Valentine’s Gift Ideas for Him (And Secretly For You)

Valentine’s is a perfect day to gift your beau something special. But hey, there’s no rule stating you can’t reap the benefits from your romantic gesture. Here are some gift ideas that you both can enjoy this year.

Brewery Tour

If your gentleman enjoys a good craft beer, set up a date to visit a local brewery. Local breweries generally offer tours with inexpensive samples. You and your man will enjoy sampling various beers and leave feeling like a beer snob. Check out CraftBeer.com to discover breweries near you. If you don’t have a brewery in your area, create your own craft beer tasting. Visit your nearest Whole Foods Market and select a mix of beers you both would be interested in trying. While you’re assembling your buffet of beer, grab some snacks to compliments the beverages.

His Childhood Board Game

Prior to V-day, stealthily ask your BF what his favorite board game was as a child. Pickup the game and present it to your special guy right in time for Valentines. Pour some wine and you’ll enjoy reliving your youth through classic games. The fun doesn’t have to halt after Valentine’s. Schedule an ongoing game night and invite friends to join in the festivities.

Donuts

You can’t go wrong with a box full of his favorite donuts. And with so many punny donut-themed cards available, you can easily tie in this sugary treat with V-day. Check out Etsy for cute cards like “Donut forget I love you” or CafePress for just the right card to express your love for him and breakfast desserts. If he’s the right guy for you, he’ll share his savory gift without you having to ask. A win-win!

Record Player

The vinyl renaissance is among us. If your man doesn’t already have a record player, it makes for the perfect Valentine’s gift. Urban Outfitters offer a variety of players in an array of colors. Pick up a few records of his favorite artists or set up a date for the both of you to browse a record store. You’ll enjoy record shopping together for years to come.

Netflix and Chill

A Netflix and Chill night can never be overdone with the one you love. If you don’t already share a Netflix password, jot down your account info on a thoughtful card proclaiming that you’re ready to take things to the next level. If he has an account of his own, you can gift him Chromecast. Although Chromecast has been around for a few years, it’s still a foolproof gift to those who have yet jump on the bandwagon. Connect Chromecast and he’ll be able to cast Netflix, Hulu, and a variety of other streaming shows from any device to his TV.

Date Night in a Jar

Date Night in a Jar is an adorable and affordable way to put the spark back into a relationship that’s gone on autopilot. To make this simple DIY present, decorate a mason jar and jot down a variety of date night ideas on popsicle sticks or colorful note cards. If you’re in need of inspiration, checkout the Budget Girl’s blog on this fun idea. Your significant other will love this gift because he won’t have to come up with romantic ideas and you’ll love it because you’ll have full approval of every date!

New Year, New Gear: Workout Gear to Keep Your Fitness Goals Alive

We’re a month into 2016 and you’ve already blown your New Year’s resolution to hit the gym? Don’t cancel your gym membership or give up that ClassPass! It’s not too late to adjust your course from McDonald’s to SoulCycle. Motivate yourself back into the gym or studio with fabulous fitness gear.

Here are 5 sites for gorgeous fitness attire that will inspire you to turn the treadmill into your very own catwalk.

Bandier

Bandier is a utopia of chic activewear. The site offers a meticulously assembled collection of designer fitness ensembles. With a variety of unique styles and designs, you’ll want to wear your Bandier outfit to barre class in the morning and brunch with the squad later that day. As if their fabulous collection wasn’t enough, Bandier even curates and shares their own workout mixes on Spotify. You’ll have the perfect soundtrack to go with your athleisure gear.

Stride Fitness

Your workouts may be serious, but your outfit doesn’t have to be. Stride Fitness Apparel offers comfy graphic tees with memorable one-liners and notable characters. Fandom shirts include Star Wars, Freddy Krueger, Tomb Raider all with a witty fitness-related twist. Rock the “Don’t Talk To Me When I’m Stretching” tee and never worry about awkwardly being hit on while at the gym again.

Fabletics

If you need motivation to stay active, take one look at Kate Hudson’s inspiring physique. She combined her love of fitness and fashion to help create Fabletics, an athletic apparel company that offers high-quality gear with budget-friendly prices. VIP members will receive discounts on pieces through a subscription service. Take advantage of Fabletics current deal that offers new members their first outfit for $25. Keep in mind that if you sign up as a member, you will be charged monthly unless you opt to ‘Skip the Month’ between the 1st and 5th day of the month or you call to cancel your membership.

SIX:02

When I first came across SIX:02, I had no idea it was part of Foot Locker. SIX:02 is Foot Locker’s women’s only fitness destination, but don’t confuse it with Ladies Foot Locker. SIX:02 is a sexier brand that offers styles that are both trendy and functional. They’ve also partnered with some of your favorite fitness gurus and influencers on limited collections to inspire your new gym look.

YOGASMOGA

YOGASMOGA took traditional yoga styles and engineered textiles to create high-grade performance gear. My favorite feature of their proprietary fabric is their advanced moisture management, meaning moisture and bacteria escape the fabric quickly and easily. In addition to their smart textiles, their ethics align with the philosophies yoga teaches. YOGASMOGA offer eco-friendly products manufactured in the US, so you’ll not only look good but feel good about sporting their products.

Simple Ways to Connect Over the Holidays

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, we tend to monopolize our time with errands, checklists, and to-dos. We can lose touch with the people who mean the most to us over the festive season.

Here are some ways you can connect with your loved ones over the holiday season.

Have a wrapping party.

Don’t let the task of wrapping gifts and signing holiday cards be a taunting task. Make a party out of it! Invite your closest friends over to wrap presents as you blast All I want for Christmas is You, sip apple cider, and munch on tasty treats. Even if you do more chatting than wrapping, it only means you’re taking time to reconnect with the wonderful people in your life.

Host a quote-along

Whether it’s Love Actually or Home Alone, we all have a beloved movie of the Winter season. This year, invite your loved ones over for a holiday movie quote-along. Vote on a favorite flick and be sure your subtitles are on (as if you don’t already know every line). Go a step further and share little known movie facts from IMDb throughout the party. The quote-along will leave you remembering good memories as you create new ones.

Attend a show.

The holidays are a perfect time to fit in a play, ballet, or performance with someone you love. The Nutcracker and Trans-Siberian Orchestra always tend to make their rounds to major cities across the nation. If you’re on a budget, don’t underestimate your local arts scene. Community theatres, churches, and local schools put on holiday shows at little to no cost. Research a show in your area within your budget and invite a companion to enjoy.

Volunteer.

There’s no better way to connect with people than to volunteer. Volunteermatch.org is a helpful resource to find volunteer opportunities at charities and non-profits you support. Rally your friends, family, even co-workers to join you in your cause. Don’t let time be an excuse not to volunteer. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities you can do from the comfort of your home. Help From Home lists a variety of microvolunteering projects from quilting blankets for children with illness to snapping photos of your environment to submit for a nonprofit study on nature.

Create a tradition.

Perhaps you don’t hold a yearly holiday tradition. Nothing will bring you closer to those around you than to start your very own. It could be a wrapping party, a quote-along or something completely unique to your group and town. Not only will you create connection with among your family and friends, if done yearly, your new tradition will connect generations to come.

6 Apps to Help Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

2016 is only a few weeks away. As with every New Year, we tend to get carried away with ambitious resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking, learn a new hobby, eat healthy, save money, and get organized.

Here are 6 apps to help keep those life-changing declarations throughout the year.

  1. Lose Weight.

By far, the most widely made resolution is to lose weight. If you’re looking for solid workouts that you can do from home, try Workout Trainer. This free app offers users thousands of free workouts complete with audio and video instructions. If you seek an app to help you stick to your fitness goals, try the Pact app. Pact allows you to wager money on whether you hit the gym or finish a workout. It verifies that you’ve met your goals by verifying that you’re going to the gym through your check-ins. If you reach or exceed your goal, you earn cash. If you don’t you have to pay. Having cash at stake is a great way to keep you invested in following through on your NYE vow.

  1. Quit Smoking.

An unfortunate battle that many of us face is the desire to quit smoking. Fortunately, there are apps available to help. One of those apps is called Smoke Free. The app tracks and notifies the user how long they have been smoke free, how much money has been saved, how many cigarettes have been avoided, and how health is improving. Visualizing success helps keep its users on track and encourages their new smoke-free lifestyle.

  1. Learn a New Hobby.

There’s an app for nearly every hobby. Whether your hobby is golf, bird watching or photography, there’s an app to help you get the most out of your off-duty time. Whatever hobby you choose, use a goal app to incorporate your new hobby into your life successfully. Apps like GoalsOnTrack, allow you to set goals with clear action plans.

  1. Eat Healthy.

Losing weight is not always the ultimate goal for living a healthy lifestyle. After all the pumpkin pies, gingerbread cookies, and cider, your body would benefit from a junk food break. One of the best apps for a eating healthy is called Substitutions. Whether you’re in your kitchen or roaming the aisle of you favorite supermarket, this app suggests alternatives for foods you wish to avoid. Another great tool to replace your meals with healthier options is Locavore. This app allows you to find local, in-season food at farmers markets, farm stands, and groceries in your area.

  1. Save Money.

Saving money is an ideal goal for many of us who have a tight budget after the holidays. We can even be afraid to check our bank accounts for fear of seeing the little amount that awaits us. Level Money is a streamlined app that automatically updates you on how much spendable cash you have for the day. Another great app is Unsplurge, that helps users focus on saving by providing visuals on long-term savings goals. This might include a trip to Paris or the camera you’ve always wanted. For some of us, visions and dreams is all the motivation we need to save.

  1. Get Organized.

The New Year symbolizes a new beginning and opportunity to get our life together. Organizational apps are perfect tools to help this effort. 30/30 is a task manager that uniquely allows users to divide their days into increments of 30-minute blocks of work. These periods can be adjusted accordingly but it encourages its users to stay on task and finish projects efficiently without feeling overwhelmed. If a cluttered and fragmented calendar system is the root of your problem, try UpTo. This app syncs together your existing calendars to one, concise platform.

7 Tips For Stress-free Holiday Shopping

Holiday shopping time is here but the thought of traffic, crowds, and chaos is enough to keep us homebound. There are several ways you can make holiday shopping less stressful and more meaningful this season.

  1. Make a list, no need to check it twice. Make a list of people in your life you would like to express gratitude to this holiday season. Although it can be difficult to narrow down, try to keep the list modest to those people who truly mean something to you. Now for the hard part. Stick to that list and don’t stray away. It will feel uncomfortable when you receive an unexpected gift from an acquaintance. Naturally, you want to reciprocate but a last minute present hunt for the individual is not only exasperating, it’s disingenuous. If you would truly like to exchange the good gesture, offer to take them out to lunch or for coffee at their favorite local cafe. Sometimes, an authentic conversation is the best gift of all.
  1. Love at first site. Online shopping is your saving grace this season. While the concept of online shopping is nothing new, there are millions of sites and online vendors to choose from. Opt for online retailers with optimized holiday shopping sites to make the experience a pain-free process. Sites like UncommonGoods offer an array of gifts for everyone on your shopping list. The website allows you to shop by recipient, price, interest, or collection to find a thoughtful gift that matches the unique personality of your loved one. Another site that offers whimsical gifts at a wide range of price points is Pink Olive. From home goods to accessories, you’ll find something for the chic people in your life. Procrastinators beware: Double-check those delivery dates. If you wait last minute to order, your Christmas treasures will become an after New Year’s present.
  1. Concierge Shopping. If you are completely overwhelmed by holiday shopping, you can try a personal concierge service. These services are designed to fight the crowds on your behalf, saving you time and headaches. To find assistance near you, Google “concierge service” or “personal shopper” and your city. If you have room to splurge, try a personalized event service like TRULY Experiences. TRULY creates bespoke experiences for their clients from extraordinary dinning dates to luxurious spa days.
  1. Pinterest Please. Avoid the madness of the mall altogether and make the perfect gift. With sites like Pinterest, a world of DIY ideas awaits you. Design one-of-a-kind accessories or paint an original piece of art. Nervous about your crafting skills? Sites like Amazon offer complete kits with everything you need for your project along with directions. Newspapers, magazines, brown shipping paper, and even scraps of old wrapping paper can be utilized for an unconventional and creative way to wrap your crafty gifts.
  1. That’s a Wrap. One of the biggest nightmares of the holidays is the challenge of wrapping all those items. When you make your purchase, ask the cashier if they offer gift-wrapping. Stores that offer complimentary gift-wrapping don’t typically advertise it, so it’s worth investigating. Research charity gift-wrapping drives in your area. Local schools and non-profits will usually host these drives around town wrapping all your gifts in exchange for a charitable donation. If all else fails, you can’t go wrong with a festive gift bag and tissue paper.
  1. You Time. The person you neglect the most during the holidays is yourself. Between the shopping, the crowds, and the parties, make time for yourself these holidays. Schedule a massage or incorporate hot yoga into your day. Create a relaxing environment in your home with spiced scented candles and light your rooms with Christmas lights. The ambiance will make you feel warm and calm, just the way you should feel around this time of year.
  1. It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s easy to lose yourself in the hustle and bustle of the season. Don’t lose sight of what the spirit of the holidays is all about. Invite friends and family to cozy up around the television and watch It’s a Wonderful Life. Released in 1946, the film focuses on the life of George Bailey (James Stewart) who was given the opportunity to see how life would look like without him. George discovered what an amazing life he truly had and found a new appreciation for his loved ones just in time for Christmas. The heart-warming movie will lift your spirits and put you in a wonderful mood.
5 Holiday Looks To Try This Season

‘Tis the season to be fabulous! By incorporating new makeup shades into your routine and adding a few glam items to your wardrobe, you can look as festive as this wonderful time of year. Before you twirl into the office holiday soiree or catch up with old friends at the annual white elephant brunch, try these holiday looks and dazzle at all your festivities.

  1. Berry Beautiful. Sexy scarlet reds are a reoccurring trend during the winter months. This year, switch up your lip and opt for a berry shade. Berry lipsticks express a vampy look without looking like a vampire. For an elegant shade that flatters most skin tones, try the Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Train Bleu by NARS. Frightened of a dark lip? Ease into the trend with a tinted balm like Sugar Lip Treatment in Sugar Plum by Fresh. Lip primers like Lip Insurance by Too Faced help keep that sultry color in place for hours.
  1. Twinkle Toes. Wear your holiday spirit on your feet with gilded pumps and radiant flats. During the holidays, glitter becomes a neutral and can be adorned with nearly every outfit. For the perfect glittery kitten heel, rock these ‘Orella’ pumps by Sam Edelman. You can also design your own glitter flats on Shoes of Prey selecting among a variety of shapes, materials, and colors. If you’d rather sparkle on a budget, transform an old pair of shoes into new with painter’s tape, a paintbrush, mod podge and glitter in a color of your choice.
  1. Stay Gold. King Midas has made his way through the makeup aisle this year. Specs of gold shimmers through lip glosses, eye shadows, highlighters and nail polishes. Metallics like Polish in Good as Gold by Essie and Lip Glacé in Bronze Gold by Laura Mercier are a sleek way to incorporate gold into your holiday look. For bolder hues try Gloss D’Enfer in Gold Tchlack by Guerlain and Glitters in metallic yellow gold by Make Up For Ever.
  1. Haute Hair. Holiday accessories have just reached new heights, our heads. From crystal barrettes to jeweled headbands, you can dress up your tresses in a way you wouldn’t any other time of the year. Add flare to your high bun by adding a flashy hair comb by Tasha. For the trendsetter, try a new twist on temporary jewelry tattoos by adding them to your locks. No longer limited to your arms at summer festivals, this winter rock those flash tats in your hair like these from Scunci. Lastly, deck out your hairstyle by adding dainty necklaces and statement earrings to your braids and up-dos. Repurpose your grandmother’s vintage brooch by pinning it to your side pony. Or turn your necklace into a unique head chain.
  1. Top Coat. This season let your coat be your statement piece. After all, it’s the first thing people when see whether you are strutting through downtown or into a room. The must-have item this year is the classic camel coat. Wrap yourself in an oversized double-breasted coat from Banana Republic or splurge on a wool cashmere trench by Burberry. Consider your coat an investment piece you’ll be donning for many more years of holidays to come.