Sunday, January 29, 2017

Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Before we graduated in May 2016, my boyfriend and I spent the two years before living directly across the hall from one another in our residence halls. So, come post-grad life, when he was living back at home in Philadelphia and I was moving into my first "big girl" apartment in New York City, things were not nearly (in the most literal sense) as fun.

Quickly, we began to figure out how different life in the real world was, but thankfully found a schedule that worked. For the most part, we see each other every other weekend and talk constantly between those times.


But, when Hallmark holidays like the lovely Valentine's Day don't fall on a weekend, we have to work around it. So this year, we are celebrating a little early — our first such Valentine's Day more than a hallway apart.

Thankfully, we've realized the fact that, while not ideal, long-distance relationships can actually be kind of fun. In fact, looking through some of the ideas for things I can send to him on February 14th, I found a few that are actually a whole lot more fun than some of the gifts I would give him if he didn't live a few states away.

With the help of some amazing sites like Etsy and Google, I came up with a few of my favorites. Here's a collection of some long-distance gift ideas for the loved ones in your life who live far away and/or the galentine's who just miss your sweet face.


1 & 4. Chocolates and other candies
The thing about Valentine's Day is that it's the most acceptable time to be predictable. In fact, most clichés are actually preferred (correct me if I'm not in the majority on this one) — chocolates and candies being two of my absolute favorites. But, while chocolates and candies are pretty foreseeable, they can still be a surprise. I've gathered a few of the most unique options here:

     Ones I've Tried AND loved:
            Personalized M&Ms:
Yes, M&Ms — a true classic that, when personalized, will taste even sweeter.

            Sugarfina Valentine's Candy (i.e. Love You A Bunch Rosé Roses):
For those who don't like or can't have chocolate (like my boyfriend... I KNOW), Sugarfina gummy candies are the perfect festive treats. Whether your Valentine prefers candy strawberries, gummy roses, or sugar-coated hearts, Sugarfina's got your gift-giving needs covered.

     Ones I'd Love to Try:
            WhatCandySays Personalized Chocolate Messages

2. Balloons or flowers
Balloons are never a bad idea... right? Next to (or in addition to) flowers, balloons can put a smile on anyone's face. I'm not quite sure why helium filled sacs are so joyful, but they are, and your s/o would love a bundle sent directly to his/her door. And, speaking from experience, it feels almost as good to send them as it does to receive them. Looking for some original ones? Try one of these fun/exclusive finds:
            Emoji Valentine's Balloons
            Word Balloons
            Funny Love Balloons

3. Cute trinkets
Whether it's a keychain, jewelry, a book, or a stuffed animal, something small can often send some of the most romantic vibes. Check out some of these fun gifts from my Christmas gift roundup for just some of my favorite ideas.


5. Framed photos or mementos

If you cannot be together in spirit, a photographed reminder is the next best thing. Put a picture in a pretty frame or add that movie ticket stub from your first date (or whatever the memento may be) and send it their way. Some that I absolutely love can be found on Minted:
           Love You, Love

            Heart Snapshot Mix
            Love Letters


6
. Written poems or letters

Obviously this love letter pin is adorable, but when it comes down to it, gestures and purchases can only go so far in saying "I love you." If you haven't already (or, honestly, even if you have), writing a poem or love letter from the heart is really the way to go, especially if you are sending your V-Day gifts a long distance. Because nothing is quite like receiving a handwritten letter, even if it just says "Hi" — but, I recommend writing more than just that.

1. Skype Dinner Date

So you can't be in the same state because Valentine's Day falls in the middle of the week (so inconvenient)? Try a Skype or FaceTime date. Although not ideal, the added effort could potentially make your date extra romantic because it shows your commitment. Cook up the same dish, pour yourselves a glass of wine, and cheers through your smartphone or laptop because even though you can't hold hands or kiss at dinner, you can still see one another.

2. Movie Night

After dinner, put on a movie and continue video-chatting or switch to talking on the phone throughout the film. Pretend as though there is nothing between you (other than a couple thousand miles) and enjoy the night. Personal recommendation: opt for a dramedy or just a straight up comedy so you don't end up crying too hard while watching a sappy movie without your s/o there to console you. It'll be great.

3. Game Night

You do what you got to do, right? Though we've never tried this one, I'm honestly thinking of making it a thing because there are plenty of games on our smartphones. My boyfriend and I particularly love Heads Up, which we could definitely play via Skype. And Words with Friends and/or Trivia Crack could be just as fun, too.

Are you in a long distance relationship? What are some of your favorite gift/date ideas to celebrate special occasions when you cannot be together?

Monday, January 23, 2017

5 Ways to Stay Motivated to Workout — Everyday

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Walking home from work this evening was far from fun, to say the least. The wind was howling, the rain was pouring, and no matter how hard I tried to keep myself dry it was useless.

It was one of those nights when my umbrella was doing much more harm than good. You know those storms in which the wind actually blows the rain horizontally at you instead of down toward your umbrella? The same winds that turn your umbrella inside-out?

Unfortunately, when the weather is lazy, I tend to mimic it and once I finally make it up the six flights of stairs to my walkup apartment, it's nearly impossible to get myself back down and out into the rain or snow. Especially if it's to go workout when I could stay inside binge-watching TV and/or movies.

But, while the weather can definitely be my biggest motivation killer, I have recently found a few things that help get me up and out, even when it's cold, rainy, snowy, and/or I just can't get going.

Here are the 5 (very honest) ways I get myself motivated when all I want to do is curl up in my pajamas:

          1. Listen to the right playlist.
If I try to get myself out the door without first putting in my headphones and blasting a pump-up playlist, there's no way I'm going to get myself moving. So, if you don't have one already or are looking to add a few more songs to your current list, here are 9 of my current go-tos (judge all you want, but they work!):
               1. "Break Free"— Ariana Grande feat. Zedd
               2. "All of Me" — John Legend (Tiësto' Birthday Treatment Remix)
               3. "Let Me Love You" — DJ Snake/Justin Bieber
               4. "CAN'T STOP THE FEELING!" — Justin Timberlake
               5. "Cheap Thrills" — Sia feat. Sean Paul
               6. "In the Name of Love" — Martin Garrix & Bebe Rexha
               7. "The Greatest" — Sia feat. Kendrick Lamar
               8. "Don't Wanna Know" — Maroon 5 feat. Kendrick Lamar
               9. "My Way" — Calvin Harris

          2. Set a realistic weekly schedule/routine.

As much as I would love to work out every day (?), it is not particularly realistic for me. Each week, I try to map out which days I will go to the gym and often times those days are not the same each week. I plan my weekly schedule out and find time within it to set aside to get moving. Whether it's Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, Tuesday/Thursday, Wednesday/Thursday, et cetera my gym schedule varies, but having a semi-flexible plan is best for me so I don't feel guilty if I can't get myself out the door one day.

          3. Lie to myself.
If I'm being honest, nine out of ten times I tell myself "I'll just go for 20 minutes. Get my heart rate going and then come home. A little cardio is good for me." And then, once I'm there, I end up staying much longer because the endorphins start flowing, I get in the zone, and suddenly I'm bench pressing 300 pounds. Obviously not really, but sometimes telling myself a little lie to get me there is all it takes to actually, well, get there. Worst case scenario? I told myself the truth and actually do only stay for 20 minutes. But, that's 20 minutes of cardio and I can settle for that if that's all I have in me that day.

          4. Do a workout challenge.
After I do my cardio at the gym, my next focus is the 30-day ab and butt challenges I'm currently committed to. The best way for me to personally stay on track is to have a schedule I know I have to follow on the days I exercise. I prefer to download various free apps on my phone so I have it in front of me as I go and can easily check off what I have done. Try searching "30 Day Ab," "30 Day Butt," et cetera for easy fitness downloads. Nothing keeps me quite on track like something that's already pre-scheduled for me.

          5. Remember the post-workout high.
Honestly, this one is really what gets me to exercise most of the time. After sometimes dragging myself there, I really start to feel good about it. Leaving the gym sweaty and feeling like I absolutely crushed it really makes me proud and ready for round 2.


How do you stay active? And what are some of your ways of getting motivated to do so?


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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Be Mine, JORD Wood Watches?

The following post contains affiliate links to JORD Wood Watches. More information is located at the bottom of this post.

Men's Watch: JORD's Conway Series Kosso & Midnight Blue

* GIVEAWAY info at the bottom of the post!

When it comes to choosing Valentine's Day gifts for the person/people you care about, the best ones are often the most unique. Whether it's a homemade present, a romantic gesture, or a fancy outing for/with your significant other and/or a mani/pedi with your mother, sister, and/or girlfriends, the day is supposed to be about one thing: love.

And, of course, any special day dedicated to love that is celebrated with pink and red hearts, chocolates, and flowers — whether they're from your friend, family, or partner — is one with which I can totally get down.

So, as expected, with just about a month until February 14th, my excitement for finding gifts is in full effect. My first choice for the men in my life? The incredibly stunning and unique Kosso & Midnight Blue watch from JORD Wood Watches' Conway Series.

Men's Denim Shirt: Woolrich

As with all JORD styles, the men's watches from the Conway series are made of wood and crafted/sold by "artists, designers, marketers, and minders."

Not only is this particular JORD watch part of the company's first-ever series with chronograph men's watches (meaning it not only can tell you the time, but it can help you stop it, too), BUT, it's also made of Kosso wood from Nigeria and can be customized with personalized engravings.

Between the strong wristband and the shiny, glass face, nothing says "I love and appreciate you" quite like the addition of a JORD watch to your gift list. Because you know what they say: love is timeless. But that doesn't mean the ones you love shouldn't be able to tell the time.

Men's Denim Shirt: Woolrich
Men's Watch: JORD's Conway Series Kosso & Midnight Blue

Despite the fact the watch pictured is made for men, JORD's wide selection of watches makes it possible for you to give to the women and men in your life, making the perfect gift for any one of your Valentines or Galentines — or of course, yourself.

 ENTER THE GIVEAWAY 


As if these beauties aren't exciting enough as is, JORD and I are running a giveaway! ONE lucky winner will receive a $100 gift code to use on the JORD site. BUT, what happens if you aren't that one lucky winner? You still win! EVERYONE who enters will get a $25 gift code just for participating! All entries must be in by 2/5!


Interested in browsing more of JORD's wood watch selections? You deserve it — and so does your Valentine:

Women's Watches
Men's Watches


I'd love to hear from you! Comment below with your favorite JORD wood watch style!
Men's Denim Shirt: Woolrich
Men's Watch:  JORD's Conway Series Kosso & Midnight Blue

As previously stated, this post contains affiliate links. While this is a sponsored post, I only publish and/or endorse pieces I truly believe in and love, which is why I am thrilled to be able to share these unique JORD Wood Watches with you. For more information about Sponsors, please visit the The Sprinkle Blog's Disclaimer page.

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Monday, January 9, 2017

5 Tips for Getting Organized This Week

Photo Credit: Helene in Between

We are officially a little over a week into 2017 and while the whole "new year, new me" saying is a little silly (I mean, you're the same you, you know?), I do believe in fresh starts.

Whether you have chosen to skip the resolutions this year or set goals around physical/mental health, relationships, and/or other, 2017 is your year. It's our year.

Because what makes for a good year is not whether or not we stick to the resolutions we set on day 1, but whether we find health, happiness, and self-growth in those 365.

While I did set goals for myself this year, I also know my goals for today may not be the same a month or even a week from now, so if I don't stick to all of the resolutions I've made, it's never to late to make new ones.

So, in addition to my longterm goals, I will be setting short-term ones as well. This week's goal? Getting organized. Here's what I hope to do this week:

1. Organize all email accounts.
Like many people, I have several email accounts — a work one, a personal one, and a school one — and each one, of course, is subscribed to approximately 38+ different online shopping sites. J.Crew, LOFT, Forever 21, Nordstrom, that store I cannot even remember the name of and don't know how I even came across it, et cetera. All because, I admit it, I'm addicted to online shopping. But, I mean, who can resist those coupon and promo codes? AND because organization will help me this year as I advance in my career (but really because I am definitely not one with self-control when given 30% off), I will be clicking the "unsubscribe" button on (some) of those email chains that clutter up my inbox, deleting old/unnecessary messages, and sorting new ones into folders.

Photo Credit: Helene in Between

2. Backup photos and videos.
Pretty soon that dreaded message will pop up on my lock screen alerting me to the fact that there is insufficient storage on my phone and unlike every other time, this time I do not want to be in the middle of something important. Plus, in the name of getting myself organized, making sure all of my photos and videos are safely downloaded into Google Photos, I can delete them to make room for more.


3. Jot down everything in my planner.
I was so excited to get The Happy Planner for 2017 because I knew it was the answer to remaining organized and starting to plan out my day-to-day schedule. The truth? I buy a planner at the start of every year without fail, but almost always stop using it within a few weeks. This year, I will make sure to carry the planner with me everywhere. In the planner I will write out reminders to make sure I keep to goals, appointments, and scheduling. These are the things I will jot down:
  • Job appointments, meetings, and projects
  • Blog post schedules
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Gym schedule
  • Trips

Photo Credit: Helene in Between

4. De-clutter desk drawers.
If there is one thing in my office that I have to sort through, it's the drawers in the storage unit under my desk. I'll de-clutter my desk by re-organizing or tossing those loose papers, pens, and binders inside.


5. Delete iPhone apps I no longer use.
When it comes to phone storage, photos and videos are just a small small part of the problem. So, as a second way of preventing a tantrum from an over-stuffed iPhone, I will be getting rid of the apps on my phone that I no longer use.

Photo Credit: Helene in Between

From now on, in my phone's Notes or my new Happy Planner, I will write down weekly goals for myself to ensure that my 2017 resolutions don't go, well, unresolved.

What are some of your short-term goals?

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