Woo Him with Japanese Valentine’s Day Traditions and Heartfelt Homemade Gifts

Woo Him with Japanese Valentine’s Day Traditions and Heartfelt Homemade Gifts

My husband and I will be celebrating our sixth Valentine’s Day together this year, so the traditional gestures of chocolates, flowers, and a card were beginning to feel a little trite and bland. Our love for each other, however, is not, and I wanted my gifts to reflect this. As a travel and culture enthusiast, I searched abroad for some international inspiration. Though I always thought of the holiday as an invention of Western culture, the roots of Valentine’s Day…

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Motivational Gift Ideas: Inspiring Friends to Keep Their 2017 New Year’s Resolutions

Motivational Gift Ideas: Inspiring Friends to Keep Their 2017 New Year’s Resolutions

March is how far I got in 2016. Come to think of it, March is about how long I can maintain my New Year’s resolutions most years. But wouldn’t it feel amazing to see a New Year’s resolution through for an entire calendar year? I’m determined to tough it out in 2017—I’m in it for the long haul and I know my friends are, too. From 12-step programs with support groups to exercise buddies counting on you to show up…

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The Year of the Rooster: A Traditional Chinese New Year Celebration for 2017

The Year of the Rooster: A Traditional Chinese New Year Celebration for 2017

A few years ago, my college pal Amanina, known as Amy to her American classmates, wasn’t able to make it home to Malaysia for Chinese New Year. She was clearly bummed—it’s the most important day of her year, a celebration of family and a chance to make way for new luck and opportunities—so I decided to bring home to her with a Chinese New Year-inspired surprise party. I started with very little knowledge about Chinese New Year, or its traditions,…

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The Legendary Saint of Love: Honoring the History and Traditions of Valentine’s Day

The Legendary Saint of Love: Honoring the History and Traditions of Valentine’s Day

Around the year 270 A.D., Emperor Claudius II decided that men would make better fighters if they were unwed, so he outlawed marriage for any potential soldier. Seeing this as a crime against humanity—and love—Saint Valentine secretly performed marriages for young men and their lovers. Infuriated, Emperor Claudius II had St. Valentine thrown into jail and sentenced to a horrible death, which was carried out on February 14th, according to legend. As the wife of a former Airman, I’m personally…

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Inspirational Gifts That Keep on Giving to Connect Long Distance Family and Friends

Inspirational Gifts That Keep on Giving to Connect Long Distance Family and Friends

On the eve of our high school graduation, my three best friends and I knew we wanted to do something special to mark the end of an era. We would all be spreading out across the country to attend different schools—the days of watching One Tree Hill at Andrea’s after school or cheering on Lea at her volleyball games were over. But, regardless of what roads we would travel in life, we were bonded, a team. So, we came up…

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Uniquely Useful Gifts to Ease the Minds of First Time Parents

Uniquely Useful Gifts to Ease the Minds of First Time Parents

“Cupcakes,” I said quite exhaustedly, “all I want is sleep, baby cuddles, and cupcakes!” My mom should have known that I wouldn’t be able to come up with a better response to her question in my post-delivery, overtired silliness. It was still six weeks before my youngest son’s expected due date—the baby shower had come and gone, the nursery was nearly together, and I thought I still had at least a month to get my hospital bag packed. Boy, was…

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DIY Silver Anniversary Gifts That Sparkle and Shine Without a Big Spend

DIY Silver Anniversary Gifts That Sparkle and Shine Without a Big Spend

When I see couples hitting those big marital milestones, I can’t help by fawn over how strong their relationship must be to last through all those years. My aunt and uncle recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with a lovely garden party. They’re a traditional couple, so I wanted to honor their big milestone in a classic way. A 25-year anniversary calls for gifts of silver. This tradition began in the Germanic region of Europe when husbands would give their…

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Imaginations Take Flight: Ideas for a Children’s International Storytime Party

Imaginations Take Flight: Ideas for a Children’s International Storytime Party

“We all went on safari, over grasslands damp with dew…” Little minds will fill with wonder as the story We All Went on Safari unfolds in detailed descriptions and colorful pictures, transporting wee ones to the foreign land of Tanzania on the wings of their imaginations—and with the help of author Laurie Krebs. Reading stories about traveling and people living colorful lives in foreign countries allows us to explore the world in ways not always open to us in real…

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New Year’s Resolution Gift Ideas to Help You Refocus, Recenter, and Succeed

New Year’s Resolution Gift Ideas to Help You Refocus, Recenter, and Succeed

A cultural phenomenon in Ancient Rome, throughout the Christian Empire, and in our modern, tech-hungry society of today, setting New Year’s resolutions, in fact, dates back to the Babylonians, who lived more than 4,000 years ago. Though they celebrated the new year in mid-March according to the lunar calendar, the Babylonians treated it as a time to make promises and improvements for the year to come. Despite its long history, only about 8% of Americans will actually keep their resolutions…

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How to Add a Personalized Surprise to a Wedding Gift Straight from the Registry

How to Add a Personalized Surprise to a Wedding Gift Straight from the Registry

Scrolling through another politely-requested online gift registry, I see the usual suspects: a crockpot, a distinct china pattern set, a brightly-colored stand mixer. The difference, this time, was that it was a dear friend from college who had become engaged. While I was thrilled for her (and who doesn’t love to attend a wedding), I was disappointed with the gift registry—she was asking me, one of her closest friends, to buy her a stock gift off of a registry list….

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