Valentines Day Gift Guide for Her, Him, and Couples!

Let’s be real—we all know the traditional standby of flowers and chocolates for all romantic occasions.  Don’t get me wrong, they are cliches for a reason—because they are a little bit of luxury that make a girl feel special.  But if you want to go beyond the traditional and get your significant other something that they will remember for years to come, these are some items that will probably get you those brownie points.

5 Gift Ideas for Her

Bath Bombs 

For the girl you haven’t been dating for very long, or the woman who loves her bath time more than you could ever understand.  Bath bombs come in all shapes, all sizes, and all scents.  Benefits can include moisturizing shea and coco butter.  Their fizzing and aromas are often calming and add to the bath experience.  This is not a gift like soap that your loved one might take the wrong way.  This a luxurious item that encourages your girl to take some time for herself.

Throw Blanket 

What girl doesn’t love a super soft throw blanket to cozy up under?  I remember being eleven or twelve when I asked for my first throw blanket for Christmas.  This is a great gift for any woman in your life.  New girlfriend, daughter, friend, or wife.  Every woman deserves a fresh new cozy item in her life.

Instant Film Camera 

This Fujimax Instax Mini is ideal for the millennial women in your life.  Give them the gift of instant gratification, artistic expression, and another creative method to document the moment.  This is a gift that keeps on giving, and they will love it.

Kate Spade Wristlet Clutch 

Here’s the thing about purses.  Every woman deserves to be unexpectedly gifted with a really nice handbag or clutch at least once in her life.  This cute wristlet clutch will be perfect for nice nights out, to restaurants, plays, or even concerts.  You might need some advice from the sales people or one of her best friends if the idea of this one scares you a little.  Kate Spade, Coach, and Michael Kors are all great options for quality products.

Michael Kors Rose Gold Smart Watch 

For those of you looking to spend a little more money to bring your significant other’s fashion into the twenty-first century.  Even if she already has a smart watch, this is a serious upgrade, and one she will be very surprised and excited about.  

5 Gift Ideas for Him

Wireless Charger 

This is a seriously excellent gift for your guy, and is especially good for new relationships.  It won’t break the bank, doesn’t send a weird subliminal message, and is just a fun and useful gadget they will be really excited about.  Make their life a little easier this Valentines Day and give them the gift of cordless charging.

Pour Over Coffee Station 

For your guy who loves to be a little more sophisticated than Mr. Coffee.  If your man ogles french presses in his free time or has previously discussed different methods of roasting coffee beans with you, this might be the perfect gift for him!  

White Noise Sound Machine 

Does your man need to have a fan on while he sleeps, or play brown noises from Spotify to your Echo Dot all night (like mine does)?  Give him the gift of restful sleep this Valentines Day with a white noise sound machine.  The one linked above doesn’t break the bank, has fan sounds, white and brown noises, and boasts a sleep timer.  I’d call this one a win in my book.  

Man Crate 

Have you heard of these?  They. Are. So. Cool.  For virtually any price range, and virtually any guy, you can give him one of the most manly gifts he has ever received in his life.  From exotic meats and bacon, to Sriratcha and whiskey, you can take your pick and have it delivered in a literal crate that he will need to use a hammer and crowbar to open.  Need I say more?

MVMT Watch 

A classy gift for a classy guy.  MVMT watches are affordable, stylish, and something your man will brag about for years to come.  Make this Valentines Day one to remember by getting him this minimalist modern analog piece to step up any outfit.  Bonus: it is durable and water resistant.

4 Gifts for Both of You

ENO DoubleNest Two-Person Hammock

For the adventurers in your life, this gift will not disappoint.  Great for the camping, backpacking, mountain climbing lovers, this two-person hammock will be an exciting gift for both of you that will encourage more outdoor exploring and cuddling.

500+ Thread Count Sheets 

Luxury is sleeping on nice sheets every night.  Give yourselves the gift of comfort and a great night of sleep this Valentines Day by splurging on a new set of sheets.  Can you remember the last time your bed set got a refresh?  I’d say it’s probably about that time.

Monthly Wine Subscription

Let’s be real, there are all kinds of wine of the month clubs.  If you and your significant other are wine aficionados, this might just be a splurge you should take this year.  Here is a list by “My Subscription Addiction” for their recommended and favorite wine subscription boxes of 2018.

Couples Massage

Treat yourself!  Professional massages are not a thing that we all get regularly, even though we probably should.  Give yourselves the gift of relaxation this Valentines Day and book a couples massage somewhere in town.  Be prepared to be oily and relaxed, so you may not want to schedule a fancy dinner right afterwards.

More than anything this Valentines Day, we hope that you get to spend time with the ones that you love.  From us to you, we hope that you feel loved and cherished this day.

Do you have any gift ideas we didn’t mention?  Leave them in the comments below!  If you enjoyed this post, please give it a like and don’t forget to join the family and subscribe if you haven’t already.

Until next time,
Jamie out

5 Christmas Gifts I am Loving

My family is great at giving gifts, but my husband is like no one I have ever met before.  Not just for me, but for many other people, he is very intuitive and can instinctively pick out things that they will enjoy, just by knowing them.  Needless to say, many of the items on my list were gifted to me by Will.  

Recommendation: if you don’t know what to give someone as a gift, or you don’t know how to let people know what you want, make a public Amazon wishlist and share it with everyone.  You can also encourage others to share their wishlist with you.  I have my wishlist set up so that if someone buys me something off my list, it won’t spoil the surprise and it leaves the item on the list for a few weeks once purchased.  

All of the items on my list of Christmas gifts I have been loving have been well used and well loved almost every day since they were received.  I’ve linked each one to Amazon in case you are interested!

LapGear Designer Lap Desk

This first gift was a very intuitive gift from Will that I hadn’t thought to ask for.  I had a lap desk from childhood that I used all of the time.  I mean ALL of the time.  I left it in our storage unit while we were in Arizona and, as I am sure many of you can guess, it was lost when our unit flooded.  I was not expecting Will to get me one for Christmas, but he went beyond that and got one for each of us!  Not only has it been incredible for use while blogging and editing photos for photography, but it has also been very beneficial during game nights and the occasional meal on the couch in our bonus room.

He got two of the beige quatrefoil desks, linked above.

Giantex Bedroom Wooden Full Length Mirror

This mirror was on my Amazon wishlist for a while.  I got hooked after seeing similar mirrors at the Christmas Tree Shop and on Instagram influencer pages.  I was surprised and blessed to find two of them under the tree this year and get to have one in my room and one in our guest room!  

After returning from Arizona and losing my cheapo full length mirror in our storage unit fiasco, it has been lovely to finally see my full outfits again.  Our girl Blue also enjoys building a relationship with the puppy in the mirror.  haha.

Spring Form Pan 

My mom came in with the win and got me a spring form pan!  It was an awesome surprise, especially because Will and I were able to buy a food processor on Black Friday back in November so that I can make cheesecake.  I have already tried them both and made a super delicious chocolate swirl cheesecake that was to die for, even after we accidentally dropped it (crust side down) in the yard.

Land’ End Hooded Squall Winter Jacket 

God bless the Lands’ End squall.  It is wind proof, waterproof, hooded and fleece lined.  I have put this coat to good use, through photoshoots and cold winter days, it has yet to let me down.  I took photos of a house in a downpour recently and was completely dry and warm afterwards.  Another time I took photos of a house in freezing temperatures and felt nothing but cold hands because I neglected to wear gloves.  It is legit, cozy, and absolutely what every adventurer needs on their list.  Bonus: Lands’ End has great sales and coupons so you don’t have to pay full price.  Like ever.

Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle Cooperative Deck Building Card Game 

Last but certainly not least was an awesome gift from my sister and brother-in-law.  Will and I had many date nights involving this game and recently beat the seventh game.  However, with four players we have yet to get past game two, so we are enjoying the strategy and variables.

It is a deck building card game that includes seven games (just like the seven books/years).  There are four heroes (Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville) that must defeat the villains who are trying to gain control of different locations.  Each game gets more difficult with different obstacles and abilities being added in each deck.

Next up, I think I may look into getting the expansion, which adds another hero and some other cards and items.  Who knew I would love a deck building game?  All it took was a Harry Potter theme, I guess.   

Have you and your loved ones started using Amazon wishlists yet?  It seriously makes gift giving so much easier.  Whenever I think of something I need or want during the year, I add it to my list!  #LifeHack

Let me know your favorite Christmas gifts you have been loving down in the comments.  If you enjoyed this post, please give it a like and don’t forget to join the family and subscribe if you haven’t already.

Until next time,
Jamie out

My Word for 2019

Do you ever give your self a word, or a mission, or a phrase to cling onto?  Something that makes decisions easier and priorities clearer.  Will and I started prioritizing early on in our relationship.  Underneath God and our relationship, we put family.  This helps us make so many important (and maybe seemingly insignificant) decisions clearer and easier.  

I have never chosen a word for a year before now.  Sure, I have set new years resolutions that I rarely, if ever, keep, but this year I am approaching things differently.  I have set personal and professional goals, as well as giving myself a word to focus on.  To be my driving force for learning and growing in 2019.

My word is Simplify.

Much in the way that people say “don’t put yourself in debt during the holidays to show people how generous you are, or how much you love them,” my approach to Simplifying is very similar.  I view Simplifying as a way to gain freedom.  Freedom from overcommitting.  Freedom from clutter.  Freedom from being overwhelmed.  Freedom from feeling obligated.  It is a means to prioritize, and that prioritizing begins with practical steps, that turn into habits, that change the way you look at things, so that the things you look at change.

Some practical steps I have already taken include deleting unused and unwanted apps from my phone and turning off notifications for basically everything.  I already feel this freedom.  There is much less pressure—much less anxiety—much less obligation when I look at my phone. 

Other practical steps include cleaning out the fridge every time I go grocery shopping.  Making the bed every day.  Throwing out expired medications.  Keeping lists on my phone for easy access at grocery stores.  Reducing the trips I make to stores so that I have more time for my family and other priorities.  Making a master spreadsheet for my photography business to simplify keeping track of everything for myself and my taxes.  Getting rid of clothing that has holes, that I never wear, and that doesn’t bring me joy.  

Etc.

I am so excited to dive into Simplifying my life this year and to experience the freedom it brings.  Does anyone have any suggestions for me?  For ways that I can Simplify in 2019?

Do you have a word for 2019?  Leave it for me in the comments!  If you enjoyed this post, please give it a like and don’t forget to join the family and subscribe if you haven’t already.

Until next time,
Jamie out

10 Creative Winter Date Ideas

I have a confession to make.  I LOVE going on dates with my husband.  When we have one planned, I literally look forward to it all week.  I think about what I’m going to wear and what we might do, but mostly I’m just excited to spend that quality time with my best friend.

Anyone else’s love language quality time?  Getting to spend time together just the two of us is worth so much more to me than any other display of affection.  

Will is really great at planning dates.  He usually doesn’t even tell me what we’re doing.  He gives me as little information as possible and then surprises me as we go along.  It’s fantastic.  

You would think that because we love hiking and exploring that winter might be a little bit of a downer for us.  But really, we just get to enjoy a whole different realm of the dating world.  So without further ado, here are our top 10 winter date ideas.

Take a cooking class together

Or if you don’t want to go to a class, you could find a recipe you want to try and then make it together in your kitchen.  But if you cook all the time in your own kitchen and you want to be inspired by someone else’s genius, Google the most recommended cooking classes in your area and sign up!  

This is such a unique date idea that you will definitely make some memories.  Instead of all the dinner and a movie dates that begin to blend together, this one will stand out among the rest.  So take a chance and get cooking!

Have a game night with a prize for the winner

You could even turn this into a double date, winner take all!  Will and I registered for some games when we were getting married, and I also got a really good one for Christmas.  Our favorite game lately has been a Harry Potter deck building card game that has consumed our most recent date nights.  You don’t have to know much of anything about Harry Potter to enjoy the strategy of the game, but if you do it will make it that much more fun.  

Other favorites for game nights include Catan, Sequence, and Nertz.

Go to a hockey game

We have a local hockey team here in Fayetteville.  I also went to university in Canada and went to the rec hockey games almost every week.  It was a blast.  

Get bundled up for the ice rink for your hockey date and prepare to eat classic sporting event cuisine like nachos and hot-dogs.  Try to snap a photo with the mascot and catch a free t-shirt that you know they will be launching into the stands.   

Go on a winter hike

Why should a little cold weather stop you from exploring the great outdoors?  Put on your good hiking boots and find a trail you’ve been dying to try.  Ask around with locals to find the perfect wintery spot and set out in your adventuremobile for some great exploring together.  Winter doesn’t have to be enjoyed solely from your very cozy couch.  

Go to a local museum neither of you have been to before

I’ll be honest, this one is high on my list.  Is there a mansion-turned-museum where you live?  Those are my favorite.  What about a cool transportation museum that really tells the story of where you live?  Or how about an art museum with a cool new exhibit?  Try something new—maybe an interest you haven’t explored together yet—and get to know each other a little more as you spend some time with culture.

Go to a trivia night

This is super fun, whether you know the answers or not!  Will and I recently went to a Christmas movie trivia night with my sister and brother-in-law and had a blast!  I only knew like two of the answers and my family carried us all the way to second or third place, but we still had so much fun.  We ate tasty appetizers and tried different drinks, and all just had a really good time together.  

Take a look on Facebook events or ask some local restaurants if they know of any trivia nights around you.  The host at our trivia night knew a slew of others around town we could try out in the future.

Catch a play

I grew up going to a lot of plays with my mom and sister.  I think it is something that I look a little for granted, to be honest.  Now that I am an adult I hardly ever get to go to plays and shows.  I took my sister on a sister date once to see Avenue Q when it was in town and it was every bit as hilarious and inappropriate as I thought it would be.

Even if plays aren’t necessarily your thing, give it a try to do something a little different.  It will definitely create a more lasting memory for you two!

Try indoor rock climbing

I’ll be honest, this one intimidates me because I often feel out of shape, and I also have bad wrists.  However, if you are fit and adventurous and down for trying something new and different, this is a fantastic winter option!  First of all, it’s indoors.  Secondly, it is active.  Thirdly, it is DIFFERENT!  And if you can’t tell by now, I’m a sucker for different date ideas because I’m all about lasting memories and trying creative things that are out of the norm.

See a movie at the fanciest theatre in town

Okay, so I know this may sound normal and routine to you, but trust me.  Especially if you can somehow pull off the surprise date.  Does your significant other really want to see a specific movie that’s out?  Do they know that a small theatre downtown recently renovated and upgraded to heated reclining seats in all of the auditoriums?  Do they enjoy a little wine with their movie?  Pull out all the stops—don’t make this just any other dinner and a movie date.  Make this a reclining seat and wine movie date with Jason Momoa in Aquaman.

(Disclaimer: Will, I don’t actually want to see Aquaman so don’t take me to that one.  Haha.)

All right, friend, my job of inspiring you is over!  Now it’s your turn to plan and execute!  Good luck and happy dating!

Until next time,
Jamie out.