Happy Birthday Sandra Bullock!

It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t love Sandra Bullock. She’s managed to take on the role of America’s sweetheart without being flashy, annoying or fake. She is the quintessential woman everyone wants as their friend, boss, girlfriend, wife, drinking buddy, work-out partner…the list could go on forever. She has unmatched charisma on the big screen whether she’s starring in a romantic comedy or a serious drama. Her comedic characters are always funny, but never dumb, and her dramatic roles are authentic and relatable. And even though there have been a few professional bumps in the road – umm, hello Speed 2, Cruise Control and All About Steve – we forgive her because she’s not afraid to call herself out, which is just another reason we like her so much.

When she’s not on the big screen, Sandy is equally intriguing, spending a great deal of her time and money on important charitable causes. She recently donated $1 million to Japan Disaster Victims and has heavily donated to charities benefitting New Orleans after hurricane Katrina – most notably the Warren Easton Charter Foundation, which was formed to rebuild the hurricane-ravaged Easton High School. Although she’s called Austin, TX home for years, New Orleans is particularly special to Sandra as it is where her adopted son, Louis is originally from.

It’s not hard to believe that in high school, Sandra was a cheerleader and voted “most likely to brighten your day,” – a role she’s definitely lived up to. Here are a few more fun facts you may not know about Sandy…

–          Sandra is the daughter of a German opera singer and an American voice coach

–          She graduated from Washington-Lee High School where alumni also include Shirley MacLaine and Warren Beatty

–          One her first roles was for a television series based on the Melanie Griffith/Harrison Ford movie “Working Girl” in 1990.

–          Sandra took on the role for Speed 2 to help fund her own movie project, Hope Floats.

–          She donated $1 million to the American Red Cross after the September 11, 2001 attacks

–          First woman to win best and worst actress in the same year. Best Actress Academy Award for The blind Side; Worst Actress Razzie for All About Steve

–          It is reported that she has acupuncture procedures done 2-3 times a week to help maintain her weight and ageless complexion.

–          She reportedly hates musicals and has vowed never to participate in one.

Do you have a friend or family member that shares the same birthday as Miss Sandra? Don’t forget to send them a birthday ecard to wish them happy birthday!  Also, if you’re tired of remembering birthdays or managing a  birthday calendar, check out our free birthday reminder service – never feel the pressure of having to remember a birthday again!

Can you pick a favorite Sandra Bullock role or movie? Tell us in the comments section below.




Create a Sweet Birthday!

Birthday cake is so five minutes ago. Today, fads and crazes in the baking industry are affecting celebrations everywhere, as people are looking for alternatives to standard birthday cakes with butter cream frosted flowers.

The Year of the Cupcake –

Cupcakes are everywhere! There are books, blogs, tv shows and food trucks all catering to the sweet treats that are cupcakes. Maybe it’s the fact that cupcakes are miniature versions of the real deal, and it allows people to feel like a special, individual cake has been baked just for them. Regardless, one of the best things about cupcakes is anyone can make them. Go as elaborate or simple as you please. Make the cake from scratch, or use a boxed mix.

They are perfect for themed birthday parties, and you can make a beautiful cupcake, no matter if you’re a novice or an expert. Try having some un-iced cupcakes at a child’s birthday party, and let everyone decorate their own – with plenty of aprons and frosting to go around, this is a great way to bring out the artist in everyone.

Forget lollipops – Cake Pops are the new sensation! 

These bite-sized wonders “popped” on the scene a few years ago, and the craze hasn’t slowed down a bit. The super-simple recipe (It’s a boxed cake, cooled and crumbled with a jar of icing) has everyone trying their hand at the dessert.

Once the morsels have had time to set up, and have a stick inserted – the decorating options are endless. There’s room to play with colors, shapes and flavors, which allow you to tailor make these treats for the birthday girl or boy.  Try individually wrapping the pops as a great take-home favor, or wrap a piece of Styrofoam in birthday wrapping paper and stick the pops in for a cute display at any birthday party. Simple or elaborate, these treats are sure to make a statement.

Enjoy some birthday magic (and cake too) with our newest and most delicious birthday ecard!



Happy Birthday, Henry David Thoreau!

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions,
perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.”

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Happy birthday to Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau!  The man who made Walden Pond famous by building a house on its shores and living there for over two years was born on July 12, 1817, inConcord,Massachusetts, to John and Cynthia Thoreau.

Christened “David Henry” in October 1817, Thoreau was named after a recently deceased uncle.  Excelling at academics, Thoreau attended both public and private schools inConcord.  He graduated from Harvard in 1837 and changed his name to “Henry David”.

Trying his hand first at teaching inConcord, he experienced a falling out with his superiors over student disciplinary issues.  Returning to his family’s home to work in his father’s pencil factory, Thoreau soon tried teaching again in aConcordschool his older brother, John, and he founded.  Successful for a few years, the school closed when John became severely ill and Henry subsequently felt overwhelmed.

Once again laboring in the family’s pencil factory, Thoreau was taken under the wing of neighbor and longtime friend Ralph Waldo Emerson, serving as his handyman while Emerson mentored him.  An embracer of Emerson’s Transcendental philosophy (placing spiritual concerns over material success), Thoreau became a writer and published essays and poems in The Dial, a Transcendental journal.  Needing privacy to work, Emerson gave Thoreau permission to build a house on the banks ofWalden Pond on land Emerson owned.  Thoreau lived there for over two years; during that time, he spent a night in jail for refusing to pay his poll tax.  That experience of imprisonment turned into his essay, “Resistance to Civil Government”, later famously renamed “Civil Disobedience”.

After leaving Walden Pond, Thoreau published Walden in 1854 to celebratory reviews and a new following.  Although never wealthy, he spent the rest of his days earning a modest income working in the pencil factory, as well as surveying, lecturing, and publishing essays.

Thoreau died in 1862 of tuberculosis, leaving behind volumes of unfinished work.  At his funeral, Emerson delivered a eulogy, noting Thoreau’s quest for knowledge, virtue, and beauty in nature.

Know someone who shares Henry David Thoreau’s birthday?  Send them a birthday ecard to wish them a happy and prosperous birthday.



Let’s Celebrate Chocolate Today!

What’s not to love about chocolate?  It has been used to worship gods, win political favor and woo loved ones for years – so today we celebrate chocolate and our craving for this indulgent treat.  Chocolate was first discovered 2,000 years ago by the ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures of Central and South America.  It originated as a spicy, frothy drink made from the ground seeds of the cacao tree and special seasonings. The word chocolate originated from the Aztec word, Xocolatl, meaning “bitter water,” as cacao beans taste bitter in their natural state. These beans became so valuable that they were actually used as currency which pre-dates the cliché – money doesn’t grow on trees.

It wasn’t until the Spanish conquistadors and explorers, including Christopher Columbus, took the seeds home to Spain and made additional recipes, that the drink’s popularity grew throughout Europe.  Famed Spanish explorer, Hernan Cortes, praised chocolate, once calling it “the divine drink which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink permits a man to walk for a whole day without food.”  The texture and taste of chocolate has evolved over the centuries, making it one of the world’s favorite flavors.

So what are you waiting for? Today is your day to eat chocolate guilt-free. And just in case you need some convincing, check out these fun chocolate facts:

Switzerland is among the top countries when it comes to chocolate consumption. The Swiss eat roughly 22 lbs of chocolate per person per year. The U.S. consumes about 11 lbs per person each year.

Eating chocolate makes you happy because it contains phenylephylamine – the same hormone the brain triggers when you fall in love.

Recent reports have found that chocolate may help lower your cholesterol level and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Hershey’s, built in Pennsylvania in 1871, is the oldest and largest chocolate company in the U.S.

The most expensive chocolate in the world is a $250 creation, called the Madeleine, by Fritz Knipschildt of Knipschildt Chocolatier in South Norwalk, Connecticut. The Madeleine is a specially, handmade dark chocolate truffle complete with a rich ganache, cocoa dusting, and a French truffle inside.

Chocolate is associated with the release of serotonin, the hormone that makes you feel relaxed, calm, and happy.

Women crave chocolate more than men.

In America, 71% of consumers favor milk chocolate over other variants.

Chocolate melts in your mouth because its cocoa butter component has a melting point slightly below the human body’s average temperature.



Sun, Sand and an Ocean Breeze – A Vacation for the Soul!

beach chairs 6.27Do you hear it? There’s the sound of calypso drums setting the tropical breezes in motion, giving happy feet to those who wander across the wet sandy beach looking for shells, those mementos of a peaceful moment. A little laughter can be heard from the couple snuggling under the beach umbrella nearby and from the children running and building sand castles. It’s a glorious day. The salt sea air is just beginning to make you feel a little stronger, a little more playful, and a little more at peace. It’s a great vacation–even if you haven’t actually left your living room.

The fact is you can enjoy mini moments…
little flights of fancy to different spaces and places, ones that free your heart and mind and give you the buoyancy to keep afloat. You can escape on your own little adventure any time you want, any time it feeds your soul. A virtual vacation is a good thing.

And if the beach isn’t your thing, you may find yourself in the mountains, walking through vast canyons, hiking up past the tree line or strolling through quaint villages. You may even be in Europe at a little café, ordering your favorite cappuccino and smiling at the waiter who seems to be flirting with you. You get the picture…hammock 6.27

Yes, sometimes, the good times are right at your finger tips. All it takes is a few quiet moments, and a little willingness to just slip away to somewhere glorious. After all, the “real” world will call you back soon enough. When that happens, grab some lemonade and your favorite muumuu and head out to your deck, feel the sun on your cheeks and the breeze in your hair and mentally check in at that little beach hotel down the road. After all you have control over your imagination and it is always happy to take you anywhere that makes you smile.

sq jar of shells 6.27Time for some fun in the sun? Drift away! And check out, for lots of videos, pictures, quotes, gifts and other ideas or download some free awesome beach wallpaper desktop calendars here.

Know someone who has a birthday coming up but can’t swing the 5-star, beachfront, week- long getaway to celebrate?  Send them the virtual vacation ecard to help them enjoy a momentary vacation for the soul.



Happy July 4th!

July 4th — Then and Now

Freedom spread across our new-born nation,
Independence sparked and stirred imagination,
Declarations read aloud,
In cities strong and proud,
Marked by cheers and welcomed celebration.

Today, parades and picnics mark the occasion,
Fireworks fill the sky with colorful elation,
Remembering yesteryear,
For what we fought so dear,
Pride fills our hearts with patriotic jubilation.

July 4th.  The day we celebrate America declaring its independence from Britain in 1776 has many customs familiar to most people.  Fireworks, parades, picnics, and other festivities are just a few that mark the patriotic occasion nowadays.  But what lesser known events transpired long ago that add to this festive national holiday?

  • During the summer of 1776, colonists created mock funerals of King George III, illustrating the end ofBritain’s grip onAmerica.
  • The U.S. Congress declared July 4th a national holiday in 1870.
  • The Declaration of Independence was read aloud in major cities across the colonies, met with cheers and fireworks.
  • Fireworks were originally an invention of ancient China, using a combination of gunpowder stuffed into bamboo sticks, all of which were thrown in to fire.  The explosive elements were later brought over to Italy by explorer Marco Polo where chemicals were added to give the fireworks their color.  They eventually made their way to theNew World(the colonies), when settlers used them to amaze or fend off Native Americans.
  • Celebrations, although modest at first, became more noticeable after the War of 1812.  In Boston, the Boston Pops Orchestra ends each July 4th musical celebration with the 1812 Overture.

These historical references not only provide great patriotic perspective, but add substance to festive activities that people may not be aware of.  This 4th of july, wear your red, white, and blue proudly as you celebrate with family and friends, remembering the journey that our nation took toward its independence.