10 Cool Gifts for Him that I Love

Christmas is back!! It is approaching so fast and I have been so busy.

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Finding the perfect gift for your “him” can be a task sometimes. While shopping for the men in my life, I am trying not to purchase something that they would buy for themselves or anything that is boring. I also have a budget because when I don’t, I do way too much! I found a few ideas that can work for any man on your list. Some are personalized, DIY, and will match any budget.

Here are 10 of my favorites

  1. If your man owns air pods, here is something that will help ensure that he will not misplace them again…a monogrammed Leather Air Pod Case. With the monogrammed case, there will not be a mix up on which belongs to whom. The case comes with a clip so that he can attach them to a keychain, backpack or his jeans. I found this on ETSYmenchristmas
  2. For the photographer on the run, you can purchase this smartphone camera lens set. All you do is clip on the super-wide angle, macro lens, or fisheye to the phone to catch the perfect shot. The clamp design does work with every brand of phone, so no worries. This was an Amazon find. menchristmas1
  3. Personalized men’s wallet is always a practical choice. I was messing around on ETSY and saw some really cool brands that were reasonably priced. You can have initials, their names, or something a little more elaborate printed out. menchristmas2
  4. Sometimes it is cool to give them an experience for Christmas. Why not give the experience of skydiving without actually jumping out of a plane? Indoor skydiving is so much fun and most big cities have a place to do it!menchristmas3
  5. Now, there are so many men out there rocking the beard trend. Are you tired of looking at all of the hair in the sink? Ok, on Amazon there is a beard bib to help him keep his beard sexy while keeping the sinks clean. That is a dual-purpose gift right there! menchristmas4
  6. With this one, there shouldn’t be an excuse for why he didn’t pick up your call. Amazon has a USB Charger Station that can charge six devices all at once. They also sell a car charger that has five ports for either iPhone or Android and it charges at twice the speed as the normal charger.  menchristma5
  7. Charge 3 Activity Tracker Watch from Fitbit is a cool gift for the man who loves fitness or is trying to set a fitness goal for the new year. This one is swim-proof and goes deeper with information on his heart rate, calories burned, sleep and more. menchristmas5
  8. If your guy is one who loves to go through photos and talk about family history, I would get him the Ancestry DNA test. I found one on Amazon right now for $59.00! He will have a blast finding out more about his family history, especially the things that the family storytellers may have left out. menchristmas7
  9. So I saw something kind of cool the other day. I saw some beanies. They weren’t just normal beanies though… they have built-in speakers to stream music or make/receive calls via Bluetooth. The speakers are removable so you can wash the beanie when its time. menchristmas8
  10. All of my boys are getting headphones this year because they know how to make mine do disappearing acts. I just don’t think you can go wrong with getting some BOSE QuietComfort Wireless Headphones. They are noise-canceling and wireless! They have been rated the most comfortable and the GH Institute’s test has given them a top-ranking for sound quality. menchristmas9

There are so many other cool gifts out there. Look around but do not get stressed out. Men are a lot simpler than we think.  Happy hunting and Merry Christmas!

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I’m Outgrowing People and That’s Ok

outgrowingpeopleAs we get older..we tend to outgrow things. We have outgrown our clothes, our tastes and there are certain things that we just aren’t going to do anymore. Have you outgrown Santa and the tooth fairy? Maybe you have outgrown wrestling your younger siblings or dainty little tea parties (can’t say that I have!)…it happens.

Let’s go a little deeper…we have also outgrown some of our fears right? What about some limitations? You are not afraid to fly alone anymore or swim. There is so much more to add to that list. So why are we holding back when it’s time to walk away from people that we have outgrown?

Why are we not embracing the space we are in mentally, physically, spiritually, and/or emotionally and wanting to see the same thing in the people closest to us? Why are we so afraid to let go of the ones who do not serve us? Why waste time giving our energy to them?

We are out here adulting and stuff and I am sure that you, like me, have gotten to the outgrowingpeople3point where we know who we are and who we desire to be. I don’t know about you but I NOW know what it is like to appreciate myself and invest in me and it feels so good.

Regardless of how your mind works, life will always move forward. We can do the same as we grow up and get to know ourselves better. We have to embrace the fact that as our lives change, so will our circles. There is absolutely no reason for us to sit around and wait for other people to catch up with us.

It is OK to outgrow people!

It is not selfish, or spiteful, or mean to do this. We owe it to ourselves to keep moving forward and everyone cannot come with us to the next space. Sorry, not sorry.

outgrowingpeople1Outgrow people who do not know your value, or pretend to not know…

Outgrow people who are not genuine with you and treat you like you are replaceable…

Outgrow people that do not appreciate you…

Outgrow people who are accepting of part of you and not all…

Outgrow people who do not support who you are and what you are trying to do…

Outgrow people who do not talk to you unless its for a favor or the latest gossip…

Outgrow people who do not want to grow themselves…

Now I wouldn’t go making list or anything of said people. My thoughts are to just realize what you do not need in your life right now. Look at how much you have grown over these years! Let’s keep that growth moving by letting people leave when they try or walking away from people that leaving you feeling anything less than fabulous when they are in your presence or even text and messages. You know that feeling…you seeoutgrowingpeople2 their name and your heart starts racing or you roll your eyes…yeah that one.

We don’t even have to be mean about it. We can simply move on. Move on from the one-sided relationships, people that only hit you up when they have “tea to spill” or want to borrow from you and all of those people who do not appreciate you but “keep in touch”. They are all draining and you can tell from the way you feel when you finally hang up or walk away….RUN!!!!

Remember, that there is nothing selfish about walking away from what doesn’t serve you.

IMG_0925Sometimes, we have outgrown people without even realizing we have. Make it real by walking away. Let me say this…even though you are moving on from whatever, you are not losing it because you cannot lose what it once gave you. You once received from them and it helped you grow, it gave you comfort and taught you many things.  Take the lesson with you!

For this upcoming year, but I have already started, it is time for me to make my circle resemble my growth! I am outgrowing and moving on from people and environments that don’t see my value, invest in my growth, and those that are ALL TALK. My prayer is that you step away from the fear of losing and do the same. We all deserve to live our best life surrounding by people that can see our worth and will hold us accountable…truly love us unconditionally.

Vitamin K- The Forgotten

Vitamin K is a group of compounds. There is K1 which is found in plants. K2 is synthesized in our intestinal tract and present in animal products and fermented food.

Vitamin K has a reputation for promoting blood clotting. It also contributes to strong bones and heart, lowering cancer risks, and protects against diabetes and internal bleeding. The body needs fat to properly absorb it. Vitamin K is stored in the liver and fat cells.

Dr. Cee Vermeer, a Vitamin K researcher, believes most people have a vitamin K deficiency. We may get consume enough to maintain clotting but most of us do not get enough to protect us from other health issues. National research says that only 25% of Americans receive the average requirement of 90-120 mcg of vitamin K.

Being deficient in the vitamin can have some far-reaching effects such as varicose veins, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, tooth decay, pneumonia and some cancers… lung, prostate, and liver and leukemia.

Vitamin K transports calcium through the body regulating clotting and plays a major role in platelet aggregation. It also promotes blood circulation in peripheral bodies and tissue. Vitamin K is also important when it comes to brain development and works in the nervous system by enabling metabolism of fats in brain cells. It also is said to stall degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s by enhancing your memory.

Chronic kidney disease is linked to Vitamin K as well. Low levels appear to play into the development of accumulation of calcium in small blood vessels of skin and fat tissue, to include kidney tissue.

Vitamin K has a low toxicity potential. People with blood disorders and pregnant women need to be careful in their consumption of the vitamin in food and supplement form. If you have a history of heart disease or stroke, you should consult your doctor before changing your vitamin intake.

Vitamin K plays a major role in overall health. Foods high in Vitamin K keep the blood healthy and the bones strong.

Here are some foods rich in vitamin K….

Kale and leafy greens

Natto (Japanese food made with fermented soybeans)

Brussel sprouts

Broccoli

Cabbage

Scallions

Prunes

Fermented dairy products

Asparagus

Fresh and dried basil

Soybeans

Cucumber

Extra virgin olive oil

Our body works hard to take care of us. We should do what we can to give it what it needs to do the work efficiently. I have been mean to my body but the more I learn, the more I want to do better. I thank my God and my body every morning for working hard to keep me alive to get one step closer to being who I am meant to be. Now I have to do my part to show my appreciation…..

Opening Up Will Change Your Life

openingup1I used to be more outgoing in my young adult years. I wanted to be around everybody. I wanted to have get-togethers every weekend…now…not so much.

As time has gone on and my focus has been more on raising productive members of society, I have turned into somewhat of a hermit. I rarely shared my life with anyone, especially anything that I was feeling. After you have someone betray your trust, you stop giving it away so freely. I really have become a serious introvert due to past hurts.

I am definitely not saying that I am unhappy with how things are now because in these quiet days, I have learned more about myself and I have fallen in love with this woman right here. I am motivated now more than ever to see my successes and my dreams come true. I know that I deserve it…I did not always feel that way.

Opening up? Not many people want to do that. Many of us hold back…we don’t say whatopeningup2 we really feel. I am guilty of being like this. As I mature, notice I didn’t say as I get older because age hardly matters, I have begun to express myself and not hold on to it and complain to someone else about the experience.

We need to give ourselves the room to say, “I am sad…lonely…tired. I am scared of this. I am feeling insecure about that.” We need to open up! I mean, not to everyone of course. That would be crazy. I just can’t see how it will benefit you to tell everyone you know your personal business, especially if they are not a prayer warrior, encourager, or cheerleader. Everyone that is your “friend” is not always your friend. I learned that young and early. But anyway that is another blog post.

openingupWe are going to be living our own lives and we should just be who we are with no apologies. We need to live it with our whole real, authentic, kind, crazy, soft, funny, hurting. loving selves…why keep it in hiding?

Do you hide who you are because you are afraid of being hurt? Afraid of not being understood? Afraid that they will see you as overly sensitive or emotional? We need to worry less about what others are thinking and more about what will make us feel whole; happy. It is time we live our truth. I will say for myself, that it is time I live my truth…out loud! I have to take up the space that I want to without worrying about comments from the peanut gallery. You should too!

Now, you have to ask yourself how long you are willing to wait to be who you truly are. How long are you gonna stay away from the real you?

There is a plan for your life. There are people who are meant to be permanent fixtures for you, and experiences that you are meant to have and all will make you into a better person. It is true! We cannot continue to shut ourselves off from those people and experiences and miss seeing the best part of us revealed. We are not going to get to meet or get closer to those people or have those experiences if we stay comfortable. IMG_3773

With this new year approaching, I am ready to make some changes but I am not waiting for the clock to strike 12 to change them. I want to be the woman that I am meant to be. That means that opening up, loving people, being real even with the chance of rejection are risks that I will have to take. I am willing to be broken again in order to be remade and willing to lose to make room for my wins.

We should all want to get to the place where we can talk openly about what scares us, what hurt us, how we are feeling, and what can heal us. When someone asks us ‘How are you?”, we should be able to answer honestly and not just give that common answer.

When we open up, we allow ourselves to be…to change and to grow.

We all have hearts beating that let us know that we are alive. Every person or experience that we hand our heart over to is not going to return it in the condition that it was given to them. Know that! It is going to beat a little different. Whether the experience is seen as good or a bad one for you, your heart is affected and it never would have been had you not allowed yourself to experience and feel. We have to be grateful for the opportunity to feel the experience and grow from it. Use the experience for good and become a better you. It’s a beautiful thing!

We just have to allow ourselves to be ourselves. Whatever it is that you are….silly, weird, funny, loving, freaky, or quiet…be yourself!

openingup3I wonder how most people would feel if they had nothing to hide. Imagine peace…

I have to make sure that for myself, I am surrounded by people that will not be judgemental or weirded out by my realness, my past, my present situation, or where I am headed.

I hope that you can find the same peace in those around you…

 

Is Thanksgiving Important to Anyone Anymore?

thanksgiving191I will never forget the Thanksgivings that I experienced as a little girl. So much fun and family! Oh, how I missed the days when my family planned meals and I got a chance to play with cousins and eat all of the great food that my family made. My family has a bunch of great cooks! We ate until we were miserable, took, naps and got up and did it all over again. Ahhhhhh Family!

The true meaning of Thanksgiving for me is family, gratitude, and thankfulness. It should be a WHOLE day focused on spending time with family and friends enjoying each other’s company, good food, and a great football game. I honestly do not like the new era where we almost forget about Thanksgiving and go right into the Christmas holiday. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas, I just like to have that day to hang out with loved ones and eat and laugh the day away.

We cannot let this day go by and not teach our children what Thanksgiving meant to us when we were their age. I tell my boys what we used to hear and do and we have made our own traditions along the way because being a military family, we were rarely with family for the holidays.thanksgiving193

  • We watch the parades, football, and television specials.
  • We take time away from tv and devices to just hang out and talk with loved ones.
  • There is rarely any drama. People should put aside their differences for at least a day and be grateful for the time spent.
  • Talk about food. Who made what…what is in it. What is your favorite food?
  • We always say what we are thankful for in our prayers before eating. It teaches gratitude and I teach my boys this beyond the holiday.
  • Contributing to food shelters/banks and other charities help to make Thanksgiving about sharing and be thankful for the abundance that you have.
  • Prepare a dish or do a craft together. When I involve my boys in cooking, they seem to eat more. Crafts are just fun and they reinforce family time.

I like to shop for the holidays but I hate that for me to do it, someone has to take time away from their families to work. This holiday truly should be enjoyed but it can bring about as much stress as it does joy. From what I understand, there are many Americans that don’t even celebrate Thanksgiving anymore. Depending on the job or career you have, Thanksgiving is just a time for you to work and make someone else rich while you sacrifice time with your family.

thanksgiving192There is really is no hype of build-up to Thanksgiving anymore. There is no Black Friday excitement because the deals are already out there for the taking. Compared to Halloween and Christmas, we just can’t see that Thanksgiving has much of a presence at all and it is so sad.

Thanksgiving no longer has a central tone to it. Yes, we get excited about the football game and the food, but they rarely focus on the family getting together to be grateful and thankful for time with each other. Do they even bother to “sell” the holiday the way they do Halloween, Christmas, and the New Year? They may try to push a few cooking supplies or recall romaine lettuce again but ummmmmmm… (shrugs).

At the end of the day, I guess there is no way to really market Thanksgiving in a way that focuses on family and thankfulness because who can make money off of that right? The lack of marketing for it makes people forget about it more and more every year.

Well regardless of the lack of marketing, I plan on getting together with loved ones and stuffing my face and taking a few naps during the game. I plan on hearing plenty of laughter and talking between us all and remembering to be thankful for the opportunity to care for one another.

Wishing you the best Thanksgiving with your family and friends!!thanksgiving194

Eat everything! Laugh…cry…nap…cheer and eat leftovers all weekend.

Be grateful. Be Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Friendsgiving!

Never Worry About “Laundry” Again!

 

laundry1So I am sitting in my closet looking around for something to throw on to run to the store for ingredients to make the icing (yes, I want a cupcake or two…or 24!). I doubled back to this set of drawers that has the jeans that I was wearing last night laying on top of it. Does anyone else have a “laundry spot”? I mean a chair, table, spot on the bed or whatever that they put their clothes that are not dirty “enough” to wash but you don’t hang or fold them up? Guilty!

It had me thinking about some of the issues I have that I need to deal with but I just let them pile up in a little corner to deal with when I have the “energy”. We cannot hope that those things just stay in the corner and never come out again.

It is time to do the “laundry” ya’ll!! I know that at some point, everyone does this. I can’t possibly have stumbled onto something new. We all have things that we need to deal with in our lives. We have those things that we would rather bury and/or put off for another day. I am really starting to see that I feel so much better about myself and my life when I just force myself to deal with those things.

adult alone anxious black and white

Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

If you have people and experiences in your life that force you to get your life together and deal with the hard things, those are the ones that you should lean into. They are FOR you and your growth and success. I feel like these people and experiences are for our healing. They may make us uncomfortable while forcing us to face our issues but when we come out on the other side of that thing,…Shining!

What is meant for us, is truly meant for us, whether we see it as good or not-so-good. The person, that job/career, that illness, that state, that calling… it’s yours!  We might as well face it and do what we need to do to make it a thing that we can be at peace with.

Alright so let’s start talking about what you have been putting off. What is it? Paying bills or breaking up with him/her? What are the issues you have been piling up in the chair or corner like yesterday’s laundry? Afraid to commit to something or is it time to leave that job and chase your dreams of being an entrepreneur? We all have our own.

laundryWhat is your next move?

Is it time to have that relationship talk with someone?

Time to confront your boss about a few things?

Time to have an honest conversation with someone who calls themselves a friend? Guilty!

Start that workout plan and tweak your diet? YUP!

There are people around us that will support the promises and ultimatums that we have made for ourselves if we share them…with the right people, of course. There are steps that we can take that will get us on the right track to getting our shhhhh together. For me, it is time that I get moving. What about you?

food journal

diary of food eaten throughout the day when on a diet (shallow DOF)

Ok, so I will share something that I have been “sitting” in the corner. I have not been happy with how I am feeling. I have been tired a lot and I am low on energy. I honestly have been to the gym sporadically and I can feel it. I also recently moved and if you have ever been in this space, you know what happens when you move. OTHER people feed your family!! You eat at every drive-thru you can find because it is so much easier…plus they packed all of your cooking supplies. Anywho…I was eating BAD! Now I am staring at a food log and workout log that I should be using one of my pretty purple gel pens to fill out but ummmmmmm….. I am tired of feeling the way I do so I am done being lazy!

Today is the day! It is time that I stop with the distractions and deal with my stuff. Now, most of it seems to be little and insignificant but they all add up and I could have been much farther if I had just moved my butt.  Today is the day to face those issues and move toward how things should be. I like peace and I love that feeling of having things taken care of.

laundry2Sometimes we do not face issues because we just do not know how to approach them. We do not know where to start. I cannot tell you what to do or how to do it, but I  can tell you that pushing it to the side will not make things better. You cannot just pile all of your questions and issues into a corner. The best thing that we can do for ourselves is to think about some actions that we can take that will help us get to solutions. Take those actions and if we fail…think of another possible solution.

IMG_0948For me, that is the first step to overcoming my issues. I have to talk to the people and do the things that make me nervous or scared because they usually are what I need to face my issues. So, whatever those actions are, do them. Whoever those people are, talk to them…soon!

Actually, just do it now. It takes the load off of your shoulders (and your laundry chair) and gets things taken care of. There is nothing better than handling your business and freeing yourself of the things that are hidden.

8 Hacks to Maximize your Hotel Stay

hoteltips1I love to travel. If I am home for too long without a little break, I go through withdrawals. Traveling relaxes me. It gives me a chance to clear my head and think about something besides cooking and cleaning. I get the chance to refill my cup because I am constantly pouring out.

I spend quite a bit of time away from home…between visits, vacations and my son and the busyness of chasing his dreams. I have learned so much about how to save money and maximize my stays, whether in big or small ways. We may not find the hotel that has it all and is our true “home away from home”, but we can make even the smallest getaway feel like a gift.

Here are a few of the things that I have learned through my travels and stays in hotels…

Arrive early, stay late.

I learned this little treat on my last cruise in August. If you are a part of a loyalty group, based on availability, if you ask about coming early or staying later, the hotel will usually oblige. Believe me, it is not unusual for someone to ask for an extension. They will hoteltips2normally say that they cannot guarantee the request in advance but they can make a note in the system and most will try to accommodate. On our last stay in Miami, not only did they allow us an early check-in at 11:00 am, but they upgraded our room to the penthouse suite…oceanfront! So whether you arrive one hour earlier, or four, like we did, it is still a win.

Let them know in advance that you are celebrating an occasion.

Call the hotel ahead of time and let them know of your occasion. Whatever it is…anniversary, birthday, baby, or just a night away from the kiddos, give them the opportunity to gift you something. Whatever it is, they will be happy to show you their appreciation for choosing their property to celebrate your special occasion.

Know something about the property you’re staying at.

Do your best to show up with some knowledge about the amenities and the fees and incidentals that may be included. What perks do they have? Also ask the hotel agent about any insider information, places you should visit, restaurants, or practices that you can employ during your stay. They may have special connections or coupons to make your experience more pleasurable.

Be Loyal.

hoteltipsMost hotels treat their loyal people like royalty. Try to find your favorite place to stay when you visit certain places and be loyal to them. Learn about their loyalty programs and how you can make redemptions and receive perks for your stay. This is important for adding to your experience. Be sure that you find out if you are a member of their loyalty program. You may earn complimentary nights, vouchers, or extras while you are there. A lot of people have travel credit cards that they may be able to add cash or points to the room or use for hotel breakfast if it is not included.

Just ask

Do not be afraid to ask for extras! The last hotel I stayed in was a four-star and they had slippers, robes, extra conditioner, iPhone cords, extra pillows and additional coffee that were complimentary. Just ask! Most of the time, the hotel has basic sundry items; they just don’t advertise it.

Know The hotel lingo.

You may want to request an upgrade, room change, or put in a complaint…know the hotel language so that you get what you are asking for. When you use hotel verbiage (i.e. occupancy, loyalty, satisfaction or guest) you let them know your status as a frequent traveler and that you know your rights. Just remember that it is all about who you talk tohoteltips3 and how you talk to them. If you are not happy with the outcome of what you ask for or a complaint, make a suggestion yourself of a fair solution. Try to resolve all requests through the person you are talking to but take any complaints straight to management.

Book direct to save money.

Most people use travel portals like Hotel.com or Expedia to book their stays. You can usually get the same prices, if not less and receive your hotel loyalty perks and other rewards. You may also be able to negotiate a better price. Often the local manager may be happy to work with you, especially with big party group rates.

Get to know the staff and tip well.

IMG_5122Being kind does truly go a long way. Still talking about our last stay in Miami, we tipped well and word got out. Whenever we strolled around in the hotel or came in and out, we always had someone wanting to cater to us and calling us by name, even in the restaurant. Whenever possible, call them by name. We all like it when they remember our names. Also, ask the staff about their opinion on local insights. Doing these little things really does make your stay a lot more enjoyable in my opinion.

I am sure that there are plenty more tips and tricks but this is from my experience with my last stay in Miami.

Happy Travels!