With my birthday/Valentine's Day trip on the horizon, we spent the weekend getting me prepped for skiing by visiting the slopes in North and South Lake Tahoe. For someone who pretty much just learned to really ski last year, I felt like I needed a little refresher before hitting the big slopes in Whistler this coming weekend.

North Lake Tahoe: Squaw Valley

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    On Friday morning, we got up before the sun, hit Chick-fil-A for breakfast right at opening, and headed to Squaw. Squaw Valley was the host of the 1960 Winter Olympics. We were not impressed. Maybe it was because there wasn't much snow, or because it was my first day back on the slopes in a year, or maybe it was just because it was awful. I learned to ski last year in Breckenridge, Colorado and skied later in the season at Northstar, another North Lake Tahoe ski resort. At both places, the slopes were marked, there was no chance of this beginner ending up on a black diamond because of unmarked terrain, at the top of each lift there was a map, some lifts had maps on them, and even some had guides at the top to make sure you knew where you were going. My nickname might be "Mapquest," but I can't map out mountains for the life of me, and apparently, neither can Squaw.
Picturehappy.. before heading down the green-turned-blue
    Tyler stayed with me until lunch then we split up so he could challenge himself on blacks while I continued practicing the basics on greens and pushed myself back up to blues. By "back" up to blues, I don't mean from last year - one of my first runs at Squaw was a blue because it was marked green at one point then when we got to it, it was blue. Not only was it more difficult than stated, half of it wasn't covered by snow so I had about a 7ft ridge between rocks and a huge drop. I was one unhappy camper, but not as upset as Tyler who had to sit at the bottom and coax me down.
    I also ended up in the Olympic half-pipe thanks to unmarked areas. Surprisingly I didn't do half-bad with that misfortune until I went a little too high on one side and when I went up the other half, I got stuck in rock because it wasn't covered in snow. Other than when I forced myself to fall on the green-turned-blue run to slide on my butt down the narrow part, this was my only fall of the day!

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    The only way down the mountain [other than the gondola] was to take blue runs. I can pretty much conquer any blue at this point except blues that have moguls. I also hate crowds and since half of the trails on the way down were sheets of ice forcing everyone to one side while we're all trying to come down the mountain at the same time, add in a section of moguls and I was glad the day was over.
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There is an ice-rink under the snow on top of the building to the right of the Olympic Rings
    There were some great views of Lake Tahoe and it was neat to see some Olympic facilities, but overall, we wouldn't recommend Squaw. Tyler said some of the blacks were good but difficult to get to. And while there is one side dedicated to greens and beginners, it was too easy for me but difficult to find anywhere else to go with no maps anywhere.

The Drive from North to South Lake Tahoe

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    I really could have taken 100 pictures, but I chose to just take it all in in mental images.. okay, and I fell asleep for part of the ride! This was an attempt to show how at this point we were surrounded by the lake on both sides.

South Lake Tahoe, California, and Nevada: Heavenly

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riding up the gondola from Heavenly Village
    Since Heavenly is owned/run by the same group that runs Breck and Northstar, we had high hopes. Heavenly was immediately different. When we got to the base of the lifts there was a huge map and a friendly guide who helped us map out runs that would be good for my level of skiing. Like Breck and Northstar, there were signs at the tops of lifts, maps on some of the chairs, and plenty of signs at splits in runs to make sure you stayed where you were supposed to. I was in map heaven.
    We were nervous at first because from Heavenly Village you can't see many runs at all. You take a gondola up for what feels like forever and just when you feel like you can't go any higher, you go over a peak and see another mountain full of runs!
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    The fun part about Heavenly is that half of the runs are located in California and half in Nevada. We skied Nevada in the morning and met friends for lunch on the California side of the mountain. At this point, Tyler broke away with the guys for more challenging runs and I stuck with the girls for our blue runs. This is the same group we're going to Whistler with, so I'm glad my "Happily Intermediate" girls will be with me! It's difficult to follow Tyler down the mountain because I know he's been doing this his whole life and he can do it all. Skiing with the girls forces me to push myself to stay at their level because I know they're new to it too!
    We had some great runs, I never fell, and I even managed to navigate myself around fallen skiers, so I'm feeling ready for Olympic park #2 [Whistler] this coming weekend!
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Back down the gondola at the end of the day
    On one of the lifts, Amanda posed the question to Anna [friend, not sister] and I, "What would you name a ski run if you had the chance to?" I said, "Rae's Run" - my middle name and an alliteration which I'm super fond of. What would you name a run?

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    Continuing with the "Investment" theme..

Invest in Others

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    See that huge smile on that little girl's face? That's all you need to see to feel like the richest person in the world. This is my husband and I on our first mission trip together, Senior year of high school. We went with a group of teachers and students, including my sister, to beautiful Costa Rica. We helped in orphanages and in this church. Building and painting in the morning, holding Vacation Bible School in the afternoon, and touring the city at night.
    While Costa Rica was one of my favorite mission trips ever, and a mission trip to Africa is a deep desire for both my husband and I, we can't afford to go to either of those places right now. The good thing is, as with investing in yourself and the ones you love, you don't always have to spend money to invest in others. A few weeks ago, my husband and I went with Chick-fil-A Walnut Creek and employees from Kaiser to volunteer at the City Team International shelter in Oakland, CA. Chick-fil-A's Owner/Operator [pictured handing out meals below] generously donated 300 meals for the event. Coats, clothes, and shoes were collected from various places around the city to provide a free store for the homeless and less fortunate in the area.
    Doors to the shelter-turned-free-store officially opened at 11:00am, but when we arrived with the food at 10:30am, the line was already down the block. It was a pleasure to be serving and truly eye-opening about the needs in our own backyard. Volunteering [in other words, investing in others] is also an investment in yourself and your growth as a person. You realize just how good you have it.. which, if you're reading this right now, is better than most.
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    Investing in others can be costly, time, energy, and money-wise. You have to take time out of your daily schedule, maybe even several days off work if you're going to go on an actual mission trip, which may mean less money in your paycheck. It also takes money to travel out of the country, you might have to buy and bring supplies, may end up leaving the clothes and shoes you take with you there because there's a need and you can't say no.. and you lose a lot of energy doing manual labor if you're not used to it.. but from first hand experience, I can guarantee you that none of that will matter when you see the smile on the faces of those you're helping.
    Other than doing Operation Christmas Child together each year, my husband and I hadn't truly volunteered together since Costa Rica. It was such a blessing to do this together and we are committed to doing more in the future. I encourage you to take a step back from your daily life and go volunteer somewhere. You won't get paid for it, but you will be blessed. Or, if you believe in Karma, it'll come back around.
    Bless and be blessed!
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// Be Mine //

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    This Valentine's Day I received a heart bkr water bottle - which I wanted really bad - but still, nothing compares to the first Valentine I ever received from Tyler. The kid handmade the heart above,  came over to my house before school, waited for me to back out of the garage and asked me to be his Valentine. Cue 'awws'! The "E" is a little broken from the move, but it's still something I treasure. Not many high-school boys would go into Michael's before their shift at work and pick out craft supplies to hand make a Valentine for someone they'd only been dating six months.
    Despite the sweetness of our first Valentine's, this was probably one of my favorite Valentine's Days to date. So simple and relaxing! We ordered pizza, made our couch into a bed, baked cookies, and watched a DreamWorks movie on Netflix. I have to say, for being a kids movie, we both actually enjoyed "The Croods." Nicholas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, and Clark Duke had some funny 'prehistoric' characters. The animation was great, and I liked the combination animals such as flying turtles, alligator skunks, elephant mice, and what seemed to be an iguana tiger - to name a few. The animals seemed more futuristic despite the prehistoric background of the movie. Overall, it kept us entertained.

// Chinese New Year Celebrations //

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    Saturday we went downtown to celebrate two of our friends' birthdays as well as to watch the Chinese New Year parade. San Francisco hosts one of the top ten parades in the world with this yearly event that draws thousands of viewers. I have no idea where the first half of that statistic is from other than one of our friends saying it at the parade, I can however vouch for the thousands of people in attendance! We arrived 2 hours before the parade was to begin and it was already crazy.
    If you're like Tyler and I, you're confused as to why we were celebrating Chinese New Year this late.. San Francisco has one of the largest Asian populations in the country, many of whom go home to China to celebrate the Chinese New Year with family. Hosting the parade two weeks later allows those who went 'home' time to get back and prepare for the parade.
    The parade was great but for some reason really slow.. it would keep stopping for some reason and it would take forever for the next float or band to come along. We ended up sitting inside a bar to watch the middle section and coming back out for what we thought was the end.. it ended about an hour after that point. With tired feet and empty stomachs, we grabbed the closest, most expensive, greasy pizza and headed to a friend's to eat. It was definitely an experience to remember! If you ever have the chance to go, I recommend watching towards the beginning of the parade - you'll be able to stand 1-2 rows back or even have front row as we did towards the end. Watching from where the parade ends in Chinatown guarantees you'll be smooshed up against other - multiple - people and probably won't be able to see much at all!
    Sorry for the awful pictures! A pro photographer I am not, and the lighting was terrible!
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Left: Tyler, Right: My good friend Bri
    Hope you all had enjoyable Valentine's Days and Happy Chinese New Year! It's the year of the horse, fyi. Which is my year. Feel free to get me gifts throughout 2014.

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    I'm a little bit of a book worm. Okay, a lot bit. Let's put it this way: Tyler took me to Barnes & Noble this week because he needed to buy a city guide for his new work location and I'd be perfectly content with calling that my Valentine's date. While he read the guide at the in-store cafe, I perused the aisles picking all of my future-reads and admiring coffee table books to purchase for our new home. I told him for the next gift-giving occasion if he just wanted to get me a B&N gift card, I'd be okay with it. As long as it was a hefty one.. because I could spend a lot of money in there and not even feel bad about it. Buyer's remorse? For books?! Yeah right, I'd walk out, bags in hand with the biggest smile knowing every grade school teacher I ever had would be proud.
    While I usually stick to murder mysteries, both true and fiction, [I'm not planning anything, they intrigue me - I know you're glued to the TV when there's a Criminal Minds marathon, don't lie!], I recently purchased #1 pictured above at a friend's recommendation and loved it! My husband doesn't let me read before bed, but my goal is to make it through these four books before the end of the year! [Funny, he's never too tired for a movie or.. but he's always too tired to let me stay up and read].
1. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? [And Other Concerns] - Mindy Kaling
I already own this book and I am 85% done. The only reason I'm not 100% done is because it is SO good that I'm afraid of finishing it. It's just that good. There have been times when I was laughing so hard that I couldn't compose myself enough to tell Tyler why I was laughing - I'd just point to the page and have him read it for himself!
If you know Mindy from The Office, picture her reading this in her voice from the show. I promise, it makes it 10x better! Warning: there are a few curse words scattered throughout, but it is an inspiring read especially for teen girls; Mindy was bullied in high school and she was never the popular girl, she gives a lot of insight into that and why it's okay to be you.

2.  Melissa Explains it All: Tales From My Abnormally Normal Life - Melissa Joan Hart
Okay, so she posed for Maxim once, partied at the Playboy Mansion, and tried drugs for a year - what child star didn't go through that stage? I'd like to applaud Melissa for being one of the only child stars to not completely screw it up. How many other child stars have made the successful conversion from child star to adult actress while simultaneously making a life for themselves with a husband [not divorced] and three beautiful sons, and dealing with the condemnation from Hollywood on her Republican views? Not many.
I grew up watching Clarissa Explains it All and Sabrina the Teenage Witch, currently watch Melissa and Joey, received the book for Christmas, and cannot wait to dive in.. although I may still be a little bitter that I signed up to receive an autographed book plate and it never showed up..

3. Balancing It All: My Story of Juggling Priorities and Purpose
- Candace Cameron Bure
That tiny handful of child stars who successfully transitioned into acting as an adult has this girl at the top. DJ from Full House is all grown up, has a beautiful family, and is continuing her acting career. She never once allowed anyone to knock her down for her faith and that is so admirable to me. I am most excited to read this book because I feel connected to her as well as MJH. The two of them stood firm to their beliefs [political and/or spiritual] in Hollywood knowing their differences made them unlikeable to some but also knowing that they were good enough to be given a chance.

4. Bossypants - Tina Fey
Who doesn't love Tina Fey? If you answered that you don't, I challenge you to watch Baby Mama. I've watched the movie so much I think the disk may quit soon. Either that, or Tyler will break it because he's done hearing me repeat lines.. Tina Fey is funny, especially with Amy Pohler, and I love funny.
I've wanted to read this book ever since I really got into watching her comedic movies and after I read the excerpt, "A Mother's Prayer for Her Daughter." Warning: it is laced with foul language [as I'm sure the book is as well] but the message is too powerful to not share. If you allow yourself to look past that, it's a beautifully written piece - not to mention, true. The back of Mindy Kaling's book says something to the effect of, "she's like Tina Fey's little sister" - in other words, if you like one, you're going to like the other!

Happy Valentine's Day and Happy Reading.. if it's your thing!

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    This month of love, all Tuesday tips are about investing. Last week was "Invest in You," and still to come are, "Invest in Others" and "Invest in God."

Invest in the Ones You Love

    If someone asked you, "who do you love?" chances are that in your top 5 you'd have: your spouse [or significant other], your parents, your siblings, your kids, your BFFs, and [of course] your dog but he doesn't really count for this [we all know you already invest a lot of spoiling his direction]. Investing in the ones we love can be difficult sometimes. Many think that "investing" requires spending money, it doesn't [at least not much as you'll see]. Spending too much money can cause entitlement issues as Dave Ramsey's daughter Rachel Cruze points out in the article "Spoiled or Blessed". If you read the article, a snippet from their upcoming book, you'll see that everything comes down to attitude - are your gifts given with thoughtfulness in love or just given because you're conditioned to or feel you have to? Here are some ways to show the ones you love that you care about them not because you have to, but because you get to.
1. Send a Handwritten Note, Just Because
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    I really can't tell you how much this means to someone to receive a handwritten note in this age of technology, but Discovering Hadley [the blog where I found the picture above] puts it this way:
"Is there anything more pleasantly surprising than going to the mail box expecting bills, solicitations, and maybe (if you’re lucky) a catalog from a company you like, and finding a handwritten note? We think not .. no matter how small, it can make your day or your week."
    If the person is someone you live with like a spouse or child, sending mail isn't practical, but Post-it notes are! I LOVE Post-its and have often used them around the house to leave Tyler little notes to let him know I'm thinking of him. I've also been known to sneak little notes in between his clothes when he leaves on a business trip. Handwritten notes are the perfect way to let someone know you're thinking of them on more than just holidays.
2. Mini Gifts, Just Because
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photo credit: Flax and Twine
    So, maybe you can't knit, but if you have any crafty bone in you, I promise people will love homemade gifts. Maybe baking is your thing? People love food, too. Use your gifts to invest in others. A lot of times, handmade is less expensive [and almost always more thoughtful] to give. Can't think of something to make - Pinterest is always a good resource. Reeeeally struggling with this one [ahem, guys]? Bringing someone their favorite Starbucks drink just because is a plus. Doing anything "just because" is a big deal. It's nice to know someone cares about you - no ulterior motives or strings attached.
3. Turn Off the T's
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photo credit: iStockphoto
    There's no better way to show someone that you're not invested in them, than by constantly being on your telephone, tablet, or watching TV. Turn it off! In a world overrun with technology, it's important to have some off time to connect with people on an emotional level. At our house, we have a no cell phones at the table rule. Meals are our time to connect with each other and go over the day ahead or reflect on our day's accomplishments together.
4. Remember Them
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photo credit: Google search "Calendar"
    Don't forget important dates for the ones you love! Keep a calendar or list of the ones you love that includes their birthdays, graduation dates, weddings, job interviews, etc.! Even if you can't be there or can't afford to send a gift, sending a nice text or note lets them know you're thinking of them and they'll appreciate it! From personal experience, I can tell you how much it hurts to have a family member forget your birthday or not show up at your wedding.
A Big No-No.
    Something not to do when it comes to investing in the ones you love is gift-giving as an apology. Many will disagree with me on this but here are my thoughts on it:
    Gift-giving as an apology conditions the recipient to think that they will get something every time you do something wrong and they may start to nit-pick and find new reasons to be critical of what you're doing that "hurts their feelings" [consequently running you out of money]. See the link above for the Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze article - this is one of those things that could result in a spoiled child or spouse or friend, and cause you to be taken advantage of. I'm not saying don't take your kid out for ice cream to have a neutral ground to explain to him why you missed his baseball game, I'm just saying don't take him to Toys-R-Us.
    Something to also think about: how sincere is your apology if you're handing over a new diamond necklace at the same time? Are you truly sorry, or hoping the monetary value and shininess of the gift will cause them to overlook your wrong-doing?
Planning Ahead
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    Above you can see how my husband and I plan ahead to invest in the ones we love and keep within a budget. Every month we put down birthdays and holidays that gifts should be purchased for. We also have an "extra" tab each month - money that can be used to be thoughtful unexpectedly by sending a card, or a mini gift, or extra cushion for wedding gifts, etc. The amount we use for each person is blocked out for obvious reasons, but our "extra" budget is only $10 a month. That $120 a year seems to cover most additional charges such as wedding and spontaneous gifts.
    The total amount we anticipate spending we take and divide by 12 [months] to see how much we should be budgeting per month even if it won't be used that month. The columns to the right ensure we don't forget anyone's special day or remind us that we already bought a gift for someone ahead of time.

    Investing in the ones you love - not just monetarily - is a sign of how much you care about them. Let them know you love and care about them often, not just around birthdays, holidays, and Valentine's Day. Be sincere in your giving and remember, you get what you give.

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The Queen Anne Hotel

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    Originally we had planned to head to Tahoe and ski for my birthday, but thanks to our last Weekend Warriors travel adventure resulting in a sprained foot - that was cancelled. The good news is I am 95% back to normal and should be able to go skiing soon - thank goodness because my wonderful husband got me a legit ski jacket for this season!
    Once we decided to nix skiing, Tyler worked on planning a fun weekend in the city - not expecting rain. We've been in a serious drought over here and of course the rain finally came this weekend! It may have cut our time in the city short, but it made for a super relaxing weekend which in my opinion is a perfect birthday.
    On Friday night, Tyler made us reservations at the Queen Anne Hotel in San Francisco. He knows how much I LOVE the old Victorian homes in the city, and how much I love anything historical. Thankfully I didn't have time to research the building beforehand or while we were there - formerly a girl's boarding school, apparently the place is "haunted" by the late headmistress. No ghost sightings or weird stories on this end, although I'll agree with other reviewers on the creepy elevator, but I believe that's more of an age thing than anything supernatural.
    We were able to spend the night walking through the Pacific Heights area viewing other old Victorian homes before heading to a friend's going away party. Although it was a sad "celebration," it was good to be celebrating with friends for my birthday weekend, planning our upcoming group trip to Whistler, eating cake, and staying out later than usual, not worried about a late drive home since we had a hotel reservation.
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    The hotel was beautiful and most importantly for me, clean! My favorite parts were the fireplaces that burn 24/7 [very nice after walking in the rain], the detailed woodwork, and the beautiful chandeliers. [*All pictures above were taken and edited by myself other than the wide lens picture of the parlor which was taken from the Queen Anne Hotel website linked above]. I did not take any pictures of the inside of our room - I have seen pictures of some of their other rooms online and was more impressed by the period decor and styling in those than our particular room. Still lovely! The hotel does offer an extended continental breakfast but we were headed to Mama's so we just grabbed some fruit and a coffee to-go for the line at Mama's!
    Lombard Street was between where we stayed and Mama's, so despite the fact that we've done it before multiple times, we battled the tourists and drove down the famous crooked street again. Not disappointing even with the overcast and rain!
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Lombard Street

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Mama's

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    Mama's is a true San Francisco favorite, almost more famous for its wait time than its food. While the long line may deter some, I assure you it is well worth the wait. The pictures above and below are from our first ever Mama's visit, where we arrived 15 minutes before opening and still waited 45 minutes in line to get in. This time, we allowed ourselves to sleep in, arrived a few hours after opening, and had to wait an hour and a half in the rain. I would not recommend doing this on a rainy day unless it's your only opportunity - and I would not recommend doing this with kids unless you have one parent who is able to walk them around the park across the street.. Locals typically do not wait when the line is this long, and we wouldn't have either had it not been my birthday. I needed to indulge in some French Toast, and when it comes to French Toast, Mama's does not disappoint. We both got the same thing we ordered the last time and again, cleared our plates.
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    Fully stuffed and tired from waiting in the rain, we cut our time in the city short and headed home! It was nice to be able to relax for a change - that's needed every now and then! On my actual Birthday I was surprised by some amazing gifts, red roses and red velvet cake, a sushi dinner followed by The Monuments Men, again, I love history [especially WWII] so the movie was the perfect ending to my birthday weekend! Thanks to my husband for making 24 special!

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Gift Guide for Your Man

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Men can be ridiculously hard to shop for, especially on a holiday that mainly exists to make women feel better about themselves and more secure in their relationships. With the help of my own man, I put together this gift guide to help you out in your last week of shopping!

1. Shaving Starter Kit - The Art of Shaving
Sandalwood is personally Tyler's favorite scent, and my favorite scent to smell on him.
2. Sonicare Diamond Clean Rechargeable Toothbrush in Black - Best Buy
Nothing girly about this black beauty, but it's a wife's bathroom decor dream.
3. San Francisco Neighborhood Print - Flying Junction Co.
Does your guy have a favorite city? These prints are a cool way to help him decorate his bachelor pad or man cave, just don't get one that's too colorful - men appreciate simplicity.
4. Nate Three-Hand Stainless Steel Watch in Black - Fossil
For the businessman in your life. I'm extremely partial to watches and this one is the perfect combination to be dressy for work and casual for going out. Plus, it's a great price for Fossil!
5. "You Are My Greatest Adventure" Hand Made Print - Brown Fox Calligraphy
Bri has amazing handwriting! These are straight 'pen to paper' - no importing to Illustrator or any other program and reprinting. A sweet reminder of what your guy means to you.
6. Instagram Fridge Magnets -Sticky Gram
You may not be able to get into his Instagram pics [or you could screen shot them all and upload to a private account..] but chances are, you have pictures on your Instagram of things that you've done and places you've been together. Fridge magnets are a fun way to keep those memories alive! Use code FRIENDTE91 for $4 off your order!
7. Movie Date
They may not admit to it, but guys appreciate a girl helping out once in a while! Create a simple gift basket with popcorn, his favorite candy, and movie tickets for a date night - just make sure you let him pay for Valentine's and use this another time!
8. Chapstick - not pictured
According to Tyler this should be on the list because, "Manly men don't invest in their lips," haha!

"Hey, I just met you.. this is crazy"

Gifts #3 and #7 are for you! You don't want to come across as too into it if it's only been a few weeks, and you don't want to make him feel bad if you've spent more than him!
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#3 shows a bit of thoughtfulness, while #7 still keeps it cool. Either way, you don't want to spend over $25 or you'll risk him thinking that you're getting too attached too quickly! Whatever you do, steer clear of #'s 1 and 2!

"I think I Wanna Marry You"

If you've been together a while, it's okay to spend a little! Other than the gifts listed in "Hey, I just met you.." #'s 1, 5, and 6 are for you!
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#1 comes in a mid-size as well if you want to spend a little extra, but the starter kit is great if he's never tried it before! #'s 5 and 6 would be great combined - tell him he's your greatest adventure then give him the gift of some adventures you've had together!

Ball and Chained Forever

Obviously, any of the gifts are perfect - just base them on your budget or what you think he'd like the most or need the most! I chose #'s 2 and 4 specifically for married or seriously commited couples, but you know your relationship best!
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In addition to #6, I bought Tyler something nostalgic from his childhood - may seem silly to some but I know he'll appreciate having it and for us to start the tradition with our kids in the future!

Here's to a Happy Valentine's Day!

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      It's the month of love, how do you show love? Many of us show love through our investments, whether it be time, money or both. Four Tuesdays in February = four investment tips: invest in you, invest in the ones you love, invest in others, and invest in God.

Invest in You

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    Investing in yourself does not mean go splurge on every item on your fashion or home decor Pinterest board. Investing doesn't always have to involve spending. In order to invest in anything, you have to invest in yourself first. Kind of like, in order to love someone else, you must first love yourself. So how do you invest in you?
  • Take Care of Your Health and Well-Being:  You're always taking your pets or children [if you have them] to the doctor, what about yourself? When was your last check up or dental appointment? When was the last time you worked out? How many times have you cheated and substituted chips because you didn't take the time to slice up an apple? Your health is so important to your daily functioning, take the steps to take care of you! For me, it was investing in a gym membership, the kind with classes that hold me accountable! Also, not going to the store hungry and purchasing all the unhealthy food. Maybe for you it's brushing twice a day for two whole minutes and flossing daily.. actually, yes, that's probably it!
  • Take a "Selfie": No, not a picture. Take a Selfie Day. This goes along with your well-being. Take some time for you. Relax, watch an old movie, read a good book, take a cat nap. No work emails, no distractions, even if it's just for an hour, and even if you have to hire a babysitter and you don't ever leave the house. You deserve some you time to rejuvenate.
  • Allow a "Splurge" [Now and Then]: You're allowed to get yourself a mini-gift every once and a while. Just don't overspend. Make a goal for yourself and when you meet that goal, you're allowed to reward yourself. Ps. Make your goals fitting for the reward. None of this, "oh, if I clean the kitchen I get a new car!" - cleaned the kitchen? Great! A new baking accessory would be a more appropriate "reward". Graduate college and get a job? Then we can talk about a car..
  • Make Something Happen: That dream you have? Chase it. Invest in your interests. Want to learn to sew, paint, write calligraphy? Take a class or if that's too much of an investment, have a friend who is good at it teach you and give them a heartfelt gift as thanks. If you don't do something your heart desires, you'll regret it later.
    Hopefully this inspires you to do something for you! The better care you take of yourself allows you to give more of yourself and your best self to others!

*Photo from bubblews.com

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    It's my favorite month! Mostly because it's my birthday month.. I'm not a huge Valentine's proponent, but I love an excuse to get dressed up and not have to cook! I also love to spoil Tyler with small gifts which since we got married and joined bank accounts, I've been doing less of. Valentine's gives me a reason to purchase something thoughtful for him - watch for guy idea gifts later this week!
Here are a few items I've been swooning over that are Valentine's day related!
1. Gold Lip Stain Mug - SHOP by Monika
2. Ephesians 4:2 Print - Naptime Diaries
3. Venus Bust - Overstock
4. Crazy Hearts Cosmetic Bag - Forever 21
5. Michael Kors Pave Delicate Heart Necklace - ShopBop //Splurge//
6. Valentine's Day Gentle Reminders Pencils - Amanda Catherine Designs
7.-8. Heart Water Bottles in Milk and Jet - bkr
9. Gold Heart Pillow in Coral - Sukan
10. Girl Bands in Super Cute Heart - ban.do

Happy Month of Love! Ps. Don't forget to enter to WIN FREE dresses!

Joss & Main Find of the Day

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Event Name: The French Kitchen
Item Name: Daisy Tea Kettle
Sale Ends: February 9

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