Chocolate! Fun to make, perfect to give, a joy to receive!

Elisa, the Countess of Confectionery

Elisa, the Countess of Confectionery?

Today I was a kid in a candy shop – literally!

In honor of Valentine’s Day we visited Farris and Foster’s Famous Chocolate Factory in Orlando. Holy peanut-butter cups! – if you love chocolate this is the place to be!

While I could go on and on about our chocolate factory adventure, and how much fun we had, and how delicious everything was, I won’t (because you’ll be jealous!). {wink}

Instead, I’ll tell you about what a great event venue it is for parties. I mean, who wouldn’t want to come to a ‘make your own chocolate’ party? And the team at Farris and Foster’s is ready to accommodate groups of up to 36. Children’s parties, Girls Night Out, Date Night, Bridal Showers and Teambuilding events are so much sweeter when chocolate is involved!

On the other hand, if you’re just looking for Orlando’s finest handmade chocolates, Farris and Foster’s is known as ‘your neighborhood confectioner’. Almost all of their candies are made fresh daily right in their shop and some of the recipes go back generations! Stop in anytime you’re craving a sweet treat or in search of a memorable gift (except Sundays).

Something for everyone!

Something for everyone!

Fresh chocolate covered strawberries

Fresh chocolate strawberries

Farris and Fosters’ gift shop has something for everyone and every occasion – from holiday novelties, to boxes of assorted chocolates, to gift baskets!




They also make scrumptious truffles which are ideal as favors for parties and receptions. And please don’t forget to try the fresh dipped strawberries!

Foster, Farris and Fosters

Foster, Farris and Fosters

Owner Foster Lanenga holding today’s Orlando Sentinel, where his picture appeared on the front page.

© 2010 E. Delgardio All Rights Reserved

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MORE Free Tips to Make Your Website Standout!

web-tools
Welcome to 2010!  A whole year has elapsed since I last blogged about the importance of keeping your website content fresh and relevant.  My previous post – Website Tune-Up – focused on strategies to keep your website current and favorable to the search engines.  Today, I hope to share some equally important tips to optimize your website and online presence this year.

1.  Make the most of social media. Over the last twelve months I’ve enjoyed a significant increase in traffic to my website and blog as a result of social media.  Active participation in Facebook and Twitter has reinforced our web presence and generated many new leads and relationships.  If you have social media profiles, be sure to link those profiles to your website.

2.  Blog! Blogging offers great benefits due to easy to index regular content. Add a few basic SEO skills and you’re ready to go! Take your blog a step further: Host your blog on your own website instead of using a free hosted blog. Why? When you host your own blog your blog posts supplement the content of your website, thus increasing the quality and vibrancy of your site. RSSbuttonAdding an RSS feed button to both your website and blog will make it easy for readers to subscribe to your feed and keep up with your posts. Additionally, RSS features can help make your online (internet) marketing strategies more effective.

3.  Don’t be anonymous. One of the primary goals of your website is to build trust and credibility. Does your website give potential customers the information they need? Is your name, photo and contact information prominently displayed? If you are a service provider you should make every effort to make a personal connection with your visitors.

under construction-fix website4. Never underestimate the power of a well designed website. If your website is more than two years old, a revamp alone could boost your SEO ranking. HTML and CSS are the most common technologies used in making web pages, but there are also other ways to go. Flash is known for it’s excellent multimedia capabilities but is generally believed to be less search engine friendly than CSS. Some businesses have even abandoned traditional websites in favor of blog-based sites.

5. Use high quality images. Website images should be carefully selected; ideally they should represent your own work and style to help you connect with your audience (target market). Some vendors may use stock photography as part of their start-up promotions, but in the wedding and event industry I’d advise moving away from this option as quickly as possible (or risk possible damage to your reputation). By the same token, amateur photos will not adequately show even your best work – so select images with a discerning eye.

webdesign-youtube5.5 Upgrade to Video! If a picture is worth a thousand words than video is worth a million. Video is fast-rising as the newest ‘must-have’ feature because it helps build brand, it’s more engaging than static, printed text, and it’s easier to effectively demonstrate your product or service.

There is virtually no cost associated with these tips – especially if you have the ability or capability to edit your own website. Many resources and tutorials are available online if you need additional information. Otherwise, consider hiring someone to assist with migrating your blog or updating the look of your website – it will be money well spent.

© 2010 E. Delgardio All Rights Reserved

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03

02 2010

How Not To Become Bridezilla – Part 2

As a follow up to my previous post, I wanted to share some thoughts and observations on dealing with the stress associated with planning a wedding.

Common stressors stem from personal expectations, important decisions that must be made by you and your fiance, the involvement or interference of family members, time constraints, financial circumstances and so on. Depending on your situation, you may experience some of these challenges or struggle with all of them. It’s inevitable. Planning a wedding is not only a major investment of time and money, it’s a process that’s fraught with difficult choices. And if you’re generally hard to please or have a demanding or controlling personality, you’ll likely experience an even greater level of stress.

The stress level that a Bride-to-Be (or engaged couple) feels radiates in a ripple effect and can negatively impact the planning and flow of the wedding. It’s important to keep your cool and not CREATE the chaos you’re trying to AVOID.

{image via Weddingbee}

wedding calendar

A (Bakers) Dozen Tips to Calm your Inner Bridezilla

  • If you’re feeling uneasy, consider getting help from a trusted friend, family member or professional (TRUST YOUR GUT)
  • Remain flexible & keep an open mind
  • Brush up on the etiquette of being a good hostess/host
  • Establish a budget and be careful to mind it; when finances are strained, stress will increase proportionately
  • Keep your expectations in check: while your wedding is a high priority for you, resist the urge to boss and be discourteous to others (family, bridal party, vendors, etc.)
  • Pick your battles wisely
  • Keep the significance of the day in perspective  (Start your new life off on the right foot!)
  • Manage your time & energy – don’t allow the wedding planning process to take over your life
  • Don’t take on too much (DIY); spreading yourself too thin is a recipe for disaster
  • Pre-condition yourself to be accepting of the need to make compromises
  • Decide in advance that “whatever will be will be” – inevitably, things go wrong but proper planning should minimize this.  And some things are just beyond anyone’s control (weather, mechanical failure, illness, etc.)
  • by Sharon Naylor

    by Sharon Naylor

  • Wedding Insurance may provide some additional piece of mind (Venue, Hurricanes, etc.)
  • Consult resources (such as blogs and books) designed to help lend support during the planning process
  • WIN THE BOOK!

    Would you like a FREE copy of Sharon Naylor’s book? Share your “Bridezilla moment” with us! We’re looking to hear from Brides, Grooms, Friends and Planners (just about anyone, really- lol!). Our staff will pick three favorite stories or comments and send the winners a copy of “The Bride’s Guide to Diplomacy”    Winners will be selected on February 15th, 2010.    {Spread the word!!}

    © 2010 E. Delgardio All Rights Reserved

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    Wedding on the Love Bus

    In early December I was approached by colleague Debbe King (Project Manager Special Events, LYNX) regarding a very special project: She needed to plan a wedding for a couple who had requested to have their wedding on a LYNX bus. With the date rapidly approaching, I worked quickly and contacted a few other colleagues who graciously offered their services to help make the couple’s wedding wishes come true.

    Love Bus

    Love Bus

    LYNX’ “Love Bus’’ became a wedding chapel for Tonja Willis and Tyrone Smaw, who chose the place they met to be the place they were married.

    Love Bus Wedding

    Love Bus Wedding

    Tonja & Tyrone’s Wedding Story…

    The ceremony took place on brisk and sunny December afternoon inside the “Love Bus’’ painted for LYNX by local artist Donna Dowless.  Minister Michel Alvin McWhorter performed the wedding with 20 guests seated in the bus parked in front of LYNX Central Station in downtown Orlando.

    The interior of the bus was decorated by A Flair for Affairs and Cheryl’s Distinctive Creations to give it that ‘ceremony’ feel. “This was even better than I expected,’’ Willis said, after stepping out of the bus to a round of applause from passengers and wedding vendors at the downtown bus terminal. “I thought it would be a little different to get married in a bus, and it turned out really nice.’’

    The couple met while riding LYNX for transportation to work. “I’m usually very shy, but as soon as I saw Tonja, I felt like I had to take a chance on getting to know her,’’ Smaw said. “We ended up talking the whole time ‘til I got off the bus. After I called her, we started using the bus to go on dates because neither one of us had a car, so it’s kind of like it was meant for us to get married here.’’

    LYNX has never hosted a wedding on one of its buses. Chief Executive Officer Linda S. Watson agreed to do it on a one-time basis because “it had the right feel for the holiday season.’’ “The timing and situation made it a nice event for us to participate in,’’ she said. “We are happy to help Tyrone and Tonja get their married life started the way they hoped for and wish them great success in the years ahead.’’

    Tonja's dress fitting at Modern Bridal

    Tonja's dress fitting at Modern Bridal

    Elisa Delgardio helped the couple by arranging flowers, photography, videography, a wedding cake and even the bride’s wedding gown. “This wedding would not have been possible without the support an incredible vendor team! Everyone I contacted jumped on board immediately and graciously donated their services. I think I was as overwhelmed and excited as the bride!”

    Photo left: “LaVoria slipped Tonja into a white satin gown that was literally a perfect fit – like it was made for her! – and Tonja was overcome with tears of joy… It was really lovely.” -Elisa Delgardio

    Tonja's wedding cake

    The wedding cake and custom candles

    A Flair for Affairs would like to acknowledge the generosity of the following companies:

    aroma energie candles cakes by design inc Cheryls Distinctive Creations elegant imagery modern-bridal-shop Paul Duhon Video

    f