It’s still freezing cold here on the east coast, but that just means one more excuse to LAYER UP! Layered sweaters has been one of my favorite looks since high school. The button down I’m wearing is a petite (purchased a few months ago from […]
As Valentine’s day is rapidly approaching (better get hustling boys and girls!), I can’t help but reflect on the last two years of our relationship. Valentine’s day is not something I’ve ever celebrated in the past – but the first year into dating my husband, I came up with a brilliant idea. Obviously, we are both super nerdy pursuing these engineering degrees, so I came up with an equally super nerdy way to tell him – for the first time! – that I love him.
I hid four sets of clues around his house. Each clue had a hint leading to the next. With every clue came two questions as well. He had to record all the answers to be able to solve the grand mystery! A secret code written in a computer language; only solvable with the answers to the hint’s questions. So maybe it was kind of obvious what it spelled, but hey – it was a fun ride. You guessed it! The end message read “I love you”.
I know – super nerdy. But I was pretty proud! To make it more romantic, I also bought a pink bottle of champagne, and special coupon – which, by the way, makes an awesome Valentine’s Day chachki. It’s filled with sexy ideas your partner can redeem.
But then came his birthday – and cheesy notes were NOT going to cut it anymore. I had to step it up this time. I had to come up with a gift better than all the gifts in the entire history of the world! Yes, I am super dramatic, but I LOVE GIFTS. I love making the people in my life feel special! And the best way to do that is adding a personal touch.
So I came up with this: 52 personalized cards with some of my husband’s favorite things. How did I pull this off? I sat down with him months before his birthday and casually mentioned how I wanted to know more about him. I came up with a list of 50-ish questions to ask him, so I had some ideas to work with. I got some great material and was able to design almost every card from scratch:
Wife of the year award? Nah. Just a girl who’s looking for a creative outlet and way to show my love.
You could imagine that this birthday gift was and will always be extremely hard to top. So I had to settle for mediocre gifts for his next birthday. But hey – they were both still personal and cute.
The beer cup because he obviously likes beer, but also it was a filler present until the real one came. (Engraved on the cup is “husband of the year” – super cheesy, I know). I wanted to draw something on my own but unfortunately don’t have a scanner to upload to the computer. Instead, I found this adorable shop on etsy that draws your family for you so I sent in a picture of us (the night we got engaged) and a picture of Dakota too of course!
So what am I getting at?! I’m not trying to say I’m an awesome gift-giver (because let’s face it – I’m awesome). I’m saying that personal gifts are the best kind, in my opinion. It’s not always easy, and you can’t do it for every occasion. Maybe just the special ones. But all of you out there are capable of coming up with these ideas – and this is how:
Think about what the person loves. It’s that simple. What does your significant other love to do on a daily basis? What are their secret desires? Something they wish they could always do? Something they did and loved? I spend months thinking about presents, because it’s the way I show someone I care. Have you ever read The 5 Love Languages? Well, gifts are definitely my forte. And being the wife on a budget, I just wanted to tell you guys that there are options there without money. Yes, I did spend some money on most of my gifts – but a very reasonable amount. I didn’t buy any fancy watches or wool coats because we don’t have that kind of money just yet. But personal gifts are just as important.
Now that’s not to say that some people don’t like store bought gifts. I am going to link store-bought gift ideas below, because I did find some adorable things on the internet. Just keep in mind every gift can be personalized with your own touch. You can buy a leather satchel and fill it with photos or love notes. You can buy a journal and put a love poem on the first page. You can even buy a fancy watch and engrave a special message in the back.
>>> Valentine’s Day Gift Guide – Him & Her <<<<<
I’ll end on one final note; just remember that Valentine’s Day, or special day for that matter, is NOT about gifts. I love gifts just as much as anyone – clearly – but always have your eye on the prize. It’s about making someone feel special, and creating a bond between you two. It doesn’t always have to be gifts. It can be a homemade dinner, and unique outing, or even just a back rub. However you choose to give to your partner is not important. What’s important is showing that you love them and appreciate everything they do for you.
Something I’ve been struggling with for a while is how bloggers have so much TIME. I don’t know the whole story – if they have outside jobs or just blog full time – but for me, that’s obviously not the case. Let me tell you, engineering is demanding. There is no such thing as ‘cramming’ the night before, or memorizing flash cards. You are tested on your skills that are all built on a foundation from the previous semesters.
Which brings me to my very packed life of studying. We spend most of weekend on homework and restocking on essentials. After having your brain in overdrive for so long, it’s easy to say, “let’s just binge on netflix to go brain dead for a little while”. Don’t get me wrong – I am completely and totally guilty of this. But it’s definitely something I have been working on.
This past weekend, we finally made it out to see one of my best friends in DC. We’ve been talking about visiting for nearly two years now!
It’s important in any discipline to make time for the things you love. Your hobbies define you as a person, not just your career or your school work. Friends, family, and extra curricular help you develop your sense of self. I’ve come up with tips for myself to stay on top of doing the things I love, especially being the creative seeker that I am.
Set a time. I’m not a big fan a planning. I’ve always been a spur-of-the-moment kind of girl. But that gets you nowhere when you have a packed schedule! You need to set aside time to do what you love. For example, I’ve taken away an hour of TV time in my nightly routing to devote to this blog/fashion/interior design. Ideally, set a time every other day in your schedule when you know your free.
Start first thing in the morning. Something my husband and I have noticed is that our mornings pretty much dictate how the rest of the day is going to go. I know some people wake up early to do school work or workout, but in my opinion, hobbies are equally as important. On your rest day, wake up, brew a cup of coffee, and cuddle up with a book. There is no reason to start your day off vegging out in front of the TV, even if it is the weekend.
Join a Group or Take a Class. This might sound crazy if you’ve been out of school for a while, or are currently enrolled in a full load semester. But I promise, there are plenty of opportunities out there that are very time-manageable. When I used to live in the city, I signed up for a contemporary dance class once a week. An hour and a half a week of doing something I loved (even though I was pretty bad!). There are a lot of disciplines that offer adult classes, or groups that meet up to share in what they love to do. Taking a class also gives you the structure you need to continue each week.
Set Goals. Just like school or a career, you always need to have goals to keep yourself motivated. For example; I’ve always loved playing piano, but never seemed to be consistent with it. One time, I was listening to the classical radio and heard an amazing Chopin song that I knew I just HAD to learn. I made a goal to learn it by the end of the month, and this kept me motivated to sit down and practice any chance I got. Goals have been known to push people forward, because lets face it; we all love the sense of accomplishment.
Record how you feel afterwards. Sometimes I forgot how much I love to paint, or sing, or write. We all get lazy. But if you know that you’re going to feel on top of the world after you finally write that blog post or learn that song – you much more likely to pick it up. TV is a good distraction, but it doesn’t make you feel like a better or different person. Hobbies do. They make you grow into yourself – who doesn’t want that?
Something me and my husband have spoken about several times is what our day is going to look like once we come home from work, and our future kids come home from school. We’ve both agreed we don’t want a home that promotes TV for the rest of the night. My husbands dream is to have his own wood working shop, where he can CREATE. I’ve always dreamed of having a window paneled room with a view of the mountains, where I can paint and write. We want our kids to have outside interests and develop their creativity through passions of their own. And the best way to make that happen is set an example.
I don’t think I’ve ever known what I wanted to do. Actually, the truth is, I’ve wanted to everything possible since I was a child. Neurosurgery, creative writing, teaching, figure skating… Yes, I did it all. I took piano lessons, dance, art school, math camp – […]
Hey guys! I’m going to be posting some links for those of you who asked me about my outfits on instagram. Just keep in mind I bought everything when it was on sale around black friday and post christmas time. My suggestion if you like something is to WAIT! Because everything goes on sale, seriously, like every other day. I check pretty often. The key is to always just keep checking if you want to save money. And I always sign up for the newsletters to get some discounts (I just use my extra email address for that). You’ll get coupon codes that sometimes can be added as an additional discount.
Time to get a little bit more real with you guys. It’s easy to write about fashion and clothes and fun vacations. What they don’t tell you however, is that with marriage comes challenges. Challenges you would have never anticipated. When me and my husband […]