Roll Out the Red Carpet & Give Your Out-O-Town Guests the Very Best

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While wedding guest lists range from very intimate to very immense, generally, there are few certainties every bride and groom can count on.  One of those certainties is out of town guests. 

More often than not, it’s customary for couples-to-be to block off a certain amount of rooms in at least a couple different hotels – pending the amount of out ‘o’ towners – near the ceremony or reception sites to alleviate some of the stress of extra travel in a foreign town.  Not only will this will help ease some of the hustle and bustle they may experience, but it will also help keep all your favorite travelers within the comforts of each other’s familiar faces.  **Be sure to check with your local hotels, as most will offer special deals for wedding parties who book… which is ideal for guests looking to save a little cheddar after travelling so far just for you :)

And even though the mileage may change and the distances travelled may differ from guest to guest, it’s important to make each and every one of them feel warm and welcome when they arrive!  After all, they’ve come a long way to celebrate your big day; so, you want to make sure to show your gratitude!   

One way to do this is by greeting each of your guests with a welcome basket of goodies!  Take your time to fill it up with fresh fruit, bottle waters, festive candies, luxury spa items or even some local cuisine or coupons.  Some brides and grooms opt to personalize each basket with custom items depending on the guest it’s going to, while others simply fill the goody bags with the same, “thinking of you” essentials. 

You’ll need to work with your local hotel to make sure the gift baskets get delivered correctly, and be sure to include a personalized note from you and yours welcoming their arrival and thanking them for being a part of your special day!  Because while the gesture may seem little, I promise you, it will go a long way, and all your out ‘o’ town guests will feel all the more special you remembered them!

October 18, 2010 at 12:37 pm Leave a comment

Side ‘O’ Fries 4 That Bridal Shake: Hong Kong McDonald’s Is Now Saying I Do!

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That’s right, kids!  Looks like several of Hong Kong’s “Golden Arches” have upped the ante for wedding vendors everywhere!  We’re talking Happy Meal menus, Big Mac attacks and apple pie tower cakes (oh my!)!  According to news reports:

 If McDonald’s has its way, the traditional white wedding arch will be replaced with the golden ones.  Some of the fast-food chain’s restaurants in Hong Kong are now allowing customers to “supersize” their order to include McNuptials.  (

And all I can say is, thank GOODness my Mister and I have already taken the plunge… ’cause you already KNOW this would be all over his radar like white on rice!  Twenty-seven years old, and the man would still pick the entire McDonald’s menu over everything else.  (What this says about my cooking shall remain unmentioned… however, I’m guessing assumptions are already being made.  Eh.)

Anyhoot, the world’s most recognized restaurant – ha, there’s just something about calling Mickey D’s a “restaurant” that will always be funny to me – is officially open for wedding business and already booking January 2011 weddings!!!  Offering an appetizing spread of Happy Meal favors, apple pie tower wedding cakes, their full menu of meal deals and even party balloon dresses, Ronald and his crew have pulled out all the stops… well, and by “all the stops,” I really mean doing the same stops, mayhaps with just a few more stairs :)

What would really impress me is – however – is if they would offer different levels of packages.  Let’s say Small, Medium, Large and Supersize???  Supersize, of course, containing the option of a Ronald McDonald minister!  Yep, who’s with me!?!?! <waits for high fives>…<still waiting>… Alright, forget it!  <high fives self>  Yes!

However, there are a few things you may want to consider before booking your flights and jumping on board this dream wedding scenario.  Chief among them??  Exclusivity.  Even though Hong Kong’s Golden Arches are open for wedding business, they are not closing their doors to the rest of the world.  So tourist Two Buck Chuck and his sweet lady friend, Sideburns Susie, just may have a cameo in the wedding album while they get their order on during your vows.  Just saying…

Also, McDonald’s is a family establishment lacking a liquor license; therefore, NO ALCOHOL is allowed on the premise.  Sorry, crazy beer guzzling uncles, you’ll have to settle for strawberry shakes instead.  Other reports also suggest substituting the champagne toasts with soda… Classy!

So, if any of you are planning this for your wedded bliss, feel free to invite me!  And with all the money you’ll be saving on catering and rental equipment, you can even fly me out!  Haha… but for reals :)

October 15, 2010 at 11:58 am 2 comments

9 Alternatives 2 Think Outside The Guest Book Box

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Because most of the wedding accessories you purchase for the big day won’t ever be seen or heard from again, it’s important to keep the ones that stick around as a true representation of your life and love.  After all, bouquets will wilt; invitations will be thrown out; food will go bad; bridesmaid dresses will be forgetten and even your dress may be “trashed,” but one item every couple puts out in the hopes of recording and creating memories is the quintessential <trumpets sound!> wedding guest book.

Traditional guest books involve your wedding guests simply signing their names along the dotted line, but this kind of keepsake leaves little for brides and grooms to reminisce about.  So, why not make this pre-ceremony tradition a little more memorable?  Here are some fun ways to renovate your typical guest book, while creating beautifully unique memories to last a lifetime.

Instant Photo Book. Test your guests’ photography skills with an instant photo guest book.  Simply place a Polaroid camera and unique guest book in a designated area at your reception and watch as your guest book transforms into a fun photo booth.  Guests can shake the photo dry, slide into a slot on the page, and leave some musings or memories.  It’ll be your most favorite picture book keepsake ever!  **Works great when paired with a Photo Booth Back Drop**

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Envelope Book.  Fitted with lots of tiny envelopes, this book allows your family and friends leave little note cards full of their best well wishes, memories or wisdom.  Read one wish each day to savor your newly-wedded bliss, or dive right in to all of them at once.  No matter what you choose to do one thing is for certain, you’ll have priceless words and memories to treasure for eternity :)

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Thumbprint Tree.  Perfect for a DIY savvy bride, these thumbprint trees are a fun activity that will help guests feel welcome.  Set up a large tree graphic that has only branches, no leaves. Your guests will then press their prints in an ink color of your choice and “leaf” their autograph.  Pun intended.  Couples are sure to frame this piece as a work of art for their abode.

photos courtesy of and

Autograph Frame.  Rather than just adding their signature to a long-winded list of others that came before, have guests autograph a spacious border matte that can then be placed around your favorite wedding photo.  This will serve the dual purpose of picture frame guest book.

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Wishing Tree. The ultimate display of your wedding guests’ affections, this pint-sized tree will be drenched in floating wish cards by the end of the night, making it the most stylish and versatile guest book alternative… not to mention, economical and earth friendly!

photo courtesy of

Painted Canvas.  For the most inventive guest book art, many couples are providing paints and canvases that are sectioned off into squares, as a ceremony sign in. Each guest gets the opportunity to get imaginative with their square, and the newlyweds receive unique pieces of art to remind them of their creative guests and special day.  

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Time Capsule.  For twosomes willing to wait, the time capsule makes a truly thoughtful keepsake to be savored.  Guests fill out their wishes for the couple and tidbits of advice to place in a small treasure chest, along with a selection of wedding keepsakes – such as shoes, cards, toasting flutes, etc.  The box will be put away until the pair’s first wedding anniversary, where they will open their chest to find some truly valuable treasure.

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Signature Vase.  Sure to be an essential accessory for any couple’s home décor, have guests sign a ceramic vase as a long-lasting memento of the special day.  Then, fill it with fresh flowers of your choice throughout the year, as a permanently fresh reminder of the day you said “I do.”

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Vintage Typewriter.  Popular among retro inspired nuptials, vintage typewriters will complement the old-time theme of any ceremony.  Have guests type out their insight on matured paper; just make sure to leave a few simple instructions, as many of your loved ones may have never operated one before! 

photos courtesy of

October 13, 2010 at 1:32 pm 2 comments

Wedding Tested / Bride Approved: Personalized Aisle Runners 4 Your Big Day!

My dear ladies in waiting, it’s time to roll out the red carpet (literally!) on your wedding day entrance… and here at Marilyn’s Keepsakes we’re oh so happy to help!

Because weddings are transitioning more into personalized events, rather than traditional affairs, it’s key for brides and grooms everywhere to find their ideal blend of modern day style and time honored taste.  And there’s no better way to do this than by putting your own personal spin onto wedding’s most traditional accessories.

<Enter: The Aisle Runner>

As your guests all anxiously await your arrival, set the stage with a personal note and choose an aisle runner that has been made custom for your newlywed debut!  Not sure what I mean?  Well, then, let me introduce our hostess with the most’est, Ms. Fabulous herself, Adrienne, as she gives you the dish on our latest YouTube Channel video on Personalized Aisle Runners:

October 11, 2010 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

Let Their Mistakes Be Your Lessons Learned: brought to you by

Thanks, mom and dad, for all your continued, loyal support!... wait. what? (photo courtesy of

Like any good blog stalker, this pretty little lady has her FAVES saved for go-to good reads.  It truly is one of my life’s truest joys to not only read what people are writing about but also, to see how and even why they’re writing about them.  While I have a tendency to lean (almost too) generously towards wedding blogs the world over, I can’t help but stray from time to time when a true gem rears its fabulous face onto my screen.

One such gem, you may wonder??  Well, that would be

While it’s generally one of my most golden rules not to bully (aka. put others down to bring myself up), I can’t help but point out the majority of treats being posted on this site (and now BLASTED on ours) have been and continue to be submitted by the “stars” themselves.  So, they really only have themselves – and the photographic genius behind the lens – to blame.

So, without further adieu, may I present to you SEVERAL rules you should consider, and photographic evidence of why it’s so important :)

Rule #1.  Firstly, make sure you pick a wedding photographer who’s got the goods – shout out to Jessika & Jimmy Feltz who have the BEST goods ever! – otherwise, you run the risk of what this bride calls her uncle’s (yes uncle!) lack of “professionalism.”  Poor, potty mouth bride!

Just what every bride wants... a pic with a Port-O-John! (photo courtesy of

Rule #2.  Don’t give me no lies, and (tell them to!) keep their hands to themselves!  Nothing ruins a good photo quite like uncomfortable groping from the peanut gallery.  I mean, photo op #1 is awkward enough with the painful parent poking, but photo op #2??  Somebody needs to tell sister friend in the corner to ease off… he’s taken for sobbin’ out loud! 

Mom, PLEASE! (photo courtesy of

Some bridesmaids simply have no boundaries (photo courtesy of

Rule #3.  If you doubt it, don’t show it.  And if you show it, perhaps it’s best to not do it.  It appears that no one, and I truly mean NO ONE, is comfortable with these marriages becoming offish… brides, grooms, family members, even officiants.  Mayhaps, things should’ve been thought through more thoroughly before the big plunge.

Can't you tell everyone agrees that it's a "nice day for a... white wedding!" (photo courtesy of

Wow. You know it's a good ceremony when even the priest objects. (photo courtesy of

Rule #4.  BEWARE OF BEWILDERING BACKGROUNDS.  Some of these I honestly have no other words for other than… whhhhyyyy?

You've heard of "Four Weddings & a Funeral" but what about having YOUR wedding and a funeral? (photo courtesy of

The sentiment is there - sure - but we can't get passed the poor guy gettin' butt grabbed from a distance. (photo courtesy of

I blame the bride mostly for her bridesmaids blending into the decor. For the record, there is such a thing as TOO matchy / matchy. (photo courtesy of

Rule #5.  Finally, don’t fall victim to vicious photo editing!  As stanted in Rule #1, choose your photographers wisely or you may end up with these tripped out treats.  Granted, the photos are dated several years, but the rule remains as modern day as ever…

Why's the groom snarling at me? Better yet, why are they both floating above the entire ceremony? Wizard wedding? (photo courtesy of

'Cause you were always on my miiiiiiiiiind! This trippy photo is CREEPED to the max! (photo courtesy of

October 8, 2010 at 12:12 pm Leave a comment

How-to Write Your Own Wedding Vows that WOW!

photo courtesy of

If writing your own wedding vows is something you value as a couple, I would whole-heartedly suggest giving them plenty of time to perfect before putting them on display in front of all your family and friends.  Because knowing how you feel about your Mr. or Mrs. is the easy part; putting that love into words, however, can often times be tricky.  And because added stress is the last thing any soon-to-be-wed couple needs, we’re here to help!

With more and more of today’s modern Mr. and Mrs.’es constructing their ceremonies around their own personal likes, dislikes and personalities, it’s easy to see why personalizing your vows has become increasingly valuable throughout the years.  Not only is it a great way to offer a new and interesting twist to the traditional wedding ceremony, but it also allows your guests to take a closer look at what your love is all about.

If you plan to write your own vows from scratch, you will want to start off by determining if you will repeat the same thing to each other or if you want to say something completely different and unique.  Once you have decided on the type of vows you want to incorporate, it’ll be easier to determine where to go from there!

If you’re starting from scratch but aren’t exactly the Master of Ceremonies when it comes to speech writing… RELAX.  Writing doesn’t come easy to a lot of people.  So, it’s important to keep an open mind.  Try making a list of key words and phrases you know you want to include in your wedding vows like; soul mates, honesty, I love you, you are my best friend, my moral compass, my favorite comedian, etc.  This task is a lot less daunting and having this list of go-to words and phrases will be especially helpful when writer’s block rears its ugly head.  Plus, the informality of writing simple one word catch phrases and quips makes the whole process seem A LOT easier and WAAAY less stressful.

Now, if you’re still at a loss for what to even write for your prompts, try thinking about these: 

  • Consider keystone events that the two of you had experienced both prior to and after meeting:  
  • Think about how your life was before you met and fell in love with each other
  • Recall how you met
  • What you felt the first time you kissed each other
  • Think about the moment you got engaged
  • What you feel about building a future with each other.
  • Did he/she do something to that changed your life?
  • At what moment did you know you wanted to marry him/her?

Recalling special events or moments that pertain to one another will make your wedding vows easier to compose, and once they’re complete, feel free to practice in front of a trusted friend and family member to gain some outside perspective on an inside emotion.  Getting feedback from an outside party will help determine if you vows are ready for your wedding day.  And if worse comes to worse – and there is absolutely no way you can write it on your own – try starting or ending with your favorite Scripture reading, inspirational quote or love song except :)

October 6, 2010 at 12:56 pm Leave a comment

Match Made in Heaven: Alfred Angelo & Disney Team Up 2 Launch Fairy Tale Dress Line

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If you’re a “dreams come true” or “happily ever after” bride 2 be… have I got some BIG news for you!  Alfred Angelo, a top family owned and operated bridal manufacturer 80 years in the making, has recently joined forces with the darlings at Disney to create a line of fairy tale dresses for fairy tale brides.

Debuting this past weekend at Chicago’s Bridal Market, this line of bridal gowns will feature designs inspired by several of the Disney’s most sought after princesses.  According to, Ariel, Sleeping Beauty, Belle, Cinderella, Jasmine, Snow White and Tiana are all topping the list of Angelo’s latest and greatest garments and will feature everything from extra dazzle to lots and lots of ooh la la!

The wedding dresses will be available in sizes 0 to 30W and are reasonably priced anywhere from $599 to $1,199!  So, if you’re a bride looking to marry your Prince Charming in a dress fit for Disney… I suppose today’s your lucky day!  Here’s a sneak peak…

October 4, 2010 at 1:05 pm Leave a comment

Cheers! How-to Write the Best Wedding Speech Ever

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Every wedding has one.  Some are given by the best man; some by the maid of honor, and still others by the bride or groom’s parents.  They may make you laugh; they may make you cry, but one thing they certainly should NOT do is make you cringe.

I’m – of course – talking about the inevitable wedding speeches!

Wedding speeches are perhaps one of the most memorable aspects of your big day.  It is, or at least it should be, an interesting insight to your relationship as a couple, a wish of goodwill and a toast in to your love.  And because whatever the speech-giver says is generally amped across a microphone and loud speakers, it’s important that it’s good!  So, here are a few tips on how to make it count:

First, let’s start off with what you should avoid at all costs.  Humorous anecdotes are wonderful, but keep in mind that embarrassing does NOT always equal funny.  Reminiscing about senior year spring break or that one time the groom went streaking through the frat house may make some (namely the bride and groom and more than likely Great Aunt Edna) uncomfortable.  

On the other hand, don’t be boring.  An easy way to find a compromise is through genuine sincerity.  Try taking the emotional high road.  Whether you choose to be humorous or sentimental, make sure that any stories or memories you have about the couple are relevant, sincere and stay on topic.

Another thing to consider when beginning the speech-writing process is time frame.  It’s difficult to wax poetic about a couple’s love in five minutes, but any longer than that and guests will be agitated by your long-windedness.  (Heck, they may even get restless after 2, pending on how many people feel the need to speak after!) 

That being said, do not go into a speech without a plan… no matter how skilled you think you are at impromptu.  Because even the most brilliant “Who’s Line is it Anyway?” stars can stutter after a couple drinks.  

When you actually start to construct your dialogue, think back to your middle school speech class: every speech should have a beginning, middle and end.  Begin your toast by introducing yourself and your relation to the bride and groom. Talk about the beautiful ceremony to create an easy gateway to lead into the meat of your speech.

The Middle.  This is where your original content should come from.  Memories are great, but too many inside jokes will leave those on the outside unsettled.  So, stick with subjects that will personalize your toast and maybe garner a few laughs and tears.  Having the best of both worlds will create a well-rounded speech. So for every joke you tell, balance it with a genuine, maybe even tearful, sentiment of love.  Also, avoid hard subjects like the economic state or politics and harsh language like cursing or vulgarity.

Finally, finish with a bang!  If you’ve racked your brain for more perspective only to come up empty-handed, it’s time to bring in the experts. Quotes, whether they’re spoken by a famous author or a member of the family, serve as the perfect standby conclusion. Some great examples of touching quotes:

  • “Marriage is not a ritual or an end. It is a long, intricate, intimate dance together and nothing matters more than your own sense of balance and your choice of partner.” – Amy Bloom
  • “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, and always with the same person.” – Mignon McLaughlin
  • “Marriage: that I call the will of two to create the one who is more than those who created it.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
  •  “We have the greatest pre-nuptial agreement in the world.  It’s called love.” – Gene Perret
  • “A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short.” – Andre Maurois
  • “A happy home is one in which each spouse grants the possibility that the other may be right, though neither believes it.” – Don Fraser
  • “To laugh often and love much… to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to give one’s self… this is to have succeeded.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

At this time, you will cue all of the wedding guests to join you in a toast to the bride and groom by raising their champagne flutes and wishing them eternal joy and happiness. And hopefully you’ll hear cheers and clapping, not crickets.

October 1, 2010 at 12:49 pm Leave a comment

Check Yes or No: Do You Agree These Wedding Trends Should Go? (Opinions Wanted!)

(photo courtesy of

If you’re a bride-to-be who’s anything like me, you’ve more than likely been guilty of (or mayhaps a better term: fallen victim to) the inevitable, internet OVER-search.  With the World Wide Web access being so readily available and containing such a vast threshold of all the latest and greatest, it’s soooo easy to get sucked into the “Hottest Trends for 2010” or “Wedding Etiquette 101” or “What 2 Do 2 Cure the Monster-in-Law Blues” or… you get the drift.  And with all this pre-wedding curiosity bursting at the seams, wedding searches just may be the biggest version of unnoticed overload ever.     

Because there are so many options for brides to choose from, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to planning your wedding.  So, why not try to sort through things by the process of elimination?  If your interest is to have an event that your guests will love as much as you do, why not look to see what other people or even you, yourself, are constantly complaining about and delete them off the list!?

Recently, – a self proclaimed sweet, tasty and tart blog – published an article on wedding trends they hope will disappear titled, I Now Pronounce You Annoying — Wedding Trends That Need to Go.  Written in a sarcastically humorous tone, the author introduces the “Debbie Downer” trends by stating:

The older you get and the more weddings you attend, the more they stop being fun and start sucking the life force out of you. (

Haha, I’m guessing the author is not friends with these guys…

Pic from Wedding Crashers, the Movie (courtesy of

And while the sentiment being expressed is over exaggerated, its underlying message is not. Here are‘s Picks 2 Nix, but what I want to know is if you agree:

  1. “Half-a-Dozen Parties Before the Actual Wedding.”  Stating annoyance in the fact that a wedding is not just a wedding, but an Engagement Dinner, Bridal Shower, Bachelor / Bachelorette Party, Rehearsal Dinner, Ceremony and Reception… are weddings becoming too costly – and, in turn, too annoying – for guests to remain excited for when the actual day arrives?
  2. “The Long, Intensely Religious Religious Ceremony.”  Because not everyone on a couple’s guest list will necessarily be of the same religious denomination, is it too much to ask for everyone to participate in a ceremony that may or may not last over an hour when they don’t actually practice the faith? 
  3. “The Bouquet Toss.”  While a time-honored tradition – no doubt – is the bouquet toss becoming more of a necessary evil, filled with self-conscious single ladies battling for a bouquet or is it still a fun and essential part of the reception’s routine?
  4. “Stupid Toasts.”  Laying reference to the excess length (and inevitably, the excess amount of undisclosed information) a wedding speech can emit, do you think it’s more important to keep things moving along or let your best man recall the ultra embarrassing time you blankety-blanked the blank, down to the very last, nitty gritty – painfully discomforting – detail? 
  5. “DJs Who Demand You DANCE!”  In lieu of the fact that in due time, all the beer drinking patrons will eventually make it to the dance floor, is it necessary for DJ Jazzy (fill in name here) to constantly announce for everyone to “get up off of that thang!” or simply just let them “dance when they feel better?”
  6. “Video Testimonials.”  Stating that only the most “obnoxious, drunk and unstable guests take the opportunity” to divulge in such a awkward process, are video testimonials becoming the TMI portion of a bride and groom’s happy day?

Now, more importantly than this list, is your opinion of it ORRRR even better yet, other things you’d like to add!

September 29, 2010 at 1:46 pm 2 comments

Make No “Bones” About It: Emily Deschanel is Officially Off The Market

Deschanel & Hornsby get hitched! (photo courtesy of

Star of Fox Network’s runaway hit, Bones (FAVE!!!), Emily Deschanel, 33, has been in the acting game since her breakout role in 1994’s, It Could Happen to You.  The older sister of Zooey Deschanel – known best for her roles in Almost Famous, Elf and Yes Man, the now Mrs. Emily really made a name for herself in 2005 when she landed in the lead role of Dr. Temperance Brennan, a forensic anthropologist, in the Fox series, Bones.

And while her onscreen chemistry with crime fighting partner Seely Booth (played by former Buffy the Vampire Slayer star, David Boreanaz) truly is an epic display of “will they / won’t they,” it was her off screen ooh la la with fellow actor David Hornsby that had bells ringing this past weekend.

According to, Deschanel who bears a freakish resemblance to one of my favorite girlfriend’s affectionately known as Mama…

See what I mean? Deschanel left, Mama right. (Deschanel photo courtesy of

 …and Hornsby, star of FX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, tied the knot during a quiet ceremony in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles on Saturday.   In front of an intimate group of the couple’s closest friends and family, Deschanel said “I do” to Hornsby sporting a pair of matching diamond encrusted and platinum scroll hair pins and drop earrings by Neil Lane.

The low key couple couldn’t be any cuter and we wish them all the best!!  Cheers, Emily and David, to many, MANY years of happiness!  Here’s to your happily ever after :)  P.S. Love love love both of you shows!!

***And in other celebrity, wedding related newsJackass star, Johnny Knoxville tied the knot for the second time with long time girlfriend and baby mama, Naomi Nelson during a private ceremony on Friday, 9/24/2010.  And former American Idol contestant and runner-up, Crystal Bowersox, also got engaged to musician, Brian Walker, which comes as a shock to several fans after she infamously broke up with her former boyfriend the night before the big AI finale.  Apparently, love is not only blind; it’s also quick to recover and rekindle :)

September 27, 2010 at 1:02 pm 1 comment

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