The Best Wedding Registry Sites 2017-2018

The Best Wedding Registry Sites 2017-2018

There was watercolor paint everywhere, dripping from our new kitchen table and onto my feet. My husband and I were trying to make homemade thank you cards to send to our friends and family after our wedding, but the process was a little messier than we had bargained for. But, we had received such generosity from our loved ones that we wanted to put a heartfelt touch on our thank yous, to try to convey to them how…

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How to Give Sentimental Bride and Groom Gifts to Each Other

How to Give Sentimental Bride and Groom Gifts to Each Other

When I woke up on the morning of my wedding, I saw a dinosaur looming above me. Well, a plesiosaur, technically. It sat on the night table next to my bed and, as soon as I saw it, I squealed with excitement. Sitting up, I admired the carved wooden elasmosaurus, flushing with happiness; I knew instinctively that it was a gift from my soon-to-be husband. He and I share a love of dinosaurs, a strange passion, true, but…

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Sentimental New Mom Gifts From Dad Ideas for After Baby’s Birth

Sentimental New Mom Gifts From Dad Ideas for After Baby’s Birth

Giving birth is one of the hardest, most terrifying, and most beautiful experiences of a woman’s life. As a daddy, you’ll never really know just how tough and exhilarating it can be; I probably don’t have to tell you, but your lady is a super woman—not only because she will push through the pain of labor with grace, but also because she will give herself continuously—and unconditionally—to your newborn babe without asking for anything in return. This…

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Rockin’ Ideas for How to Give Concert Tickets as a Gift

Rockin’ Ideas for How to Give Concert Tickets as a Gift

The first time I saw my favorite band in concert, I had to drive all the way to Canada. Arcade Fire was headlining the outdoor Osheaga Music Festival in Montreal, meaning they weren’t playing until late at night. But, wanting that front row view, my best friend and I lined up outside the venue early in the morning, then sprinted to the front of the stage the moment the gates opened—10 hours before the band was slated to…

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The Best Handmade Over the Hill Gag Gift DIYs

The Best Handmade Over the Hill Gag Gift DIYs

The morning of my 30th birthday I got up, took one look in the mirror, and went straight back to bed. I know 30 isn’t that old, but I figured I had finally been around long enough to really deserve that extra 10 minutes of snoozing. I wasn’t over the hill, but I was definitely nearing the peak, and that made me feel just a little more fatigued than usual. Luckily, I was broken out of my barely…

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Unique Bridesmaids Gift Ideas on a Budget

Unique Bridesmaids Gift Ideas on a Budget

My wedding day felt like a dream. It was effortless, romantic, and filled with magical moments shared with my husband on our special day. What made it truly incredible, though, was having my nearest and dearest friends beside me, standing with me in their periwinkle bridesmaid dresses as I took my vows. Those wonderful women carried me through that day, just as they had so often in my life. They made me laugh when I was feeling…

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How to Pick out a Perfect Birthday Present for Anyone: 3 Easy Steps

How to Pick out a Perfect Birthday Present for Anyone: 3 Easy Steps

The table was covered with a rich blue cloth and gold confetti, a gigantic cake in the shape of a yellow sunflower sitting in the middle. We gathered around in hushed tones, waiting for the telltale sound of the key in the doorknob. Then—finally—“SURPRISE!” It was my mom’s 50th birthday, and we had struggled for weeks to figure out how to celebrate. When asked what she wanted, she said the eight little words that no prospective gift-giver wants…

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The Best 30th Birthday Gifts for Her Adventures Still to Come

The Best 30th Birthday Gifts for Her Adventures Still to Come

It’s no secret—I’m pushing thirty. Lucky for me, though, thirty is the new twenty. There has never been a better time to blow out thirty candles! But, if I’m being honest, turning thirty is a pretty big deal for me. As exciting as it is to put the student loans and self-doubt that defined my twenties behind me and step forth into a new decade, the thought of that big old 3-0 birthday rolling around still brings…

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3 Seriously Silly Gift Exchange Game Ideas for Large Groups

3 Seriously Silly Gift Exchange Game Ideas for Large Groups

I opened my front door and warmly greeted John Travolta—straight out of Hairspray John Travolta. He entered the room, saying hello to Grease-era John Travolta, Saturday Night Fever John Travolta, and, of course, the angelic Michael John Travolta before heading for the chips and dip. I love throwing silly parties, and the John Travolta Halloween party I hosted a few years back is now infamous amongst my friends (seeing that many people in one room dressed as…

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DIY Fall Wedding Centerpieces on a Budget

DIY Fall Wedding Centerpieces on a Budget

The aisle of the church was covered with fall leaves, pumpkins were at the altar. But this wasn’t some rustic, abandoned chapel in a field somewhere—it was the location of my wedding. We had done everything we could to bring nature’s autumn artwork inside: the flower girl tossed maple leaves instead of flower petals and my bouquet was filled with deeply colored dried flowers and radiant sheafs of golden wheat. Fall is my favorite season so it made…

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The Best First Birthday Gift Ideas to Delight One-Year-Olds

The Best First Birthday Gift Ideas to Delight One-Year-Olds

My favorite picture of me as a baby is from my first birthday party. I’m sitting in my high chair sporting a Winnie the Pooh party hat with a big cake in front of me displaying a solo pink candle. The picture always brings a smile to my face because my expression is priceless—I’m gazing inquisitively at the camera as if to say, “What is all this fuss about?” While I obviously had no clue why I…

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Personalized Welcome Back to School Teacher Gift Ideas

Personalized Welcome Back to School Teacher Gift Ideas

Spaghetti was dripping from the ceiling. I looked up, watching the mass of beige noodles and bright red sauce slowly unsticking from the plaster, dropping to the table with a soft, wet splashing sound. I looked over at my mom, expecting her to be apoplectic with rage over the fact that I had just tossed a lovingly made dinner into the sky, but, instead, she was shaking with laughter. “You still have to go to school tomorrow,” she…

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Inspirational First Day of Kindergarten Gifts for Your New Student

Inspirational First Day of Kindergarten Gifts for Your New Student

The warm and woodsy smell of pencil shavings, the feel of a waxy crayon between my fingers, the spirited squeal of a guinea pig in the corner of the classroom—this is what I remember from my first day of kindergarten. I loved kindergarten. It was a whole day of playing: singing songs to teach us the letters of the alphabet, counting and sorting dried beans (math was so fun back then), or feeding the class pet, a guinea…

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The Best Summer Birthday Party Ideas for Toddlers

The Best Summer Birthday Party Ideas for Toddlers

As someone who was born in July, I can say with confidence that summer birthdays are the best—especially when you’re a kid. When I was little, my parents threw the best parties for me; looking back they were quite simple, but I loved them. Every year my friends would come over in the mid-morning and we’d frolick in the grass as the skirts of our party dresses whooshed in the warm breeze. At lunchtime, we’d all gather…

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A Supportive Dad Blogger Network Gift Exchange to Celebrate Modern Fatherhood

A Supportive Dad Blogger Network Gift Exchange to Celebrate Modern Fatherhood

When I was a little girl, a homemade note hung by our back door for as long as I can remember. It was a note written by my dad and directed at my siblings and me meant to be read each time we left the house for school or to go play with the neighborhood kids. It said simply: Be the best person you know how to be. That’s it. It was nothing fancy—and far from a…

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The Best Gift Exchange Ideas for Big Families Hosting Summer Reunions

The Best Gift Exchange Ideas for Big Families Hosting Summer Reunions

I’ll never forget the very first family reunion I went to when I was a kid. My brother, my parents, and I all piled into our red station wagon and road tripped to Wisconsin where we gathered at my Uncle’s country home—along with forty of our relatives. It was the first time that all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins were together in the same place at the same time. I remember feeling very overwhelmed and shy…

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How to Keep in Touch With Friends Over the Summer Vacation

How to Keep in Touch With Friends Over the Summer Vacation

Growing up in a touristy vacation spot, my summer friends were a totally different group than my winter friends. Summer Nina (not to be confused with year-round Nina), Meghan O., and other kids would suddenly move into the neighborhood temporarily, becoming much easier friends to get together with than the ones from school who didn’t live a literal hop, skip, and jump from my front door. But when school started up again, I would inevitably be shocked to…

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The Best Office Party Ideas for a Cool Summer Company Picnic

The Best Office Party Ideas for a Cool Summer Company Picnic

In the long history of spoken communication, most sentence combinations have been uttered. But one that probably hasn’t is “It’s such a nice beautiful summer day. I’m really excited to go into work!” Or, ok, it may have been said, but never sincerely. It might, in fact, be the most sarcastic sentence possible. That’s the thing about work. Most of us have to do it, but there are days when it feels almost impossible to focus on it….

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A Graduation Party Planning Checklist: Elfster’s How-To Guide

A Graduation Party Planning Checklist: Elfster’s How-To Guide

When I was getting ready to start college back in the 90s (cue lightning and thunderbolts in the background), we didn’t really need much. Bedding and such, of course, but besides that just a couple of packing crates, my books, my Discman, my CD case, and, of course, some decorations to show just how unique and idiosyncratic I was. I think there was an Escher? That blew some minds, man. In some ways, not a lot has…

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Personalized Graduation Gift Registry Ideas for Your College-Bound Grad

Personalized Graduation Gift Registry Ideas for Your College-Bound Grad

In the basement, there was a towering stack of boxes perpetually threatening to topple over whenever I would squeeze past them on the way to get Christmas decorations or pool supplies out a couple times a year. Inside? All of the things I left at my parents’ house when I graduated from high school as a sort of “temporary” storage situation… that stretched itself out for more than ten years. Recently, I went through the (mostly unmarked)…

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16 Creative Sweet Sixteen Birthday Gift Ideas

16 Creative Sweet Sixteen Birthday Gift Ideas

While most of my teenage years are now nothing but a blur, I distinctly remember my sixteenth birthday. I didn’t receive any material gifts from my parents that year. Instead, my mom took me on a trip to New York City. It was just the two of us, strolling arm in arm in Central Park, scurrying to Broadway box offices in hopes of scoring discount tickets, and snacking on salty street pretzels several times a day. I…

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DIY Summer Boredom Busters for Tweens

DIY Summer Boredom Busters for Tweens

My sister Kelsey and I are 8 years apart; when she was heading into her pre-teen tween years, I was still a toddler. My parents did an amazing job of keeping us (and our brother in the middle) entertained during the long, hot summer days by coming up with things that we could all do together. Often, these activities could be separated into four categories and were scattered throughout the days of the week to keep boredom from…

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How to Plan a Neighborhood Block Party This Summer

How to Plan a Neighborhood Block Party This Summer

When I was growing up, we’d pack into my mom’s car and venture from our home in the countryside exactly one hour north to my auntie’s house in the suburbs. We’d arrive at her cul-de-sac in the warmth of a late summer afternoon, kids outdoors playing basketball or hockey and the sounds of laughter floating out from backyard swimming pools. More often than not, the sweet smell of barbecued burgers and hot dogs was also permeating the…

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The Best Eid al-Fitr Gifts for Traditional Ramadan Gift Giving

The Best Eid al-Fitr Gifts for Traditional Ramadan Gift Giving

The sacred and solemn holiday of Ramadan is a time of prayer, of reflection, and of charity. It is a time of peace, where one prays for the world—and for themselves. It’s not for focusing on small worldly and bodily needs, such as food, but for seeking out your inner quietness for answers to spiritual matters. That makes it a time of fasting, when food cannot be eaten between dawn and dusk. To mark the end of that…

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