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We Turned A Long Distance Relationship Into A Wedding

24 Jun

“Once in awhile, right in the middle of ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale.” J. B. Jeffrey
Summertime means beautiful weather, sunny skies and, the most popular wedding season of the year. With elegant sunsets, and tantalizing views bursting with stunning plants it’s no wonder so many couples want to tie the knot this time of year. With love in the air, we just had to share one of our favorite romantic stories with you.  Take a moment and let it inspire you to be more romantic, a little spontaneous, and encourage you to show your nearest and dearest (and maybe far away) sweetheart how much you love and cherish them!
Picture a couple: 5 years ago and oceans apart. He was from the US, She was from St. Petersburg, and their love just didn’t care. He was desperate to make the 6-month anniversary of their first meeting special, and wanted to send gifts to Russia, but the distance was proving to be something made to ruin surprises. Long nights of browsing the internet for the perfect way to show his love and devotion ended in nothing but frustration. He was constantly warned away: gifts would be shipped internationally, and the delivery date something that could only be guessed at. As you know, for anniversaries the day after just doesn’t cut it.
But his persistence paid off, though he couldn’t have known at the time. Uncertain and frustrated he placed a call to the GBO customer service team. Touched by his determination and love, this order quickly became personal not only for him, but our employees. His first order was simple: a delicate long-stemmed red rose with mouthwatering chocolates, something sweet and elegant for the woman who captured his heart. By the time he called it was already Sunday morning for his love, and the surprise had to arrive Monday, or not at all. With a little luck, a lot of hard work, and a devoted GBO team, his gift made it to his love on time and absolutely overwhelmed her with joy.

Barely a month passed before he decided he had to surprise her again, and then again, and again. Each and every time he came back to the company that had made the impossible not only possible, but easy. The gifts he chose were personal and thoughtful. Sometimes he sent sweet fruit baskets to Russia, just to make her smile. Another time, a handmade shawl to keep her warm while she was away from his arms. He spared no effort working with GBO to track down custom and unique gifts that were near (but not quite) impossible to find in Russia. Truly their love was a fairy tale. He showered her with designer clothes, rare books, a Blackberry, and even an iPhone 5 to help them keep in touch.
Other times the gifts were more interactive. He treated her to days at the spa, her favorite restaurants, even the opera, and even made sure a limousine was there to pick her up and drop her off each and every time.  Each gift came with his unique signature, a bouquet of red roses with a stunning white rose in the middle, a symbol of hope that theirs was a love that could stand up to any test.
He didn’t stop there! He knew that if he was to be lucky enough to marry this woman, he had to win over not only her, but also her family. Her mother (in Armavir) and her grandmother (in Tolyatti) were also spoiled by his generosity. Like a true gentleman, he spared no expense sending them both flowers for all occasions, and sometimes simply as a reminder of his affection. Finally, years later, the time was right, and he was ready to ask them if he could marry the wonderful woman they had both raised. He set the mood by treating them to a fancy dinner at the best local restaurant, again complete with a limousine to take the women to and from. He also wrote a beautiful letter to ask them both if they would give their permission to let him make the woman of his dreams his wife.

Of course, they said yes!
Five years of a fairy tale romance, the distance almost forgotten, and hundreds of gifts later, his one-time sweetheart became his fiancé, and then finally his happy wife who made a home with him in the US.  Even though he no longer needs GBO to send his wife surprises across the ocean (now he gets to do that in person), he still keeps surprising his mother-in-law in Russia with beautiful gifts and bouquets on all major occasions.
We’re happy to say, they truly have their happily ever after.  Thank you for inspiring us to give a little more often, to love a little harder, and to never forget that even the smallest of gifts can go the distance and bring us all just a little bit closer.

Wedding Image by: [Rich Bowen]

 

10 Interesting Wedding Traditions Around The World

21 Jun

Wedding traditions aren’t just about exchanging vows and rings. There are so many non trivial ways to say “I do.” From the well-known bride tossing her wedding bouquet, the couple’s first dance and the cutting of the cake, to wearing something old, new, borrowed and blue, American wedding customs became very popular around the world. But other countries too have their own beloved wedding customs. Some of them are heartwarmingly romantic, some are a little weird, and some might even make you uncomfortable. But what binds these disparate traditions from near and far is one simple thing: love!

1. China: Stars, Colors & Chicken Liver
In Chinese tradition, a middleman was used to cement a lengthy engagement. Once a man found a woman he wanted to marry, the go-between person would present gifts to the girl’s parents and consult an astrology expert to check the auspicious nature of the match. Modern Chinese wedding ceremonies also place a heavy importance on auspicious dates. It’s common to ask fortune tellers consult Chinese almanacs and analyze the prospective union.
A traditional Chinese wedding features a full procession, with the bride escorted to the ceremony in a covered sedan chair. Red is the main color in Chinese weddings, symbolizing love, good luck and courage. For centuries, Chinese brides wore the traditional qipao, a long bright-red silk dress with intricate gold embroidery, that covered her whole body, revealing only the head, hands and toes. According to an old tradition, the bride wears a red veil to hide her face, and her mother or attendant holds a red umbrella over her head to encourage fertility in the new family. Throughout the ceremony the bride changes gowns several times to demonstrate the opulence of her family.
In Daur region in China, there is quite a disturbing tradition that requires future husband and wife to dissect a chicken and check out its liver: if the liver is healthy, the couple can set a date for the wedding. If not, they should hold off on the marriage until they find one that will tell them otherwise.
2. Japan: Lady in White
Japanese ceremonies were traditionally held in Shinto Shrines. The bride’s skin is painted pure white from head to toe, she wears a white kimono and a big white hood hiding the “horns of jealousy” for her mother-in-law and signifying the desire to become an obedient wife. Throughout the ceremony a bride wears several costumes, first changing into another kimono in red and then into a Western-style dress. To symbolize their union, the couple drinks sake together, becoming husband and wife the moment they take the first sip.

3. Korea: It All Starts With a Duck
While in Fiji a groom must present his future father-in-law a whale’s tooth, in Korea a man gives their mother-in-law wild geese or ducks. The monogamous animals represent a man’s pure intentions and loyalty to his bride. Nowadays, brides and grooms exchange wooden geese and ducks on their wedding day instead as a symbol of their commitment.
4. India: Forget Jewelry
Indian weddings are surrounded by numerous rituals and ceremonies. A popular pre-wedding tradition includes a special engagement ceremony during which bride and groom exchange rings and their families exchange gifts and sweets. The ceremony is usually held at the bride’s home and is followed by decorating the bride’s body with henna art. As part of the visually stunning traditional Indian wedding, bride’s palms, wrists, arms, legs, and feet are painted, in tattoo fashion, with intricate henna designs to represent the joy, hope, and love of the occasion. The elaborate skin art takes hours to make and it lasts about two weeks making additional accessories totally unnecessary.
5. Malaysia: All About Numbers
There’s a Malaysian tradition of exchanging wedding gifts between the bride and groom-to-be. The number of gifts is very important – it must be a minimum of 7 or more gifts of an odd number. The minimum of 7 gifts for the betrothed bride generally includes a diamond or gold ring, brand new outfit, pair of shoes, handbag, traditional shawl or scarf, special container of aromatic and symbolic betel leaves, fruits or food gifts.
The Malaysian wedding ceremony also incorporates some Hindu traditions including painting hands with henna. At the ceremony, each guest receives an artistically decorated hard-boiled egg to symbolize fertility. And before the wedding a groom might send his future bride child-bearing presents, such as trays of food with origami flowers and cranes made from currency bills.

6. Fiji: Toothy Treasure
In Fiji, a man have to find an unusual gift if he wants to propose to the beloved one. Before asking for the hand of the woman he is in love with, the groom must present his future father-in-law a whale’s tooth.
7. Jamaica: Everyone’s a Critic
Jamaican weddings are a community affair, with the entire village often coming together to help plan the big day. Before the ceremony villagers line up in the street to take a look at the bride and call out negative comments and publicly criticize her if her appearance isn’t in tip-top shape. If the majority is critical, the bride must go home and make a second try at looking her best.

8. Mauritius: Go Large or Go Home
Many brides-to-be around the world go on a strict diet to lose weight before the big day. Not so in Mauritius, where young women are often forced to gain some weight before their wedding, sometimes causing them many health problems later in life. In Mauritania, a large, full-bodied wife is said to signify good luck and prosperity in marriage.

9. Kenya: Some Spitting Allowed
How would you like to be all dressed up in your wedding finery and have your dad spit on you?  In Kenya, as the newlyweds leave the ceremony, the father of the bride spits on his daughter’s head and chest in order not to jinx the good fortune of the married couple.
10. Venezuela: Missing In Action
Don’t wait until the wedding reception’s end to chat up a Venezuelan bride and groom — they could be long gone. It’s […] Continue Reading…

 

How to Celebrate Ramadan – Food, Fasting & More.

13 Jun

From fasting to food and the cultural history behind this important Muslim holiday, the infographic below will help you learn the basics about celebrating Ramadan.

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Ramadan is the holiest holiday for Islamic people. With more than 1.5 billion Muslims, this global holiday is an international celebration that lasts an entire lunar month.
What IS Ramadan?
Ramadan commemorates the month that the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) received the first revelations of Q’uran from the angel Gabriel. Although Mohammed was unable to read or write, he was able to produce the book of Allah’s law which is a miracle of revelation.  When you celebrate Ramadan, that miracle is the origin of this important holiday.
How to Celebrate Ramadan
If you’re ready to celebrate, or want to know what to expect if you’re in a Muslim country or visiting Muslim friends, here are some of the things to know.

Ramadan begins on the new moon of the 9th month of the Islamic calendar.
The Ramadan fast lasts from dawn until dusk each day.
Fasting includes no food, no cursing, no smoking, and no love-making from dusk until dawn.
The young, sick, elderly, and pregnant are excused from the fast.
At dusk, families and communities celebrate together to pray, break fast, and ensure everyone eats.
Ramadan requires charity. Muslims give tithes, Ramadan gifts, and food to their friends, family, and the less fortunate.
Ending on the last day of the 9th month, it gives way to a three-day celebration called Eid Al Fitr.

Foods of Ramadan
Although fasting is a part of Ramadan, so is food. Here are some of the traditional foods that you’ll find as people begin to break their fast and celebrate.  In the spirit of the holiday, many of these dishes are served family style and are meant for sharing with everyone.

Dates – Traditionally the first food eaten to break the fast, these are the healthy candies of Ramadan.
Jellab – A sweet drink of date syrup, rose water, and carob topped with Pine Nuts. It is filling and refreshing on fast days.
Mahshi – Finger foods made with peppers, zucchinis, tomatoes, and leaves stuffed with flavored rice and meats.
Luqaimat – Sweet dumplings made of butter, sugar, milk, and flour.
Fatoush Salad – Packed with chickpeas and broad beans, this fresh veggie salad is delicious, and keeps you filled up for the coming fast.
Kunafa – A shredded sweetened wheat pastry filled with cream, cheese, nuts, or raisins. Every region has its own delicious recipe.

Ramadan Customs
Ramadan is a time for gratitude, forgiveness, generosity, reflection, and celebration.  It’s a time to be generous with the ones you love as well as strangers.  You are supposed to help one another with charitable acts and by showing kindness.  Here are some of the traditions, jargon, and folklore that go along with this holiday.

Sahoor – Gathering with family at dawn for a pre-fast meal.
Breaking the Fast – Eat an odd number of dates first for luck.
Search for the Night of Power – On the odd numbered nights of the last ten nights of Ramadan, worship is said to be better than 1,000 months of worship.
Engage in Du’a – Du’a is a prayer or calling out to Allah to praise his blessings, seek forgiveness, and ask for guidance.
Read Q’uran every day – Because Ramadan is about receiving the Q’uran, this is a way to connect to its wisdom and share The Prophet’s (PBUH) path.

 
 

Father’s Day History & Facts

07 Jun

We all know that Father’s Day is observed on the third Sunday in June in many countries around the world. We know it’s a perfect occasion to honor fathers, husbands and father figures but is there anything more to the holiday? What do we ACTUALLY know about this wonderful day honoring the most important men in our lives?

Father’s Day History Facts:

The person who invented the concept of Father’s Day is Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd from Spokane, Washington whose mom died in childbirth and her father had raised his six children all by himself. Dodd was at a church service thinking about how grateful she was for her father when she came up with an idea of celebrating Father’s Day, which would be similar to Mother’s Day but celebrated in June – her dad’s birthday month.
Originally Dodd named the holiday Fathers’ Day (in plural possessive form), because it was “a day belonging to all fathers.” Somewhere along the way, the punctuation was changed and the holiday is now known as “Father’s Day” (in singular possessive form).
Father’s Day is the fourth biggest day for sending greeting cards, after Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. Greeting cards make up the number one gift item for fathers on this day.
More than one third of Father’s Day cards are funny in nature.
Rose is the official flower for Father’s Day. Wearing a red rose on your clothes signifies a living father, while white one represents deceased father.
One of the most common Father’s Day gifts associated with the holiday comprises of a necktie, followed by flowers.
Female shoppers spend approximately 50% more than men on gifts for their dad.

 
Father’s Day in numbers:

The first Father’s Day celebration was on June 19, 1910 in Spokane, Washington.
It wasn’t until 1972 that Father’s Day became an official national holiday in U.S. when president Nixon signed it into law.
Now Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday in June in over 50 countries around the world.
There are over 70.1 million dads in the U.S. About a third of them are married with kids under 18.
More than 214,000 American men are stay-at-home dads.
2 million fathers are single.
The world’s oldest father is an Indian former wrestler and farmer Ramjit Raghav who has been claimed to have his first child with his wife at age 94.
The world’s youngest father is an 11-year-old boy from Auckland, New Zealand, who has had a child with the 36-year-old mother of his school friend.
The most prolific father of all time is the last Sharifian Emperor of Morocco, Mulai Ismail (1646-1727). In 1703 he had at least 342 daughters and 525 sons and by 1721 he was reputed to have 700 male descendents.

Unusual Father’s Day Celebration Around the world:

In Thailand Father’s Day is celebrated on the same day as the birthday of the King, beloved by all Thai people. Thais celebrate the holiday by giving their father or grandfather a Canna flower, which is considered to be a masculine flower in Thailand. There is also a tradition of wearing yellow on this day (the official color of King’s birthday).
Father’s day in Argentina is celebrated on the third Sunday of June. However there have been many unsuccessful attempts to change the date to August 24th when the first child of Jose de San Martin, the “Father of the Nation”, was born.
In Denmark Father’s Day is celebrated on June 5th. It coincides with Constitution Day, which is a public holiday celebrating the signing of the Danish constitution of 1849.
Father’s Day in Germany also referred to as “Gentlemen’s day” is annually celebrated on Ascension Day which is the Thursday forty days after Easter. Traditionally, men celebrate it together by drinking lots of alcohol and pulling a wagon around town.

 
To learn more about Father’s Day and other holidays
please visit www.GiftBasketsOverseas.com

 

Wine Gift to Santiago, Chile

27 May

“Best company to deal with for overseas Gift Baskets!

Fist of all, the web site is so easy to use. The selection of gift baskets is excellent. Payment by Pay Pal makes it very safe. The communication is first class. The fact the company contacted our friend and made sure, that firstly it was the correct address, secondly made sure our friend would be home to receive the Gift Basket. The gift Basket was of very good quality, and our friend Loved it. Then we where notified the basket was delivered.
We would recommend Gift Baskets Overseas to everyone.

Steve Yates”

View our complete gifts to Chile catalog at www.GiftBasketsOverseas.com

 

Gourmet Basket to Barcelona, Spain

25 May

Let the favorite foodie in your life know how much you care about them by sending a little feast in a big hamper filled with the most delicious goodies. The gourmet assortment includes the whole range of exquisite flavors. Especially for the cheese lovers we’ve included some world’s best cheeses from creamy decadent to sharp and pungent. There’s also a selection of snacks that perfectly goes together including gourmet crackers, savory green olives, pickled cucumbers, and more. As a perfect pairing to gourmet treats there’s a bottle of dry white wine. Thank an employee for their hard work, contribute a delicious cheese plate to a holiday dinner, or welcome a friend to their new home with a flavorful gift basket to Spain that is sure to become your recipient’s favorite.

 

Gift Basket to The Hague, Netherlands

24 May

There are times when you need to celebrate a significant occasion in the life of your loved one, friend or business associate who are far away but you are not quite sure how to make it all work. Especially for situations like this we offer a gift delivery service that will deliver your surprise to the recipient anywhere in the world in the matter of just a few days or even hours. Our local couriers will make sure your gift to Netherlands arrives on time and in excellent condition. If you ordered flowers they will be delivered fresh in a beautiful gift wrap depending on the occasion. Gift baskets will include only superior quality alcohol, delicious gourmet treats and ripe fruits.

 

Flowers to Taganrog, Russia

23 May

 

“My online order was placed on 21 April 2016 at 19:00 MDT. The flowers were delivered to my friend in Russia at approximately 14:30 local time in Taganrog, Russian Federation. Amazingly quick! The recipient said the red roses were fresh and beautiful, and were delivered to her workplace without any problems. A special thank you is extended to Catalina Adams for her timely follow-up telephone call to confirm the order details. You can be assured I will use your company in the future. You made two people very happy!

Pete Warren”

View our complete gifts to Russia catalog at www.GiftBasketsOverseas.com

 

[Infographic] A Guide to Filipino Culture & Traditions

23 May

The Philippines have a rich culture steeped with 1,000’s of years of history and traditions.  The infographic below will help you learn about this vibrant nation, their beliefs and even discover some of their mythological creatures.  If you continue to scroll down the page, you’ll be able to add your own favorite Filipino customs and facts in the comments section.

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Guide to the Culture and Traditions of the Philippines
Filipino history dates back 1,000’s of years. With traditional Asian influences and Spanish flair, this culture is often overlooked, but with the information below, you’ll be in the “Filipi-know”.
The Philippines:

Are made of 7,000 islands, 1,000 of which are inhabited.
They began as a collection of island kingdoms and traded with China, India, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, & Indonesia.
There are 70 languages including Tagalog, now the national language, Cebuano, Llocano, Hiligaynon, and Bicolano.
English became the language of government and education in 1898.

Holidays and Celebrations
When the Spanish arrived in the 1500’s, Catholicism became the main religion bringing western celebrations such as Christmas, Easter and Lent.  Although Catholic holidays are celebrated similarly to their western counterparts, Filipinos have some unique religious and national customs of their own.

Birthdays – The person being celebrated provides all of the food and desserts. Gifts are not traditionally presented by guests.
New Year’s – Filipinos wear polka dots to welcome a prosperous and wealthy new year.
Independence Day (June 12) – Celebrating the independence of the Philippines in 1898.
National Heroes Day – The last Monday of August is used to celebrate national heroes of the Philippines.
Christmas (Pascua de Navidad) – Lasting 4 months, carols start playing in September and continue through December.

Mythological Creatures
Despite the Catholic majority, many believe in ancestral animist traditions like spirits – both free-roaming and attached to objects – that influence human destiny for good or ill.  Many were used to explain natural phenomenon, and others are just for fun.  Here are a few of the most popular.

Duwende – Similar to gremlins, these creatures like to play jokes on humans.
Mangkukulam – This creature is similar to a witch, but only causes pain and illness in humans.
Sigbin – Similar to the Mexican Chupacabra, this goat/kangaroo creature stalks and kills livestock.
Bal Bal – This Filipino vampire only feasts on dead corpses. The bad news, he hypnotizes you at funerals to fall asleep while he feeds.
Asuwang – The female Filipino vampires that travel in groups and can shapeshift while stealing your soul. Also known as ghouls, you don’t want to come across them.
Baconaua – Known as the god of the underworld, this serpent swallowed the 7 moons and cast darkness over the Earth.

Lucky & Unlucky Symbols
Where so many saints and spirits collide, the locals know the subtle ways to attract their favor and what makes them angry. Below are a few beliefs about what brings good and bad luck.

Good Luck:

Lucky Number “7” – odd numbers are lucky, but 7 is the luckiest.
Big Ears – having large ears could mean you’ll have a long life.
Jade – giving someone a jade stone is giving them good luck.

Bad Luck:

Combing your hair at night may kill your parents.
Talking about dreams before breakfast might make the nightmares come true.
Telling jokes about saints is sure to get someone’s attention and bring misfortune.

If you have your own fun facts and information about the Philippines, feel free to leave a comment below.  You’re welcome to share this infographic on your website or social media as well.  Just copy and paste the embed code below the infographic to make it easy.

GiftBasketsOverseas.com has been helping people send gifts to the Philippines for almost 10 years.  Whether it’s a gift basket to Manila or flowers and champagne to Cebu for a Honeymoon, let us be your trusted source for international gift delivery.

Note: if you would like to post this infographic on your website please note our Terms & Conditions.

 
 

GBO & NBCF Extend Gifts Against Breast Cancer

20 May

GiftBasketsOverseas.com continues to raise money for National Breast Cancer Foundation with pink ribbon gifts sold through June, 2016
ARLINGTON, Mass., May 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — GiftBasketsOverseas.com (GBO), the experts in international gift delivery, announced that it will be continuing its Gifts Against Breast Cancer campaign with National Breast Cancer Foundation.  GBO will continue to sell its exclusive selection of gifts marked with the pink ribbon through the end of June. Additionally, customers now have an even larger selection of gifts to choose from, for delivery in more than 200 countries. For each gift sold, GBO will donate 10% of the retail price to NBCF to support services for breast cancer education, early detection, and education.
NBCF strives to battle breast cancer with programs that include the National Mammography Program (NMP) – which provides free diagnostic services; Beyond The Shock® (BTS) – NBCF’s global guide to facts about breast cancer on the web; and Early Detection Plan (EDP) – an interactive tool that organizes a patient’s breast health action plan. NBCF insists on working with facilities capable of providing patient care when diagnostic services finds a need. NBCF also partners with top scientists and hospitals around the world to find the cure.
Customers will find the expanded selection of pink ribbon gifts suitable for any occasion. With baskets that include fresh fruit, gourmet chocolates, fine wines, and more, GBO CEO Dmitriy Peregudov hopes customers will take the opportunity to tie the charitable donation to birthday gifts and corporate gifts throughout the summer.
“We were thrilled to see our customers support this cause through the holiday, and while the Mother’s Day portion of the campaign has been successful, we’re not satisfied just yet,” says Mr. Peregudov. “Too many people still suffer from breast cancer, and we want an end to that in our lifetime. As long as the response is good, who are we take such a generous opportunity from our customers who want to make a difference too?”
This hands-on approach and willingness to adapt to customers’ desires follows GiftBasketsOverseas.com’s long-standing culture of flexibility, as well as its method for making company changes based on providing a customer-centric experience, accessibility, and ease-of-use in the shopping experience.
About National Breast Care Foundation, Inc.
Recognized as one of the leading breast cancer organizations in the world, NBCF’s mission is to help women now by providing help and inspiring hope to those affected by breast cancer through early detection, education and support services.  A recipient of Charity Navigator’s highest 4-star rating for 12 years, NBCF provides women Help for Today…Hope for Tomorrow® through its National Mammography Program, Beyond The Shock®, Early Detection Plan, and breast cancer research programs. For more information, please visit www.nbcf.org.
About www.GiftBasketsOverseas.com
GiftBasketsOverseas.com is an A-ranked, BBB-accredited company based in the United States that specializes in delivering superior quality gifts to over 200 countries.  GBO strives to provide online ordering convenience, excellent multilingual customer service 24 X 7, and secure payment options. Learn more at www.GiftBasketsOverseas.com, like GBO on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.