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Simple Acts of Love is a book featuring 500 easy, everyday ways to show your partner how much you love them, keeping your relationship strong and happy whether you’re hoping to maintain the passion or reignite the spark, whether you’ve been together for five weeks, five months, or five years.

Written by Maria Del Russo, a regular contributor to Playboy whose writing on sex and relationships has also been featured in The CutThe Washington PostGlamourInStyleRefinery29The CoveteurMen’s Health, and more, Simple Acts of Love offers readers little ways to make a big difference — and isn’t that something we’re all looking for? With Maria’s tips, boosting the romance has never been easier! Find a copy on Amazon.

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Brett and Nick met at Georgetown University while making their way through medical school.

How did you two meet?

Brett and I both moved out to DC (me from SD/NE, him from WA/WV) in 2013 to start med school. We technically met via email for the first time, because we were two of six people (all incoming med students) moving into a row house in Glover Park. In addition to being roommates, we immediately hit it off and became close friends — whether it was discovering the Rock Creek Park running trails, going to a concert or finding a new coffee shop to study at, we became inseparable pretty quickly and were dating by the end of our first year of school.

What was your favorite part about the wedding?

It is hard to pick a favorite part of the wedding…it was an incredible day! If we had to choose, saying our vows in front of our family and friends would be our pick. It was an incredible moment that brought our lives full-circle, and made us grateful to the generations of people before us who have advocated for our right to get married.

What were your top 5 favorite moments from your wedding?

-Dancing to ’90s hits on the party bus with our wedding party and photographers (pre- and post-wedding!).
-Greeting all of our guests at the end of our wedding ceremony – so many amazing hugs in a short period of time !
-Spending a few moments alone together before our reception to step back and truly take in the day…and also try all of the delicious hors d’oeuvres while doing so.
-Laughing – and crying – during the speeches from our wedding party.
-Our first dance as a married couple, and the epic dance party that followed!

How did you deal with wedding planning while working to graduate from Georgetown University’s Medical School?

Balancing wedding planning and medical school required some serious time management, and there were days where we felt completely overwhelmed by it all. We made a month-by-month checklist and tried our best to stick to it, which helped keep us on track.

One of the largest challenges for us was trying to narrow down vendor lists. Our photographers and venue both had a lot of experience and insight in the industry, and we used their advice on vendor options to help narrow things down. This made the process of choosing everything from a caterer to music much less time-consuming and allowed us to have more time to enjoy each other and the wedding planning process.

Anything else you’d like to share about wedding planning?

Beside our venue, our wedding photographers were the first vendor that we booked for our wedding – and we could not be more grateful! Their experience and honesty about everything from vendors to sites for photos made the wedding planning process much more manageable and fun.
From our engagement shots to our wedding photos, our photographers not only captured the most beautiful moments, but also made us comfortable, gave us confidence, added to the celebration of our big day, and became wonderful friends.

One final, super cute detail: The couple decided to combine their last names and took the last name “Stark”. These two are so caring, kind, and honest – always putting others first – and we think that they are a fairly accurate representation of the Stark family in Game of Thrones.


Accommodations: Huge, Historic 1916 Carriage House
Other Location: Georgetown University – Copley Hall
Musicians: String Quartet of Northern Virginia
Transportation: RSTQ Transportation
Ceremony Location: Grace Episcopal Church
Floral Designer: Blushing Blooms Floral Design
DJ: Bela Sono Music
Personal Stylist: Elizabeth Carberry
Caterer: Heirloom Catering and Event Design
Reception Venue: Dumbarton House
Photographer: Photos from the Harty

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Seattle business owner Jody Hall launched her bakery, Cupcake Royale, making it the first cupcake shop in the coffee-crazed city. Quickly, Cupcake Royale grew in popularity and not only became a mainstay of the Seattle food scene, but also of the local community. Jody felt it was important to give back and promote causes that were important to her through the business. In 2011, she launched the “Gay Cupcake”  specially for Pride month. Using the business’s Facebook Page, Jody promoted that for every Gay Cupcake purchased, $1 would be donated to the It Gets Better Project, an organization dedicated to uplifting, empowering, and connecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth. Since then, the campaigns have been incredibly successful. Using Facebook and Instagram to publicize the offering and connect with more people, Cupcake Royale has now shipped cupcakes to 34 states around the country and donates $15,000 annually to a nonprofit, in addition to donating upwards of 50,000 cupcakes a year to various local causes.

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Straight Forward – A refreshing new show you can’t miss!

Writer / Creators Kyle David Pierce and Chris Salvatore have a new series in development centering around a 30’s gay male couple. The acting duo star in the series that takes a fresh look at gay marriage, parenting, and when two families collide.

“We’re delving into modern relationship territory without stereotypes,” Kyle says describing the logline. Kyle is known for his work on, Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D, Three’s A Crowd, and the Emmy Award winning, Venice The Series.

“The millennial generation is growing up, settling down. We’re targeting that demographic but the transparent narrative is for everyone,” chimes Chris, whose credits include, The Eating Out Series, Paternity Leave, Girlfriends of Christmas Past, and The Quiet Room. He recently wrapped, The Office Is Mine.

New series has a Brothers & Sisters, meets Catastrophe, vibe!

The scripted series will be shot in 30 -minute episodes. The overall tone is Dramedy with comedic zest elements rather than a “on the head” structure, and a broad but targeted range for guest stars. “The double entendre title is ironic but goes to the heart of the message that gay relationships are honest and evolving,” Kyle remarked at a recent photo shoot. “This show is important and empowering for Gay men; to see our relationships reflected on screen,” Chris adds.

Seems like we’re in for a breath of fresh air.

Kyle David Pierce and Chris Salvatore are repped by BAC TALENT

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Where do I even start with these two? First off – their love story is downright INCREDIBLE. Jackie and Nina met 3 years ago and the honeymoon phase of dating quickly crashed down on them when Nina was diagnosed with breast cancer. Not deterred, Jackie stuck with Nina through endless rounds of chemo and treatment and their love for one another only grew. When they said their vows on November 11th – in sickness and in health, they truly meant it. With California burning on all sides of San Francisco, most guests (and vendors including myself!) wore N95 masks to protect us from the unhealthy levels of smoke and yet this did not prevent all of their closest friends and family from showing up to see these wonderful humans wed.

These lovebirds were not only an absolute joy to photograph they were the epitome of how love lifts us up and can get us through the harshest of times. They chose the Trocadero Clubhouse which is a whimsical venue nestled in Stern Grove in the heart of San Francisco for their wedding and enjoyed dancing the night away with their closest friends and family. Please also note their matching Vans shoes that they bedazzled themselves!

Shoes: Vans
Makeup Artist: Megan Taylor
Floral Designer: Urban Flowers
Event Planner: Nathalie Soirèes
Event Venue: Trocadero Clubhouse – Stern Grove
Photographer: Alycia Moore Photography + Videography

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We met in November 2016 through OK Cupid…kind of. Bertram saw Jason’s profile and wrote to propose a drink since, as he wrote, “I think we’d have a lot to talk about.” Jason wrote back, and…Bertram never replied. Well, truth-to-tell, he never really went back on OK Cupid, so had no idea Jason had replied.

Despite the silence, everything he read in Bertram’s OK Cupid profile really piqued Jason’s interest in meeting him. But all he had to go on was a first name and some tidbits from the OK Cupid profile–Bertram’s long residence in Seattle, his work in both theater and HIV education. A four-word Google search based on that information–Jason recalls it was something like ”Bertram Seattle HIV Education”–led him to the Rev. Bertram Johnson at the Riverside Church.

“Hi, I’ve been cyberstalking you after you didn’t reply to my OK Cupid note” struck Jason as an inauspicious opening line to reconnect. But he suspected that our friend Fred Davie would know Bertram, both because they’re each Gay, Black, Presbyterian ministers and because they worked across the street from each other. Jason explained the scenario and, sure enough, Fred knew Bertram: “he’s a wonderful, wonderful guy,” he assured Jason. “You’ll love knowing him.”

Fred got in touch with Bertram and encouraged him to contact Jason. Bertram recalls Fred saying something like, “this friend of mine saw your profile online and wants to meet you,” This had about as much appeal to Bertram as “Hi, I’ve been cyberstalking you,” but Fred quickly clarified, Bertram checked OK Cupid, and he dropped Jason a line.

We first spoke by phone for over an hour on November 2. By the end of the call, we had set up dinner for November 6. That dinner lasted three hours, included sharing food together, and led to another hour at a neighboring bar. We were both realizing something special was happening throughout that night, and that “something special” has only gotten richer, deeper, and better ever since.

Other Location: Williamsburg – Brooklyn
Photographer: Cinder & Co.


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Introducing the perfect thank you gift to your bridesmaids from Floravere Pajama Sets for that all-nighter they’re going to inevitably pull to help you finish the DIY decor.

This lightweight and soft pajama set is menswear-inspired and makes for a chic getting-ready outfit, bachelorette party set, or take-home gift. This is the luxe, wear-again gift your bridesmaids deserve for making sure your bachelorette party stays off IG.

Pajama sets are available in Ivory, Blush, Dusty Rose, and Cobalt for $125 per set, or $100 per set for 3+ sets. Now available at: https://floravere.com/pajamas

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Wedding planning ain’t easy. The big day has one million and one details to account for, but none more memorable than the food and wine served. It’s tricky to hit all the marks when narrowing down your choice in grape—budget-friendly, delicious and enjoyed by the whole wedding party.

It can be easy to sacrifice quality for price, or the stress of it all makes it an easy hand off to the caterer. Instead, we want to introduce you to Charles Krug and La Crema, two California wine brands producing exceptional reds and whites at a price that’s hard to beat:

Charles Krug St. Helena – Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2017 ($18)

A Sauvignon Blanc is key to any wedding menu. This light to medium-bodied wine displays vibrant, finely balanced acidity with notes of lime and grapefruit—perfect for an outdoor or indoor reception. The wine is cold fermented to further enhance its aromatic bouquet and delicate flavor profile of citrus and passionfruit.

Charles Krug Napa Valley Merlot 2015 ($25)

When half the wedding guests check off the filet mignon on their RSVP, a round, tannic Merlot is the perfect fit to pair. The Napa Valley Merlot offers expressive aromas of ripe red and black fruit followed by hints of spice. Flavors of berry and cherry which linger on the palate through a long, smooth finish.

*Charles Krug is one of five wineries allowed to host weddings.

La Crema Monterey Chardonnay 2017 ($20)

Chardonnay is a natural pick for any wedding and La Crema’s cool-climate Montery Chardonnay is an especially good for summer nuptials. With lemon drop, stonefruit and honeydew melon on the palate, the wine is richly textured and concentrated with balanced acidity that drives a lingering finish.

La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir 2016 ($23)
A racy and full-bodied, cool-climate Pinot Noir, this wine showcases the benefits of having the grape spend more time on the vine. Wedding guests will fall in love with the aromas of black plum, cherry and rhubarb. Juicy with a balanced acidity, flavors of raspberry and blood orange make for a richly textured wine.

La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir Rosé 2018 ($25)

A wedding wouldn’t be a wedding without Rosé. With notes of Mandarin, pink grapefruit and guava on the nose, this exceptional Pinot Noir Rosé offers flavors of watermelon, strawberry and blood orange, complimented by undertones of minerality.

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8 Reasons to Have a Mobile Bar at your Wedding

Organising your wedding can be tough and juggling everything from the décor and the food to the flowers and the music is a feat for even the most organised of couples. But perhaps one of the most difficult decisions amongst all of this is picking the right venue, and more importantly for some, the bar.

Picking a venue is difficult because often the bar, bar staff and drinks are included, and nothing is worse than finding the most perfect venue and then realising the bar isn’t up to scratch. This is why recently many couples have been choosing to go the DIY route and hiring a mobile bar. Here we outline 8 reasons why you should hire a mobile bar for your wedding and offload a lot of that pre-wedding stress.

 1. It’s Something Different

Everyone wants their wedding to be unique, but it can be quite tricky when everything has been done a million times over. If you’re looking for something a little different for your wedding, we suggest trying a mobile bar which can be tailored to match your needs, from the colour of the bar to the drinks on the menu.

  1. It’s Perfect for Outdoor Weddings

Mobile bars are great for couples who decide to have an outdoor wedding because it not only allows for flexibility, it usually doesn’t require the complicated set up that traditional bars might bring. Companies like The Cocktail Service specialise in mobile bars which can be used outdoors, allowing for more space and avoids cramming all your guests under a marquee when the rush for the bar begins.

  1. They Can Fit Any Theme

Mobile bars are great for themed weddings, they can be designed to fit almost any theme making them the perfect choice for those who want their wedding to be a little different.

  1. Professional Bartenders

Having professional bartenders is one of the things that can make or break your night. When you hire a mobile bar for your wedding, you can usually guarantee that the bartenders that come with it are professional and will dazzle your guests with bartending skills that will leave them talking for weeks.

  1. No Bar, No Problem

For those who like a good drink, there’s nothing more upsetting that finding the perfect wedding venue and realising it doesn’t have a bar. A mobile bar changes the game, meaning that you can have your wedding wherever you want, and the drinks will still flow.

  1. Variety of Drinks

Traditional bars usually come with a limited drinks menu, especially if you’re on a budget. Mobile bar companies will often let you choose the drink you want to serve, giving you a bespoke menu, which can fit in with the theme of the wedding and the personality of its couple.

  1. Ice Bars

Have you ever thought about having an ice bar at your wedding? Not only can mobile bars fit your theme, they can become part of it. Perfect for those who want a little extra something.

  1. It Makes an Intimate Wedding feel Intimate

You will find that having a mobile bar at your wedding will make the whole experience much more intimate, making a small wedding feel that much more special. Personalised drinks menus and a themed bar can inject that extra bit of personality which will leave your guests remembering the reason why their there in the first place, to celebrate you.

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Matthew and Dean met singing in the wonderful Denver Gay Men’s Chorus. They are two kind, delightful souls with a habit of wearing their hearts on their sleeves. They met with Photographer Libby Neder for a few hours one morning to revisit the location of their first date–Denver’s Iconic and recently remodeled Union Station, and the beautiful, storied Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

Q1: Let’s start at the beginning. How did you two first meet?
A1: We met at our first rehearsal for the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus.


Q2: What makes your relationship special? Tell us some things that you both value in your time together. What makes your relationship unique?
A2: Matthew makes me laugh. He always asks how I am and how my day has been. We both work hard at listening to each other.  We enjoy musicals and music performances.


Q3: How did you know your partner was the one? When did you first know this in your relationship?
A3: My instincts told me that he was the one. Our first date was just easy going, laughter and conversation. Every date after that was even better and better.


Q4: Give us all the details about the proposal. How and where did it happen? Was it a surprise? What was the planning process?
A4: Our birthdays are 2 days apart. So I planned a gathering of our close friends at our house. After lunch was over I popped the question. He had no clue that it was happening. So the surprise was completely worth it.


Q5: We’re all about the bling… Tell us all about that ring!
A5: Our engagement bands are a simple blend of white and rose gold. But the rings for our ceremony are full of bling.  A nice white gold setting with a channel set princess cut and baguette cut diamonds.


Q6: Are you excited to start planning your wedding day? Do you have any ideas in mind yet?
A6: The excitement for the wedding has been over the moon. The wedding is May 10th. We are having our ceremony at Bethany Lutheran Church and reception at the Wellshire Event Center.  We are having a semi traditional ceremony and a semi formal reception.


Other Location: Denver Center for the Performing Arts
Location: Denver Union Station
Photographer: Libby Neder Photography

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