Cute Valentine's Day ideas that won't break the bank

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Cue the stores being filled with chocolate in heart shape boxes, teddy bears with red bows and buckets and buckets of red roses. You know what I see with all of those things? Dollar signs. It seems like anytime there is a holiday associated with gifts, the prices just are right up there with the luxury items of life.

I am hoping to help you out this year. I have a few Valentine’s Day ideas that won’t break the bank or your budget.

Get a little creative

Make something. Draw it, write it, sing it, dance it. Use your creative talents to make a gift for your loved one. I honestly like these a lot more, plus you can add your personal twist to it. Some examples I have done include a picture frame with the matte border saying all the reasons why I love him and our picture in the middle, a box of letters to tell him when to open it, a coupon book filled with date ideas and nice things for each other (i.e. back rubs, doing laundry for them, bringing home dinner, etc.).

Dine in

Dinner really doesn’t have to be that fancy. I honestly just love when my boyfriend makes me food and it’s typically more top notch than some restaurants. You don’t need to be a chef to do this. You can even order one of those home delivery cooking boxes and do it together. Some other ideas is each of you make two things you absolutely love and share it with one another. You can even try to do what I do and just make something based off of what is on sale at the store that week.

Netflix and chill

This may sound crazy, but sometimes couples don’t really have time for each other everyday. We all have side projects we are working on, actual work that keeps us busy, chores around the house, friends to hang out with, children to take care of and the list goes on and on. Sometimes just something as simple as watching a movie or a tv show together can be a nice change. Just grab a popcorn and relax.

Play a game together

Whether it’s a deck of cards, a board game, or an interactive game, doing something together can be so much fun and can bring a lot of laughter. If you want to get more intimate, play 20 questions. When was the last time you did that? Whether you’re a new couple or have been together for as long as you can remember, you can ALWAYS continue to learn about someone. It can be fun and silly questions like “Do you believe that pineapples belong on pizza?” to the more serious and thought provoking questions like “When was the first moment you knew that you loved me?”

Share things you love with your love

I love taking photographs, trying and making new food, dancing, and traveling. I could take my boyfriend to a photography, cooking or dancing class, plan a trip with him, or even try a new place in town together. If I didn’t want to pay the money to take these classes I could watch some tutorials on YouTube. Maybe I could even teach him how to take photographs. This can be for both parties. Find something you love to do and share it with your significant other.

Write letters

This one is probably my favorite. Have you ever had some perfect speech written out in your head and as soon as you need to say it all of that content goes away and your mind is blank? Writing your thoughts down is the perfect way to say everything you want to say. So try it in a letter format and share it with them. Tell them how much you love them, what you love about them, compliment them, and share yourself with them. Even though it’s simple, it’s thoughtful.

Be present

Today’s world has been overtaken with technology and addiction to it is on the rise. I can’t tell you how many times I go somewhere and see a couple together not talking to each other but just scrolling on their phones. It’s really sad to me. So this one is to just put your phone away and BE PRESENT. Talk to the human being you are with. They are in person and not behind a screen. Have a conversation. I have actually started to make that more of a rule when my boyfriend and I are out. The only time we will bring our phones even out is to show each other something that we saw or to look something up if we need to find an answer to something real fast. Try this. You will be surprised what you can talk about.

Sure, maybe I didn’t exactly do all cute ones, but they are ideas that are unique. They aren’t the typical date ideas and they sure aren’t expensive. If you even take away one of these ideas I would be thrilled. Tell me below in the comments which one is your favorite and if you plan on trying any? Which ones? Feel free to even tell me ones that you have thought of. I am always looking for ideas for myself.

National Self Care Month - Easy Self Care Ideas

With it being National Self Care Month, I wanted to bring to you 5 easy self-care ideas and why I think they are beneficial. 

1. Epson Salt/Essential Oil Bath

This is the typical self-care photo you will see on the internet. It's okay to have that. It means it works. I personally love the lavender scent as it is super calming which helps right before bed. I usually soak for about 15 minutes to help relax me. I even have found some super relaxing "bath time" music on Spotify. My playlist can include: Relax & Unwind, Bath Spa Relaxing Music Zone, and Piano in the Background

2. Read a book

This can be any type of book, just read one you can get into. Whether that be self-help, romance, murder mystery, sci-fi, business, memoir, historical fiction, whatever. Just find a comfy place and start to read. Right now I am reading "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed. And if it wasn't for my tired eyes, I would not put it down. 

If you do decide to read on a tablet or a screen rather than hard copy, make sure you are taking into consideration that the light from the technology can keep you up later. It can trick your brain into thinking that it's still the day. However, you can try these glasses called Pixel Eyewear and it helps you get better sleep and less eye strain. 

3. Start a "grateful for" list

This may not seem like self-care, but when you start to do some reflection on what you are grateful for it definitely helps you feel better. Write down each morning (or night) 3 things you are grateful for. This could include literally anything. From your house to your shoes, to your job, even for your alarms! You can write why you are if you want, but it's not required. You can always repeat too. I typically write that I am grateful for my dogs cuddle time with me each and every morning. 

4. Meditate/Yoga

Sometimes you just need to move your body or relax your mind. Yoga always helps when I can tell my body just needs to move, but also a stretch. I always feel really good after a yoga session. My body feels like it can move in ways I never thought I could and it's helping me with physical balance, strength, and flexibility.

Meditating will help your mind be at ease. If you are anything like me, I had no idea where to start out when it came to meditating. I would also just find my mind wondering every few seconds onto something else (i.e. my to do list, errands, chores, what Susie said at work today, etc.). I downloaded this app called Headspace and that has helped so much. I got to choose how often and how long each meditation session was. You are given a video tutorial at the beginning to help you get the most out of your meditation session and set you up for success. Then, you will have a guided meditation for your set amount of time. There is a free trial section, but the parts you pay for are worth it too. 

5. Take a technology detox

This one is probably going to be the most challenging. I go everywhere with my phone as I am sure many of you do too. I am not saying it has to be days, weeks or months, but even just for a few hours. Once I started using my Moment app, I was noticing how much I was on my phone and it literally disgusted me. How could I waste so much time in my life on my phone? Time is so precious and I can't get any of that back. This app not only shows you how much time you are on your phone but how many times you even pick it up to look at your home/lock screen and even which apps you use the most. So if you are listening to podcasts 50% of the time, at least you know you aren't mindlessly scrolling more. Just take even a few hours out of your day. Don't check it during your lunch break. Don't bring it to the bathroom with you (don't judge, I know you all do it, especially at work). Forget it at home for a day. For those who decide to do a day or longer, I am proud and envious of you. 

Fun Summer Session Ideas

Now that summer is here, I wanted to share some of my favorite summer session ideas with you all. This list you can use for yourself, with your significant other, or with your family.

1. Lake fun! - On the boat, at the beach, camping - All of these can be lifestyle sessions
2. At the park/playground - this one works really well with almost everyone. It brings back a lot of childhood memories and the swing set is a timeless memory.
3. Planting - Yes, planting can actually be a really fun lifestyle session.
4. Grilling/Picnic
5. Washing the car
6. Sidewalk chalk
7. Hiking/Walking on the trails

If you can think of anything else, let me know in the comments below!

Fun ideas to get out of the house in the spring

I have decided to compile a list of ideas to get you out of the house for springtime. Winter is officially gone and it is time to get outside. Here are some fun ideas you can use to have some fun (and even possibly use for a fun lifestyle session).

1. Blow bubbles
2. Plant flowers
3. Fly a kite
4. Feed ducks at the pond/lake
5. Draw with chalk on sidewalk
6. Skip stones on water
7. Backyard hotdog roast
8. Go on a hike
9. Picnic
10. Play on the playground
11. Wash the car
12. Ride bikes
13. Play in puddles
14. Climb a tree
15. Mini golf
16. Canoeing
17. Neighborhood cleanup
18. Bug Catching
19. Horseback riding
20. Play a sport

 

How to use nature as your props: Spring Edition

Props can be fun for photos, but not everyone thinks of what would make good props. Unless you have a specific announcement or have a little one with their favorite toy, it is hard to come up with something. Plus, you should only use them in some of your photos. I am here to give you some ideas to use your surroundings to help with great props. 

1. Flowers

Springtime means there are LOTS of them out. On trees, in bushes, on the ground, you name it, they are there. You can use them by holding them, placing them in your hair, hiding behind them, and so on. 

2. Trees

This is one of my favorite ones, as I have used this in my one photos. You can use the branches as a cool textural item as well as holding on to them. You can also use the tree itself as something to lean on. 

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3. Bushes

Also, one of my favorites. If you ever hear the upcoming quote from me, it is because a photographer that has taken my photographs. "Forever shoving people into bushes." Not literally, but it works as a fantastic background. The way it surrounds you honestly looks AMAZING. The proof is in the photo. 

4. Puddles

This may get a little messy but using mud or water puddles can be super cute when it comes to lifestyle types of photos. It shows a fun atmosphere and can be very playful. 

Just a few of these can really make a difference in your photographs and can be used as alternatives for obvious props.