I’m Feeling ’22.

Happy New Year!

The past few days, I have been relaxing and reflecting on the past year. I reviewed my new year’s blog posts for 2020 and 2021. I was eager and driven, running into 2020 and then cautious moving into 2021. I am excited yet grounded, stepping into this new year. 2020 and 2021 were full of lessons and learning more about myself than I intended. I hope that 2022 provides peace, calm, and happiness. I am very excited for ’22. It is the year that I will be getting married, finally traveling more, and hopefully creating some strong healthly habits in my daily life.

I was reluctant to create goals for ’22. I think back to my eager, innocent self moving into 2020 with a long list of goals and a fire in my heart. Only to be vastly disappointed at the end of 2020 by a long list of goals that were never completed. In 2021, I focused more on a vision board, knowing that even if something didnt happen, it would be something I hope for one day. Even though I was reluctant, I ended up creating a list of 22 things I wanted to do for ’22. This idea is based on 22 for ’22 that the podcast Happier with Gretchen Rubin talks about in episode 357. For my 22 for ’22, I wanted to create small yet effective goals. I chose goals that I knew I could realistically accomplish no matter what was happening in life/ the world.

I choose goals like getting married (already planned), walking 20 minutes a day, painting/ deep cleaning my house, and traveling to some places (which are already planned). These are all things I know will happen, things I already planned on doing. I hope filling a list of realistic goals and checking them off will give me a ton of motivation and excitement for this year ahead. I turned many of my goals into a vision board. Putting pictures to written plans is a neat way to visualize what you want to accomplish. It helps me to see what I want and go after it!

Also, based on the podcast Happier with Gretchen Rubin, I chose a word of the year for the year ahead. Last year, I chose the word balance. Choosing this word was a “be careful what you wish for because you just might get it” situation. I intended to find a calming balance between priorities in my life. 2021, my year of balance, gave me eye-opening challenges in finding balance. I was the busiest I have been in my entire life this fall. I learned to balance spending time with my fiance, spending time with my family, my new home, traveling for work, taking 2 Ph.D. classes, and a social life. It was not easy or perfect. It was challenging but taught me the balance I was seeking.

This year, I was a ton more intentional with my word. Knowing that if you focus on one thing, you will see the good, the bad, and the ugly of that thing. I wanted to focus on HOME this year. Since buying our house in May, I haven’t been able to put the TLC into our home that I would have liked. We have dreams of painting our home with more historical colors on the inside to align with its history and origins. We want to make our house cozy and feel like a home. It is incredibly exciting to think of all our projects for our neat early 1900s home!

With my word of the year, I created a goal for each month of 2022. I want to focus on a different area of our home. I want to paint, deep clean, organize each area of our home by December, so by Christmas next year, we are in a home that is fully painted like we want it, deep cleaned, decorated, and all small projects are completed!

I plan on making intentional moves in 2022. All the goals I accomplish, every project in our home, I want to be done with gratitude and thought. I have a good feeling about 2022. I am excited to get married, travel more, and accomplish some goals we have for our home! I hope that the hardships we have all faced the past 2 years will lessen and everyone can focus on happiness this year.

Cheers to a new year!

Buying A House in 2021

We are Home Owners!

On May 18th, my significant other and I bought our first home. We have been working on this goal slowly since we moved back to NEPA in June 2019. Job changes, lots of saving, and the pandemic later, here we are with a home.

As I am sure you know, the housing market is on fire right now. It honestly feels like a miracle that we not only bought a house, but we found one we LOVE! Everything about this home is what we wanted. It’s a pre World War 2 built home in Scranton, PA. It’s everything we could have dreamed of getting! It took a lot of effort emotionally, mentally, and physically to get here, though. I have a ton of advice for anyone looking to buy a home. We were blessed to have family that knew the home buying process well and a stellar realtor.

Here are 10 Tips for buying a home!

Tip #1

Find an area you want to live in. Make sure you want to live here. I have heard to make sure you want to own a home in that location for at least seven years. There are penalties if you sell your home too quickly after buying it. I like to think of a home as a longer-term investment. Whether I plan on living in it forever or I plan to rent it out when it’s time to move on, I don’t recommend buying a home if you only plan to live there for a few years.

Tip #2

Prepare yourself financially. There are a ton of costs to factor in when purchasing a home. There is also a ton of conflicting advice on the right amount to save, etc.
With conventional mortgages, you only need 5% right now. If you do put less than 20% down, though, you will be paying private mortgage insurance. You have to weigh the pros and cons and figure out what works for you!
Work on your credit scores and increase them as much as you can! The better your credit scores, the better your mortgage interest rates are going to be. You by no means need a perfect credit score, just a good, healthy one.
It can be hard to find advice on what your credit score should be and how much you should have saved. I did some self-education through the podcast How To Money. I learned a lot about mortgages and credit scores. I recommend talking, reading, or listening to reputable resources to create your financial plan. Don’t just listen to your friend or family member who may have never bought a house ever or it’s been many, many years. Their advice is helpful but having current and relevant information is crucial.
Set your plan and your budget, and stick to it!

Also, on the topic of mortgages, make sure you are working with a good company. Many good Realtors have connections to lenders that, because of that connection, things move smoothly throughout the buying process. If you do go with a lender outside of the realtor’s recommendation, which might also be a good move based on your rates, make sure they are accessible. Being able to call or email them with any questions you have and get a quick response is crucial.

Tip #3

Find a great realtor in your area. This was key for us finding out home and having our offer accepted. Our realtor was phenomenal. She knew her stuff and was a wealth of knowledge through the process. I feel a good realtor is not only someone who is a great resource and good at making deals but also someone who knows the specific area you are looking in. If they know your area, they will know common issues and perks of the area and help you navigate all of that.

Just because I love our realtor so much, if you are looking for a home in the Scranton Area, please reach out to me, and I will connect you with the one I used!


Learn what you want and don’t want. Spend time paroozing listings and seeing a variety of different houses. See houses below, at, and slightly above the price range you have in your head. CAUTION: don’t look at a house over the amount you are preapproved for; you don’t want to fall in love with something you are not qualified to buy. It’s crucial to see a variety of houses on various streets/ areas within the area you are looking at. You may find you have deal breakers you never thought you would, or you may fall in love with a particular style of house once you see it in person.

Tip #5

Find someone you are close to who knows the process. This is crucial to have an outside perspective on the process you are going through. We were lucky enough that my significant other was very familiar with the house buying process and my parents, who are familiar with the house buying process. This allowed us to educate ourselves and get those insider tips that first-time homebuyers where someone who bought a house years ago might not know. I think having someone outside of your realtor to talk about offers and house issues is helpful. They can serve as a voice of reason if you are feeling unsure or overwhelmed.

Tip #6

Ask all the questions! Don’t be afraid to ask your realtor and your trusted outsider all the questions! If your realtor cant answer your questions or can’t figure them out, maybe it’s time to find someone else. Your realtor should work to help get your questions answered. You should not feel pressured to commit to anything without your questions and concerns being answered. Also, as someone who hasn’t recently gone through the process, I love sharing my knowledge with others. Most people who know the process want to help you!

Tip #7

Don’t get caught up in the hype/ market. Especially right now, it can be easy to get caught up in this hot market. Don’t. Please do not spend money you do not have. Figure out your budget at the beginning of your process and stick it no matter what. Do not compromise your financial health for a home out of your means. Your house is out there, and it will work out within your budget. Trust that.
You’ll learn what reasonable prices are for what you are looking for in which you can adjust your price point based on calculations. You might also need to make a competitive offer, but there are ways to do that without going beyond your means. A good realtor will help you through this.

Tip #8

Take a break when you need it. It can be discouraging to put in offer after offer and not have a house. The house that is meant for you will come to you. It can be easy to just put in an offer on just about anything that seems nice. If you need a break, take one. Houses will still be coming on the market when you’re ready to start looking again.

Tip #9

Put in an offer you are comfortable with. Nothing more. I mentioned this in the don’t get caught up in the hot market. I think this point is crucial, though. In a hot market, you will be very tempted to overpay and outbid anyone for a house. Do not let the hot market or your realtor tell you that you absolutely need to put in a particular offer. You are in the driver’s seat, and you make the decisions. Good realtors know strategic ways to make offers more appealing.

A good example would be writing a letter to the current owner, talking about how much you love their house and your hopes for the home. If your offer is similar to other offers, you might grab their attention a bit more with a letter.
There are so many ways to put in strong offers on a house without going beyond your means and drastically overpaying.

Tip #10

Be prepared for after the offer is accepted. Things right now are moving quickly. Our original closing date was 45 days after our offer was accepted. It moved to 30 days because things moved smoothly.
Understand and ask questions about closing costs. When you buy a house, you don’t just need your down payment; you also need closing costs. You can get sellers assist in helping with closing costs, but it’s better to be prepared to pay them. In a hot market like this, sellers like when you cover your closing costs. I recommend financially preparing a bit beyond your down payment and closing costs too. When the inspection report comes back, and I highly recommend getting an inspection, you want to feel comfortable that you financially can handle any issues the house may have. No house is perfect, and all houses will need some money put into them, even if it’s just painting, getting your furnace services, etc.

Hopefully, this advice helps any potential home buyers out there! Buying a home is a stressful yet very exciting process. I have complete confidence you will find a home that you love!

TL;DR When looking to buy a house, don’t get caught up in the hot market. Make sure to financially prepare for a down payment, closing costs, and other home costs post-closing. Find a knowledgeable realtor in your area; it is crucial to finding a great, sturdy home and getting a good deal, even in a hot market.

3 Ceramists You Need To Know About

One of my absolute favorite things on this planet are hand made pottery mugs. I have been collecting pottery mugs since 2019 and would love to have an extensive collection on the day. It is easy to grab a $10 mug at Target or Home Goods, and I have plenty of regular mugs, but there is just something extraordinary about a handmade pottery mug. Ceramic mugs cost a reasonable amount more than a mug you can pick up in a chain store, but I like to think of them as little pieces of art. People spend hours and their talents pouring themselves into these small mugs for people to enjoy. I find them worth every single penny and do not question the price set by the ceramist.

I am not recommending going out and exclusively buying expensive pottery mugs but adding one here and there to your mug collection not only brightens your mug collection but it also helps real people pursue their passion and talents. I find that my handmade ceramic mugs feel different in my hands when drinking my coffee. They give me lots of joy each time I use them. They are unique and one of a kind.

I want to share some of my favorite ceramists out there. I have followed these ceramists for years and have mugs from 2 of them. The last one I will share is on my list of ceramists I dream about purchasing one day.

  1. Sugar House Ceramic Co.
    By far, this couple producing gorgeous mugs at Sugar House are my favorite ceramists out there. Their work is stunning, and their mugs are unlike any I have seen to date. Their mugs are incredibly cozy, and I think their prices are fantastic since some ceramic mugs can be upward of $100 easily. I have 3 of their mugs and 2 of their Christmas ornaments, so that in itself is proof of how much I believe in their ceramics and the quality of their ceramic. You can check out their website here: https://sugarhouseceramicco.com/

2. Lily Calabrese Pottery
I found Lily while on vacation in Vermont in the summer of 2019. She was set up at a little outdoor market, and I instantly fell in love with her work. She had a gorgeous and unique cactus mug that I bought instantly. She is known for her Late Bloomer mugs, which I find to be one of a kind and show incredible talent. Her ceramics are always evolving, and I purchase a need outer space themed plate for my sister that went over exceptionally well. I am very thankful I stumbled upon this ceramist and hope to buy from her again in the future! You can check out her work here: https://www.lilycalabrese.com/

3. LaLePottery
This ceramist’s work is on my dream to own list. I found her on Instagram and cannot wait to own a mug of hers one day. Her mugs feel eclectic and showcase her immense talent as an artist. I love the gold accents she adds to her mugs. I feel like her mugs would bring a little whimsy into anyone’s life. I especially love her mugs with bees on them! They make me swoon, haha. You can check her out here: https://www.instagram.com/lalepottery/

I hope you love these ceramists as much as I do! If you can’t purchase a mug, show these ceramists some love on social media. It is crucial to support small businesses in these times. Cheers to small ceramist businesses!

The Best Planner

It made be cliché to chat about planners in January, but I have found my planner incredibly useful during these unprecedented times. I didn’t throw this planner away in 2020, and it actually helped me stay organized in 2020.

I use to spend hours each December looking for the perfect planner. I remember December 2019 spending way too long in the planner aisle in Target. I finally picked the Create & Cultivate planner. This planner felt like it was built for me. I like to think it incorporates what every 20 something-year-old is looking for in a planner. It helps you be organized without being too much.

The planner’s beginning pages have a money goal section, important events for the upcoming year, and life and work goal section. There also is a place for a vision board. I have used this to set up goal lists and an actual photo vision board.

The rest of the planner is broken up by tabs of each month. There is a monthly calendar at the beginning of each month section. Then the planner is broken into weeks within the month. Each week has a section for mantras, primary goals, secondary goals, self-care, inspo, and more. It also has a section for each day of the week with the freedom to design each day the way you’d like. I typically write down events of the day, if I am working in the office, and some goals I want to focus on. You could add trackers, checklists, etc. At the end of each month section, there is a monthly reflection area. You can take notes a reflect on your goals, activities, events, money, your wins, side hustle planning, and follow-ups for the next month. This section really grounds me each month and makes sure I am intentional with my goals, times, and money. Additionally, it encourages you to recognize your wins, even if you feel like you might not have any.

Being intentional with your days is crucial in times like these. When most things in the world may feel out of control, a planner can help you feel more in control. This planner helps to ground me and set intentional and realistic goals.

If you are looking for a planner and jive with the Create & Cultivate one I am talking about, you can find it at Target!

Happy Planning!

Stepping Into 2021

I think I am among the majority who think it’s not a good idea to create resolutions or extensive goals for 2021.
2020 has been very difficult in many ways. I have accomplished almost none of my goals I planned this time last year. In 2020 I focused on surviving and taking care of myself. And that is enough.
I am a planner, though, and see the mark of a new year as an opportunity to evaluate where I am in life and where I would like to be in the future.

I am proud that I survived in 2020 and that I have the chance to create a better 2021. 2020 put much into perspective for me and made me question everything. My new perspective gave me a new way of approaching setting goals for 2021 and the future. It’s hard for anyone to set goals and reach them in uncertain times.
One of my favorite podcasts, “Happier,” talks about their lists of goals “20 for 20” and “21 for 21”. They also always talk about a word of the year. The podcast has inspired my goals in the past and has inspired me this year as well.

I decided to choose a word for 2021. This word is something I will use as an intention. Something that will help me through whatever 2021 brings. It will help guide my actions, goals, and the way I carry myself. I found picking a word to focus on gives me a sense of being intentional with my actions without setting structured goals.
The word I chose for myself is Balance. I wish to create balance in my life during 2021. I want to apply my word to my personal life, work-life, health, etc. I want to find balance in every corner of my life, whatever that means. I want to make decisions each day that create balance. 2020 provides a lot of imbalance, and choosing this word makes me feel like I will actively choose balance in each step I take in 2021.

I have chosen to create a few things to help inspire my desire for balance and help me use my word daily. I have created a vision board to help inspire me daily to strive for balance in my life. I also got myself a Lokai bracelet in the Pantone colors of the year. Lokai bracelets have water from Mt Everest, the highest point on earth, and mud from the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth. They are created to help one find the balance of highs and lows in life. Pantone’s colors this year are PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating. These colors, yellow and gray, are to show how elements come together to support each other. These colors represent warmth, optimism, strength, and positivity.
I hope that wearing the Lokai bracelet and seeing my vision board daily inspire me to create balance in my life.

I am striving to be optimistic about 2021 while still understanding that there are hardships ahead of us. I am eager to use my word to create more happiness and wholeness in my life during these strange times. I hope this encourages you to use something, whether it’s a word or a song or a book, to guide you through this upcoming year. We should be intentional with our actions and strive to be kind and caring towards others in the new year.

Cheers to a new year!

2020 Christmas Gift Guide

Christmas is easily my favorite holiday. Every year, I spend hours and hours researching the perfect gifts for each person in my life. This year, I wanted to share some of my favorite ideas from years past and news ideas! These ideas for those in your life you may be struggling to find the perfect gift for.

* I do include links to products; some are affiliated with my account with the company because they are products I genuinely love. They are not sponsored links. *

For the Work Secret Santa

Since WFH is the primary way people are working right now, you may not be doing a regular work Secret Santa. My office is doing a socially distant zoom Secret Santa this year. We are dropping our gifts in the office the week before and having a date to pick them up by. Then, we have a zoom meeting scheduled where we will all open our presents.
Even in these WFH times, I would recommend a fun desk calendar! You can put them anywhere, your desk at work, desk at home, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, etc.!
They have some neat desk calendars with fun facts or quotes. You can find just about any theme of calendar for anyone’s interests. I found these cool The Office and Friend themed ones on amazon!



For the Family Grab Bag Gift
Looking for something inexpensive yet useful for the family grab bag? Check out this Wallet Ninja. It is a credit-card size multitool that can be stored in your wallet or car for any tool emergencies!

For the Dog in Your Life
If you have a pet in your life, most likely you have heard of chewy! They have great deals going on for the holidays and carry my favorite brand of dog toys. Our dog tends to chew toys up and beat them up, so we always get him more durable toys. I love the brand CHUCKIT! and their flying squirrel is one of his favorite toys ever! He hasn’t destroyed it, and it has stood the test of time!

For the Coffee Lover
As a coffee lover myself, I always love getting a new brewing method for the holidays! Having a way to brew great coffee at home is such a delightful gift.
French Presses are an easy and quick way to brew coffee at home. I love the brand Bodum, but you can get a French Press at Target, Home Goods, etc.
Here is a link to a cool Bodum French Press: https://www.bodum.com/us/en/coffee/coffee-makers?___store=us_en&price=9-27

Since Cold Brew is becoming more popular, I highly recommend this Cold Brew brewer. I have one, and I love it. It’s durable, easy to clean, and makes a few cups! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0776ZSV8P?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share

A great addition to a brewing method would be delicious beans! I love grabbing some local beans, or you could add a coffee subscription from Atlas Coffee Club. I love this subscription and highly recommend it! If you are getting ground beans, make sure to get them coarse for the French Press and Cold Brew!
Here is a link to Atlas Coffee Club: https://atlas.coffee/SHARE-HT8B9

For the Sustainable Friend
Grove collaborative is a cool website with tons of items for those in your life who are focused on using sustainable products.
I would recommend a tool or item that isn’t a cleaner or other product with a scent. Wool Dryer Balls, Soap Dispenser and Brush, or even a nice Glass Bottle. Here are some links to items I like on the Grove Collaborative website.




For the Social Justice Friend
Have that friend or family member who is passionate about socially just products?
Ten Thousand Villages is a great place to pick up some fair trade gifts at a reasonable price. They have a little bit of everything from jewelry to baskets to kitchen items. Check them out here: https://www.tenthousandvillages.com/

If you have someone in your life that is passionate about social justice issues, there are a few books that could be informational yet appreciated! I recommend finding a book that applies to their profession or personal life!

Check Out:

How To Be An Anti-Racist: https://www.amazon.com/How-Be-Antiracist-Ibram-Kendi/dp/0525509283/ref=sr_1_3?crid=210L2EU5DGOYL&dchild=1&keywords=how+to+be+an+antiracist&qid=1605482468&sprefix=how+to+be+a%2Caps%2C170&sr=8-3

Color of Law: https://www.amazon.com/Color-Law-Forgotten-Government-Segregated/dp/1631494538/ref=sr_1_1?crid=LP0P90G7WC3Q&dchild=1&keywords=the+color+of+law&qid=1605482504&sprefix=the+color+of+law%2Caps%2C215&sr=8-1

Superior: The Return of Race Science: https://www.amazon.com/Superior-Return-Science-Angela-Saini/dp/0807028428/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=superior&qid=1605482522&sr=8-1

For the Family Member Who Loves To Cook
I absolutely love Pampered Chef products! They have some inexpensive yet unique kitchen products to level up anyone’s kitchen.
I personally recommend these flexible cutting mats, this coated utility knife, and this excellent brownie pan.




For the Friend Who is into Essential Oils and Crystals
Any of your friends interested in essential oils would definitely love a new oil for Christmas! I highly recommend figuring out their favorite brand and grabbing them an oil from their brand. If you don’t know their favorite brand, I recommend buying an essential oil from Young Living or DoTerra since they are known for having excellent quality oils.
Many times, companies have fun blends like Christmas Spirit that would make a great gift.
Check out Young Living Here: https://yl.pe/mariatemples

Any friends who love crystals and gemstones will most likely care about where their crystals are coming from. There are plenty of places to get crystals and gemstones, but they aren’t always ethically sourced. I have heard fantastic things about https://mymetaphysicalmaven.com/ and how their items are ethically sourced. Wearable crystals and gemstones are a good idea instead of giving just a rock!

For the Book Worm
There is a graphics novel series that just about any book worm would fancy, even if they are not generally into graphics novels. The series is called papers girls. The graphics are stunning, and the story is exhilarating. There are 6 books in the series, and they are quick reads.
Here is a link to the first book in the series: https://www.amazon.com/Paper-Girls-1-Brian-Vaughan/dp/1632156741

For the Minimalist
Don’t we all have someone in our lives who just doesn’t want stuff? I have found experiences are the best gift option for people who don’t want actual things. https://www.groupon.com/ is a great place to find inexpensive, local experiences. I have found neat wine tastings, cider tastings, and even museum experiences on Groupon.

For the Lover of Cozy Things
WEIGHTED BLANKET! Everyone raves about weighted blankets and all of their benefits. If you have someone who loves cozy things, get them a weighted blanket this year!
If they already have a weighted blanket, grab them an Icelandic wool blanket. Iceland is known for its cozy and warm wool blankets! You can find some good Icelandic wool blankets Here: https://www.icewear.is/us/wool-blankets?gclid=CjwKCAiAnvj9BRA4EiwAuUMDf-T3onWrh_9t2YsaSMQEfXTTFaLSNOOeISAITb06D4dvR5K4mppkzBoCrTkQAvD_BwE

For the Traveler
The traveler in your life will be looking for help financially with traveling or adventure gear.
If you aren’t able to grab them a travel-themed gift card, I recommend adding to their adventure gear collection.
Passport covers, adventure clothing, and other fun travel accessories would be good gift options.
I highly recommend checking out the company Serengetee. They have really great clothing for traveling, and they have cool adventure accessories. I really love this passport cover they have!

For the Family Member Who Loves Christmas
Since I am that family member, I can definitely give some good advice on this gift! Christmas lovers appreciate a special version of their favorite Christmas item. My favorite is collecting unique and meaningful ornaments. I know people who love nutcrackers, snowmen, and more! Find what Christmas item they love and get them a meaningful version of it!

Happy Shopping!

Christmas Gifts for the 5 Love Languages

Using the 5 Love Languages to guide your Christmas shopping is a powerful way to show people you love them. I have created a guide to learn more about the 5 Love Languages and gift ideas for each of the 5 Love Languages.

If you are not familiar with the 5 Love Languages, they are 5 categories in which people feel and give love. The 5 Love Languages is not just for couples learning how to better love each other; it’s for yourself, your kids, etc. The 5 categories are Quality Time, Acts of Service, Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, and Receiving Gifts. These categories aren’t black and white. For example, Receiving Gifts does not necessarily mean you can bring your loved one a gift, and they would be happy. People who score high in the Receiving Gift category enjoy receiving thoughtful gifts. They feel appreciated and love when you pick up their favorite candy bar when you stop grabbing some gas. Each category is the same; they aren’t cut and dry. If you would like more information about the 5 love languages, there is a quiz, book, and other resources. You can find those resources here: https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/

5 Love Languages Gift Guide

Quality Time

People who score high in the Quality Time category just simply want to spend time with you! They want your attention on them, doing something you both love. 
If you share a passion for wine, grab a wine tasting that the two of you could do. 
Experiences are key when it comes to giving gifts to someone in this category. Find a museum you can go to together, find a cool local event to take them to, find something they love, and go with them to the event
If you both love staying in, grab take out from your favorite restaurant and plan a night in. Chat over dinner, watch their favorite movie together, play their favorite board game
The key in all of these recommendations is your attention. Make the night you spend with them unplugged. 
Show them you are present and in the moment with them.

Acts of Service

People who fall into the category of Acts of Service would like tasks done. This is a very action-oriented way of giving gifts. They feel most love when their loved one does a chore around the house that they usually wouldn’t or stops at the grocery store, so their partner doesn’t have to. 
Great gifts ideas for people in this category aren’t physical gifts. This doesn’t mean you can get away with not getting them a physicals gift, but there are ways for the holidays you can make their holidays the best. 
Great ideas would be making them breakfast and coffee on Christmas morning. Bring it to them in bed! It will set an excellent mood for the rest of the day. Offer to cook or clean for big holiday meals; pick whichever task your partner likes doing least. 
Great actual gifts you can give are gifts of tasks being completed. So if your partner hates cutting the lawn, give them the gift of a lawn service coming to do it. If they are busy and don’t have a ton of time to clean their house, give them the gift of a cleaning service. If you are looking to save a few bucks, make coupons with tasks you are willing to do for them that can be started immediately. Let them know that they can use their coupon at any time, for any reason. If they don’t use their coupons – help them use them. If they have a long day and typically are the ones to do the dishes, suggest before dinner that tonight would be a good night to use their dishwashing coupon. 
The key with this gift is to do tasks for them, especially ones they do not like to do. 

Physical Touch

People who score high in the Physical Touch category don’t just want to be hugged all the time! There are some great physical and platonic gifts that can be given to this category. 
If you are in a platonic relationship with someone in this category, think of the sense of touch when shopping for a gift. You can get them blankets, slippers, massage certificates, and anything cozy to the touch! 
If you are in a romantic relationship, cozy things and massage certificates are great but, consider planning an evening to give them a back of foot massage. Give them some extra cuddle time on Christmas morning before getting out of bed! 
The important thing to realize with Physical Touch is to give them something that appeals to their sense of touch! 

Words of Affirmation

People who score high in the Words of Affirmation category enjoy hearing and reading loving words from you. For a gift, creating some type of written word to physically give them would be perfect. Write them a love letter! Send your best friend a letter or postcard with loving words. Grab a Fill in the Love Book, which is a fill in the blank journal, and you can get one for each Words of Affirmation person in your life. You can create a book for a graphic novel digitally or physically with important and loving words. There are books to help you write letters for a letter time capsule. You can create a box of “read when ___” letters for happy, sad, or random moments they might go through. Having your words written somewhere that they can return to is key for this gift. Also, make sure you tell them how wonderful you think they are – in your own way during the holidays. Filling them up with loving words will make their confidence soar during this holiday season. 

Receiving Gifts

As I mentioned in the intro, people who score high in receiving gifts do not just want random gifts; they want meaningful gifts. These people want meaningful, physical gifts.
Focus on finding gifts that are meaningful and tailored to the person you are buying for. Grab them their favorite flower, make them a collage of their favorite photos, buy them their favorite coffee from their favorite coffee shop. Gifts do not have to be expensive, it just needs to be meaningful to them. 
The key thing is to find gifts that are their favorite physical things!

Happy Shopping!

Coping during COVID

These are unprecedented times.

I love dystopian movies and books. It is my favorite genre, actually. I am always intrigued by what could happen to our world. One of my favorites is World War Z. The zombies in that movie are super quick, and I definitely would not want to be alive to experience those types of zombies.

Right now, I feel like I am living in one of the dystopian books I’ve read or movies I have watched. Honestly, it feels a lot different then I would have thought. I would have expected to be on the run, no running water, and feel unsafe even at my own home. I believe this pandemic has a quietness to it. It has a loneliness component that feels different then what I have read and watched. It’s bizarre to see how quiet and slow the world is right now.

As humans we are social creatures. We crave attention, love, and connection from others. I think that’s what makes staying at home and social distancing so hard.

Some days I struggle real hard. I am blessed to be working from home, but some days it’s just hard to get out of bed and so the same thing again. Its hard knowing I won’t be in my office for weeks, maybe months. Other days I try to take advantage of the gift of time. I take a long walk, read a book I have had on my shelf for forever, and spend time with the family I am at home with.

I put a lot of pressure on myself regularly, even before this pandemic, to do more, be more, accomplish more. I never feel like I have learned enough or do enough. Honestly, I still feel this way even though I have a lot more time. I am trying hard every day to stop this. I am doing enough. At this point, surviving this pandemic is ENOUGH. It’s okay to be sad, its okay to feel alone.

I am trying hard to reach out to friends and set up phone calls and video calls. I am using my time being at home as an excuse to binge my favorite tv shows, read books, clean my room, learn something new, and take walks every day. These are self-care to me, and I know if I didn’t pursue these activities, I would not be well mentally.

For those of you who read my thoughts on COVID-19, thank you. We are struggling out here and know I am here for you. Reach out to me if you need anything. I am challenging you to do something this weekend that will lift your spirits and is self-care for you. This is your remaindered that you are doing great, and this will all be over before we know it. Hang in there.