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5 Simple & Sincere Sweetest Day Gifts Under $35

10.19.12

Forgot about Sweetest Day, ahem, tomorrow? No need to panic. Here are five super sweet gifts for your sweetie that all ring in under $35 and can easily be found in your local stores.

1. Put it in Words. Nothing says “I love you” like a heartfelt, handwritten, love letter. Leave one on the mirror for your sweetheart to find first thing in the morning. (If you’re leaving it for your man, bonus points if it’s in lipstick and sealed with a kiss.) Or hide love notes in throughout their daily routine — in their sock drawer, on the fridge, in the laundry basket, under their keyboard, on their dashboard, etc.

2. Skip the Flowers. Flowers fade fast. To show your love will continue to grow, choose a showy plant instead with blooms that last. Orchids and begonias are great picks that can often be found in your local grocery store. Tie a ribbon around it, and you’re set.

3. Make A Mix CD. Tell your love story through a series of tunes or share your new favorite tracks that make you think of them. Score bonus points by putting it on as dance music after a romantic dinner.

4. Give them Bubbly. Both sexy and sweet, bubble bath — Lollia makes a great one — shows you want to take care and soothe them as much as you want to, well, you know. Throw in some champagne to really set the mood.

5. Blow them Away. Wow them with a room filled with balloons. To take it over the top, tie a reason why you love them onto every balloon.

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The Best of Travel Gear

9.27.12

During my years of extensive travel, I’ve gone through my fair share of travel gadgets and gizmos all promising to make life easier and rarely — if ever — delivering. But while in Croatia, I realized how truly thankful I am for the few I’ve whittled down to using. All of the travel gear on this list does indeed make life on the road far easier and more enjoyable. Now all I need to find is a good travel blanket and laundry bag. Any suggestions?

1. The Brag. If lumpy bras aren’t your style, this clever packing case is for you. Hard and durable, it keeps your bras from getting crumpled. And the best part? You can fit multiple bras in each case. Just be warned, unless they’ve changed it since I got mine, the seems on the inside will indent the top bra. My solution? Put a sock on top of each cup.

2. Bose Headphones. Given that I’m a devotee of earplanes — number 3 — the standard earbuds won’t fit. After all, your ears only have so much space. That’s why I love my Bose headphones. They fit over my earplanes, allowing me to sit back and enjoy audiobook after audiobook. If you’re a fan of a noise-free ride, you may want to splurge on the noise-canceling headphones.

3. Earplanes. Screw gum. If you hate the feeling of having your ears pop you will love — and I do mean love — these. I never fly without them. Just know, if your ears feel sore after using them, you’re probably like me and need the kids size.

4. Aspinal of London Passport Cover. Chic enough to keep me from feeling like a slouch when in the airport security line and bright enough to easily find in my bag. Plus, it’s gold. So how could I not love it?

5. Mini-Mate Air Purifier. Worried about getting sick or breathing in all the toxic fumes on the plane? This is for you. Slip it over your head, turn it on and you’ll be breathing fresh, clean air while flying the friendly skies. Whether it truly keeps you free from illness is debatable. But I can tell you since using it I’ve never gotten sick while traveling; whereas, Brent — who doesn’t wear one — always does. But not this time. I wasn’t taking any chances this trip and got him one.

6. Jiffy Travel Steamer. While other travel steamers have the looks and fun settings, this one has the power. It successful removed all the wrinkles from my wedding dress. Plus, it uses tap water — not distilled — and comes with power adapters for foreign countries. Talk about awesome.

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Post-Vacation Slump

9.26.12
source: unknown

Surrounded by a bunch of half-unpacked boxes and luggage, I can’t help feeling the above. So today I leave you with a laugh to help get you through the rest of the week. Enjoy!

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The Talented Dave Getzschman

9.10.12

To say Dave Getzschman is a talented photographer is like saying Motzart is a good composer. A drastic understatement. Maybe even a petty crime.

But I don’t need to tell you that. Nor do you need to hear he’s been named one of the top 10and top 5 — wedding photographers in the world. All you need to do is look at his photos, and you’ll immediately know he’s good. Really good. The type of good that leaves your jaw cemented to the floor.

At least, that’s where mine was the first time I flipped through his portfolio.

I’d been looking through photographer after photographer for 8 hours straight, and my eyes had glazed over out of sheer boredom. I’d seen ring shots and bouquet shots. Table setting shots and invitation shots. Kissing shots and lineup shots. What I hadn’t seen was a wow-me shot.

See more of Dave’s jaw-dropping photos »

Learning a Foreign Language Easily

8.30.12

If you were like me, high school language class — Spanish in my case — felt like trying to stuff a dictionary into a watermelon. Completely unnatural and practically impossible. In fact, the entire process should be written off as totally inefficient. To absorb all those words and conjugations took intense, repetitive, strenuous memorization, and then, within 6 months, it all evaporated from your brain. Despite having continued my Spanish all through college, the best I can still muster is the very first thing I learned, “Necesito ir al bano.” I need to go to the bathroom.

But learning a new language shouldn’t be that hard. When we’re kids, we don’t require flash cards or repeat-after-me drills to speak fluently. We just do it. The process comes naturally through listening and observing. Yet, when we’re asked to do the exact same thing just a decade later, instead of fluid prose, stilted phrases tumble from our lips.

Why? Turns out it may all stem from the way we’re taught.

See the best way to learn a foreign language »

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