Tag Archives: friends

Super Fun Cold Weather Activities

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Super Fun Cold Weather Activities

Hi everyone! Despite the chilly temperatures outside, I always enjoy outdoor winter activities… and then warming up inside with hot chocolate! Depending on your area, there could be a ton of exciting options for you and, lucky for me, there are a lot to pick from in my neck of the woods. Some of my favorites include:

Winter Lights At The Zoo:

On Thanksgiving weekend, my parents, boyfriend, sister, niece, and I went to the Akron Zoo during the after hours to check out their amazing holiday lights display. The whole property was lit up with gorgeous color. Some of the lights blinked, others flashed, and the bigger ones were timed to light up to the beat of Christmas carols.

Of course, it’s always fun to see the animals at the zoo but the light displays were just spectacular. I loved all of the lights shaped like different animals, especially the elephant whose trunk moved! Definitely check out if any of the zoos in your area do any special winter displays because it’s a wonderful option for all ages.

Outdoor Skating Rinks:

During the winter, I try to hit up an outdoor rink at least once. As a skater girl, it is such a good time to hit the great outdoors and show off a bit for the general public! 😀 I love the rink at Lock 3 that we have in downtown Akron, which now includes bumper tubes and ice bikes, if skating isn’t your thing.

A lot of the outdoor rinks will feature other fun activities like sledding, Christmas crafts, and holiday markets. And, did I mention the always delicious hot chocolate stands? Skating at an outdoor rink makes for a great date or hang out with your friends but try and go during a less popular time (morning or early afternoon), if you aren’t the most confident skater.

Toboggan/Sled Rides:

There is a toboggan chute in my area that I have been dying to try out and I would love to give it a go this year. It can reach speeds of up to 50 MPH, which is awesome if you are a thrill seeker, like myself. If this sounds a bit too intense for you, sled riding is another fun option and is a good one to take your children or nieces and nephews to. I am definitely hoping we can take my little niece, Valerie, down a baby hill or two this year!

Hikes Are Nice:

I always enjoy taking at least one hike during the winter time at one of the many amazing Metro Parks in my area. I think that it is so much fun to bundle up, pull on my boots, and trudge around in the snow. Not only is it an excellent work out, but I especially love to see all of the gorgeous snow coating the trees and feeling myself warm up just a little bit more with every step.

Playing In The Snow:

Playing in the snow is not just for children anymore, especially because boozy hot chocolate is definitely a thing! Gather up your friends during a fresh snowfall and relive your childhood with snowmen, snowball fights, and snow angels. Finish out your snow session with a bonfire to warm you up!

When there’s so many fun options for outdoor winter activities, you can create a memorable and inexpensive afternoon with your favorite people. Keep the spirit of the day going with Christmas movies and warm drinks after!

What is your favorite winter activity? What is your favorite way to warm up after a cold day? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Holiday Gifts That Always Go Over Well

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Holiday Gifts That Always Go Over Well

Hi everyone! The countdown to Christmas has officially begun, which means it is definitely time to start finishing up your holiday shopping. I, for one, have been done since mid November. Just the mere thought of last minute shopping gives me anxiety! I also love Christmas shopping (And any kind of shopping!) so I was eager to get going.

As much fun as gift giving is, however, it can still be stressful. Maybe you have someone really hard to shop for in the family. Or you have a giftee on your list who has it all already. Regardless of the case, there are certain gifts that always go over well, including some of the following:

Candles/Bath & Body Care:

I used to think that candles and bath and body care was a total cop out gift. Then, I realized that I love being gifted with those goodies so that means other people do, too… At least, I think so! Treat your giftee to some pampering. How about a gift card to their favorite nail or hair salon? Or maybe all of the fixings for a perfect bubble bath with supplies from Lush.

The candle and bath and body care route it always a good one to go with because they are something that your giftee might not necessarily buy for themselves. So, I feel incredibly spoiled whenever those gifts are under my tree.

Concert Tickets/An Experience:

You can literally never go wrong with an experience related gift. My sister and I often gift each other with concert tickets and I love that because you get to share in a memory with them. Is your giftee’s favorite band coming to town? Boom. You’re done. Did a new ride open up at their favorite amusement park? Nailed it. What about a sporting event with your brother or dad? Easy as pie.

Experience gifts are an exciting option to go with and this is one of my favorite types of presents to receive. So, in case you were wondering, I wear a size Marilyn Manson concert tickets, please!

Date Night Supplies:

If you are shopping for a couple, you could provide them with all of the necessities for a night on the town. I usually opt for a gift card to a restaurant and then a movie theater for your classic dinner and a movie date night. And, if you really want to go the full nine yards, you could gift a bottle of wine or champagne for their nightcap.

A fully funded night out will always be much appreciated by any couple and I really like this idea for the favorite love birds in my life.

Food, Glorious Food:

You can never go wrong with a food related gift because everyone eats! I love the idea of the adorable mason jars filled with the ingredients to make a pot of soup or a tray of holiday cookies. Delicious and simple, these gifts are thoughtful and won’t break your bank if you’re ballin on a budget.

If you want to get a bit fancier, you could supply a basket filled with the necessities for a full on dinner. Maybe a homemade pizza night with a lovely bottle of vino? Or an Indian food extravaganza filled with all of the necessary spices for the meal. Regardless of what you choose, everyone (Me, especially!) loves food. 😀

Holiday shopping doesn’t have to be so stressful with the pro tips above. Customize them to suit your giftee and you’re all set. Happy shopping!

What is something that you love to gift for people? What is your status on completing your holiday shopping? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Gifting Do’s & Don’ts, Backed By Research

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Gifting Do’s & Don’ts, Backed By Research

Did you know that gift-giving can strengthen relationships? I know it sounds like a silly question and most of us probably have that in mind already when we buy gifts. But there was a study that measured which kinds of gifts are better at strengthening relationships between the giver and recipient.

The findings are so cool and timely so I’m going to share some do’s and don’ts of gift-giving based on the surprising insights I got from that paper. The paper was published by the Journal of Consumer Research and here are the do’s:

Gift something experiential:

The paper has one major discovery and it’s clearly stated as its title: Experiential Gifts Foster Stronger Social Relationships Than Material Gifts. By “stronger social relationships,” the paper was referring to a combination of things like feelings of closeness and satisfaction with the relationship.

Experiential gifts, as you may have guessed, can come in the form of a concert ticket, a trip to the beach, a spa treat, or passes to Disneyland. Or if you’re like someone I know, it can be a stress-free home makeover. Hey friend, you know who you are!

Anyhow, according to the study, because the emotions evoked by an experiential gift is stronger than emotions evoked when a material thing is received, it tends to bring people closer to their relationship goals. Are you starting to wonder now what experiential gift you can give to the special people in your life?

Give an explicit request:

Yes, it may take the surprise out of gifting, which is kind of sad. But based on a related study, gift recipients do like to get what they had wished or asked for. For example, cash gifts (or GC’s) are always cool! I know there’s nothing romantic about cash gifts unless it’s a million dollars but I guess, in some instances, this can be great for kids or for adults who receive them from their parents. You may not want to give something like this to someone you’re romantically involved with, though!

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And now for the don’ts…

DON’T rely on expensive gifts:

Beware of being lured into buying expensive gifts that the recipient may not appreciate at all. Research tells us that people can appreciate both costly and budget-friendly gifts. The monetary value they assign to a gift is usually lower than how much it costs. Ouch.

That said, unless you’re sure that a particularly expensive item will make your loved one jump for joy, don’t be afraid to look for a more affordable alternative.

DON’T make it a surprise:

As I mentioned before, people love receiving what they asked for. So, unless your friend asked you for a surprise, don’t be afraid to give them something that’s on their wish list.

DON’T overthink it:

Here’s the one that hit me the most: The study revealed that sometimes, thoughtfulness can lead to a gift that the recipient likes less. I think this is especially true when in our attempt to make a gift special, we end up with something we like rather than what the person likes.

This is not to say that being thoughtful is overrated. If thoughtful results in something meaningful like having an old, sentimental photo restored and framed, then it’s okay. Otherwise, it’s better to get a little sneaky in finding what a person likes.

There’s another article that says, the world’s best gifts are time, experiences, meaningful and sentimental gifts, and gifts that the person likes. That sure makes a lot of sense! Use the tips above and make your holiday gifting a success.

Holiday Shopping: Sequence Edition

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Holiday Shopping: Sequence Edition

Hello!! One thing that I really like to gift to people during the holidays is board games. I love me a good board game, myself, and I love that it promotes family fun and spending time together without being glued to your phone. This past year, I have grown particularly fond of a board game called Sequence. I played it with a client’s family and I have been hooked ever since. I have already given it as a gift to my big bro for his birthday and I definitely plan on passing it along to my loved ones this holiday season. Check it out:

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Image From The Spruce

Sequence is a game of strategy and a little bit of luck thrown in for good measure. The basic gist is that each player or team takes turns placing a chip on the board that coincides with a card in their hand. The goal is to get five of your chips in a row, like Bingo. But, if you have a one eyed Jack, you can replace an opponent’s chip with one of yours and a two eyed Jack is a wild card. As I’m sure you’ve guessed already, the player or team with the most sequences wins.

I enjoy playing this game so much and it’s just as fun playing it with one other person as it is on teams. It’s a simple game to learn, which will make it the perfect choice for when you’re having a get together or just killing some time during a rainy afternoon. You can’t beat the thirteen dollar price tag on Amazon and it will make a great stocking stuffer or a gift under the tree for someone on your shopping list!

What is your favorite board game? Have you ever played Sequence before? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

I Said Yes!

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I Said Yes!

Hello, hello everyone! Some very exciting news in my life is that my best friend of over ten years, Lea, is newly engaged!! Her boyfriend proposed to her in August and they are already beginning the wedding planning process. I am so beyond happy for the beautiful couple and am so honored to have been asked to be a bridesmaid on their big day. Lea came over when I was babysitting my niece to officially pop the question and I said “I DO”!

idolea

I have never been a bridesmaid before and I can’t think of a more perfect initiation into the club than my taking part in my best friend’s wedding. Lea is going to be the most gorgeous bride and I want her day to be nothing short of magical. I can’t wait to help her plan, make new friends, and just enjoy the whole process of making her feel like the queen of the world – even though she already is!

I am so thankful for the friendship and the bond that Lea and I share. In over a decade, we have never had as much as a disagreement with each other and have so many amazing memories to reminisce on. From birthday celebrations and road trips to simply girl talking on the couch, any time we spend is my favorite time.

Thank you so much to my best friend for inviting me to take part in her big day. Let the celebrations commence! ❤

Have you ever been in a wedding before? What was your favorite part? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Social Media Setbacks

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Social Media Setbacks

Helloooo! I wouldn’t say that I am an avid social media user. All I have is a Facebook and the main reason I am on there is for promoting lifewithlilred and, of course, it’s nice to keep in touch with old friends. But, despite only being on one platform, I think that I am not the only one who can agree that sometimes social media can bum you out. I know that I definitely experience this phenomenon even though I strictly scroll though my newsfeed for entertainment purposes.

Why is that? Well, for starters, everything that people post isn’t always entertaining. Believe you me, I wish that my entire newsfeed was filled with cute puppies and funny memes all of the time. But, rather, it is a mixed bag with some stuff that gives me a laugh and others that make me wish I had never seen it at all.

I understand that the news is an important thing and being aware of what’s going on in your community as well as world wide is something that I, myself, need to be better at. But, I never understand why people feel the need to share articles from news sources that are completely heinous. I get upset really easily when it comes to crimes against humanity, animals, and children – as everyone should. And, the last thing I want is to see a picture of an abused animal when I’m trying to get my “lol” on.

And, there is always the classic “feeling down about yourself because your friends are posting all of the cool stuff in their lives” sensation. Ah yes, the marriages, engagements, promotions, travel, and babies galore. When I am in a crappy place already, this can make me feel even worse, not because I’m not happy for my friends, of course. But, because I feel like I’m behind even though life isn’t a race.

It can be difficult to remember that ninety-nine percent of the time, social media is used to post your exciting news – not to air your dirty laundry and deepest, darkest secrets. And, behind closed doors, we really don’t know what anyone’s life is actually like aside from what they portray on social media. This is something that would be wise to remind myself of every now and again.

Social media is a wonderful tool but it can also effect your mental health if used the wrong way. So, if you struggle with some of the issues I mentioned, take a break from your socials for the day and give yourself some breathing room. And, then, get back to posting all of the funny memes, please and thank you!

What are some negative things about social media? How do you portray yourself on your socials? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

How To Further Enjoy Following Sports Culture

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How To Further Enjoy Following Sports Culture

Not everyone is a fan of sports. Some might shrug when the Superbowl is on or when a particular country wins the World Cup. Some might groan when a pool game is being shown on television or they might avoid sports bars like the plague. But sports are so varied, vast, and community-driven that, often, to dismiss them outright is akin to saying you ‘just don’t like music.’ There’s something out there for you, even if you have yet to find it.

This means that, sometimes, going out of your way to find the sporting interest you enjoy can help improve your life. You don’t need to force it of course, but what’s the issue with potentially finding one more thing that can add value to your life? To us, that sounds wise. Who knows, this might even go further, such as deciding to run a PPH 247 operation or perhaps even getting involved in the sporting interest yourself.

Further following sporting culture can be a worthwhile and important adventure for you, and who knows? It might help you make new friends, too:

Consider A Wider Prospectus:

You might hate watching American football. You don’t like how the game starts and stops continually, the statistics that are continually read out, and how the players smash into each other and cause real injury. That’s fine. It might not be for you. Perhaps you’d be into something with more finesse like soccer (football), or perhaps even racing, such as formula one or drift rally competitions.

Maybe you prefer following one athlete rather than a team, such as watching golf, or even getting involved in the life histories and techniques of martial artists, such as through boxing or MMA. There’s a sport out there you haven’t considered, and sometimes attending a few events, even if they’re just local ones, can help you start to become invested in the sport. Don’t force it, but we would be surprised if your natural inclinations didn’t become just a little excited at this prospect.

Watch With Friends:

While there are some who enjoy watching sports any chance they can get, there are others who simply enjoy the social aspect of it all. Inviting a few friends over for game day, heading to a stadium and having your face painted, or even placing a friendly wager between friends can be a fun idea to help you enjoy and get invested in the sport. You may never watch a game outside of these large events such as derby’s or even the Olympics, but what matters is the fun you have.

Watch A Few Sporting Films:

There are many incredible films about sports out there. For example, Moneyball is a great movie starring Brad Pitt about the wonderful history of baseball and a particularly well-known story within it. Warrior, starring Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton is a story about two brothers who, through familial breakdown and hardship, end up fighting in the same MMA events. And we needn’t mentioned the Mighty Ducks, or perhaps even hilarious movies such as Space Jam. Sometimes, all that matters is your entertainment to develop a love for the game.

With this advice, we hope you are better equipped to follow sporting culture and gain a new hobby and friends along the way.

Featured Image By: Pexels-CC0 License