For whatever reason, society still tends to focus on women when it comes to Valentine’s Day. Similar to weddings, it seems that men just need to show up on time and dress appropriately and that’s all they’re expected to do. For Valentine’s Day, that means showing up on time, and dressing appropriately, arriving with flowers and chocolates in hand, and taking us out for a nice, expensive dinner. Don’t get me wrong, that sounds like a great night! But your man is more than a caveman with a wallet – he has feelings, interests, and appreciates being spoiled too.

I recently compiled a list of creative and unique Valentine’s Day gift ideas for the ladies, which was basically my Evernote and Amazon wishlist in article form, so I wanted to do the same for the guys. Whether you’re valentine is your husband, boyfriend, brother, or male bestie, there should be a little something on here for everyone. Share this guide with your friends who are shopping for a handsome man – and let me know if said handsome man has an equally handsome and single brother or friend!

Home Brews for Your Boo


Does your man love beer? Does he love talking about hops, alcohol by volume, and what aromas he’s picking up as he sips? Do you sometimes wonder, “if I finish this cocktail faster, will I understand what he’s talking about?” Well, I can’t help you care more about beer personally, but care about your man’s interest in all things hoppy and beer-like by giving him a homebrewing kit from Craft A Brew.

Love Buzz

If your dude loves his coffee buzz, show him your love buzz for him by gifting him a minipresso, a lightweight, handheld espresso maker, to fulfill his caffeine needs from almost anywhere. As a camper, I could see this being an amazing gadget to pack for a big caffeine punch in a little device.

Shaving Gear for Dummies

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I hate getting in the shower and seeing man-hair in my razor. Boy, I didn’t buy this 4 pack of Bic pink-handled disposable razors for you! To help your detail-disoriented man always have a razor on hand without having to remember to put it on the shopping list, gift him a Harry’s shaving set and subscribe him to a Shave Plan so that razors arrive on his doorstep regularly.

Gaming Gifts

There are honestly a lot of choices here if your dude loves video games. Typically I would buy a new game for his current console that I’ve heard him talk about. But there are the classic editions of game consoles to consider – NES, Super NES, Sega Genesis, and Atari. If you want to get a newer and more versatile gaming system that can be fun for both of you, consider going big and getting him the Nintendo Switch. It’s a gaming system that I would want on my personal Valentine’s day gift list and, since I forgot to put it on there, this could be a gift where you go halfsies!

Fashionably On Time

For your dude who is ready to depend on his phone to know the time a little less, make sure he’s graduated from the tech watch with the Ninja Turtles wristband (at least just for the work week while he’s in the office) by giving him a classic, yet modern MVMT watch. I honestly saw these watches in an Instagram ad and I think they are so smart looking and they could help your man look smart too.

New Age Heart Boxers

While Valentine’s Day is synonymous with lingerie for women, don’t forget about the guys too! But I’m not talking about sexy lingerie for men, I’m talking about quality basics for underwear, socks, and undershirts. Most men I know won’t take the time to buy these staples on their own and sometimes the best gifts are quality base layers. Check Tommy John’s line of men’s underwear for him this year. Tommy John’s second skin boxer brief was featured in Men’s Health and they even have special heart boxers for the holiday!

Not Your Father’s Laptop Bag

If your guy needs to carry some gear to and from work, throw it back to his schoolyard days by gifting him a Herschel Settlement Backpack. This simple and iconic style has room from a 15” laptop to go to and from work without a bulky (and ugly) laptop messenger bag with far too many pockets, clips, buttons, and straps. It comes in over 30 colors so you can choose his favorite and even consider getting yourself one.

Book Club for the Boys

I feel like I’m starting to pick out gifts for him that I would also love to use too. Sounds like a great list to me! For your bookish boy, give him a subscription to Book of the Month Club so he can enjoy new titles all year round. The cool thing about Book of the Month Club is that you can specify what types of books you’re into and you have the ability to skip a month if you’re not interested in any of the current titles.

Skincare For Self-Care

Skincare is another term that usually brings women’s products to mind and commercials with cute celebrities like Carrie Underwood splashing water on their face. But men shouldn’t underestimate the self-care satisfaction that a good skincare routine can bring. Cult favorite Jack Black skincare is a great line to buy for your man who needs a facial refresh – it’s a line I want to try. Before getting too complicated, start with their award winning daily facial cleanser and moisturizer with SPF.

Wool Blankets & Chill

Whether for decorating his man cave or just lounging and camping, give your man a Woolrich blanket for snuggling. Woolrich blankets are soft wool blankets that are beautiful to have in your home, made of soft wool, and super warm! My personal manly pattern favorites are the buffalo plaid, Americana jacquard, and the Hudson’s Bay Capote fringe. Snuggle szn, indeed.


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For Valentine’s Day, “a gift from the heart” means different things for different people. Chocolate, roses, and a cheap bottle of wine are a great backup plan, but this year I decided to put together a unique list of gift ideas to stretch the imagination a little bit. When it comes to Valentine’s Day gift giving, don’t worry about being the cool girl. If your partner wants to do something sweet for you, help them out!

If you’re a single lady this year, don’t let all of the red hearts and happily-ever-after minutia pouring off the shelves get you down. Your valentine doesn’t have to be one specific person– you can be your own valentine! Think of treating others you love this year – your mom, best friend, work bestie, brother, your sweet grandma neighbor who watches over your house when you’re out of town – anyone who could use a little extra love in their life this season is eligible.

To help celebrate, I created a treat yo’self list for my favorite valentine – me! Share this guide with anyone you know who is shopping for a valentine of their own to make this cookie-cutter holiday truly unique and meaningful.

A Subscription for Creative Inspiration

The Rumpus is an off-the-beaten-path blog that celebrates writers. For a gift that keeps on creatively giving, give a subscription of Letters in the Mail for one year to your boo. Every 2 weeks, she’ll receive a copy of a letter from a writer to make her word-loving heart go pitter-patter and remind her to get writing. Your memoir ain’t gonna write itself, babe!

Career Advice for Weirdos Like Me

If your sweetheart is looking for some guidance in her career path but you think a life coach is a fake job that doesn’t deserve your real money, consider gifting Jennifer Romolini’s career guidebook Weird in a World That's Not: A Career Guide for Misfits, F*ckups, and Failures with that $10 bottle of chardonnay. Helping your boo find a path to career happiness with a book that explains how to be successful without being the typical type A employee will be a gift that is worth the new salary she’ll finally feel brave enough to ask for.

“Who Run the World?”

Let your girl tell the world that she’s a strong, independent woman who don’t need no man with this Strong Female Lead t-shirt from Ban.do. As a rose gold-loving millennial woman, the pink shirt with gold lettering is the clear choice. There are two other colors and a crew neck sweatshirt to choose from too.

“In the Kitchen, Wrist Twistin' Like It's Stir Fry”

While I don’t make a huge deal about Valentine’s Day, I will use any half-baked holiday as an excuse to go out to dinner. For your foodie girl, pick out her favorite restaurant and give her Alison Roman’s cookbook Dining Highly Cookable Recipes. Check out Alison’s wry Instagram and search the #dining tag to follow people cooking their way through her 125+ recipes for some extra .

Glossier You

You have probably heard of Glossier’s boy brow makeup product, the brow mascara with a cult following. I love reading Glossier’s blog Into the Gloss to learn about the latest trends and products I should try (and try to understand). However, makeup is sorta personal, so give your glam gal Glossier’s new fragrance Glossier You. The site states, “*please be advised that the formula comes incomplete; You are the first ingredient*” I *am* the first ingredient! Thank you, earth angel Emily Weiss

Customized Hair, Do Care

On the subject of beauty, I love a good product that I can order online and use at home but that still feels custom to me. For your introverted sweetheart who hates the small talk of salons like I do but still wants to feel pretty, gift her custom hair color from bespoke beauty brand eSalon. Don’t know what bespoke means? Doesn’t matter! All you need to know is eSalon’s product is a four-time winner of “Best Home Color” from Allure’s Best of Beauty awards, which is a pretty big deal.

Concert Szn

With summer tours and festival line ups being announced left and right, my concert list is looking looong and unaffordable. Treat your hip-hop fangirl to tickets to The Championship Tour from Top Dawg Entertainment. Top Dawg’s label tour will include Kendrick Lamar and SZA – two of my personal favorites. Recently, Lamar and SZA were nominated for a combined 12 Grammys, with Lamar taking home 4 of his 7 nominations and SZA being snubbed on all 5 of hers (IMHO). Let them both know they’re winners as you scream their lyrics from the crowd at one of their North American stops this summer.

Comfort Is The New Sexy

Athleisure has been having a moment for awhile and I think the same idea of comfort and style can extend to our lingerie. People usually think of all sorts of lace, straps, and very little fabric when they think of Valentine’s Day lingerie, but taking care of your boo can mean buying her lingerie that she will look awesome in and can use regularly (not saying that V-day lingerie is only intended for V-day though!). For a bra, buy your girl an ultra comfy ThirdLove 24/7 Classic T-shirt bra. For me, this bra would go on the list of “things I really want but cost a little too much money to buy for myself,” which makes it the best kind of gift to give.

For panties, a smart way to show you’re a progressive partner that cares about her all year round is by purchasing her some period-proof undies. This is another product that I’ve always wanted to try, but for some reason I find myself grabbing another box of tampons for a few bucks instead of spending a little more to invest in my comfort. Periods aren’t the sexiest topic but c’est la vie!

Flexin’ Your Love

If your girl has been sticking to her “new year, new me” healthy kick, good for her! Support her strong, beautiful body by buying her a foam roller for recovery. Bonus points if you offer to help her stretch and give her sore spots a massage. You’re welcome for making recovery sexy. I’m a big fan of Australian trainer Kayla Itsines’s at-home workout programs on her Sweat app, and would love a Sweat foam roller from her online store — in hot pink of course. There is a turquoise and grey one too for whatever color your babe prefers.

Movie Date

Sometimes it’s best not to mess with the classics and a movie date falls into that category for me. I love watching the big screen with a bucket (yes, bucket) of buttered popcorn, an ICEE drink, and whatever delicious candy I snuck in. Buy your film fanatic belle a subscription to Movie Pass, a service that allows you go to as many movies a month as you want at participating theaters. Find out what night your theater offers deals on popcorn and you really have yourself a cheap and fun date night.

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It’s time for the second installment of my favorite picks for our amazing mothers! I thought I’d get this one out a little sooner than I did last year so you truly have time to make sure you get everything you need for your mom in time for Mother’s Day (it’s May 14, for the record). So below are a few items I’ve seen that I think any mother would be lucky to have!

For the baking mom.
  • KitchenAid Mixer - Honestly, who doesn’t want one of these? If you’re even remotely into baking this is a must-have tool on your kitchen counter. My mom got one of these a few years ago and still loves it - and my sister (a momma to be) actually got two at her bridal shower. Can never have enough, amiright?

For the modern mom.
  • Amazon Echo - If your mom is always asking Siri questions, then the Echo is easily a great gift for her. The Amazon Echo is becoming a pretty common household item. Its ability to follow voice commands makes it easy for moms to curate to-do lists and reminders, check the weather, or listen to their favorite artists or NPR podcasts.

For the forgetful mom.
  • Tile Mate - I’d never heard of this product until a friend of mine posted about a parking fiasco in NYC after a night at a concert. I actually bought my mom a cheap key finder a few years ago - it was cool until it malfunctioned and the beeping never ceased. The Tile Mate can be attached to keys, luggage, slipped into your wallet, or more to ensure you never waste time searching for lost items. The Tile Mate app allows you to use your phone to find your lost item OR you can use the tile to find your phone. Pretty cool!

For the active mom.
  • Fitbit - This is a perfect gift for the mom who loves to be active. Whether it’s daily neighborhood walks, spin classes, or weightlifting - this wearable technology is perfect for any mom trying to hit a goal. Not only is this a watch, but it can track daily steps, calories burned, heart rate and even sleep patterns.

For the health and beauty mom.
  • Simply Aly Scrubs - I had this on my list last year and it’s going on here again. Besides the fact that I know the amazing young woman behind the brand, I’ve used it myself as well as gotten it as gifts for others, so I can vouch that they’re amazing products. Pamper your momma with these homemade organic scrubs, soaps, masks, and more. Use code Mom17 for 15% off!

For the new mom.
  • I found a few cute and inexpensive things on Etsy and Uncommon Goods. My sister and her husband are going to be first time parents, so I thought I’d include some gifts hubby’s or family can get for a new momma.


There you have it! Those are my top picks for Mother’s Day this year (Mom, if you’re reading this, let me know what you want). What about you? What gift ideas do you have?

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a percentage of the sale as compensation. The good news? It doesn’t cost you any extra! All opinions are my own.

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I never had a gym bag until this past year when I started going to the gym either on my lunch or right after work. I used to have the time to go home to change and what not, but that's no longer the case. I invested in a Nike bag (on sale, of course) and use it every single day. It can get a little cluttered and sometimes there are more than 20 bobby pins in there at a time, but it has the necessities nonetheless. SO - here are my favorite essentials for any gym bag!

 
  1. Gym bag - well DUH. Get one that's big enough to fit clothes, shoes, and other necessities. A draw string bag won't do.
  2. Sneakers - I've actually forgotten sneakers for the gym, so I suggest just leaving a pair in there or at least in your car.
  3. Hair Ties - I actually had to use a bracelet as a hair tie the other day - it was awful - so always be sure to keep extras!
  4. Water bottle - you'd think this was another "duh," but this is always one of the first things I pack in the morning. I can't ever get through my lifts or cardio sessions without drinking at least two full bottles of water.
  5. Protein Bars - this is probably most important for me. Because I typically go right from work, I usually need a little somethin' somethin' to get me through the workout. It's always good to keep snacks in your bag, that way if you're hungry before or are headed somewhere right after, you're covered. (Or if you're just always hungry like I am, you have a secret stash of snacks available. #winning)
  6. Lock - I personally don't trust anyone at the gym - if I'm putting more than just my coat in a locker it's getting a lock.
  7. Extra Earbuds - This is super important. I keep an extra pair in my bag even though they're kinda crappy, because it's better than nothing. Let's be honest, is there anything worse than getting to the gym only to realize you left your headphones at home?
  8. Amika Dry Shampoo - I love this stuff. I always use it when I workout on my lunch. My hair is super thin so it doesn't take much for it to look like hot garbage. I got this sample in a Birchbox forever ago and I continue to buy the full size. I HIGHLY suggest this brand!
  9. Dri-fit Socks - Another given, right? Think again, my friend. At one point I had six pairs of socks in my bag because I was putting an extra pair in every time I packed my bag. I forget them way too often - and - the other day I only brought one sock. Yes, ONE sock. Pro tip: always keep extras, though six might be excessive, you'll be prepared.
  10. Chapstick - Maybe this is just me and my addiction to lip balms... but I know I can't start my workout without putting chapstick on. With the sweating and constant drinking of water, my lips end up chapped mid-workout and I feel like Napoleon is my spirit animal.
  11. Burt's Bees Towelettes - I swear by these! They're perfect for freshening up after a workout if you're headed back to the office or running errands after.

There you have it! My favorite gym bag essentials. I can't get through a workout without the things in my bag. A protein bar to keep me energized so I don't get fatigued, a water bottle so I stay hydrated, and my headphones so I can follow along with my Aaptiv workouts. I love to switch up my workouts and confuse my muscles, so I've recently tried out Aaptiv, a fitness app, that combines music with the guidance of a trainer - this way I can follow a routine while jamming out to some good music. Each day I can try something new while challenging myself!



What are your favorites in your bag that you swear by? Let me know, I'd love to hear about them!

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Why has no one photoshopped laser beams coming out of their eyes? Anyway, I know it’s October, but last night was terrifying and Halloween isn’t for another few weeks. Last night was the second debate between Hillary and Trump, and honestly my favorite part of the debates is checking the hilarious posts across social media. People are quick to make jokes, memes, and gifs because honestly, these two just make it so easy. Though it’s unfortunate that it’s so easy to poke fun at the candidates - and debates really shouldn’t be this crazy - these posts really lighten the mood. So, here are my 10 favorite tweets of Hillary and Trump singing a beautiful duet.

https://twitter.com/rarekeith/status/785299350503075840

https://twitter.com/pattymo/status/785325150682120192

https://twitter.com/JeffMcDev/status/785300617749114880

https://twitter.com/sacketology/status/785299408128729088

https://twitter.com/CraigSJ/status/785305365424504832

https://twitter.com/ryanpapp_93/status/785314097386651648

https://twitter.com/soIoucity/status/785309781120520192

https://twitter.com/BobbyBigWheel/status/785323442463735808

https://twitter.com/mrmarkmillar/status/785399727751852032

https://twitter.com/nicshields/status/785310075896279040

 

So, what songs would you have them singing?

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Don’t worry y’all - I’m still here! In the past month I went to California and had an amazing time, broke my leg playing basketball, and watched 3 seasons of The OC. Pretty productive month I’d say. But I’m here to share with you one of my favorite summer recipes! If you know me at all, you’d know that I love sweets. It’s my ultimate downfall in life and I blame my dad’s genes for it. I don’t discriminate against sweets or desserts, I love them all, but I’ve definitely got some favorites. S’mores are on that favorites list, for sure. It’s summertime which means bonfire season! Who doesn’t love a well made s’more? As much I love getting Reese’s Cups and substituting it for the Hershey’s, you really can’t beat the original. But what do you think about a s’more without the bonfire smoke?   S’mores bars have been a favorite treat of mine to make for the last few years, my old coworkers can vouch for that. They’re incredibly easy to make and always a crowd favorite. In fact, this batch I made last week was demolished by a group of teenagers within minutes.  

Ingredients:

  • 7 cups Golden Grahams cereal
  • 6 cups mini marshmallows, divided
  • Hershey’s Bar
  • 3 tbs butter
  • Pinch of salt
  Directions:
  1. Spray 9” x  13” pan with cooking spray. Pour 7 cups of cereal into bowl and set aside. Break Hershey’s bar into pips and set aside.
  2. Melt butter and salt in pot over medium heat. Once melted, add 5 cups mini marshmallows and stir until melted.
  3. Remove pot from heat and pour marshmallow mixture over cereal and mix thoroughly. Add one cup (or more!) of mini marshmallows and stir.
  4. Working quickly, pour the mixture into the pan and press down. Press Hershey pips onto the top of the bars. (Pro tip: add chocolate chunks into mixture with marshmallows in step 3.)
  5. Let sit for several hours or put in refrigerator for one hour before serving.
  BOOM. They're done. And they're delicious. Try these for your next party or even just to emotionally eat your feelings while you watch Netflix on a rainy Saturday. Let me know how they turn out!

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There are a lot of things I wish you knew about grief. I mean, there are a lot of things I wish I knew about grief. It’s still pretty new to me, I lost my dad in October. When my dad was diagnosed with a stage four cancer his prognosis was not good; 12-15 months. After those months went by, he spent six weeks in the hospital and then in hospice care. We knew it was coming - but that certainly didn’t make it any easier.

Grief is not one size fits all. Everyone processes the pain and other associated feelings much differently. You can’t possibly know the pain unless you’ve gone through it, and even then, it varies for each person. There is no “right thing” to say when someone loses a parent, sibling, or a loved one. Things are said and condolences are given but while well-intentioned, cause more hurt than relief. There are no handbooks or guidelines, but there are words of advice from grieving people like me. After reading this, I hope you may be better able to understand what this type of loss feels like and at the very least know something you can say to truly make a difference.

Everything happens for a reason. I’ll start off with this one; don’t say it. I don’t want to hear it. Please don’t tell me I lost my dad because everything happens for a reason. I wish I could explain how much that simple phrase feels like a punch to the gut. Essentially you are telling me that there’s a reason my dad will not walk me down the aisle on my wedding day. That there is a reason my future nieces and nephews will never know the most amazing man ever and call him grandpa. That there is a reason the woman who loved him will not spend the rest of her life alongside him. Please do not tell me that there is a reason my family has to spend each holiday, birthday, and everyday without our dad. Please, for the love of God, do not tell me everything happens for a reason. Instead try saying “I know it’s hard to understand why these things happen, but I’m going to be here for you.”

It could be worse. Okay, realistically, could it? Probably. But right now, in this very moment, I am going through the worst thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. The pain is very raw and exceedingly real. I’m learning to adapt to life without a person I talked to every day. If you’ve never gone through it, then you really don’t know how much worse it could be; and until you do, there’s nothing worse. I can promise you that. Saying that it could be worse is basically telling me that I should feel guilty for feeling sad that I lost someone I loved. Maybe saying“I can’t imagine how you feel,” might be a better option.

How are you? Sounds harmless. But within the first month I honestly A.) don’t know the answer to that question and B.) am probably not going to tell you my innermost feelings. Instead you’ll hear me say “I’m hanging in there” or something to that effect. “How are you?” seems sweet, compassionate, and genuine. But be honest with yourself: do you really want me to answer that? Do you really want me to say “I’m doing awful. I cry every night, I block out emotions, and I don’t think I’ll ever be okay.” I tried that once and the person stared blankly back at me, obviously not expecting that answer. Instead, try “I hope you’re hanging in there.”

If there’s anything I can do to help, just call me. This is one I struggle with A LOT. Mostly because I’ve said it to my friends going through difficult situations. I’ll be honest, if you say that to me, chances of me calling you are slim to none. Not because I don’t want your help, but because I don’t want to burden you. I can’t think of many things more awkward than calling someone up and saying “Hey remember that time a month ago? I need that favor” Instead of saying that; just do something. The day I lost my dad, my best friend brought over tons of amazing food from our favorite BBQ joint in town. We were starving, fatigued, and had no more tears left to cry. I’m pretty sure pulled pork saved me that day. In the days and weeks that followed, neighbors continued to drop off meals, friends sent gift cards and care baskets, took our dog out for us, etc. Those are the things you can do; the things that might end up on the back burner as we’re coping. My dad always taught me never to judge someone by what they say but rather than by what they do. So when in doubt always act - those acts of kindness are what I remember and cherish most about friends who stepped up in times of need.

What people going through grief want you to understand is that the gravity of what we are feeling is something far more than what we can explain. Anything can set off an “episode” of grief. Songs, smells, foods - literally anything. We might be mid-conversation and all of the sudden I will become overwhelmed with a wave of grief. This will happen most likely for the rest of my life. They say “it gets easier,” but it doesn’t. It never gets easier; it just changes. You learn to hold back the tears, you learn not to wince when that song they always sang in the car with you comes on, you learn to smile through it. It doesn’t get easier, it gets different. My dad always said “time flies whether you’re having fun or not,” so as time passes and life moves on, the pain remains the same. Life marches on whether we are ready or not.

For me, I constantly feel numb; an everlasting feeling of nothingness. No highs or lows, just nothing. So please do not be offended if I don’t laugh at your jokes or don’t respond to something you said. Sometimes I don’t have the energy or I quite frankly have nothing to say in return. It gets to be exhausting pretending that everything is okay.

This is important. Please do not feel bad about talking about your parents or loved ones in front of someone who’s grieving. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a conversation with someone and they’re mid-sentence saying “Yeah my da- oh...I’m sorry,” and they quickly change subject. Please don’t do that. Don’t feel guilty because you have a dad and I don’t. In fact, it kind of makes my day when people tell me cool stories about their dad because that allows me to also tell cool stories about mine. It’s always helpful. My dad was amazing. He was loving, funny, sarcastic, and could start a conversation with absolutely anyone. I love to tell those stories because it’s a small way for me to keep the spirit of my dad alive.

Grief is complex. It is so much more than I am able to express through words on a page. It’s like an endless roller coaster that no one has ever gotten off of, so no one can tell you how it ends. I’d give anything to call my dad and hear his voice one last time or give him one last hug. I can’t do either of those things but I can urge anyone reading this to hug their parents, loved ones, and anyone you care about - because one day, you’ll no longer be able to. One day you’ll experience this pain and wish people around you could understand it.

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Mother's Day is so soon and if we're being honest, you probably haven't gotten anything for your mom yet. It's alright, no one is judging you - except for your momma. I don't know about you, but I think my mom is just the most wonderful person in the world and I love to spoil her when I can. Here are a few ideas to help you get the ball rolling from now until this Sunday - may the odds be ever in your favor!

Birchbox
I love this company and the products that come in the boxes each month. Friends of my mom got her a subscraption for a year and she loved it (I even reaped the benefits, so you might too). It’s a fun way to try new products and you’re likely to find your new go-to beauty item!

 

- What I Love About Mom Book
My sister actually did this for my mom last year and it was adorable. It’s a cute and fun way to show your mom how much you appreciate her.

- Simply Aly
This is a GREAT gift for your mom, aunt, grandma, or any other special lady in your life! Simply Aly products are handcrafted soaps, lotions, balms and more - made with all-natural ingredients! Wrinkle reducer, cellulite scrubs, sugar scrubs, and the most amazing miracle balm that fixes anything are among the great products from Simply Aly. Use code LOVEMOM for 25% off!



 

- Flowers
This is a given - but who doesn’t love flowers? Pro tip: ask your mom months ahead of time what her favorite flowers are so that you can totally nail it on Mother’s Day - she’ll forget you asked and think you’re just the best child ever.

- DIY project
I know I love being crafty, and thanks to Pinterest, anything is possible. One year I made my mom a shadow box using Scrabble letters to spell out the names of the kids - I was inspired by this pin on Pinterest. My mom loves Scrabble, so I knew this would be the perfect gift for her. Just remember,even if whatever you make turns out awful, it’s alright because you tried. It’s the thought that counts right?



 

- Getting her something she won’t spend her own money on
I think this one is important. If your mom is anything like my mom, she probably doesn’t splurge on things for herself too often. Has she been eyeing a jacket all season? Running low on her favorite but expensive makeup product? In desperate need of a spa day? You’ll make her day all while knowing you got her something she truly wanted.

- Doing things she loves
Some moms just aren’t into getting gifts, but would rather do something they enjoy with their children. If she’s been wanting to see a play, a movie, check out some new shops downtown, go on a hike, try a spin class, or anything else; remember that the day is all about her!

 

What are you getting your mom this Mother’s Day? (Sorry mom, no spoilers here!) Make sure to check back on the blog later this week - I’ll be posting the article that inspired me to start this blog in the first place. It’s a post about grief and what I wish people knew about the process - I’m hoping it will help people who haven’t gone through it have a better understanding what it’s like.

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If you were ever a student-athlete, you know it changed your life forever. No matter how many years it’s been there are still some things you hold onto from your glory days. This is for all my fellow female athletes - if you can relate to any of these, you know you played a sport in college.
  1. You own way too many T-shirts
    You likely have at least one drawer of your dresser solely dedicated to t-shirts. Between your team gear and tournament shirts - you’ve probably collected enough to clothe a small country. But you can’t bring yourself to get rid of them, even if they have a hole in the armpit and the words are fading, you just aren’t ready to give them up.

  1. You wear pre-wrap as a headband
    And you probably have this in every color imaginable (and are able to match it to all of the t-shirts you own). It’s honestly the best. People are always asking “isn’t that stuff you wrap your ankles with?” SO WHAT IF IT IS? Can I live?

  1. You still dress like an athlete
    People are always asking me “Oh did you just come from the gym?” when they see my outfit. Leggings, sneakers, tank top or a hoodie ...nope I just came from home… “Oh are you going to work out after?” Nope, this is just what I wear...every day…

  1. You play in any recreational league you can get into
    Sometimes you get your butt kicked in the old-ladies basketball league but it doesn’t matter because you’re out there doing something that you love. You might even step outside of your comfort zone and try a different sport - you just crave competition and will do whatever you can do to prevent yourself from becoming a NARP.

  1. You’re committed to a brand
    Whether it’s Nike, Under Armour, Jordan or another brand; you’re in a committed relationship with that clothing company and you’re decked out head to toe. Usually it’s the brand your school is sponsored by - and I’m sorry if it’s Adidas, I’m really really sorry. One time I wore adidas socks to practice and my point guard made sure to call me out for it - I threw them out.

  1. You still love talking about your past games
    Whether it was a certain season or a game -  no matter how many years it’s been since it happened - you can’t help but talk about it. You’ll remember specific shots, bad calls, fights, and plays; you’ll tell those stories over and over again. You don’t want people to forget that you were once a star and weren’t always out of shape. “Carly, are you out of breath from walking up the stairs? You played basketball.” “I know Karen, I know.”

  1. Reunions mean reminiscing
    Getting back together with old teammates means remembering the good times that happened outside of practice and games. The times you hit the bars as a team, showed up to a volunteer event hungover (cough...Alyssa...cough), or showed a recruit how unexciting college can be by playing board games with her. When you get together, you’ll probably find yourself causing a scene at a nice restaurant because you’re cackling so hard that everyone has directed their attention toward your table. It’s alright - embrace it.

  1. You wear Nike Pros all the time
    It’s not at all weird at all to you that you wear Nike Pro spandex under dresses or skirts. In fact, it’s weird that other people don’t. You know that you can walk up to any old teammate at a party and flash your spandex from under your dress and they can do the same. If you’re not already doing this, take my word - do it.

  1. You'll never forget your warm-up playlist
    There’s always those songs that bring you back to your pre-game warm-up when you’re running out onto the court or field. You're not ashamed to admit that you love X Gonna Give It To Ya because it puts you right back into that locker room during the hype session. And let’s be honest - we all loved Remember The Name at some points in our lives. 10% luck, 20% skill…

  1. You’d give anything to go back
    Playing a sport was the best thing you did in college. I know for me it was actually the only good thing about college. You’d give anything to feel a part of a team again. You’d even suffer through 6am practices, two-a-days, strength and conditioning programs, and being screamed at by your coach - it would all be worth it.

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It’s late-April and it finally feels like spring! It seems like just the other week it was snowing...oh, no wait, it was. Classic Syracuse. Spring here is a constant tease; one day it’s in the high 70s and you’re ready to blind the world with your untanned legs, but the next day is cloudy with a chance of snow, rain, or baseball-sized hail. But it’s almost May (my birthday month) and there are a few things I can’t get through this season without.

Sperry’s

I am honestly fashion-illiterate so I’m warning you to not trust most things I say when it comes to style - but I think this one is a given. Who doesn’t love these? Boat shoes have evolved over the years and now they come in every color imaginable, so you really can’t go wrong (or maybe you can, I don't know).

Mondetta Jackets

Since spring showers bring May flowers, you’ll need to invest in a good rain jacket. I know I just told you not to listen to me when it comes to this stuff - but I’ve inspired a few others to buy these jackets so I’m chalking this one up as a win. Mondetta is a private label and their clothes are ridiculously expensive on their website. BUT have no fear - your stingy friend is here - hit up the activewear section at Marshalls or TJ Maxx and you’ll be sure to find these gems.

 

 

Revamped Playlist

Spring means it’s finally time to roll the windows down and drive with your music cranked. Nothing kills your vibe quite like listening to the radio and hearing Billy Fucillo’s horrible voice during a commercial break. Liven up those playlists on your phone so you can scream-sing with your friends in the car. Lately I’m digging recent albums by Lukas Graham, Justin Bieber, and Chris Stapleton.



 

Poshmark

This time of year means spring cleaning. Clean out your closet by getting rid of clothes you hardly wear, or don’t wear at all, and sell them on Poshmark! I’ve made an easy $400 in the last few months getting rid of shoes and clothes that are in good condition. Not to mention you can use your profit and find adorable stuff on there that’s like new or new with tags.

 

What are some things you’re loving this spring?

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