Sunday, November 30, 2014

9 Personal Gifts to Give Your Man

Christmas music is on the radio! I'm so excited for the holidays! I love how sparkly and cozy everything becomes at this time of year. Since it's the season of gift giving, I decided to share a post with 9 ideas for personal gifts to give your man. Here they are:

1. Photo book
Photo books are just awesome. How cool is it that we have the technology nowadays to design a photo book online and have it printed and sent to us?! I have a lot of fun designing photo books online and making it match my style and personality, and it's a great way to reminisce about some of your favorite memories. Ideas for photo books include a wedding album, honeymoon album, engagement picture album (which makes a great wedding guest book!), or an album of pictures that you've taken throughout your relationship. I use Shutterfly, and you can find some great Shutterfly coupon codes and deals. I've gotten deals for Shutterfly through Target (when K and I did our wedding registry) and through Kellogg's rewards emails. There are a lot of other companies to choose from that do photobooks, but Shutterfly is probably the most known. The books look professional, and there are so many ways to customize them. This is a gift that takes a lot of time and planning, but it's a lot of fun and definitely worth it.

2. Scrapbook
Alternatively, you can make a scrap book. This is a great way to use prints of pictures that you have sitting around, and it's another fun project to work on. You can even find themed scrapbooks at Michael's and other craft stores that are already made for gift giving that you just fill with pictures and keepsakes, like old movie tickets.

3. "Open when..." letters
If you use Pinterest, you've probably seen this idea floating around. Write letters to your man for him to open on different occasions. You can write letters for him to open when he needs encouragement, when he wants to laugh, on your anniversary, on Christmas or his birthday, when you have an argument, etc. If you search for ideas for this gift, I'm sure you'll find a lot. This is a fun gift because it lasts a long time.

4. "Reasons I Love You" journal
Fill a journal with reasons you love your man. You can put little things, like the way he smiles, and big things, like how well he treats you. I made a "Reasons I Want to Marry You" journal and gave it to K on our wedding day. Doing this also reminds you of how grateful you are for your relationship.

5. "My Favorite Memories of Us" Journal
Similarly, you can fill a journal with descriptions of your favorite memories of the two of you. You could also add pictures and make it into a scrapbook.

6. Year of Dates
You can find this awesome gift idea here: The idea is to pre-plan a year's worth of dates for you and your guy. I did this as a Christmas gift for Kyle and I. I wrote a couple of date ideas on index cards and put them in envelopes for each month. So, I ended up with 24 different date ideas. I tried to make most of them free or cheap. It was fun catering the dates to the season they were in, and Kyle and I love opening up the envelope every month and looking forward to our dates.

7. Write Him a Poem
If you love to write, a poem about him or your relationship is a wonderful way to express your love in a personal way. You could type it out and frame it for him.

8. Make a Box of His Favorite Foods
Food is always a welcome gift. Buy him a bunch of his favorite snack foods and candy and put it in a box or basket. You can even make him a man bouquet, which you can find on Pinterest.

9. Storybird book
I just found out about Storybird, and I'm still learning how to use it, but I'm already impressed! It's a site that allows users to create stories using art uploaded to the website. There are lots of different styles of art on the website to suit a variety of tastes and get your creativity going. You can also read stories authored by others. The Dating Divas came up with a great idea to make a story featuring you and your guy to give to him. You can email it to him for free, download a PDF version, or order a real book (similar to Shutterfly). This would be such a fun project to work on, and it's a unique gift. Here is the link to the Dating Divas article about it:

What personalized gifts have you given your man?

Monday, November 17, 2014

13 Ways to Be Productive on Pinterest

Pinterest is my favorite website. It's so fun to look at all of the amazing ideas. Pinterest is a great way to relax and spend some down time, but there are also productive advantages to the website. Here are some ways to be productive on Pinterest:

1. Use it for meal planning
Not only are there articles on how to meal plan on Pinterest, there are so many unique and easy recipes. Most of my dinner recipes are from Pinterest. I love the pins that group a bunch of similar recipes together, like groups of slow cooker recipes or recipes using chicken. It saves me time since I'm not trying to come up with dinner recipes off the top of my head. I also don't get stuck in a food rut since I'm finding new recipes all the time. You can also find a lot of decadent dessert ideas, yummy drinks, breakfast ideas - really any type of recipe. This is a great resource to use when planning food for a party.

2. Plan a Party
I've seen a lot of ideas for "Frozen" parties based on the movie. Search for any theme party and you'll probably find a lot of fun (and probably DIY) ideas. You might even be able to find printables to make it even easier.

3. Save Money with DIY ideas
There's no end to the DIY ideas on Pinterest. They range from cute jewelry DIYs to pallet furniture for your home. You can save a lot of money by finding DIY tutorials instead of buying things. I love the pins with DIY versions of Anthropologie or Pottery Barn items. DIYs are a fun way to personalize your home. You'll also become more crafty and resourceful.

On a related note, you can use Pinterest to get your finances in order. There are a lot of resources to help you make a budget, get out of debt, and start saving. 

4. Use it to Promote Your Own Blog or Etsy store
Pinterest is a great way to get new followers for your blog. By posting pins of your new articles, people who follow you on Pinterest will see them. If your followers pin your article, their followers will see it as well and the process continues. People are also more likely to continue reading your blog if your articles are showing up on the Pinterest home page. You can also use Pinterest to promote your Etsy store by pinning your items.

5. Network through Pinterest
Follow other blogs with similar topics and connect with other businesses. Doing this can garner lots of new followers for you and help you become more known.

You can also use it for your career. I see a lot of pins related to nursing and teaching. I've also searched for pins related to my field and found some good articles to read. It's worth a try!

6. Follow Your Favorite Blogs
Similarly, following your favorite blogs on Pinterest keeps you easily updated on their new posts and gives you a way to save your favorite articles from their blog.

7. Get Decorating Tips
Pinterest is known for it's decorating and organization tips. There are tips for painting your house, ways to arrange wall art, and DIY decoration ideas. There are so many pictures of furniture and houses to give you inspiration. There are also a lot of helpful tips for maximizing small spaces and decorating dorm rooms. Who needs an interior decorator when you can just look at Pinterest?

While you're at it, organize the rest of your life. Once you're done decorating, you can organize your desk, your hall closet, or your kitchen pantry. There are a lot of ingenious ways to organize lots of areas of your life to mark everything run smoother.

8. Get Perspective with Inspiring Quotes
Sometimes you just need a paradigm change. Looking at quotes on Pinterest is a great way to alter your perspective and give you motivation.

9. Plan Your Wedding
Pinterest gave me a lot of wonderful wedding ideas. I found love quotes to use for decorations, bouquet ideas, and dress inspiration. There are a lot of fun guestbook alternatives on Pinterest and planning tips as well. Pinterest is especially perfect for planning a rustic or vintage themed wedding.

10. Life Hacks
Life hacks are awesome. They make life easier and a lot of simple ways that make a big difference. Just do a search for them on Pinterest, and you'll find a bunch.

11. Make your Bucket List
Making your bucket list is a lot like daydreaming, but the point is to make a list of things your really want to do, and then actually go out and do them! Search "bucket list" on Pinterest and you'll find a lot of cool ideas to add to your bucket list, like "swim with dolphins" or "learn to surf."

12. Work Out
Working out from home is a wonderful way to get fit without having to push yourself to go to the gym. You can find workout videos and charts with workout moves and reps. There's a variety of exercises you can find on Pinterest, so you can find something that works for you. With all of the dessert recipes I pin, I am grateful for workout pins! :)

13. Design Your Dream Home
For a lot of us, designing a house is definitely daydreaming, but it is a reality for some. And who's to say that we won't eventually make enough money to get to this point? As the Gilmore Girls say, "If all else fails, you can marry rich." There are a lot of gorgeous houses on Pinterest, and there are even some floor plans. It's the perfect resource for design ideas. I can't guarantee that you'll stay within budget, though.

What do you love to use Pinterest for?

Monday, November 3, 2014

14 Ways to Live Like a Gilmore Girl

"Gilmore Girls" is my favorite TV show. You can't beat their quick wit, charming town, and quirky characters. Plus, who doesn't love watching a show that has a set that is decorated with twinkle lights, snow, and fall leaves? I would love to attend some Stars Hollow events, like the Founders Day Festival (just don't drink too much of Ms. Patty's punch). Since I can't actually live in the show, I've come up with some fun ways to live like a Gilmore Girl.

1. Drink Coffee
Even if you've only seen a couple of episodes from the show, you know that Lorelai and Rory love coffee. It's an essential. They don't head to Starbucks for a fancy flavored cup, though. They just get some from their good friend, Luke, who "keeps them in coffee." (find reference)

2. Wear Chinos and Jean Jackets
This applies more to the earlier seasons, when the show was at its best. Rory especially wore a lot of chino pants and jean jackets. They also wore corduroy pants and jackets. Similarly...

3. Be fun with your style
Lorelai wears what she wants to wear, and always looks fabulous. She wears cheetah print, loud colors, and lots of jeans. I love the sweater she wears in [episode] with a sparkly kitten on the front. It may seem childish, but I love that it says that she's wearing it because it's fun, and she doesn't worry what others might think of her outfit.

4. Wear braids
Along the same lines, and more applicable to the early seasons, Rory and Lane wore a lot of braids. Rory often wore two face-framing braids on either side of her head with her hair down. Lane liked to wear pigtail braids. Braids are a fun way to pull back your hair, and you can style them to look casual, like Rory and Lane usually wore them, or more put together.

5. Value a few strong friendships over a lot of acquaintances
Rory and Lorelai have a few very close friends throughout the show, and they nurture these relationships instead of juggling a lot of sort-of friends. Rory has Lane as her best friend, and Lorelai has Sookie. Rory is also friends with Dean and Paris, who becomes one of her best friends later in the series. Lorelai and Luke have a funny, sweet friendship that's made stronger by the hard times they go through before, during,and after dating. While they love and are loved by their town and all of its characters, it's obvious that it's important to the Gilmore Girls to have quality friendships with a few people.

6. Keep Investing in Your Relationships with Family
Even though Lorelai and her parents often have disagreements and hurt each other, their relationship continue to be important to them. I think even before Lorelai asked her parents for money for Rory's school and was still very distant from them, she still desired to have a better relationship with them. They go through times of feeling like they should just give up trying to get along, but the eventually mend the relationship and keep on going. Emily sometimes seems unsupportive and unloving, but it's motivated by her love for Lorelai and her desire for Lorelai to have a good life. The problem is that Emily and Lorelai have different definitions of a "good" life. Despite these difficult times, Lorelai appreciates the love that her parents show for Rory, and both Lorelai and her parents enjoy giving to each other.

7. Give People Second Chances
Rory and Paris did not have a friendly relationship when they met, and it continued to be a rocky relationship for a while. Eventually, they became true friends. Rory had a lot of patience with Paris, and she saw Paris's good attributes even when others wouldn't. Rory also understood that a lot of Paris's behavior came out of a bad family life. Rory and Paris challenged each other in school and helped each other become better students and friends. It's valuable to have a friendship that helps you become a better person, and the hard times in the relationship are worth it.

8. Add a Feather Boa to Your Stuff
Rory's alarm clock has a pink feather boa across the top, and Lorelai decorated a hammer with pink boas when Rory volunteered to build a house. Rory even mentions that Lorelai decorated her white-out bottles to look like people.

9. Pursue Your Dreams
Lorelai and Sookie dreamed of opening their own Inn for years, and they always had hope that they could do it. They had confidence in themselves and worked to make it happen. They didn't wait around until it was easy to do, because they knew it would be a tough but rewarding process. Lorelai especially had a hard time saying goodbye to the Independence Inn because of the memories she and Rory had there, but she was so happy to run her own inn with her best friend.

10. Don't Let Calorie Counting Rule Your Life
Obviously, the amount of food that Lorelai and Rory eat, and the types of food they eat, is really unrealistic considering their slim figures. However, I do think that a lesson can be learned from them. It's important to take care of yourself, but it's also important to live life and eat a mallomar once in a while.
11. Reference Your Favorite Books and Movies in Conversation
The Gilmore Girls are known for their fast talking and pop culture references. You don't have to understand all of their references to be a savvy conversationalist. Referencing the books, TV shows, and movies you like is a fun way to get your point across and introduce people to some awesome culture.

12. Go to Fun Events
Stars Hollow has a ton of fun events throughout the year, like the aforementioned Founders Day Festival. They also have the summer carnival, the dance marathon, the knit-a-thon, the winter carnival, the Festival of Living Art and the Thanksgiving celebration. Rory and Lorelai always participate, and these episodes are always extra fun to watch. Look for unique events and festivals near where you live.

13. Stay True to Who You Are

Rory is given a hard time by administrators at her school when they think she isn't socializing enough. Instead of sitting with a large group of people at lunch at school, she likes to take that time to listen to her Walkman and read a book. When she's told that this could affect her recommendation to university, she tries joining a group at school. Once this group, a secret society, breaks into the school one night for an initiation ceremony and is caught by the headmaster, Rory stands up for herself. By telling the headmaster that she was just doing what he had demanded and that she was fine with her life the way it was, she avoided punishment and was left alone. Rory knew who she was and knew that she didn't need to change her personality just to please others.Similarly, Lorelai knew she didn't want a life like her parents, and followed her own path as soon as she could.

14. Don't be Afraid to be Silly

Sookie is so adorable and genuine. I love that she dances, sings, and jokes around with confidence. Her personality is playful, and she's unafraid to be silly. Life is too short to be serious all the time.

What do you love about Gilmore Girls?