6/03/2013

$200 Cash Giveaway – Enter Below!

categories: Date Idea, Giveaways

$200 Giveaway – Enter With The Rafflecopter Widget Below – This month we are excited to host our first ever giveaway on the Datevitation Blog.  We are giving away $200 via Paypal or Amazon (winner’s choice!).  Simply enter using the nifty Rafflecopter widget below.  You can get entries for following our various social media accounts, plus we’ve partnered with the following awesome blogs who we have sponsored in the past.  You can also gain entries for following these great blogs as well, which we highly encourage you to do!

The Dating Divas  |  Tiny Heart | Stories of Kel | Why Girls Are Weird | Postcards from Rachel | Thriftary | Baypark Dream | I Love You More Than Carrots | Freckled Italian | Sunny with a Chance of Sprinkles | The Chronicles of Ruthie Hart | Kaelah Bee | Pillow Thought | Truly Lovely | My So Called Chaos | Nanny to Mommy | A Night Owl | Hubby Made Me | Chestnut Mocha | Life Oceanside | For Lauren and Lauren | The DayLee Journal | Bella the Blog | Just the Two of Us | Wifessionals

$10 Discount with JUNEGIVEAWAY promo code – In addition to the one lucky winner of $200, we’re offering a $10 discount towards a Datevitation gift book (books typically start at $20).  Just enter the code JUNEGIVEAWAY at checkout for the $10 discount.  It’s still not too late to get a book for Dad (or the father of your children) for this Father’s Day.  Our order cut-off date is June 6 with general shipping or June 11 with Priority shipping.  You can get started making your book here.

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5/06/2013

10 Truly Unique Ways To Surprise Mom This Mother’s Day (All Ideas Are $10 Or Less)

categories: How To:

Datevitation Custom Love Coupon Books

“A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.” – Agatha Christie

As the saying goes, you can’t buy love. That’s especially true when it comes to moms. There is a unique love – an unconditional love – that bonds a mother and her child. So as you start thinking about how to make this Mother’s Day special for mom, focus on how you can spoil her with gratitude, love, and affection. Sure, you can do a last-minute run to the flower shop and buy an expensive arrangement. Or sprint to the spa to purchase a gift certificate for a pricey treatment. But you don’t have to break the bank to make mom feel like a million bucks. Here are 10 creative ways you can make your mom the happiest mom on earth this Mother’s Day for less than $10 (and in many cases without spending a dime!).

  1. Sharing Mom-ories (cost $0) – Take some time this week to think about some of your favorite memories with Mom – a.k.a. “Mom-ories.” Then, on Mother’s Day, reminisce with mom about those special moments and tell her how impactful they were in your life. Bonus points if you can dig up photos of those moments, and bring them along for your trip down memory lane.
  2. A Clean House (cost $0 if you do it yourself) – Imagine all the times your mom cleaned up after you over the years. Why not return the favor by giving mom a sparkling clean house this Mother’s Day? You can schedule a cleaning crew to come do the dirty work, or better yet, roll up your sleeves and get your hands a little dirty making mom’s home look spic-and-span.
  3. Blooming Tea (cost $5-10) – Simply find an excuse to enjoy a tea with mom (perhaps when you are sharing your mom-ories from idea #1 above), and drop a blooming tea ball into boiling water. Then, sit back and enjoy the huge smile on mom’s face as the tea blooms into a beautiful flower before her very eyes. You can pick up blooming tea at your local Teavana or tea speciality shop.
  4. A Custom Fortune Cookie (cost $0) – This is one of our favorite tricks here at Datevitation: how to remove a fortune from a fortune cookie without cracking the shell and replace it with your own custom message. All you have to do is follow our simple instructions in this step-by-step video and enjoy mom’s face light up when she cracks the cookie to find your sweet message inside.
  5. A Custom Music Mix For Mom (cost: $0 or the cost of a CD) – Your mom will love that you took the time to put together a playlist of songs just for her. It could be songs that remind you of her, songs that you enjoyed together during your childhood, or even current hits to keep mom in-the-know on today’s music culture (moms love to be cool!). You can create and share the playlist with mom using an online service like Spotify. Or, if you want to go “old-school” with a physical CD, then here is a blog post where I show you step-by-step how to create a CD insert using iTunes that lists all of the the song titles on your mix.
  6. A Home-cooked meal (cost: depends on what you’re making!) – Think of all the hours that your mom has spent in the kitchen preparing home-cooked meals for you. This Mother’s Day, don’t let your mom lift a finger in the kitchen. Instead, it’s your turn to slap on the apron and cook something delicious for mom. Consider coming over early to surprise her with a gourmet breakfast-in-bed.
  7. A framed childhood photo (cost: approx $10) – There is nothing that screams adorable like a childhood photo of you with your mommy. Find one of your favorites, put it in a nice frame, and deliver it on Mother’s Day along with a sweet handwritten note.
  8. A Thoughtful Toast (cost: $0) – Your mom knows how much she means to you. But it doesn’t hurt to tell her. Take some time this week to pull your thoughts together so that on Mother’s Day you’re ready to offer a meaningful toast in honor of mom. Or better yet, ask the entire family to prepare a toast for mom so that she gets to hear lovely sentiments from all of her loved ones.
  9. A relic from her childhood (cost: depends on the item) - Take a moment and think about the most memorable places, foods, and toys from your childhood, and imagine how fun it would be to experience those things once again. Now rack your brain for any old stories your mom has told you over the years about her childhood. Did she have a favorite treat growing up? A favorite book or toy? Bring things full circle by surprising mom on Mother’s Day with a relic from her childhood. She’ll be forever grateful.
  10. New memories (cost: starting at $10) – If you do any of the above actions this Mother’s Day, your mom will undoubtedly be one happy camper. But all the other ideas on this list focus on reliving the past or spoiling Mom on Mother’s Day itself. A Datevitation gift book is a gift that is all about creating new memories together in the coming weeks and months.

It’s not too late to order a Datevitation gift book for Mother’s Day. If you order by noon EST on Tuesday May 7 with Priority Shipping or by noon EST on Thursday May 8 with Express shipping, we’ll get your custom book delivered by Mother’s Day guaranteed or your money back. You can use the code DADMOM for $10 off your order (Priority Shipping is $7.00 so the DADMOM covers the cost of shipping and then some!). And if you don’t get to it in time, don’t forget that Father’s Day is coming up next month. You can use the DADMOM promo code anytime in May or June for $10 off. Feel free to share the code with friends and family as well :)

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4/23/2013

The Best Way To Start Your Sweetie’s Day

categories: Date Idea, How To:, Romantic Ideas

Most of us get out of bed half-asleep and head straight to the bathroom for a shower to wake-up and start our day.  Now imagine you step into the shower, open your eyes, and the first thing you see is a sweet love note from your love on the shower tile.  Wouldn’t that be a great way to start your day?  The inspiration for this great idea is our now 3-year old daughter Eva who makes a guest appearance in the video above.  You see, Eva is not a huge fan of taking baths, so Olga and I were looking for ways to keep her entertained.  We discovered these Bathtub Crayons from Crayola, and now, Eva loves taking baths because she can sit and draw to her heart’s content.

The other week, Olga had a brilliant idea.  Why not use the Crayola Bathtub Crayons to write a love note for me?  So she enlisted Eva’s help, and the result is what you see in the video above.  This is such a fun, cute idea and it really did make my morning.  It can be a great joint effort with your kids if you have children, and even if not, you can still pick up some Bathtub Crayons and surprise your sweetie with a sweet love note to get his or her day started with a smile.

If you liked this idea and video, you’ll love our free video series full of practical step-by-step video guides to romantic gestures that will help bring happiness to your relationship.  Indeed, this is just 1 of 9 ideas we highlight in the free series.  You can sign up for the free video series right at the bottom of this post!

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4/03/2013

7 Habits of Highly Happy Couples

categories: How To:, Relationship Experts

photo of happy couple
We thought it would be fun to do a Datevitation spin on Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People, which we’re calling the 7 Habits of Highly Happy Couples.
  1. Block “Just Us” Time – We are all so busy these days. Work. Family. Friends. TV. The Internet. With so many things competing for attention and so few hours in the day, it is easy for weeks or even months to fly by without spending any quality time with your partner. That’s why Olga and I have a new tradition. The first Sunday night of every month is blocked off in our calendar for an evening with just the two of us. We discuss what happened last month and talk about the month ahead. This has worked wonders for our relationship, and I’m sure it would do the same for yours!  Thanks Brad Feld for the great idea!
  2. Know The Words “I’m Sorry” – You’re not perfect. Nobody is. And occasionally you are going to screw up. When you do, say “I’m sorry.” But what is really difficult is learning to say “I’m sorry” when the situation is not so black & white, and perhaps you are both at fault. It may feel good in the moment to have the scathing last word in an argument, but you can find even greater satisfaction in taking the high road by being the first to say “I’m Sorry.” By taking this approach, you’ll find you can often quell an argument that would otherwise escalate into a full-blown fight.
  3. Say Goodbye With A Kiss – Before you leave the house, give your partner a kiss goodbye. Everytime. It’s a sweet little gesture that only takes a second, and will leave you both with a good feeling as you embark on your day. This one is super simple so there is no excuse to not implement this habit immediately!
  4. Make Love Often – Intimacy is vital to any healthy relationship. Indeed, one of the best parts of being in a relationship should be the regularity with which you can get it on :) Yet, so many couples let days, weeks, and sometimes even months go by without making love. So here’s an idea: Decide that making love will be a habit in your relationship. You can even block time for intimacy and put it in the calendar if necessary.
  5. Try New Things Together – Don’t be that couple that always goes to the same restaurant and makes “date night” seeing a movie once a month. You are unhappy because you are bored! Happy couples try new things, challenge each other, and like to get out of their comfort zone. As an example, Olga challenged me to face my fear of heights and we recently went paragliding together. She also bought us a flight lesson for my birthday. Conquering a fear with the help of your partner will undoubtedly bring you closer together.
  6. Be Each Other’s #1 – We have a lot of people we care for deeply in our lives. Our family. Our friends. Our community. But at the end of the day, there should be no doubt that you are each other’s top priority. Olga knows that she is the most important person in my life and that I have her back. I know she feels the same about me. Make it a habit, through words and action, to be each other’s #1.
  7. Do The Little Things – We always hear the importance of doing the “little things” — those actions that can take just minutes but will leave your sweetie smiling for hours. But happy couples actually do the “little things” and do them regularly. If you need ideas in this department, you’ll find a lot of step-by-step video guides to little things you can do today on our blog, including my personal favorites: how to put your own custom fortune in a fortune cookie (without cracking the shell) and how to surprise your special someone with a custom postcard (using your smartphone). Both of these examples take just minutes to do, and you’ll be amazed at how much happiness they can bring to your partner, and therefore, to your relationship.

What do you think about this list?   Can you identify any habits in your relationship that you think should be on this list?  Please let us know in the comments below!

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3/11/2013

5 Tips for a Fabulous First Date

categories: Date Idea

iStock Photo

Hi There,

I’m Whitney from To Live and Diet in L.A. I attend star-studded events several times a week and have to interact with people I’ve just met. Whether at a dinner, party, or date, the same tips are important when meeting people for the first time and leaving a positive impression. And I’ve seen it all. Here are some things I’ve learned along the way that are helpful in all situations, but especially, first dates.

1. Don’t overdress.

While you always want to look your best, you don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard. Save that for your anniversary. Hopefully you’ll make it that far by following these simple tips!

Ladies, this means saving your cleavage-boasting cocktail dress for the clubs. Black skinnies and a pretty blouse, or a flirty sundress, will give you an understated but sexy vibe. On a side note, keep the makeup minimal too. Most guys will agree that less is more. No one wants to see your extensions and fake eyelashes making an appearance on a first date.

Gentlemen, reserve your Justin Timberlake fedora and cane for a costume party. Unless you can sing Suit & Tie, your jazzy efforts will not be rewarded. Stick to a classic, casual look with nice jeans and a blazer. If it’s a daytime date, a simple fitted tee will work too. Just don’t go the opposite route and sport flip-flops, tank tops, or anything Ed Hardy…I mean, that’s just common sense right?

2. Go easy on the cologne.

This is for both the sexes. You don’t know what your prospective lover likes, so don’t risk offending their senses with an overbearing fragrance. Keep the scents minimal to avoid any allergic reactions.

3. Avoid awkward dinner conversations.

So you were arrested once for public indecency? Got a restraining order against your stalker ex? Recovering from a nasty case of athlete’s foot? None of those topics are appropriate for a first date. I don’t care how intimate the conversation gets or how much wine you’ve had to drink, criminal records, weird health info, and your dating history should probably be reserved for the second date at minimum. A brief mention that you recently got out of a long relationship is okay, if asked. Telling your date that you still visit your ex’s Facebook page 17 times a day is not. Use your judgment here and think about what you do and do not want to reveal before the drinks start flowing.

4. No cell phones on the table.

Make your mother proud and stick to polite dinner etiquette. Guys, this means pulling out the chair for your lady. Women, this means not reapplying your makeup at the table. And both, this means no cell phones! There is nothing more rude than chatting on your phone while your date sits there awkwardly trying to pretend like they’re not listening. If you really can’t wait an hour and a half to have a conversation, then you might not be ready for a relationship anyway. This is includes text messages. Your date is not going to be amused by the picture your friend just sent you of his gnarly surfing wound. The only exception to this rule is if you have kids and they are at home with a babysitter. Set your ringtone for the sitter to an emergency alert, so it’s the only incoming call that will set off your device.

5. Don’t forget some gum.

Hopefully your date will go exceptionally, in which case you may be in the mood for a goodnight kiss. Don’t risk the chance of accosting your date with the overwhelming aroma of garlic. Make sure to pack some gum beforehand, and pop it on the drive home or the walk to the valet. Forgot your gum? Suck on the lemon slice from your water glass. Nothing will make a second date less likely than a mouth full of foulness.

I hope these tips help and your next date leads to a long and successful relationship…or at least just an entertaining evening. For more tips on food, fitness, fashion, and celebrities, head on over to my blog To Live and Diet in L.A.

Whitney English is an Entertainment reporter/correspondent in Los Angeles for the women’s lifestyle website SheKnows.com. On the side she writes a health and fitness blog called To Live and Diet in L.A., which explores the hardcore world of Hollywood dieting, provides healthy recipes, and gives a behind the scenes look at what it’s like to interview celebrities. She is an Arizona native but is now proud to call California her home. 

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