Long Distance Lovers? Here’s How To Stay Connected

While there are many upsides to having technology at our fingertips, one particularly great thing about it is the ability to send a gift to a loved one anywhere in the world. Even if physical distance separates you from someone on a holiday or special occasion, or just when you want to spur a smile, the ability to make their day still exists.

Especially since online shopping is so convenient, it’s becoming more and more popular in today’s world. Big Commerce reports that 51 percent of Americans prefer to online shop while 96 percent of Americans have made an online purchase in their life, 80 percent of those respondents having shopped virtually in the past month. Forget about packaging gift items and lugging them to the post office on your own – technology is here to simplify your life as well as the gift-giving process.

To combine convenience with the ability to send a gift across the miles, I have compiled a list of long distance gift ideas to take advantage of.

– A Personal Touch –

Thanks to technology, it’s easy to gift a loved one something with a personal touch that they will treasure forever, like a video keepsake. A few fun ideas for this are “The Top 10 Things I Love About Us” or, “Favorite 10 Memories Together”. Simply use your webcam to create the video and they will no doubt love watching it over and over again. You can even weave in photos of the two of you or video clips of fun times together to make it more sentimental

Another idea is to go paperless by creating a coupon book that you can make on simple computer programs, giving your loved one a unique and fun gift that they will be using for a long while to come! You can email it to them and give them vouchers for items like, “an hour long video chat”, “a handwritten love letter”, or “a home cooked meal when we are together”. We know that your loved one will be tickled at the thought put into this gift as well as the prospect of cashing in all these meaningful gifts.

– Photographs –

If you think custom photos gifts are too expensive and difficult to coordinate, you couldn’t be more wrong! Luckily, there are a wide range of websites out there where you can upload a picture, choose your matting and frame, and send it off as a framed gift. This is also possible to have done on canvases, which also make a great gift. Other fun photo gift ideas are custom designed memory books, phone cases, or other household items that are made better with a memory attached to them. All of these ideas are bound to be a special memento for the recipient, and they’ll think of you every time they walk past it hung on their wall!

– Flowers & Plants –

While flowers are a pretty standard gift, with so many great sites out there nowadays, we couldn’t resist mentioning this. Flower services that deliver nationwide have wide selections, making it easy to match any personality! From roses to tropical flowers to even succulent plants, these gifts are a sure-fire way to make someone smile from afar.

– Treats – 

For anyone who loves to indulge in something delicious, the possibilities are seemingly endless for what you can send their way to celebrate a special occasion. For those who love something savory, send them a tin of popcorn to snack on. Or, for anyone who has a sweet tooth, try a candy subscription so that they get their fix on a monthly basis!

– E-Gifts –

Great gifts can be delivered directly to the recipient’s email inbox! Some ideas that are sure to be a hit are a music subscription service credit, a television or streaming service gift card, an ebook gift card for a bookworm, or even airline gift cards for someone that you’re hoping will come visit you soon! The possibilities for this idea are endless, allowing you to truly match the gift to the interests and passions of your loved ones.

Thoughtful and convenient all in one? It’s possible! Modern technology makes all of our lives easier on a daily basis, and this is just one more way to take advantage of it. Give all of your loved ones – no matter how far they may live – exactly what they want by sending something directly to them that they will love.

Dating Do’s And Don’ts for Single Parents

The majority of people dream of true love, happy marriage, and commitment to one person. However, sometimes things don’t end up the way we’d hoped. And while such situations are hard in their own right, things can be even trickier if there are children involved.

But life goes on and there are hundreds of happy days waiting for all of us. And it means that our job is to move on and take brave steps towards a new life, happier life. Of course, for the majority of single parents, it means going out again, dating someone new, and building an entirely new relationship. Armed with experience, single parents tend to be more careful when choosing partners, hence there are ground to assume that they also have more chances to build happy and lasting relationships with someone special.

However, it goes without saying, that dating is different when there are kids involved. There is a need to arrange plans with kids in mind. Turns out, it is not as hard as it may seem at first glance. The first step (read: the first date after divorce) is the hardest, but things tend to get increasingly simpler over time.

But if you’re at this first step of starting your life anew after divorce, these do’s and don’ts guide will help you get started. Ready?

DO establish your priorities 

Even if finding a special someone is your first priority at the moment, you should remember that you’re a parent and keep it top of mind no matter what. You have a little human being dependent on you, which means it’s okay if sometimes your date will have to adopt his or her plans if you need it. 

DO make introductions after serious thought

Of course, your kids should know who are you sharing your life with. However, there are factors to consider. First of all, you should only introduce them to each other if you are sure things are getting serious. Second of all, keep in mind that age matters. According to studies, children under age 10 might feel anxious and angry in such a situation.

DO be honest and upfront

When you start seeing someone new, it’s one of the biggest stress events for your kids. Even if you haven’t told your kids anything yet, remember they have great intuition. Don’t make them guess, talk to them, check in with their feelings and make sure they understand the situation. Remember that your new partner deserves honesty as well. Tell your special someone that you have kids to make sure this person is even open to this.  

DON’T keep it in secret

It’s true that kids who have been through a divorce can be extra sensitive and emotional. However, it might be important for them to understand that you’re dating again and attempting to move on to live a happy life. Children tend to mimic the behavior of adults, which means it’s a good idea for you to try living an active and happy life again.

DON’T rush it 

Take things slow. When the pain of divorce is still there, your kids might suffer from anger and anxiety, and your role is to help them through it instead of giving them another reason to feel even more stressed out.

DON’T talk about kids all the time

Of course, you are a parent and your kids are the most important part of your life, but it doesn’t mean you should keep from talking about other topics. Discuss books, share your outlook on life, make jokes, be the best version of yourself. Not only will you get a chance to turn your focus from kids to something else for a couple of hours, you will have fun chatting about something other than your daily routine.

Starting over again may seem overwhelming, but at the end of the day it’s worth taking the chance at finding that special someone. If you feel like it’s time to put yourself out there, go ahead and dip your toes into the dating pool.

Practice Makes Perfect – First Date Etiquette

A right swipe has led you to another first date. Or maybe you met each other through friends or serendipity. However the plans were hatched, you need to be prepared. Yes, first dates are thrilling and adventurous, but they can also be the stuff of nightmares…or meme legends.

Don’t go into any first date without doing your homework. Plan ahead—and don’t forget an exit strategy! That’s right… just in case it isn’t working out. Then again, magic could happen. You really never know when (or why) sparks fly.

Regardless of how the night goes, there is one unfailing, cross-generational, simple rule: Remember your manners!

Your first date could be fantastic, horrible, blah or absolutely hilarious. No matter how crazy the date or how perfect the person, etiquette is still everything.  And some simple manners might just lead to another date (if you want one!):

Check-In

No, I’m not suggesting you let your date know every fine detail about your location before arrival. But if you’re running late, please shoot over a text or give them a ring. Also, if you’re at a concert or crowded venue, make sure you don’t lose each other.

Chivalry isn’t Dead…So Open the Door

Oh, the knight in shining armor…be still my heart! Or not. Life isn’t a fairy tale, and not every chica (or chico) wants to be rescued. Still, guys, it doesn’t hurt to be a gentleman.

A man who holds the door is charming. I’ll tell you, it kind of makes me blush a bit…but in a good way. A man who holds the door open is outwardly displaying that he’s looking out for you. The guy who lets it slam in someone’s face? Yeah. Not a good catch.

Woo with flowers…gentlemen

Bringing a bouquet of flowers will make a great impression. Although, bringing a dozen (or more!) roses might look a bit like you’re over-reaching. So opt for unique blooms. Try daffodils for spring. Sunflowers or bright Gerbera daisies are cheery and a cute pick for a first date flower bouquet.

Self-Care Goes a Long Way

And, please, please, please….remember to shower and groom. Not everyone finds that sweaty smell of testosterone sexy. And, ladies, not everyone loves your post-gym scent either. Body odor is not cool. Shower after the gym, please. And keep cologne and perfume use to a mild minimum! Your date will remember if you smelled like the first floor of Macy’s.

 

Be Real.

First dates aren’t necessarily the time to let everything loose. However, nothing is worse than faking who you are. To really understand if it’s a match, both sides need to give a little. This isn’t the point to let out deep dark truths, but it is the time to let your date know who you are and what you value.

Offer to Pay!

The dating world is equal when it comes to women and men. So, ladies, if you are a more traditional thinker, you might need to step out of your comfort zone. Meaning: always be prepared to split the tab. There are no firm guidelines here, and advice differs. Offer to pay half. If he (or she) objects, fine.

 

Stilettos? Opt for whatever is most comfortable! 

Wear comfortable shoes. Nothing orthopedic, but comfortable. Oh, ladies (or men, too!) super high heels can result in mishaps. And, let’s face it, some days are awkward enough without getting a heel jammed into a sidewalk crack.

Connect or Disconnect?

Bring your cell phone to a first date, as it can provide an easy out. However, don’t text friends, answer calls or check social media sites while on a date. Be considerate of your date and others around you. Snap selfies and pics if the two of you are hitting it off, though

How to Exit Gracefully…

Awkward date? Everyone has a horror story. To get out of a going nowhere meet-up, tell a friend to text you at a certain time to check in. Or take a trip to the bathroom to make a call or drop a text asking for help. Cosmo recommends faking an allergy or pretending to feel sick.

Always remember that first dates hold the potential for future love. This could be the beginning of something remarkable, something amazing. This date could be the beginning of forever. You just never know.

 

Making Your Engagement Facebook Official

To say that social media has changed the world would be a colossal understatement. It has changed how we connect with one another, how we learn about current events, and even how we celebrate major milestones in our lives. So when the love of your life finally pops the question, it feels only natural to want to head online and spread the word.

However, engagements and weddings are a very special time – for both the couple and their families. Because of this, there are a few guidelines you should follow to make sure your engagement includes everyone and still gets tons of “likes:”

Do:

Take a Moment to Be in the Moment. This is, without question, the most important thing to remember on the day you get engaged.  Make sure you take some time to be really present: remember the setting, what you both were wearing, the way he or she popped the question, and how you felt when you said ‘YES’. After all, it is an important day – the day you’ll share with friends, family, and maybe even kids and grand-kids in retellings over the years.

Tell Family and Close Friends First. I know it may seem convenient to post an engagement selfie and let everyone you know find out about it when they check their feeds. But remember what we said earlier? Engagements are about your families, too. Before you make any announcement on social media, make sure that the most important people in your life (family or even close friends) hear it from you.

Post a Pic of You Both (and That Ring)! Once you’ve celebrated with your future spouse, met with or called all the important people in your lives, and had time to soak in all the love and excitement in the air, you’re ready to make your engagement announcement. Share a loving photo of you and your fiance or a gorgeous ring selfie that shows off your new jewelry – and get ready for all the likes!

Don’t:

Make it All About Your Ring. Your engagement ring may be the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen, but that doesn’t mean you need to flaunt it too much. Sharing information like the ring’s carat size or cost can come across as…well, tacky. Also, you may open the doors to comparison from your social media friends, and that can lead to dissatisfaction with your own ring, proposal, and even relationship. Best to steer clear of all that.


Share All The Wedding Planning Details.
When you get engaged, it’s natural to let your excitement overflow into productivity. You’re ready for your dream wedding and you want to start planning now! But here’s the reality: the average length of an engagement is 14.5 months, and if you start sharing every detail now, your guests will be burnt out by your special day. Sure, you can share big moments, like the day you pick a date or find your perfect dress, but for the most part keep your plans off the Internet.

Let Social Media Overtake Your Engagement. The 14 months that you spend engaged are a unique time in a person’s life. You spend time planning – for a big party, yes, but also for a lifetime as part of a married couple. It is a special time, filled with love and advice and well-wishes from all kinds of people, both in person and online. It is easy to get swept up in it all, to browse Pinterest and read wedding blogs and thank every cousin that wishes congratulations.

But whatever you do, make sure you take time to unplug and spend a few “IRL” moments just being happy with the love of your life. At the end of your special day, the two of you are what it’s all about.

Anxiety Before A Date? Release It With These Tips!

Do you ever get that feeling that anxiety is everywhere? You’re not wrong; studies have shown that struggles with anxiety and depression have been steadily rising in the United States since the Great Depression. No one is exactly sure how this trend got started, or why it’s continued for over 80 years, but we have discovered many ways to help ease anxiety when it rears its ugly head.

Some people use aromatherapy, some meditate, and others spend time coloring. But today, we’re going to talk about a way to relieve anxiety and flood your brain with endorphins: exercise. Not only is exercise great for your physical and mental health, it can often be a great social activity – or even a great date. If you’re nervous about going out with someone you really like, then a nice, active date can be just the thing you need to release that stress and have a great time.

Explore Nature on A Hike

Walking in the woods is a great date activity for folks who love the great outdoors. It’s cheap (sometimes free), the scenery is great, and gives you and your date plenty of time to talk and get to know each other. It’s also great for relieving stress! In fact, a simple, 20-minute walk in the woods can lower stress hormones and anxiety levels. So take a little time to enjoy the fresh air and beauty of nature. You and your date will be at ease and having fun before you know it!

go-on-hike

Go For A Run

I know, running doesn’t seem very sexy. You’re sweaty and breathing hard, your heart is pounding… well, actually, nevermind. The point is that running is a great way to relieve anxiety (runner’s high is real, you know), and the health benefits of a good old fashioned jog are out of this world. See if your date is interested in taking in a run and catching coffee or a smoothie afterward. You’ll both feel happier after.

go-run

Get Some Peace of Mind with Yoga

Yoga has been lauded as a great exercise for ebbing the flow of anxiety and stress. Along with stretching and strengthening the muscles, yoga focuses on deep breathing, which can help settle the mind. So if you’re waiting for your date and your mind is going a mile a minute, take a beat and relax with a few gentle yoga poses. You won’t believe how much calmer you feel!

Also, if you’re really feeling adventurous, and you’re comfortable with your date (probably not a first-date idea), you could take a class together or try out some two-person poses. Who knows – things might heat up.

yogs

Reconnect With Your Inner Child

Do you ever remember being stressed out as a kid (I hope not)? No, those were the happy, carefree days, when everything was fun and easy. So why not take your date back to those good old days? Try playing a fun game you loved as a kid, like capture the flag or freeze tag, and soon enough you’ll both be loosened up and full of endorphins. Or if you’re looking for something more gravity defying, get on a trampoline and see if you can still do backflips like you used to!

tramp

The next time you’re feeling anxious, sad, or overwhelmed by everyday life, don’t worry – just get on your workout clothes and try some of these exercises. Trust us, it will be nearly impossible to not have fun.