DIY GIFT IDEAS FOR A MEMORABLE SEASON OF LOVE

“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…” Hang on! We just can’t get over that warm and fuzzy feeling of all things love as the February air wafts our way. 

With the season of love just around the corner, we thought we could put together some gifting ideas you could use to surprise your special one. Sure, gifting is cliche, but gifts that are handmade with lots of love? Not so much! What’s more, they’re simple to put together so you don’t need to worry about having years of crafting expertise under your belt. 

Check out these cool ideas to fuel your gifting spark further!

1. Handwritten notes – Lovelies that are straight-from-the-heart

If you love putting across your innermost thoughts on paper, this one is for you. Writing for a loved one is as endearing as it can get! It’s one of the most heartfelt gifts that you could give. 

Surprise your loved one with a handwritten note. Even better, a diary of your thoughts about them. Poems, notes, musings, anything! Let your writing juices flow!

2. Picture montage – Looking back at a wonderful journey

Remember all those photographs that you clicked on special occasions or your holidays together? Time to get them all out! Make a photo or video montage of your favorite memories with cute captions that celebrate the highlights of your time spent together.

3. Assortment of dried fruits – A dash of health and loads of warmth

This one’s simple but significant. Give your loved one the gift of good health with this easy-to-make trail nuts mix. You could make an eclectic mix for maximum benefits. Now here’s a gift you can assort and assemble in under fifteen minutes. How cool is that?

4. Gift a plant – “With love, from my garden to yours”

This one’s for the gardening enthusiasts out there! How about gifting a plant, or some seeds, or a sapling this season? These living, breathing, and growing beings can bring a smile to your special one’s face after a long, hard day. We say, go for it!

5. Box of chocolates – Adorable edibles

What’s love without some chocolate-induced goodness? If your loved one has a sweet tooth, this is just the perfect gifting option. You could experiment with various flavors of chocolate and even with additives like rice crispies, wafers, and the like. These munchies are sure to cheer one up! Get high on cocoa this season with your love.

6. Scented candles – For that therapeutic touch

If you want to gift something to unwind a day, scented candles are the way to go. They are known to have a calming effect. With the array of essential oils that are available, you could try out something that soothes your senses. Light up some love and watch it glow!

7. Potpourri – Like love that lingers on

Want to gift something offbeat, yet appeasing? Think potpourri. Flowers, flowers and more flowers! Ah, what a way to celebrate the essence of love! Put together your favorite flowers and spices, and voila! There’s something so inexplicably lovely about the fragrance of a potpourri. 

8. Memory jar – Little somethings that remind you of them

Think of all the teeny-tiny things that remind you of your special someone. Pebbles, seashells, anything, just about anything! Now put them all in a memory jar and there you have it! You never quite know why some things remind you of some people. Amazing, isn’t it?

 9. Quirky bookmarks – For the unsatiated bookworm

How about creative bookmarks for that bibliophile who has a stash of books that never seems to end? They’re cute, personal, and very handy. All it takes is a few steps of cut, fold, paint, and paste. As simple as that! So let’s get started?

How did you like these ideas? Are you going to try any of these? Let us know in the comments below. 

Oh, we almost forgot!  We wish you a happy Valentine’s Day, filled with love, light, and warmth. 

7 COOL WAYS TO JAZZ UP YOUR LONG-DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP

With the virtual world now practically at our fingertips, we have never felt closer to our loved ones. But having said that, being in a long-distance relationship is still no easy feat, especially so when it’s pandemic-enforced! Having someone you love and care about living far away from you comes with its challenges. 

We have put together a list of pretty darn cool ways to rekindle the spirit of your long-distance relationship when it may seem slightly overwhelming. Read on to see which one could fit right in your schedule. 

1. Play the coolest online games – Team up together and slay all the way!

Get your gaming goggles on and team up for some uber-cool games online. Pick your favorite genre(s) and start playing to hit the snooze button on the routine-induced boredom. You could learn quite a lot about each other and have fun while playing the game and discussing it after. Date night = game night! 

So, are you game?

2. Netflix partaay! – Snuggle up to some memorable movie nights

Movie nights just got cozier with Netflix parties in the offing: coffee, popcorn, a soothing movie, and your loved one. Everything sorted. 

Watch your favorite movies with your significant other virtually and have a blast talking about the plot, the characters, and the thrill of watching it together, even when physically apart.

3. Zoom date nights! – Together through it all

Dress up for some quality screen time on Zoom while adding a fun twist to your date nights. You could have a virtual cook-off, read quotes from your favorite books, paint something cute, dance to some peppy tunes or do pretty much anything interesting together to bring out the chirpy side in each other.

4. Send across gifts – Little things that go a long way

What better way to celebrate love than to gift? Surprise your loved ones by sending them little gifts. You could send something that reminds you of their little quirks, something personalized or handmade. Even if you cannot be physically present in each other’s lives all the time, these gifts will remind you of the warmth and comfort.

5. Work out together – Fitter and stronger, together

Virtual workouts are a great way to bond. Help each other smash your fitness goals and be the motivation when the reps get harder to perform. Get your dose of endorphins together. 

Move, sweat, and crunch to glory!

6. Celebrate little victories and special occasions often – Talk till you drop!

Did you get a brand new hairdo? Did your puppy “awoo” for the first time? Did your baking experiment turn out great? Dial up your significant other and tell them. Celebrate small victories and occasions together, often. They make for great conversations.

7. Drop a surprise text – Let them know they’re on your mind

Planned dates are great, but how about a surprise text or call just to let them know you’re thinking about them? Stop your long-distance partner on their tracks and bring a smile on their face with your message when they least expect it.

We hope you enjoyed reading this list as much as we did making it! If you have any ideas of your own, let us know in the comments below.

5 UNCONVENTIONAL NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS TO TRY

Finally, we have come to the end of a year that has lasted several years (decades?). And while nothing has been usual or normal about this year, the age-old tradition of setting lofty goals and mighty aims for the new year looms over us. Yes, we’re talking about – cue the drumroll – New Year Resolutions! 

Now in the past, we’ve all been guilty of setting the bar way too high with resolutions by trying to turn a 180 on every aspect of our lives. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing to aim for, it ends being a very steep mountain to scale; and an easier one to slip off than climb. And everyone everywhere seems to end up with the same set of boring resolutions, turning this already difficult list of tasks into a project of Herculean measures. 

If you have nodded along to everything you just read, but still kinda want to ring in the new year with something to look forward to, allow us to suggest some fun, quirky and unconventional twists to the regular resolutions that will let you start and go through the coming year on a great note!

Without any further hubbub, and in no particular order, here goes:

1. Hobby circle

Everyone plans to take up a new hobby and most never end up following through. Here’s where the Buddy System comes to the rescue! All you need is a small circle of friends, family, coworkers, or even acquaintances who either share the same interest as you or would like to pick it up as a new hobby. 3-5 people are more than enough. Schedule regular intervals to exchange books, playlists, or watchlists, and find yourself on a journey that has you not only successfully engaging in a hobby, but also finding kinship in sharing it.

2. An exercise in creativity

Planning to add more exercise to your routine is one of the most common resolutions, but eventually, laziness and/or lack of time and dedication leads to this one being an epic fail. But with a little creativity, you can trick yourself into slipping exercise into your everyday life. Whether it’s taking the stairs, stretches in between while you WFH, or getting creative with “weights” that you can lift, let your imagination guide you to a healthier life. And for those who need that extra push, make it into a challenge that you could even share on your social media profiles.

3. Clean but happy eating

It’s all well and good when you plan on adding greens to your diet, but the ground reality is that you find yourself fantasizing about pizza while playing with that healthy salad. Again, you can make the best use of creativity into eating healthier, gradually by reducing your salt and sugar intake, adding pizzaz (no, not pizzas) to your salads by making your own delicious drizzles and vinaigrettes, reducing takeout or ordering from outside, and even challenging yourself to a new diet.

4. Go green!

While it seems like a daunting task to try and fix the environment, you can always start with yourself and your home. Making tiny changes to your lifestyle can have an immensely positive impact in the long term. Moreover, you will lead by example in your community, creating a ripple effect of real change. Try to avoid single-use plastics as much as possible, switch out to a metal straw, start composting, and switch to natural products that are made by processes that don’t leach chemicals into the planet. Whatever you pick, you can start small and work your way up. The best part is picking up any one of these would make an excellent contribution towards healing nature.

5. Drop the bad, pick up the good!

Habits. They make up so much of our daily actions and are notoriously hard to break. Well, like everything else on this list, start small. Every week, drop one not-so-great habit and pick up one pretty great habit. This will give you a week to work out the kinks, and you’ll find yourself on the path to being better, for real. And hopefully, by the end of the year, you will have 52 good habits that replace 52 bad ones. Talk about balance!

While these are some of the major resolutions you can add to your list for the new year, remember to take care of yourself. Fit in those pampering sessions, stay hydrated, stay healthy, and stay happy!

We hope you liked our suggestions, be sure to let us know your quirky new year’s resolutions in the comments below. Cheers to the new decade of opportunity and a happy new year!

AN INTRO TO JOURNALING

Journaling means something different to everyone. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but the people who do benefit from it swear by its healing abilities. 

In its essence, journaling is when you express yourself in one form or another on paper.  It’s a subjective process, there’s no right or wrong way to do it. You pick a technique that feels right and you stick with it.  

In recent times, journaling has been on the verge of becoming an industry in itself. It’s growing and evolving every day, and various forms have emerged and gained popularity.

  • Bullet Journal
    Are you someone who has a lot of to-do lists or enjoys goal-tracking? Then this elaborate yet minimalistic pen-to-paper method is the one for you.
  • Dream Journal
    If you have crazy, wild dreams that absolutely NEED to be remembered, then give this journaling method a go!
  • Gratitude Journal
    You don’t need to look too hard to find something to be grateful for, and this kind of journaling makes that process much easier!
  • Line a Day Journals
    If you’re a busy-bee, choose this style. You simply write a short line about what you did that day.
  • Classic Journal
    With this, you can follow the whole “Dear Diary…” format and write about anything you want.
  • Stream of Consciousness Journal
    Similar to classic journaling, this kind of journaling helps you bring out thoughts that seem to be spilling over from your mind.

With so many options to choose from, what are you waiting for? Turn that page, both metaphorically and literally, and get started!

ASMR: A TREND WORTH YOUR TIME

“Dot, dot, line, line, spiders crawling up your spine…” Do you remember this game? Now, do you remember feeling the hairs on the back of your neck stand up? This is what people call ASMR. Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, in layman’s terms, is the tingly feeling you get when presented with a stimulus.

You know how, in some novels, the author describes someone whispering as sending chills up the spine? That’s ASMR, and the earliest record of such an event is found in Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway.” YouTuber Safiya Nygaard also does a very good job at tracing its history back to the internet forum “SteadyHealth” in 2009.

The earliest forms of ASMR anyone would’ve felt naturally would be with regular events like brushing your hair, getting a haircut, painting in class, or most commonly — whispering. Bob Ross’s landscapes subconsciously did the job for many who could not put a finger on it. His aesthetically pleasing paintings combined with his baritone voice made him an accidental pioneer of ASMR.

So, if ASMR has been around for a while, why did it just blow up recently?

The idea of someone whispering into your ears through a screen initially didn’t sit well with a lot of people. Some even considered it to be lewd and repulsive. But with a growing number of internet users seeking a quick fix, ASMR grew in popularity. Especially on YouTube, where, when some videos started generating traction, there was an emergence of many ASMRtists who gained millions of subscribers within no time. With the same fame, however, came a lot of drawbacks. YouTube found itself in flux when children started practicing ASMR on the platform, eventually resulting in the demonetization of these fairly innocent, clickbaity videos.

The community has grown by leaps and bounds since then. Celebrities like Cardi B, Eva Longoria, and Gigi Hadid have tried it for a segment on W Magazine’s channel. In 2019, Zoe Kravitz did a segment of ASMR in the mountains for a Super Bowl commercial. So, ASMR is getting big and the only way to go is up. Will ASMR stand the test of fads, or will it, like those tacky life hack videos, fade away into nothingness? Guess, we’ll have to wait, watch and relax.

If you’re one of those who are new to ASMR and are open to exploring the genre then you should watch videos by Gibi, ASMR Darling, WhispersRed, and Gentle Whispering. If those don’t do the trick, how about my personal favorite, the Virtual Barber, which is apparently older than ASMR itself.

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