Maressa Brown

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I am a writer and occasional editor. My work has appeared in Better Homes & Gardens, First for WomenWoman's World, AOL, YourTango, and various other publications. Interests include holistic health/fitness, beauty/style, reading, pop culture, astrology, summer, baking, and cooking with lots of veggies and spices! I've lived in Chicago, Boston, London, L.A. and Manhattan and now reside in north NJ with my Jersey boy husband. In our free time, we frequent BYOB spots, buy overpriced (but so yummy!) eats at Whole Foods, and do bizarrely huge loads of laundry.


Sipping on:

Organic coffee with coconut milk and stevia

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    After enduring months of planning, family drama, negotiations with vendors, dress fittings, and all other manner of high points and headaches, it's no surprise if a bride's head is spinning by the time her wedding day actually arrives. Hence why it is imperative that loved ones do everything they can to help her relax and enjoy the special occasion. Unfortunately, that's rarely how it plays out!

    Whether it's due to nerves or simply a lack of filter, people have a way of aiming inappropriate remarks and questions at the bride on her Big Day.

    Maybe you're a guest in need of a tip or two, or you were that besieged bride and could use a laugh! Either way, here are 10 things never to say to a bride:

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    What really turns women on? Is it really all those qualities we're fed as being attractive? You know the usual suspects: a wide-toothed grin, captivating eyes, a sparky sense of humor, bulging muscles, smarts, the ability to look jaw-droppingly handsome in a crisp, collared shirt. Those are the obvious things that get us hot and bothered, right? Sure. But maybe not exclusively ...

    Because while those may be what makes a man sexy on the surface, it's a different ball game once he's your husband. As I settle into life as an "old" -- okay, older -- 30-something married lady, I've opened my eyes to a new kind of turn-on which has very little to do with my husband resembling a rom-com's dashing lead and more to do with him resembling ... a dad.

    More specifically, my husband changed his very first diaper recently. And I have to tell you, it was oddly ... hot.

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    Whether you're heading to a job interview or are going through a breakup and need a temporary fix until you firm up tattoo removal plans, anyone with a tattoo knows that the day may come when they've gotta cover it up!

    Just look at Melanie Griffith. She couldn't WAIT to get that Antonio tattoo lasered off, but before then? Cover up it was!

    Of course, she didn't use makeup and did eventually have it removed entirely. Thankfully, for the rest of us, it is possible to conceal even the most intricate ink. "It's really so simple," says Emmy Award-winning professional makeup artist Karen Dupiche, who is quite familiar with the best practices when hiding various kinds of body art. Here, five steps to flawlessly conceal a tattoo.

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    Before even becoming a mom, one of the most common warnings you'll hear from other parents is how expensive it can be to raise children. As it turns out, they're right.

    Families who had a baby in 2013 can expect to spend on average $245,340 until the child is 18, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's just-released annual report, Expenditures on Children by Families. That's between $12,800 and $14,970 a year for a middle-income family with two parents, depending on the kids' ages.

    Angela Hawkins, 33, a mom of three in the suburbs of Houston, is living proof that the numbers don't lie.

    She shared her household budget with The Stir and estimated that she and her husband Shane will spend about $270,000 per child by the time they turn 18.

    "The figures can be overwhelming," Angela admits.

    So where exactly does all that money go?

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    Weddings are not only expensive and labor-intensive, but they also have a way of bringing out the most raw and intense emotion in almost everyone involved. For that reason, most brides-to-be go into damage control mode from the minute they're engaged, trying to keep the peace with everyone leading up to the Big Day -- most of all, their fiance!

    But stressful situations are bound to arise and can occasionally bring out the ugly in both partners. No sane bride would ever fan the flames when that happens, right? Well, believe it or not, some couples are doing exactly that -- on purpose -- by having a shadow wedding.

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