A Valentine’s Day to Remember – The Best Gifts for Your Valentine

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. If you used up all your gift ideas for Christmas, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! While a cute card and flowers can go a long way, we want to give you some out-of-the-box ideas to consider. From inexpensive, sentimental gifts to pricier items to surprise your sweetie, here are 10 Valentine’s Day gift ideas for your significant other.

10 Fun Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Couples

Whether it’s a new relationship or you’ve been together for years, holiday shopping can be stressful. Unlike the big-ticket items that go under the tree, you can have a little more fun with less-expensive gifts for your beau’s stocking. In this gift guide, I’ve put together some of my favorite items for under $25. So as you hang your stockings by the chimney with care, here are 10 stocking stuffers for when love is in the air.

8 Essentials To Discuss Before Moving in With Your SO

Your relationship is going well and things are falling into place. One or both of you think it may be the right time to take the next step and move in together. Before you just spring into action and get busy with moving, make sure you take the time to talk to your partner about these important factors.

His place or yours?

The first question is, where are you going to live? It’s all too easy for one or both of you to assume you already know the answer. Maybe your beau thinks you’re just moving into his place or perhaps you think your place is perfect for you both. If you’re moving in or vice versa, remember this: it’s no longer your place or his, it’s both of yours. Sounds simple enough, but that means you will need to share your space. He may want to hang up his sports or Star Wars posters, and although that may mess up your feng shui, you have to remember he wants to feel at home, too. On the other hand, if you move into his place, what will it take for you to feel comfortable? Whose furniture will you keep and what will be discarded?

The best solution may be for both of you to find a new place together. That way it’s not yours or his, but a neutral location where you can start your next chapter together. Even if this is what you want to do, there are still some things you have to talk about. Discuss must haves and simply cannot do; do you want to stay close to family? Will one of you be commuting while the other has an easy two-minute walk to work? Take these things into consideration as you’re looking for your new place.

One or Both of You May Need to Adjust to the New Space

Whether you stay at one of your places or find a new apartment, it’s going to take some adjusting. Even if you were spending nearly every night together, it’s not quite the same as living together. Get ready to learn some new things about your significant other and your similarities and differences. For example, does he have an open door policy and like to have buddies over to play video games while you prefer a quiet evening in? Is he a neat freak and you have a tendency to get cluttered? These are the types of discussions you’ll need to have early on.

You will also learn about how much space each of you needs. Now that you’re spending so much time together, you may have to carve out some alone time to pursue your individual interests.

If you’re living in a new place you should also discuss what is required for each of you to feel safe. If you’re in a new or unfamiliar neighborhood, you may also want to consider some easy DIY security upgrades like a wireless alarm system or motion detectors. Also, it may help you to come up with a leaving-the-house checklist to remember to lock your windows and doors but also to make sure electronics are powered down before you leave the house.

Bills, Bills, Bills

If you haven’t discussed money with your partner, this is a topic you should tackle before you move in together. Will you write a check to your SO and he will write a check for both of you? Will you write separate checks? What about your utility bills? If he insists on having ESPN but you never watch TV, will you split the cable bill evenly or is that his responsibility? Money is an unpopular topic to talk about, but it will save you some headaches if you have the discussion early.

Who Gets the Dog?

If one of you has a pet, who will handle the responsibilities like walking the dog or cleaning the litter box? If it’s your dog, your partner may just assume you will handle everything, but what happens when you’ve had to work late and you come home to find out your beau didn’t walk the dog or feed him?

Talk about how things will be different when you live together. Will you both care for the pets or will it be one person’s responsibility?

Take Out the Papers and the Trash

In addition to the responsibilities that come with a pet, how will you divide household chores? This is something you really need to talk about because if you just assume one person is in charge of a certain chore, it may make one of you resentful if you’re constantly stuck with a task you hate.

You may want to designate responsibilities like you do the cooking and he does the dishes and you do the laundry and he cleans the bathroom. Or you may want to devise a system where you rotate responsibilities. You can do whatever works for you just do yourself a favor and make sure you talk about this!

Why Do You Want to Live Together?

What is the real reason the two of you want to live together? Is it simply easier to split the rent versus paying for two places, or is it for convenience: so neither of you have to pack an overnight bag? While these are added perks of cohabitation, they shouldn’t be your underlying motivation. As you can see, living together is a big adjustment, and one you should discuss at length before making a rash decision. Make sure the desire is there and that you’re not just doing it for financial necessity or convenience.

Discuss Expectations

What does moving in together mean? Believe it or not, it may mean something different to each of you. In many cases, men and women have a different view of what living together means. While some may think it’s a step toward engagement, others may have a different idea entirely. One of you may want to get married in the near future, while the other isn’t thinking in those terms yet. Before you move in together, make sure you communicate about what you both want from the relationship. It may be hard and scary to bring up the topic, but it will save you a lot of anguish in the long run if you’re both not on the same page.

Remember: You’re Teammates, Not Roommates

When you share an apartment you will naturally discover some unflattering things about your partner. This is a great chance for you to learn to embrace the good with the bad and learn to communicate and pick your battles. At the end of the day, remember, you’re significant other isn’t just another roommate who splits the rent and you only see on occasion. You’re joining forces, you’re sharing space, and hopefully you’re making memories that will last a lifetime.

If you think you are ready to move in with your boyfriend or girlfriend, make sure you sit down together and have a heart to heart. Good luck, you’re taking an exciting step in your journey together!

 

7 Signs Your First Date is Going Great

If you’ve been online dating for any length of time, you know that first dates can be very hit or miss. Sometimes, you just don’t seem to hit it off at all. In these cases, you exchange an awkward hug at the end of the evening, and call it a night. Sometimes, however, you receive a call or text the next day asking to hang out again. Dumbfounded, you wonder if he or she was on the same date as you.

While we can all laugh about these awkward encounters, sometimes you simply hit it off with someone right away and your first date goes off without a hitch. During these times, however, you may be wondering, “am I the only one who feels this way?”

To avoid these misunderstandings, we wanted to look at tangible evidence that indicates a date is going well. We came up with this simple checklist you can use to analyze your outing; here are seven signs your first date is going great!

[ √ ] Genuine Face Time

I’m not talking about the FaceTime app on your iPhone, I mean face time as in eye contact, nodding, and smiling. If your date is too busy looking through his or her phone instead of at you, it’s a good sign they may not be interested. Pay attention to this, it’s definitely bad form to scroll through your phone and ignore your date.

On the other hand, you can tell if your date is really engaged in the conversation by his or her body language. Is he or she reacting to the conversation, leaning in, nodding, smiling or laughing?Smiling can also be a good indicator of mutual attraction.

[ √ ] The Conversation Flows, Easily

Are you and your date able to have a normal conversation, or are there a lot of awkward pauses? If you’re able to converse comfortably, it’s a good indication that you feel at ease around each other. It’s an even better sign if you’re able to crack jokes and share your sense of humor.

Of course, if the conversation doesn’t flow freely, don’t write your date off just yet. Remember, everyone can have first-date jitters, and it can be hard for some people to open up right away. You also don’t want your date to feel too much like an interview with pre-rehearsed questions.

If you’re enjoying yourself and having a normal conversation, rest assured things are going well. This is a good sign that you can at least communicate, and as you know, that’s a non-negotiable foundation piece for any successful relationship.

[ √ ] They Make You Laugh

Not every first date is going to be a comedy show, and it really shouldn’t be, but if you’re able to laugh with your date from the get go, you’re already ahead of the game. Plus, this means you’re probably pretty comfortable with him or her, which isn’t always the case when you meet someone new.

[ √ ] You Have Things in Common

While we all have heard “opposites attract,” it’s a lot easier to get to know someone when you have some common interests. Plus, this sparks ideas for future dates if you’re both into similar music or movies or enjoy the same types of activities.

[ √ ] You Get the Feeling They’re a Good Person

I once found myself on a date where the guy yelled at our waitress because his tacos were breaking. Newsflash, genius, hard-shell tacos crack when you bite into them. I knew right away I didn’t want to be on a date with someone who was that rude to other people.

First impressions are very important, and you can generally tell when someone has good intentions. Pay attention to the way your date talks to you, the wait staff, or anyone else you interact with. If they’re generally courteous to the people around you, they’re most likely a nice person, or at least on their best behavior for the date, as they should be.

[ √ ] No One Pulls the “Something-Suddenly-Came-Up” Move

We all know the classic get-out-jail-free or get-out-of-this-date-now lines; “I think I left my straightener on,” “my friend needs me to pick him up…”, etc. If your date suddenly bolts with a lame excuse, it’s a safe bet the evening is a wash. But if you met up for dinner and are going somewhere else for coffee or dessert or you’re still sitting and talking long after your plates have been cleared, it’s safe to say you’re both having a pretty good time.

Now, this doesn’t mean you want to have a marathon, all-night first date, but if no one is in a rush, go with the flow and enjoy getting to know your date.

[ √ ] The Long Kiss Goodnight

OK, don’t get too excited, some people don’t kiss on the first date, out of principle. When you part with your date, however, pay attention to if he or she leans in for a kiss or hug, or just awkwardly walks away. If there’s some sort of comfortable embrace, there may be a second date or at least an “I had a wonderful time” text.

Of course, if you don’t hug or kiss, don’t jump to the conclusion that all bets are off just yet. He or she just may need a little more time to get more comfortable with you.

Keep an eye out for these positive indications while you’re on your date. You generally know right away if you want to see the person again or not, but if you pay attention to the signs, you will have a better idea if your date is on the same page.

How can you tell your date is going well? Let us know in the comments below!

The Perfect Season to ‘Fall’ in Love

It’s the season of Pumpkin-Spice Lattes, flourishing fall foliage, cool, crisp autumn air, but most of all, fall is the season of love. The temperatures may have cooled off but it’s time for the romance to heat up. Here are five reasons why autumn is the perfect time to date, and maybe even fall in love.

Plenty of Cozy Date Ideas

apple-picking

When you really take a moment to think about it, there are SO many fun things to do in the fall. Sure, you may need to be a little more creative, but that gives you a chance to try something new!

Go to your local Oktoberfest, snuggle up on a hayride, enjoy some pumpkin beer, go apple picking and make your own hot cider, or carve pumpkins. Just because the weather is a little cooler, doesn’t mean you should hide indoors. Need some inspiration? Here are 20 fun fall date ideas.

Playing Dress Up
wonka-nerds

After college, we don’t have as many opportunities to dress up for themed parties. So when Halloween comes around, we need to take advantage of this time for some festive fun! Couples costumes are a great way to celebrate the season with your new or longtime beau. Brad and Angelina may not be high on the list this year (too soon?), but there are lots of ideas for fun couples costumes!

Don’t feel comfortable going the couples costume route with your new guy or girl? Challenge each other to come up with the funniest or most creative costume. If you’re more on the edgy side, you can go with politically incorrect ideas. This year’s front runners include Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Just make sure you know your audience, if you plan to wear one of these to a Halloween party.

Scary Movie Marathons

scary-as-shit

Grab some Halloween-themed snacks, candles, warm blanket, and cuddle up for a scary movie marathon. There’s nothing like snuggling up next to your love to watch some classic Halloween movies. If you’re easily spooked, it’s the perfect excuse to get a little closer.

Haunted Houses

horror-house

What better way to bond than being chased by ghosts and chainsaw-wielding mad men? Haunted houses are the ultimate, thrill-inducing, heart-pumping date night. Hang onto your significant other and hold on tight!

Before the Holiday Rush

sweater-xmas

We all know the holidays can be stressful. Making travel plans, finding gifts for loved ones, and attending family gatherings. As a result, people are naturally looking for love during this time of year. When you’re dating in the fall, you have a companion for all those awkward family gatherings (if you’re ready for this step) and a plus one to your office holiday party.

Don’t hide from the cool weather, get out there and have some fun; you never know who or what is waiting for you!

What are your favorite fall activities?