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 up some mixed…

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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 the same person…

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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 sense for…

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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 was wearing a…

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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 said, chuckling….

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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 pig named…

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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 around the picnic…

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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 Pinterest-worthy inspirational canvas….

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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 when I first…

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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 learn that…

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