the diagonal. This exposes more of their surface area, letting them cook faster and absorb sauces. Hold your vegetable firmly, then cut it at a 60-degree angle.

Cook the meat, then cook the vegetables. Never cook them together because the vegetables will not cook evenly. You can toss the meat with the vegetables at the end, but only after everything is done cooking.

Do not overstock your wok. Cook your meat in two batches if you have too much.

  1. Start Storing Asian Ingredients

Some ingredients can be stored in your cupboard after you open them. Rice and its derivatives, like rice wine, can stay in the cupboard. You can also put soy sauce and sesame oil there.

You can put onions and garlic out on your counter. Find a bowl to put them in so their skins don’t fall onto the floor.

Meat and vegetables must go in the refrigerator after they are opened. You should also put oyster and chili sauces into the fridge. Store them separately so they don’t spill onto other foods.

  1. Read About Popular Asian Recipes

Once you have everything you need, you can start cooking recipes. Visit websites like The XCJ that offer recipes and cooking guides. Print out the ones you find and put them in a binder that compiles your favorites.

Make sure that you follow the recipes word-for-word. Adding too much of one ingredient can throw off the flavors and textures of your dish.

If you are a frequent patron of a particular Chinese restaurant, you may be able to get some of their recipes. Ask the chef after you’ve had a meal.

  1. Write a Daily Plan

Don’t decide on a whim that you are going to make a recipe. You may not have the ingredients and you may take a long time preparing the ones you do have.

Sit down at the start of the day and decide what recipe you are going to cook. If you want to think long-term, make a plan for all the recipes you will cook in a week.

Write down the ingredients you need and check to see if you have them. Go to the store as soon as you can to buy the ones you don’t have. If you wait until the afternoon, they may already be gone.

  1. Add Your Own Style

Once you have some skills in making recipes, you can start to add your own flair to dishes. You can top your stir fry with things like cilantro or scallions.

You can do a lot by making Asian desserts. You can mix and match different dishes. You can prepare fried bananas with a side of fresh mango pudding or kulfi.

How to Start Cooking Asian Meals

Cooking Asian meals is not difficult. Stock your pantry with essential items like rice wine and soy sauce. Get a wok and cleaver that let you prepare many recipes.

Master the essential skills of stir-frying, especially with heat management. Make sure your pantry and fridge can hold your ingredients. Then go and get your favorite recipes.

Start preparing your meal well in advance so you have everything you need. Develop your style through mixing and matching ingredients and dishes.

Cooking cultivates the imagination. Get creative by following our cooking coverage.

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How And Why To Use Aromatherapy In Your Hot Tub

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Hot Tub

Hot Tub

There is nothing more inherently relaxing in the world than taking a soak in a hot tub at the end of a long day. But of course, there are ways you can enhance the experience to get the ultimate relaxation while you are in the hot tub. If you haven’t gotten around to buying yourself a portable hot tub yet, browse through TubHQ to find the best options to fit your budget

To make the most of your hot tub experience, aromatherapy is a great way to help you relax. However, while using essential oils for aromatherapy may sound simple, there are a few things you should consider.

Never Use Essential Oils In Hot Tub Water

While many essential oils are well known for their therapeutic effects, not all of them are safe to soak in for prolonged periods of time. Even a small amount in the hot tub water can irritate your skin if you have an allergic reaction, which is called contact dermatitis.

Besides that, hot tub filters are not designed to handle oils and many other substances. If you put any oils in the hot tub water, you run the risk of clogging the filters and damaging the equipment. So, you should never add essential oils to the water in your hot tub.

How To Use Aromatherapy in Hot Tubs

There are several types of aromatherapy granules that are specifically designed for use in hot tubs. These dissolve in the water, and do not clog the filters.t They usually come in powder or granule form, but some are liquids. Make sure that any product you use is labelled as safe for use on your skin and in a hot tub.

If you have a preferred blend of essential oils that you want to use, you can use it in a candle or incense nearby, but never in the water. You can also use an essential oil diffuser.

Aromatherapy Scents To Try

  • Lavender – this classic essential oil can help you relax better.  It’s floral scent has a well known soothing effect and it is widely used in stress relief.
  • Bergamot – this is a cirtusy oil from a specific breed of orange-lemon hybrid. The oil is very effective in stress relief. However, be careful because it can be irritating to the skin.
  • Ylang Ylang – with a light floral scent, this essential oil is used to release tension and is known to be helpful in cases of insomnia. It won’t make you drowsy, but it will help you get a better night’s sleep later on.
  • Cinnamon – many of us associate this warm spice’s smell with cozy winter nights and the holidays. Use this scent in aromatherapy to help improve your mental mood.
  • Rosemary – not only is it good for memory retention, this essential oil is very helpful with relieving mental fatigue and clearing your mind. Many people use it for meditation.

Combining aromatherapy and hot tubbing greatly enhances the experience. You can get more relaxed, and benefit more from your hot tub when using aromatherapy, just be sure to do it right.

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Friendly Fraud Becomes Sworn Enemy For Restaurants

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Restaurants

Restaurants

As per a new survey by Ravelin –a fraud detection specialist, it has been observed that modern mobile-based payment platforms are leading to higher instances of the occurrence of ‘friendly fraud.’

Payment disputes that are correlated with friendly frauds are expected to increase because of the pandemic-accelerated increase in e-commerce. Networks, processors, and card issuers are observing that consumers who seek contactless purchasing tend to be making the respective conventional methods of managing disputes unsustainable.

Advanced analytics, new technologies, and redesigned processes might have a major impact. However, through history, the industry has been gradual when it comes to investing in back-office improvements. When the issuer would include modern technology –like automation, to the current processes, it turns out to be preventive rather than strategic. This is the reason why it is high time that we should reconsider the way in which we approach the given claims.

Friendly Frauds & COVID-19

The ongoing pandemic has forced the end consumers to scale back or eliminate shopping trips to brick-and-mortar retailers out there. This has resulted in delivering more transactions to e-commerce. Due to this, average transaction amounts tend to be shrinking. As more retailers are offering free shipping, consumers are no longer required to bundle up subsequent purchases. Supply chain disruptions, government restrictions, and financial hardships have altered purchasing patterns –leading consumers to cancel purchases, switch to alternate items, and re-approach subscription services.

The current purchasing trends have made the ongoing rules to settle disputes. More transactions result in more claims –creating backlogs and intimidating call centers. Along with pandemic-specific shopping trends, transactions have also become highly abstract because of the overall rise of in-app and digital payment platforms. The given options send over transaction-based data through some third party. This includes an extra layer between the merchant and the cardholder.

This leads to ample confusion as consumers are reviewing the respective statements. This often results in friendly frauds. It is regarded as a situation in which the consumer would dispute some legitimate charge. Consumers might not recognize a specific transaction that might have been bundled by some alternate digital storefront. On the other hand, the consumer might also realize that some family member or friend might have used the respective card. One of the most difficult claims that merchants have to verify is that the packages have not been delivered. Moreover, consumers have also found that contacting the respective credit card issuer turns out to be the most convenient way of disputing a charge –even after the overall ease with which the given matters could be resolved by directly contacting the merchant.

Ways to Improve the Consumer Experience

Just like merchants have brought about significant changes for retaining consumers during the pandemic, issuers are also expected to instantly reduce friction in the respective dispute processes while improving the cardholder experience. Here are some ways to achieve the same:

  • Utilization of Self-Service, Robust Tools: When interactive tools are utilized for claim resolution, it offers the customers the overall ability to effectively understand the transaction & its respective context. At the same time, the consumers are also able to communicate directly with the merchants. As & when needed, the consumers can file a dispute claim with the respective issuer. This, in turn, would allow issuers to focus on the respective transactions requiring intervention while offering ample time to do so within the given set of regulatory timeline.
  • Improved Insights into Transaction Data & Spend: With this capability, the consumers are allowed to effectively recognize the respective purchases while offering a more direct route for resolving disputes with the respective merchant. The presence of rich data also allows the consumers to review shipments, refunds, recurring expenditures, and cards on file. This tends to increase the overall customer confidence while preventing several disputes from getting filed in the first place.
  • Advanced Tools for Customer Service: These tools enable representatives to easily resolve disputes while capturing top-quality data during the initial call. This helps in reducing the call times as well as the number of calls required for gathering details related to the dispute.

Issuers will also be required to regard a highly intelligent approach towards settling claims once they have been filed. Conventionally, they have dealt with dispute resolutions in the form of a binary decision. For instance, if the given charge is less than a specific amount, then it will get paid off automatically. On the other hand, charges above the given limit will be investigated properly. However, if a higher percentage of transactions would fall below the mark, then writing off the given transactions would turn out to be a losing proposition.

Proper investments done in predictive analysis & AI or Artificial Intelligence can help in allowing issuers to ensure smarter decisions by categorizing disputes while routing them to the most efficient methods for dispute resolution. The capability of associating an event –like a transaction swipe, along with Machine Learning models can help in offering a data-driven overview of the existing disputes. This tends to evolve with time dynamically.

Every charge that has been disputed can be scored for the resolution’s difficulty level. This helps in replacing the typical binary system of decision-making on the basis of conventional write-off limits. The utilization of real-time insights –like the detection of repeat abusers, will help in identifying the possibilities of frauds while ensuring successful merchant payback.

Conclusion 

Issuers that pay attention to observing claims, complaints, and costs will be rising in the next few months. Such issuers should not expect any major reversal in the respective trends as put forth by the pandemic. Consumers that have turned to options like purchasing online for curbside pickup might not revert to traditional methods once the outbreak has been controlled.

The adoption of an intelligent approach towards friendly frauds as well as disputes can help in deflecting several claims while also reducing the overall costs and creating a highly sustainable model for the issuers out there.

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