What You REALLY Need for College


*There are referral links present in this post. All opinions within this post are 100% honest – I only recommend products that I personally use and love!

We've all seen them. The "Ultimate College Checklist" is probably the first thing every high school graduate refers to when it comes to shopping for their new college life. And I speak from experience! I referred to college dorm checklists wayyyy back when I was still in high school (except, I went to a boarding school and lived in a dorm, so I have an excuse).

And with college dorm move-in day just a short month away, retailers are gearing up. Just this past week, my family got Target's College 2015 mailer. As much as I love Target (like, loooove Target!), I can't help but get slightly annoyed at their suggested "College Checklist". 

I mean, listen to this:

  • futon
  • decorative lights
  • futon cover
  • dry-erase board
  • lounge chair
  • corkboard
  • area rug
  • bookcase
  • decorative pillow
  • wall shelves
  • back rest pillow
  • nightstand
  • wall clock
  • dresser
  • wall art
  • accent table
  • picture frames
  • ottoman
  • door mirror
  • desk
  • floor lamp
  • desk chair
  • tv stand
  • desk lamp

And that was just the Furniture section. To those of you headed off to college this fall: you really don't need all of this. I don't even think it'll fit into your small room anyways! Plus, you don't want to have to pack up all that stuff at the end of the year. Trust me. Things accumulate faster than you think.



Unless your room doesn't have a desk or bed (it probably will though) don't bring any recliners, sofas, coffee tables, or ottomans, even the ones that store stuff. A small futon is fine if you're ok with having people in your room all the time. Other than that, they just take up space, and you do not want to be a real estate hog.

Kitchen Appliances

Other than a fridge, microwave, and coffee maker. If you feel like baking cookies or something, most dorms have cooking facilities with pans and things that you can use. Save those other kitchen gadgets for any future off-campus living days.

A Printer

I started my freshman year with a printer in my room, fully stocked with ink and paper. Then, I hardly used it because there are free computer labs everywhere! Honestly, a personal printer isn't really all that practical (Hint: you won't be doing THAT many paper essays). A printer not only takes up space, but it can also lead to unnecessary spending on ink and paper.

A Computer Lock

You're most likely going to be carrying your laptop with you everywhere anyways.

A Wall Clock, or Alarm Clock

Simply use the clock app on your smartphone. I recommend Sleep Cycle, since it helps you wake up in your lightest sleep phase, so you're less groggy! Plus, it tracks the quality of your sleep.


College students, THIS is what you really need for college.

An Amazon Student subscription

Students get unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping(with no minimum order size), plus exclusive deals and promotions for 6 months!

A mini steamer

Often overlooked, this little beauty will take wrinkles out of clothes in less than 5 minutes and it’s easier to use than an iron. Just fill with tap water, plug it in, and go!

Extra pillowcases

While I do agree with having at least two sets of sheets, I also recommend that you bring along a few extra pillowcases. Pillowcases trap the oils from your face and hair, so try changing it every week. By having extra, you can switch them out and toss the old one into the dirty clothes hamper.

Throw blanket

Perfect for those late (or early) study sessions in the heart of winter, or for sitting out on the front lawn, a blanket is a must! I'm loving this striped one right now!

An umbrella / raincoat

I love this cute umbrella from Bando! Or you could go classic with a wooden handle. But you can also opt for this compact umbrella–it comes in a bunch of color options.

Costumes (or at least ideas of things to wear to make your own costume)

Colleges love having themed events! You will be invited to parties of every theme you can imagine — '70s, '80s, Western, Hawaiian, and many times there are costume contests where you can win prizes. Be prepared!

Easy extra shelves

There's a good chance your closet is going to be small. Velcro a neat organizer to any metal poll, and you'll have the perfect place to store all your sweaters and tees.

An essentials pouch

What I mean by this is that you have a small pencil / cosmetic size pouch that you fill with things such as: bandages, hair ties, chapstick, pads/tampons, pen/pencil, eye drops, safety pins, etc. Having it in a pouch makes it so easy to switch the bag between your backpack and purse while keeping everything organized and neat.


So, so useful.

Air freshener spray

Must I say more?

Hand sanitizer

Keep yourself healthy when the seasons change and the flu starts going around! Get a pack of mini hand sanitizers and keep one in your backpack, purse, and dorm room.

A reusable water bottle

Many college campuses have water bottle filling stations, making it super easy to refill your favorite water bottle. I have the bkr bottle and I love it! It’s made of glass and comes with a silicone sleeve in the color you choose.

A study playlist

Music makes the long hours of studying go by so much faster. I created a Hit the Books playlist on Spotify that includes music from John Mayer, Of Monsters and Men, and Imagine Dragons. Currently it’s 5 hours and 6 minutes long, and I keep on adding to it! Enjoy! (Feel free to check out my other playlists as well)

I hope this helps those of you headed off to college this fall! :)

P.S. Don't forget to check out these 10+ Must Have Apps for College Students!


20 Small Things to Make Time for Again

A list of 20 Things we should start making time for in our everyday lives. As I look around the world we live in, I find a lot of beauty in the simple things. There are certain things though that I think we should make more time for. Things like spending time with others and taking things slower can change your outlook on life. Here's a list of 20 small things to make time for again:

  1. Smiling at strangers. I've noticed how in most places, people walk by each other on sidewalks without ever acknowledging the other person. Let's change that! It's not hard and it might make someone's day. Give a smile and you just might get one back.
  2. Doing random act of kindness that are greater than holding the door open. Holding the door is a great act of service, but let's make the world a nicer place to live in by doing even more acts of kindness that bring smiles to people's faces.
  3. Spending more time outdoors. With longer days of daylight, nothing invigorates a day like the feeling of sunlight on your face.
  4. Taking the opportunity to be creative. Creativity isn't just for artists and those good at drawing. Everyone can be creative, and the world needs more of it. Start a journal or a scrapbook, or find a new creative routine.
  5. Stretching. Loosening your muscles can help you relax and destress.
  6. Watching the sunset or sunrise. Nothing is more inspirational than nature's canvas. Grab some blankets and pillows and take a drive to a nice lookout to watch the colors blend together.
  7. Writing letters by hand. I'm talking thank you cards, get better soon cards, letters to distant friends and family and even random notes to strangers. Digital communication in this technology driven world is easy and convenient but there’s a huge difference between texting someone you love them and writing a note and leaving it next to their bed.
  8. Genuinely asking people how they are and taking the time to talk to them. We've all fallen into the routine of walking by someone and having a conversation such as "Hey! How are you?" "I'm good, how are you?" "I'm good" "That's great" "See ya!" "Yep, see ya". Really take the time to interact and hold a conversation with someone. You might learn something new!
  9. Turning our phones off. We're so connected these days. While it's great to be able to keep up with distant friends, when you're hanging out with other people in real life, let's learn to not spend all our time documenting whatever we’re doing for social media. It often takes away from the experience itself and decreases personal interaction.
  10. Reading actual books. Nothing can beat the feeling of opening a physical book and getting lost in it's contents. Physical books hold memories and meaning. That coffee stain in the top corner, the scribbled note on the front of the back cover, the worn edges from many years of use. E-books just don't hold the same meaning or carry the same feel.
  11. Spending more time with kids. Children remind you to be joyful and live in simplicity. You can learn a lot of spending time and talking with them. Plus they're cute :)
  12. Getting more sleep. While waking up before your alarm and being able to go back to sleep feels great, going to bed earlier can leave you feeling even more refreshed in the morning. With long summer days, the sun rises before 6 at times. If you sleep in until 11am, you've slept through a lot of the day already. More time = more productivity.
  13. Getting really dressed up for no other reason than just wanting to.
  14. Living with less. Get rid of things you don't need! Physical clutter can clutter up the mind.
  15. Thinking before speaking. We’ve love getting things immediately. Whether it's a response, a text, a call, or a material item we've been wanting, we want it right that second. Let's take time to consider things in more depth and then offer a response.
  16. Exploring your world. Even if you can't make it out of the country, or state even, chances are that there are a bunch of hidden gems around the town you live in. On a sunny afternoon, pack some snacks, hop in your car, and just drive! Make stops along the way to create an adventure you won't forget.
  17. Savoring time to do nothing. Take time for yourself. Go on a walk, sit on the porch, buy yourself flowers. Taking time to simply enjoy life will help you appreciate it more.
  18. Making your health and well-being a priority. Stress is real. Life gets busy. I know. But that doesn't mean that you can put your health on the back burner. Make an effort to eat healthier foods and find little ways to increase the amount of exercise you get each day. You'll enjoy life a lot more when you're healthy enough to do everything you want.
  19. Calling home, just because. Those with a close relationship with their parents know how special it is to spend time talking to those you love. Even if you aren't that close to your parents/siblings/grandparents, take time to call and say hello.
  20. Not caring what others think of you. Be yourself. You don't have to follow the crowd. Life would be boring if we always did what everyone else does. Don't be afraid to be different.

What else do you think we should spend more time doing?


100 Things to Throw Away

The first step to minimalism is reducing clutter in your home! Many people dismiss the idea of simplifying or minimizing their life because they don't know where to begin. Truth is, the concept of minimalism isn't to own a certain number of items or get rid of all your favorite belongings; it's living with enough to be content and getting rid of unnecessary clutter.

Taking the first step to owning less isn't difficult. Begin by simply reducing the excess things in your home. For example, you need towels so you will never remove them completely—but you could simplify your life by reducing the number of towels you own.

You can even go a step further and recycle, donate, or trash items. I'm working on doing this in my own life (I have wayyyy to much junk!) and have come up with a list of 100 items you can most likely do without. Try getting rid of 10 items a week and before you know it, you will have made significant progress in your journey towards a more simplified life.

100 Things to Throw Away

  1. Old makeup/ones that you don't use much
  2. Old nail polish
  3. Movies you don't watch anymore
  4. Old coupons/flyers
  5. Old manuals to electronics
  6. Ticket stubs
  7. Takeout menus
  8. Cards given to you with no sentimental value
  9. Socks with holes
  10. Old t-shirts/ones you were given for free that you don't wear
  11. Dried flowers/dead leaves from house plants
  12. Old planners
  13. Old notebooks
  14. Unsubscribe from email subscriptions you don't absolutely love
  15. Expired food
  16. Old/broken phone cases
  17. Ripped denim
  18. Travel brochures
  19. Old shopping catalogs
  20. Old magazines
  21. Boxes that you aren't using to store anything in
  22. Purses you don't use
  23. Old shoes
  24. Empty bottles of
  25. Broken necklaces
  26. The other half of a missing earring
  27. Clothes that don't fit you right now
  28. Old/unused/broken hangers
  29. CD's
  30. Receipts you don't need
  31. Old bills
  32. Empty perfume bottles
  33. One of anything you duplicates of
  34. Old invitations
  35. Outdated electronics
  36. Piles of plastic grocery bags
  37. Old paint
  38. Neglected projects you won't get around to finishing
  39. Rarely used kitchen gadgets
  40. Extra buttons
  41. Soap/shampoo/conditioner from hotel rooms
  42. Tissue paper/gift bags/bows that you're going to "reuse"
  43. Hair accessories you don't use
  44. Old bras
  45. Ripped up pet toys
  46. Stockings with runs
  47. Unused vases
  48. Extra tupperware containers (they're reusable!)
  49. Unused stationery, stickers, sticky notes
  50. Last year's calendar
  51. Business cards from places you don't need
  52. Books you have already read
  53. Chopsticks from restaurants (if you use them a lot, buy a reusable pair!)
  54. Pencils where the eraser doesn't work
  55. Dried out pens
  56. Extra shoelaces
  57. Last years Christmas cards (both yours and ones you received)
  58. Cardboard food boxes
  59. Old dish sponge
  60. Hair products you don't use (you don't need 3 different types of shampoo)
  61. Board games with missing pieces
  62. Old homework
  63. Textbooks from classes you're finished with
  64. Extra sets of headphones
  65. That bag of gems/rocks you got from a tourist spot
  66. Old prescription glasses
  67. Broken sunglasses
  68. Worn out flip-flops
  69. Loyalty cards you don't use
  70. Free samples
  71. Posters you don't display
  72. Excess decks of cards
  73. Phone books
  74. Magnets
  75. Extra decorative pillows
  76. Paper plates
  77. Plastic forks/knives/spoons
  78. Empty shoeboxes
  79. Lanyards/keychains you don't use
  80. Puzzle books
  81. Broken Christmas lights
  82. Ornaments that have no sentimental meaning
  83. Old contact lens cases
  84. Extra bubble wrap
  85. Crafting supplies you bought for a project but don't use anymore
  86. Plastic water bottles (buy a reusable one!)
  87. Belts you don't like
  88. Hats you don't wear
  89. Puzzles with missing pieces
  90. Old medication
  91. The other half of a missing mitten/sock
  92. Used/ripped envelopes
  93. Random containers/jars
  94. Extra matchbooks
  95. Chip clips
  96. Old, raggy towels
  97. Old school projects
  98. Small pieces of scrap paper/ribbon/string
  99. Notes from your middle school lover
  100. Chapstick

What else would you add to the list?


February Goals

Dream Big.Whoa. Is it really February 11? This month is flying by! I know it's a little late to be posting February goals, but better late than never, right? ;) Posting my goals for each month provides so much accountability and encouragement to follow through with them.

Last month I posted my overall goals for 2015 in six different areas in my life:

Blog – Average 50,000 monthly pageviews

RelationshipsNurture my relationships with those I love

FaithBecome a Proverbs 31 woman

Creativity – Become a designer without going to design school

Health – End the year healthier and stronger

Business – Launch by the end of 2015

I love having this list because it gives me a focus for all of my monthly goals. Without it, all my goals would be scattered and I'd be less likely to actually do them.

January Recap:

Blog – Write more useful/encouraging posts for others

Posts that are useful to other people are my favorite ones to write. I love sharing tips, ideas, and different things that I've learned. Some of my favorite from last month include:

Why Your Blog Needs a Mission Statement

Beginner's Guide to Graphic Design: Creative Market

8 Ways to Make Your Mac Run Faster

3 Easy Steps to Mind Mapping

Is Your Blog Legal?

Relationships – Have at least two date nights

Caleb is the sweetest man in the world. He knows how much I love spending quality time together and goes out of his way to make everyday things like supper really special :) We also had a special pizza night date a last week when our schools got cancelled due to the ice and snow.

Faith – Begin habit of daily Bible reading

I have to admit that I'm behind on reading the whole Bible in a year, but I've been making an effort to read the Bible every day. I've learned so much that I didn't know before!

Creativity – Read one inspiring book

Done! I know I've said this before, but I highly recommend Make It Happen by Lara Casey. Hands down my favorite book of the year!

Health – Begin yoga

I didn't have time to do much yoga last month, but I'm hoping that I can squeeze in a few stretches somewhere in my busy schedule!

Business – Draft business plan

Draft would be the correct term to use. The business plan is in its rough stages still, but at least I have something written down!

February Goals

Blog - Participate in another Twitter chat

Relationships - Finish reading The 5 Love Languages together

Faith - Memorize 5 Bible verses

Creativity - Take time and sketch out ideas

Health - Eat more fruits and veggies

Business - Finish logo and business set designs

What are some of your February goals?


3 Easy Steps to Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a great alternative to doing a brain dump. It can help you brainstorm ideas or solve complex problems. Do any of you do brain dumps onto a piece of paper? I do.

Although recently, I've discovered something SO much better than just writing down a list of the random thoughts that float around in my brain all day. It's called mind mapping.

I've been using this process for the past week or so, and I've found that it helps me keep my random thoughts organized in a fun, colorful way. Technically it is still a brain dump, just a more outlined, visual one. Mind mapping is such a useful way to think about new ideas and simplify complex processes. You can use it for school projects, your business ideas, product ideas, blogging, or just your daily life in general.

[Tweet "Mind mapping is the new brain dump. @britthouchins"]

Making a mind map is really very simple. First you must choose whether you want to write it out on a large piece of paper or use an app. The app makes the process much faster, but writing it out by hand is good if you want to personalize it and be more precise. Listed below are a few different mind mapping apps I've found. Check them out and see which one you like!

Coggle (Website)

MindNode (Mac / iOS)

XMind (Windows / Mac / Linux)

SimpleMind (Windows / Mac / iOS / Android)

If you're new to mind mapping, here are three easy steps to help you begin and get the most out of it!

1. Write and don't stop

The first step to creating your mind map is to just write anything and everything that comes to mind. Don't spend too much time on one item; just write. If an item is related to something else, keep them connected by creating branches off of the original item. If you think of a totally unrelated/different/random topic, create a new "main" stem (in MindNode, you just right click to create a new "node"). The goal is to get everything out of your system.

How to make a mind map

2. Add steps

Second, take a look at the items you've listed. Are there any goal items? To-dos? List any sub-steps needed to complete that item by branching them out. Check them off/delete them once you finish them!

Add steps to a mind map

3. Select your top three

The great thing about mind maps is that they give you the ability to see the big picture. The not-so-great thing about mind maps is that sometimes being able to see everything can cause you to lose focus. Once you've finished making your mind map, choose the top three items you want to focus on. If you listed sub-steps, start tackling them! A mind map used in the right way could help you even more than a to-do list.

Have you ever used a mind map? Which you you prefer: a brain dump or mind map?



8 Ways to Make Your Mac Run Faster

8 ways to make your mac run faster!When I first got my Macbook Pro for college last year, I Googled everything I could about tips, tricks and changes I could do to personalize my computer. One of my biggest worries was that after a few years of owning this baby, it would eventually become slower. Little did I know that there are a bunch of steps you can take to ensure that your computer will be good shape - and even cause your Mac run faster - in a few years.

Delete apps and files

The number one thing that clogs up your computer are files and applications. Do a quick audit of what you have on your computer and delete anything you don't use or need anymore. Put files in Dropbox, iCloud, or Evernote. Delete files from your "Downloads". Organize what you have and keep the desktop free from clutter. Having excess items on the desktop can result in slower loading times due to the fact that the desktop is the first page that loads! Also, don't forget to empty the trash bin after you've dumped a bunch of items in there!

Restart your computer at least twice a week

I'm one of those people who almost never shuts off my Mac. I almost always have it sleeping. One day I realized my computer was lagging more than usual. I did a little research and found out that your Mac has a few tools that it uses automatically to help maintain itself. Some of these tools only run during shutdown and startup. Get into the habit of powering down your computer at least twice a week. A simple restart before you go to bed each night works too!

Quit, don't just close, apps

Most apps don't completely quit when you click the red button. The application continues to run in the background in an effort to start up again quickly. If you're done using the app for a bit, quit it completely. Command Q is a quick shortcut. Or you can right click on the app icon and click Quit.

8 ways to make your Mac run faster

Manage your startup items

When you start up your Mac, a lot of things load up in the background. Get a faster Mac startup by removing unnecessary apps. Go to System Preferences > Users and Groups > then click on your username. Now click on Login Items, click on the name of the application you don't need at startup, and then click the "-" sign located at the bottom left to remove the app from the list. The less apps on the list, the better!

8 ways to make your Mac run faster

Keep your computer cool

A hot computer is a suffering computer. If you feel your computer getting warm or hear the fans turn on louder, place your computer in a place where it can get good ventilation. On a Mac, the vents are in the back by the hinge.

If you use your laptop on your lap, in bed, or on top of any sort of blanket, place the laptop on a lap tray, box, or something else that is flat and sturdy. Overheating your computer can be very damaging to the hardware, so make an effort to keep it cool.

Install the FlashControl Chrome Extension

Another way to keep your computer from doing more work and possibly overheating is to control Adobe Flash. A lot of embedded videos use Flash, and while it's not a bad thing, the content can sometimes be annoying. Installing a Flash block extension allows you to control what you want to play.

For example, if you went to a website and there's some ad content on the side that uses Flash, it won't load. But if there's a video somewhere that you do want to see, all you need to do is simply click on the blank space and the video will load! Blocking Flash essentially blocks unnecessary loading that slows down your browser.

Delete the cache and cookies from your internet browser

If your browser is slow, everything else seems slow too. Delete the cache and cookies every once and awhile to give the system a nice refresh.

Install virus and malware protection (for free!)

Free Mac security and antivirus protection.

It's been said that Macs are immune to viruses and other things that are common on Windows. Because of that, many Mac users never even think to install antivirus protection. But that's not the case anymore.

Turns out, it's not impossible to create a virus that affects a Mac; it's just more difficult than with Windows because of nature of OS X and its security model. Think of all the hackers who would spend their time creating a Mac virus, just to be able to prove that Macs are vulnerable.

Also, security issues might allow some form of attack, even if it's not in the form of a virus. Something might erase your data or gain access to your personal information. Either way, having some form of protection will ensure that you're taking the right measures to protect both you and your Mac.

 I have Avast Free Antivirus installed on my Mac, and I love it! It's free, simple to install, and updates automatically to keep protection current. I encourage you to use it!

What do you do to keep your computer in good condition?


75+ Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Women

Affiliate links are present in this post. By clicking, you are helping support this blog! Thank you!

75+ of the best stocking stuffer ideas for women! Perfect gift ideas for your wife, sister, or best friends. #christmas #giftideas
75+ of the best stocking stuffer ideas for women! Perfect gift ideas for your wife, sister, or best friends. #christmas #giftideas

I have a weakness for small, cute little gifts. While receiving a box from under the tree is always exciting, stocking stuffers have always been my favorite thing to open on Christmas morning. This list will help you find the perfect little gift or stocking stuffer for your sister, mom, best friend, cousin...whatever! Be sure to check out these 75+ stocking stuffer ideas for men too!


1. EOS lip balm 2. EOS hand lotion 3. Lipgloss / lipstick 4. Nail polish 5. Spa giftcard 6. Travel size beauty products 7. Makeup brushes 8. Exfoliating gloves 9. Soap (check out the pink clay one, oatmeal one, cocoa one, and coffee shampoo soap!) 10. Bath bombs 11. Massage oil 12. Bath oil 13. Himalayan pink bath salts 14. Pink clay face masks 15. Perfume 16. Sock bun styler 17. Eye mask


18. Camp Socks 19. Scarves 20. Ear warmers / hat 21. Hand warmers 22. Tights 23. Leg Warmers 24. Leggings 25. Belts


26. Phone cases 27. Headphones / earbuds 28. Cord taco (this is pretty cool) 29. Portable phone charger - I love this one! 30. Memory card for digital camera 31. iTunes giftcard 32. Camera strap

Arts / Crafts

33. Washi Tape 34. Colored pencils (to go with an adult coloring book! –great gift idea) 35. Pretty pencils 36. Pens 37. Sharpie Markers 38. Mini sketch books 39. Paint / paintbrushes 40. Stickers 41. Scrapbooking supplies 42. Stamps 43. Ink pads 44. Calligraphy set

Desk / Paper

45. A small planner 46. Candle holder 47. A cute notepad 48. Wall calendar 49. Cute mug 50. Notebooks 51. Mouse pad 52. Sticky notes


53. Soft blanket / throw 54. Wall art prints

Baking / Cooking

55. Cookie cutters 56. Cook books 57. Cupcake liners 58. Cookie decorating sprinkles

Little Things

59. Framed picture of both of you 60. Ferrero Rocher chocolates 61. Her favorite magazine 62. Flowers! 63. A love letter 64. Keychain 65. Pretty printed matchboxes 66. Fun luggage tags 67. Travel notebook 68. A chic umbrella 69. Compact mirror 70. Yearly ornament 71. Wallet 72. Gift card to favorite store 73. Concert tickets 74. Mints / gum 75. Coin purse 76. Assorted greeting cards 77. Yoga mat strap 78. Tea infusers for the tea drinker 79. Essential oils 80. Tote bags

Shop more great stocking stuffer ideas below!

Also, be sure to check out 75+ Stocking Stuffers for Men!

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75+ Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Men

Affiliate links are present in this post. By clicking, you are helping support this blog! Thank you!

75+ of the best stocking stuffer ideas for men #christmas #giftideas

There’s something so neat about little gifts small enough to be stuffed in a giant sock. Yet, many women struggle year after year on what to put in the stockings of the men in their life. To help you out, here's a list of 75+ stocking stuffer ideas for men that are both neat and useful!

Personal Care

1. Soap (check out this charcoal soap!) 2. Chapstick 3. Shower Gel 4. Cologne – if you're on a budget, try some sample sized ones 5. The Dollar Shave Club (a gift card subscription works too!) 6. Hair cut certificates 7. Back scratcher


8. Pocket squares 9. Beanie / knit hat 10. Ties 11. Cufflinks 12. Belt buckle 13. Wool socks 14. Black socks for work or church

Musician / Music Lover

15. iTunes giftcard 16. Guitar strings / picks / capo 17. Drum sticks 18. Headphones / earbuds


19. USB drive 20. Mophie Juice Pack phone case

Working Man

21. Nails, screws, drill bits 22. Carpenter pencil, sanding block, leveler 23. Tape measure 24. Flashlight 25. Pocket knife 26. Work gloves 27. Electrical Tape 28. Gorilla Tape (better than Duck tape!) 29. Extension cords 30. Safety goggles 31. Home Depot giftcard 32. O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Cream

Gym Rat / Athlete

33. Weight lifting gloves 34. Protein bars 35. Water bottle 36. Wrist / arm band for phone or MP3 player 37. Sports / health magazines 38. Resistance exercise bands - perfect for any bodyweight exercises! 39. Bike light 40. Thermal running gloves 41. A trusty bike lock 42. Wax for surfboards 43. Hand wrap tape 44. Golf balls 45. Golf tees


46. Fishing lures 47. Matches / lighter 48. Hand / boots warmers (check out this Zippo Pocket Handwarmer! You can get it engraved!) 49. Bungee cords 50. Carabiner 51. Sardine can survival kit 52. LifeStraw Personal Water Purifier

Auto / Car Care

53. Oil changing supplies 54. Car wash certificates 55. Car air fresheners 56. Tire pressure gauge - this one is the best in the industry, and it's only $10!) 57. Shop towels / rags

Sports Fan

58. 2015 Facts-A-Year Sports Daily Desk Calendar 59. Sports game tickets 60. Favorite sports hat 61. Trading / collectors cards 62. Sports memorabilia

Unique Ideas!

63. A wallet surprise 64. U Da Man chocolate bar 65. Stocking stuffer coupons 66. Best Husband trophy 67. The Art of Manliness 68. A cheesy movie from the clearance bin (Chuck Norris anyone?) 69. Mini bottle of a specialty hot sauce 70. Balsa wood airplanes 71. Pocket Ref Guide - This small, black book is crammed with just about every piece of information a man might want to know. 72. Field notes 73. Man Cave sign 74. Peace of mind (this is such a neat idea!)

Little Things

75. Sunglasses 76. Tins of shoe polish 77. Gums / mints 78. Deck of cards 79. Bottle opener, bottle opener ring 80. Money clip 81. Wallet (with a picture of you and him in it!)

Have any other manly stocking stuffer ideas? Share them in the comments and I'll add yours to the list! :)


P.S. Don't miss out on the gift guide for the manly man!

December Goals

December Goals | The Kardia Blog Ever since I began blogging, the months seem to go by even faster. Maybe it's because I post oh so much every month, or maybe it's just because I'm getting old. Whatever the reason is, I still love having monthly goals, even if I don't finish them all every month. As long as I'm kept accountable, I will finish them! It's just a matter of time.

November Recap:

  • Watch and do the First Steps to Handlettering on Skillshare!

- I meant to do this over Thanksgiving break but I just got so busy. Christmas break is coming though!

  • Read one book (that is not school related)

- Again, meant to do this during Thanksgiving.

  • Sponsor another blog :)

- I almost signed up to sponsor someone, but I decided to wait until the new year because I'm working on some new grab buttons :)

  • Buy a calendar to use for blog planning

- This I did do! I went to Target one day and saw this monthly calendar by Sugar Paper on sale and just had to get it. It's exactly what I was looking for. I wanted just a plain monthly calendar where I can write my blog post ideas on sticky notes and be able to move them around to different days.

  • Return the suspenders that I borrowed back in September…

- Done!

December Goals:

  • Watch and do the First Steps to Handlettering on Skillshare! (I'm going to do it! For sure!)
  • Read one book (that is not school related)
  • Sponsor another blog :)
  • Show my roommate some awesome places in Minnesota!
  • Make some small trinket dishes for my best friends as gifts

What are some of your goals for December?


(image credit)

Gift Guide: For the Manly Man

Perfect gift ideas for him! The man in your life will surely love these gifts! | The Kardia Blog Men are hard to shop for sometimes. But if you just take the time to think and look, there are actually so many great gift ideas for him. I'm tired of seeing all those boring gift guides for men with overpriced, random things they don't need or want. So today I took the time to carefully choose some useful, practical gifts that the men in your life are sure to enjoy! Take a look...

1. Subscription to the Dollar Shave Club | $3 - $9 per month depending on blade preference

Ladies. Trust me on this one! What guy wants to overpay to get a decent razor? Sign them up for the Dollar Shave Club. They deliver great blades right to your doorstep every month for just a few bucks. No more schlepping to the drugstore and no more overpriced, ridiculous shave tech that you don't need. The $6 razor is perfect and comes with free shipping! That's less than you pay for Netflix! Women can use them too :) Plus, their video ad is hilarious (that's what all my guy friends say!)

2. Charcoal Soap | $6

The true value of activated charcoal is its ability to remove toxins and impurities from your body. This is why an activated charcoal bar soap is great at helping solve troubled skin problems. RightSoap makes this soap with natural ingredients and the finest oils and butters. This is the perfect stocking stuffer for your man!

3. Gingham Tie | $59.50 (if you hurry, you can get 30% using the code GETFESTIVE !)

A gingham tie is so classic and instantly brings an outfit up a notch. Get your man a nice tie to wear on some fancy dates with you. Or just dress up in your house. I mean, he'll want to wear this tie even when he doesn't have to.

4. Touchscreen Gloves | $45

I live in Minnesota, so winter to us means snow, ice, and cold. Men need a good, warm, durable pair of gloves for when they're out snowblowing, shoveling, and even just holding the steering wheel! This pair is perfect, with a silicone grip and touchscreen capability.

 5. The Art of Manliness | $14.16

Authors Brett and Kate McKay wrote this book as a guide full of advice on how to be better husbands, fathers, and men. It even takes its lessons from classic gentlemen such as Benjamin Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt. This book includes useful things to know and learn, such as how to perform a fireman's carry, start a fire without matches, predict the weather like a frontiersman, live a well-balanced life, and so much more! Be sure to check out The Art of Manliness website too!

6. A Tablet | Price Varies

If your guy loves techy gadgets, a tablet is the way to go! Easy to carry and super functional, this is something he'll use throughout the day!

7. Multi-Tool Keychain | $36.85

My grandpa's favorite Christmas gift was a multi-tool keychain. He uses it for everything! This gift is nice because your man can keep it with him at all times. This one includes 9 tools: a knife, wood/metal file, bottle opener, needlenose pliers, regular pliers, scissors, flat/Phillips screwdriver, medium screwdriver, and wire cutters.

8. A Huge Water Bottle | $32.95

I bought this for Caleb's birthday and he LOVES it. He drinks a ton of water and didn't like having to constantly fill up one of those small water bottles. This stainless steel bottle from Kleen Kanteen holds a whopping half gallon! With its extra wide mouth, your man won't have to worry about having to sip at his water. And if a huge bottle isn't your thing, Kleen Kanteen offers a variety of sizes and styles :)

9. Mophie Juice Pack | Price Varies depending on model of phone

Don't you hate it when your phone dies? Give your man the gift of power (battery power that is) with a battery pack for his phone. A Mophie Juice Pack can virtually double your battery life, giving you more hours to talk, text, listen to music, and surf the web.

 What are you planning to give the men in your life this holiday?


P.S. Check out my gift guide for bloggers!

Gift Guide: For the Blogger

2014 Holiday Gift Guide for Bloggers | Tons of ideas on the Kardia Blog! The Holiday season is finally here! :) I've loved reading gift guides ever since I was a litte girl. I love deciding on the perfect present for each person. So when I was brainstorming ideas for gift guides this year, the first thing I thought of were gift ideas for bloggers. Of course, all these ideas appeal to me personally, but I hope that maybe it can help inspire some of the special people in our lives when they're choosing out some gifts. So send this link to your boyfriend/hubby as a little "hint hint wink wink" ;) You might even add a few to your wishlist!

1. Fotostrap | $85

This is definitely on my wishlist! With photography being such a huge part of blogging nowadays, a strong camera strap is a must. I'm tired using the Canon strap that came with my DSLR. Fotostrap offers so many different designs of 100% genuine leather and canvas fabric camera straps. You can even get them monogrammed with a saying or your name!

2. Blog, Inc. | $12.58

Whether you're a beginner blogger or have been blogging for years, Blog, Inc. is a great resource and tool. It covers everything from the basics, like domain, web hosting, design, and clearly explains more advanced things like monetizing and working with companies.

3. BKR water bottle | $30

I absolutely LOVE my BKR water bottle. I get compliments on it everywhere I go and would recommend it to everyone. It's easy to carry, comes in a variety of colors, and is super fashionable!

4. iPad mini | $399

While a laptop is great, sometimes you just need something lighter to carry around. An iPad mini allows you to keep up with blogging, emails, and social media on the go, all while syncing to your Mac and iPhone as well!

5. Nate Berkus throw blanket | $29.99

Every blogger needs a nice blanket to throw around their shoulders while they're blogging or sitting on the couch. This one from the Nate Berkus line at Target is super cute!

6. A blog planner | $16

Keep your blog organized while being chic by using the Heart and Arrow Design blog planner! This is perfect for scheduling posts for the week. My favorite feature is the reminders for posting on social media, commenting, and even keeping up with your blog roll!

7. A pretty vase (with flowers in it!) | $9.49 + flowers (don't forget the flowers!)

Every bloggers desk should be brightened up by some beautiful flowers (they make for good photos!). So looking for the perfect surprise gift for your blogger? Consider a nice vase with flowers.

8. Baron Fig notebook | $16

This is the notebook for creatives. The Baron Fig notebook was made to help you unleash your creativity and get your ideas down on paper. It simple design is the perfect blank canvas to begin dreaming with.

9. Hunter boots | $148

Oh so fashionable, but still so useful, every fashionable blogger should have a pair of nice rain boots at least once in their lifetime! I personally love the style of Hunter wellies. My problem is, I don't know what color to get! ;)

What do you think bloggers would love?


5 Things You Wouldn't Know About Me

5 Things You Wouldn't Know About Me | The Kardia Blog Blogging has given me the opportunity to connect with others in ways I haven't before. I’ve noticed how the image of other people can be different in blog world versus in real life. In the blogging world, you can only see what the blogger lets you see about their life. You don't get to really know the little quirks about your blog friends unless you meet them in real life. So in case we've never met in real life, here are some lesser known things that make me, me.

I smell my hair...constantly

This is probably my weirdest quirk. I have this habit of smelling my hair. Usually, I take a section, twist it around my index finger, stop it with my thumb, let it loosen a little bit, then hold it between my nose and lips for awhile. Caleb thinks it's hilarious! He says it must help me remember things, because when I'm trying to think, I start to sniff my hair and then it's like a lightbulb went on in my head. I don't even know why or when I started doing this. All I know is that I do it all the time, even when I'm walking! Last summer when I was working retail, I was walking around and one of my coworkers asked me why I'm always smelling my hair. I didn't even realize I was doing it until she said something! Talk about embarrassing...

I drop the pencil and pick it up again, just to erase something

I didn't even know I had this habit until one of my friends pointed it out. We were taking notes in class and I kept messing up and having to erase things. She turned to me and said, "Why do you drop the pencil to erase? Why not just turn it around in your hand?" Honestly, I don't know why. I guess I think it's faster?

I'm afraid of elevators

This fear started when I came to visit my college as a senior in high school. We took a trip to the Lincoln capitol building, which is a whopping 400 feet tall. Inside is this tiny little elevator that brings you up to the top. Everything about the trip was good, until we had to come down. Let's just say, we had too many people in the old elevator. It kept stopping randomly, in between floors. Then as we finally reached the bottom, an alarm went off. Ever since then, I've been afraid of getting stuck in an elevator, especially alone. That's why I take the stairs whenever I can! I guess I'm not alone with this fear though, because this post from A Cup of Jo explains it perfectly!

I wear contacts 98% of the time

I was one of those girls in elementary school that didn't like how I looked with glasses., so I only wore them at home. Once I got contacts in high school, I only wore glasses in my dorm room (I went to a boarding school). Caleb didn't even know I needed glasses until we had been dating for three months! Now that I'm in college (and have a pair of glasses that I love), I wear contacts most of the time, but I'll still wear my glasses every few days.

I'm half Filipino

Yep! My dad is scandinavian and my mom is filipino. A lot of people tend to look at me for a long time before cautiously asking what I am. When I tell them that I'm half Filipino they say, "I knew you were part something! I can see it in your eyes!" Other than that, I don't think you can easily tell what ethnicity I am.

What is something I wouldn't know about you unless we met in person?


P.S. Did you know that you can learn a lot about people from...their Pinterest?

5 Tips for Productivity

5 Tips to help you be more productive and get things done! | The Kardia Blog Most people struggle with productivity at some point. Whether it's the never ending email inbox, wasting time on Pinterest, or watching 45 minutes of parodies on YouTube (guilty as charged, but I have to admit, they were hilarious!), sometimes it can be a challenge to focus. How can you stay on track without losing your mind? Well, it turns out that even the simplest things can make you more productive than ever, like making sure you're not working on an empty stomach (the growls can be quite distracting). While we all have different ways of being productive, here are my top five, super simple tips to staying focused.

1. Do a Brain Dump

Every night before I go to bed, and every morning before I do anything else, I take out a piece of paper and write down anything that comes to mind. Everything. I write down the title of a song that's stuck in my head, ideas for blog posts, meetings I need to go to, an outfit idea I saw another girl wear, something funny a professor said in class, things I want to Google, etc. I do this to clear my head before I go to sleep, otherwise my mind will just keep on working late into the night. In the morning I look at that list and categorize them: to-do list, Google list, reminders, and random stuff. Getting everything out on paper frees my brain up from trying to keep track of all that information.

2. Make an (Organized) To-Do List

Making an efficient, organized to-do list has always been a struggle for me. I've tried making paper lists, using sticky notes, and have tried many different list-making apps, but the app is by far my favorite list-making tool. It's simple design and ability to move around tasks between Today, Tomorrow, Upcoming, and Someday lists keeps it organized. Whatever you put into the Tomorrow list will automatically move to the Today list when the day changes, and your Upcoming list will move to Tomorrow on the following Sunday.

Use to easily make your to-do list and be more productive! | The Kardia Blog

Also, if one of the items on your to-do list is getting your small business off the ground, check out Kabbage prides themselves on helping entrepreneurs increase productivity in order to achieve their goals by providing small business loans.

3. Single-Task

Many people think that multi-tasking will help them be more efficient because they're working on more than one thing at a time. While that mindset may help you get small, effortless tasks done, the truth is, you really aren’t getting stuff done as efficiently as you could. Simplify your to-do list by learning to single-task. Handle one task at a time. Do it well. And when it is complete, then move on to the next.

4. Use a Table Lamp

Light is important when you're working. If you work in a dimly lit room, not only are you straining your eyes, but you're also going to get tired easily. By using a table lamp instead of overhead lighting, you can stay focused on one thing. Having the light focus in on your task keeps you from looking around and finding something else to do.

5. Have Everything Ready

 Nothing wastes more time than having to get up and leave your desk just to do little things like grabbing a glass of water. Set yourself up before you sit yourself down. Go to the bathroom, pour a glass of water, stock up on paper and pens, and find your charger before you begin working. That way you can just dive right in.

What helps you stay productive? How do you eliminate distractions?


P.S. Looking for more productivity tips? Check out these 8 ways to simplify your life!

100 Ways to Love Your Spouse (Part 2: Her Way)

100 Ways to Love Your Wife | The Kardia Blog
On Monday I posted about 100 Ways to Love Your Husband his way, and so today I'm sharing the list of 100 Ways to Love Your Wife Her Way! I originally found the list on this website a year ago, and Caleb and I used it to discover what makes the other really, truly feel loved and respected. Even if you're not married, it's important to learn early on that you are both feel loved in different ways. Remember, these are only suggestions – not everything will apply to everyone. Have fun!


  1. Start and/or end each day by holding hands and praying together with your wife.
  2. Pray for her every day and make it a point to pray with her when she is troubled.
  3. Communicate with her instead of talking AT her or shutting her out emotionally.
  4. Talk to her respectfully without demeaning her or hurting her feelings.
  5. Compliment her for the giftedness you see in her. Be specific.
  6. Show interest in her friends and give her time to be with them.
  7. Do something active together to lift her spirit —even taking a walk hand-in-hand.
  8. Express to her that you need and value her.
  9. Show enthusiasm for the things that she’s excited about—let your actions show it.
  10. Find something that makes you laugh together.
  11. Put your arms around her when she needs comfort, holding her silently.
  12. Surprise her by doing something you think she would want done before she asks.
  13. Try not to make sudden changes without discussing them with her first.
  14. Show interest in that which she values as important in her life.
  15. Allow your wife to teach you things without being defensive.
  16. When you feel you must correct her, be gentle —speak the truth in LOVE.
  17. Let go of the small stuff. We all have annoying habits and preferences that are different from our spouse’s. (Dave Ramsey)
  18. Show her that she matters more to you than any one you could be with, that threatens her security in your marriage.
  19. Be a good listener. Show her you value what she says.
  20. Plan a mini-honeymoon, where the two of you can spend quality time together.
  21. Go shopping with her and don’t sigh or look at what time it is even once.
  22. Take her out to breakfast or make her breakfast (cleaning up afterward).
  23. Make the time to set specific goals with her to achieve together for each year.
  24. Give her grace when she offends you and forgive (even as you want to be forgiven).
  25. Find ways to help her know you are her partner in all areas life.
  26. Be polite, courteous, and mannerly with her—not taking her for granted.
  27. Exhibit humility, admit your mistakes, and ask for forgiveness. She’ll appreciate that!
  28. Defend her to others—especially to your family.
  29. Don’t belittle her intelligence.
  30. Scratch her back, rub her feet, or her rub her neck—whatever she’d prefer.
  31. Get up in the middle of the night (let her stay in bed) to take care of your upset child.
  32. Be especially helpful when she is not feeling well.
  33. When she asks how your day went, don’t just say “fine” —actually give her details.
  34. Thank God for her by name when the two of you are praying together.
  35. Try not to argue over money. Peacefully discuss future expenditures instead.
  36. Don’t embarrass her by arguing with her in front of others.
  37. Lead your family in their spiritual relationship with God. This is important to her.
  38. Make eye contact when she is talking to you and when you are talking with her.
  39. Show her that you prefer her to others—give her your attention whenever possible.
  40. Relate what happened at work or whatever you did apart from her.
  41. Keep away from anything that gives you sexual gratification, other than your wife.
  42. Be helpful, both before and during the time you have visitors in your home. (If you’re not sure of what to do, ask your wife “What can I do that would help the most?”)
  43. Brag about her to others, both in front of her and when she is not with you.
  44. Surprise her from time-to-time with a card and flowers or a little gift.
  45. Remember to tell her or call her as soon as you know you are going to be late.
  46. Give her your undivided attention when she wants to talk.
  47. Guard your tongue from saying “unwholesome words” or down-grading her.
  48. Refuse to compare her unfavorably with others.
  49. Encourage her to relax in some way while you clean up after dinner.
  50. Be an involved partner in helping with the children and spending time together.
  51. Maintain good grooming habits so you look and smell good. It shows you care.
  52. Be supportive. Help her to finish her education and goals that are important to her.
  53. View and treat her as if God put a sign over her that said, “Make me feel special.”
  54. Run errands without complaining.
  55. Give her the love gift of being thoughtful and considerate to her relatives.
  56. Don’t negatively compare her relatives with yours.
  57. Sit close to her —even when you are just watching television.
  58. Be verbally supportive and honor her in front of the children.
  59. Do not making plans without her agreeing with them (unless it’s a surprise).
  60. Pro-actively do things that makes her feel cherished as a woman and as a wife.
  61. Keep her trust at all costs. Leave no gray area when it comes to other female relationships, money and your word. (Dave Ramsey)
  62. Ask for a list of 3 things she’d like done in the home. Prioritize to do them ASAP.
  63. Ask her and then listen to what makes her fearful and insecure (without judging).
  64. Pray about and act upon what you can do to alleviate those fears.
  65. Find out what her sexual needs are (and then try to fulfill them).
  66. Surprise her with a 15 second kiss (with no expectations to go any further).
  67. Put effort in to keep yourself in good shape so she’s especially proud to be with you.
  68. Make it a point to write a mission statement together for your marriage and family.
  69. Take the time to touch every day—even if it’s only for a minute or two.
  70. Be polite and kind. (Often we’re kinder to strangers than we are to our spouse.)
  71. Be sensitive enough to ask her if you offend or hurt her sexually in any way.
  72. Go out of your way to help her feel valued over everyone else.
  73. Consider her as your marital partner in how you spend money.
  74. You dated your wife before marriage, and fell in love. Date her now to STAY in love.
  75. Be careful to choose your words, especially when angry.
  76. Show affection for her in front of friends.
  77. Make sure your children speak to her and treat her in respectful ways.
  78. Make a point of honoring anniversaries, birthdays, and other special occasions.
  79. Make sure she has money to spend any way she would choose.
  80. Hold her close and verbally express your love when she is hurt or discouraged.
  81. Surprise her by giving her a special gift from time to time.
  82. Share the responsibilities around the house (without looking for special recognition).
  83. Don’t tease and belittle her, saying “I was just joking” when she doesn’t find it funny.
  84. Allow her to express herself freely, without fear of being called illogical or dumb.
  85. Don’t forget to hold her hand in public like you used to when you dated her.
  86. Don’t criticize her in front of others—keeping her dignity in tact.
  87. Don’t focus on the physical features of another woman (It dishonors your wife).
  88. Be sensitive to her needs—looking for ways to bless her.
  89. Let her know you want to spend special time with her and the children.
  90. Fix dinner for her sometimes.
  91. Be sympathetic when she’s sick—and help her however you can.
  92. Let her sleep in sometimes and you get the children ready for the day.
  93. Honor her by not disagreeing with her in front of the children.
  94. Don’t ignore the small things that bother her and let them build into bigger issues.
  95. Surprise her by doing some things around the house that she’s wanted done.
  96. Tell her (and show her) you love her often.
  97. Call, email or text her when you’re apart so she knows you are thinking of her.
  98. Surprise her by suggesting a marriage seminar or weekend retreat you can attend together.
  99. Express your love and appreciation for her in a love note which you give to her.
  100. Show her affection without sexual intentions.

100 Ways to Love Your Wife | The Kardia Blog

Step 1: Print out the free printable by clicking on the link below. Make sure to also print out the list of how to love your husband too. Set out some highlighters and pens to use.

Step 2: Highlight the most meaningful ones as you read through the list. Ask him to do the same with his list. What speaks to you? What can you relate to?

Step 3: After you both have gone through the list, number them in order of importance.

Step 4: Discuss! Talk about why and why you didn't choose certain things. Ask if there are any other things the other would like to add to the list.

Step 5: Take his highlighted selections and write/type it into a list, and have him do the same with yours. Keep it somewhere where you can see it daily for reference (the refrigerator, bedside table, planner, bulletin board, etc.).

I hope this will provide both of you with a conversation starter and a practical date night idea. Learning to love one another in different ways is one of the keys to a successful relationship :)

Get your free 100 Ways to Love Her Worksheet here!

What are some other ways that you as a wife/girlfriend feel loved? 


P.S. Check out my love and marriage Pinterest board!

100 Ways to Love Your Spouse (Part 1: His Way)

100 Ways to Love Your Husband | The Kardia Blog
Everyone wants to feel loved, but different people feel and express that love in different ways. I found this list here about a year ago, and even though Caleb and I are just dating, we've always wanted to know what makes the other feel loved and respected. Because men and women feel loved through different actions, there are two parts to this series. Today I'm providing a list of 100 ways to love your spouse HIS way, and on Wednesday will be the list of 100 ways to love your spouse HER way. By no means is this a list of do and don'ts, or what you're not doing right. No. That's not the intention. The purpose of this is to get to know what kind of actions speak to your significant other's love language. Use it to learn their view certain things. These are only suggestions - not everything will apply to everyone. Have fun! The list is pretty exciting as you go through it.


  1. Respectfully communicate with him.
  2. Let him know he’s important to you.
  3. Purposefully try to understand his feelings—even when you disagree with him.
  4. Show interest in his friends giving him some time with them if they’re trust-worthy.
  5. Let go of the small stuff. We all have annoying habits and preferences that are different from our spouse’s. (Dave Ramsey)
  6. Tell him you both love him AND like him.
  7. Either show interest in his hobbies or allow him space to participate freely. (D Ramsey)
  8. Protect his dignity on a daily basis.
  9. When confronting him, realize he has feelings also.
  10. Foster an atmosphere of laughter in your home. Look for ways to laugh together.
  11. Try not to make sudden major changes without discussion, giving him time to adjust.
  12. When you go out on a date together don’t bring up problems—have fun instead.
  13. Focus on what he’s doing right, instead of focusing so often on the negatives.
  14. Show interest in what he feels is important in life.
  15. Give him special time with you apart from the children.
  16. The first minutes after a spouse comes home often sets the stage for how the rest of the evening will go. Try to make that time a positive experience. (Ease into the negative.)
  17. Give him time to unwind after he gets home from work. Your evenings will be much more enjoyable. (Dave Ramsey)
  18. Don’t allow family members to treat him disrespectfully. Defend him to anyone that dishonors his place as your husband.
  19. Compliment him often.
  20. Be creative when you express your love, both in words and in actions.
  21. Talk with him about having specific family goals for each year to achieve together to feel closer as a marital team.
  22. Don’t over commit yourself. Leave time for him.
  23. Extend God’s grace to him and be forgiving when he offends you.
  24. Find ways to show him you need him.
  25. Give him time to be alone. (This energizes him to reconnect at other times.)
  26. Admit your mistakes; don’t be afraid to be humble. Peel away your pride.
  27. Defend him to those who disrespectfully talk about him. Love protects (1 Cor. 13:7).
  28. Respect his desire to do well—not his performance.
  29. Rub his feet or neck, or scratch his back after a hard day.
  30. Take time for the two of you to sit and talk calmly (schedule it when necessary).
  31. Initiate going out on romantic outings (when he’s not tired).
  32. Email him when he’s at work, telling him how much you love him.
  33. Surprise him with a fun gift of some kind that he’d really enjoy.
  34. Express how much you appreciate him for working so hard to support the family.
  35. Tell him how proud you are of him for who he is (giving him specific reasons).
  36. Give advice in a loving way — not in a nagging or belittling way.
  37. Help your husband to be the Spiritual head at home (without “lording” it over him).
  38. Reserve some energy for him so you’re not so tired when he wants you sexually.
  39. Don’t expect him to do projects beyond his natural capabilities.
  40. Pray for him to enjoy God’s best in life.
  41. Take special notice for what he has done for you and the family.
  42. Brag about him to other people both in front of him and even when he’s not there.
  43. Keep conversations brief when he’s tired—so he isn’t “flooded” by too many words.
  44. Tell him 3 things you specifically appreciate about him.
  45. Honor him in front of the children (differ respectfully in private when necessary).
  46. ”Look straight into the eyes of your husband when he talks to you or if you’re speaking to him. This will make him feel that you are interested in what he wants to say.” (J. Clain)
  47. Get up with him, even when he gets up earlier than you want to and pray with him (you can go back to bed afterward, if possible —it’s a sacrifice worth making.)
  48. Be his “help-mate” in whatever ways you sense he needs it.
  49. Participate in shoulder-to-shoulder activities with him (like watching a movie and such) without talking. Sometimes men just like to BE with you and not talk.
  50. Be a student of his ways so you show your love in ways he best comprehends it.
  51. When your husband is in a bad mood give him time to recover. Don’t crowd him.
  52. Help him to finish his goals, hobbies, or education when your see he needs it.
  53. Treat him as if God has stamped on his forehead: “Handle With Care.”
  54. Work to get rid of habits that annoy him.
  55. Be kind and thoughtful to his relatives. Don’t make him choose between you.
  56. Don’t compare his relatives with yours in a negative way.
  57. Thank him for things he’s done around the house. (It means a lot to men).
  58. Don’t expect credit for all you do for him. Do it as “unto the Lord.”
  59. Make sure he agrees with everything important that you’re planning to do.
  60. Do little things for him—let him sleep in, bring him coffee, etc.
  61. Don’t belittle his intelligence or be cynical in your words with him.
  62. Initiate sex periodically. And respond more often.
  63. Sometimes let him enjoy his day off work without having to “work” at home.
  64. Get to the point in your discussions. Spare him details unless he wants them.
  65. Discover his sexual needs.
  66. Surprise him with a 15 second kiss when he gets home from work.
  67. Wink at him from across the room when you’re out at a group function.
  68. Give him the benefit of the doubt when he mis-speaks.
  69. Don’t quarrel over words.
  70. Be kind and courteous with him. (Don’t be kinder to strangers than to him.)
  71. When things go wrong, instead of assessing blame, focus on how to do better.
  72. As a kindness, don’t say, “I told you so.”
  73. Try not to argue over money. Peacefully discuss future expenditures instead.
  74. Take him out on dates—pre-planning all of the details ahead of time.
  75. Hold his hand and snuggle up close to him at times both at home and in public.
  76. Praise his good decisions; minimize the bad ones.
  77. Tell him you love him more often.
  78. Put love notes in his pockets and brief case.
  79. Sit with him while he’s watching TV—even if the program doesn’t interest you.
  80. Don’t expect him to read your mind (despite your thinking he should— extend grace).
  81. Periodically, give him time with his family alone.
  82. Check with him before you throw away his papers and stuff, when possible.
  83. Put effort in to keep yourself in good shape so he’s especially proud to be with you.
  84. Let him express himself freely, without fear of being called stupid or illogical.
  85. Carefully choose your words. Remember to “speak the truth in LOVE.”
  86. Don’t criticize him in front of others—keeping his dignity in tact.
  87. Visit his childhood home with him.
  88. When you’re angry, express it in respectful ways. Don’t give the silent treatment.
  89. Pray for him.
  90. Make him homemade soup when he’s sick.
  91. Look your best—dress to honor him and make him proud to be seen with you when you’re out together.
  92. Support him when someone tries to put him down. Be his best cheer leader.
  93. Don’t disagree with him in front of the children.
  94. Take him for a weekend get-away without the children.
  95. Cheer his successes whether in business or in other areas of everyday living.
  96. Graciously teach him how to demonstrate his love for you.
  97. Give him coupons to redeem—maybe for a back scratch or a shoulder rub.
  98. Buy him a gift certificate to his favorite lunch spot and put it in his wallet.
  99. Hide notes for him around the house where only he will find them.
  100. Thank him for just being himself.

100 Ways to Love Your Husband | The Kardia Blog

Step 1: Print out the free printable by clicking on the link below. Provide some highlighters and pens to use as well.

Step 2: Ask him to highlight the most meaningful ones as he reads through the list. What speaks to him? What can he relate to?

Step 3: After he has gone through the list, ask him to number them in order of importance to him.

Step 4: Discuss! Talk about why and why he didn't choose certain things. Ask if there are any other things he would add that would make him feel loved.

Step 5: Take his highlighted selections and write/type it into a list! Keep it somewhere where you can see it daily for reference (the refrigerator, bedside table, planner, bulletin board, etc.).

Remember, don't look at this as a list of what you aren't doing right in your relationship, look at it as a special insight into what really makes them feel like they are your #1. Because they are :)

Get your free 100 Ways to Love Him Worksheet here!

Be sure to check out Part 2: How to Love Your Spouse Her Way!!

What are some ways that your husband/boyfriend feels loved? 


P.S. 10 Reasons Why I Blog (it also happens to be my very first post, ever)

Bucket List

Bucket List Ideas | The Kardia Blog

If you haven't figured it out by now, I absolutely love goal setting. Daily goals, monthly goals, relationship goals, I love them all! Last week I posted my 101 in 1001 list, which is everything I want to complete within the next 2.75 years. Short term goals are awesome, but being the dreamer and futuristic person I am, I also have a life bucket list. I’ll be posting updates as I complete items, so follow my completion posts by going here or following me on Instagram.

Love & Relationships

  • Have that instant falling in love moment  (April 2012 maplewood academy lawn)
  • Be woken up with a kiss
  • Go to a drive in movie
  • Take cute pictures in a photobooth
  • Kiss underwater
  • Kiss under Mistletoe St. (or Ave. or Court or Blvd.)
  • Have a romantic night picnic
  • Slow dance in the rain
  • Kiss the one I love on New Years
  • Be proposed to in a unique way
  • Find the perfect wedding dress
  • Marry my high school sweetheart
  • Have a 50th wedding anniversary
  • Live happily ever after


  • To be called mommy
  • Have a son
  • Have a daughter
  • Pass down my American Girl Doll to my daughter

Volunteering & Charitable Contributions

  • Donate $10,000 to a Children’s Hospital
  • Help out a random stranger
  • Sponsor a child in a third-world country


  • Be given a puppy as a present
  • Adopt a puppy
  • Own a white kitten
  • Hold a baby lion
  • Watch baby turtles hatch
  • Go whale watching
  • Ride an elephant


  • Travel with my best friends
  • Turtle Island, Fiji

National Parks

  • Visit every National Park

United States

  • Visit all 50 US states
  • Alaska
  • Drive down Route 66
  • Visit Niagara Falls
  • Visit the Statue of Liberty
  • Visit Mount Airy, NC - Andy Griffith
  • Visit Charleston, SC


  • France
  • Greece
  • Australia
  • Italy
  • London
  • Iceland
  • See the Roman Colosseum
  • Shop in Paris
  • Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower
  • ‘Hold up’ the Leaning Tower of Pisa
  • Attach a lock to the Love Bridge
  • Drive the Atlantic Ocean Road

To Do

  • Go on the SkyDeck in Chicago (April 2013 senior class trip)
  • Run the Color Run
  • Ice skate in Central Park
  • Go horseback riding in Swan Valley, Montana
  • Go white water rafting
  • Go paddleboarding
  • Go kiteboarding
  • Go dog sledding
  • Go ziplining  (June 2013 philippines)
  • Zipline across the Amazon Rainforest
  • Grow an herb garden
  • Ride in a horse drawn carriage
  • Ride a vespa
  • Ride a gondola
  • Be part of a flash mob
  • Shower under a waterfall
  • Participate in a Polar Bear Plunge
  • Learn to surf  (June 2013 philippines)
  • Try poi
  • Write a book
  • Be in a magazine
  • Become a contributor for a blog, publication, etc.
  • Start a small business
  • Put together a family cookbook
  • Host a new years party
  • Open a boutique
  • Open an online shop
  • Start a blog (August 20, 2014)
  • Learn my ancestry
  • Learn calligraphy
  • Take a floral class
  • Master bread baking
  • Learn to sew

To Own

  • Own my dream home
  • Own a grand piano
  • Own a classic car
  • Own something from Tiffany & Co.
  • Own a beach house
  • Have a walk in closet


  • Take a photo every day for a year
  • Take a picture of a tornado

To Experience

  • Swim in the Great Barrier Reef
  • Swim with dolphins
  • Experience Christmas in New York
  • Watch the ball drop in Times Square
  • Watch a volcano erupt
  • See the northern lights
  • Attend the Iditarod sled races in Alaska
  • Attend an event at the Olympics
  • Watch the sunset from Oia, Santorini, Greece
  • Bathe in the Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa
  • Go to the World Expo
  • Kiss under a waterfall
  • Watch the sunrise or sunset from the top of a mountain
  • Fly first class


  • See the Twins in Florida for Spring Training
  • Be a Twins season ticket holder
  • See the Minnesota Twins win the world series
  • Visit the Baseball Hall of Fame
  • Visit every MLB stadium
  • Go to the All Star Game
  • Bo to the Home Run Derby

To Complete

  • Complete an entire book of sudoku puzzles
  • Finish a bottle of nail polish
  • Assemble a list of my all time favorite quotes


  • Get asked to speak at a blogging conference
  • Speak at a blogging conference
  • Attend BlogShop

What's something that's on your bucket list?


P.S. Love goal setting as much as I do? Read my monthly goals for some inspiration!

7 Ways to Achieve Your Dreams

7 Ways to Achieve Your Dreams | The Kardia Blog Anyone who knows me knows that I am a dreamer. I live for the future and what it has in store. I'm constantly visualizing what I what to make happen. My mind is full of ideas. So how do I go about making those dreams a reality? Patience, practice, and a whole lot of support. Here are 7 ways to effectively and successfully reach your highest dreams.

Visualize Success

The first step to achieving your dream is to see it. Picture yourself reaching your goal. How will you feel when you reach your goal? How will your life change as a result? I recommend keeping a picture of your goal where you see and are reminded of it every day. Visualize success. If you can't see it happening, chances are that it never will.

Make a Plan

One of my favorite quotes says "A vision without action is nothing but a hallucination."  I keep this quote on the login page of my laptop so I see it everyday. It's a reminder that your dreams won't happen unless you make them happen. Sit down and make an action plan on how to achieve your dream. Write down the steps that need to be taken, set mini goals, brainstorm ideas, anything to put your goal in motion.

Be Positive, Not Negative

Life isn't always easy, especially when you're trying to achieve a dream. Things will go wrong, people may laugh at you and tell you that it won't work, and sometimes it may be hard to simply just get started. But don't lose hope. Stay positive. Nothing is impossible to the person who has the desire to succeed. If you really want it, you can't let negativity rule. Stay positive every step of the way.

Practice Patience

Even when you're trying your best to being positive, there will be times where you'll feel defeated or stuck. But when nothing seems to be happening, don't give up hope. Take some time to sit back and observe what is happening. Things always have a way of working out.

Be Open and Flexible

The road to achieving your dream isn't always straight and clear. If you hit a roadblock (or two, or 50), don't give up! Just go a different way. Don't look at failures as a waste of time, look at them as an opportunity to learn.

Review Your Progress

Establish a time for checking your progress and write in down in your calendar. Evaluate your strategies and tactics. If you're making great progress, what can you do to keep the momentum going? Are you getting the results you expected or desired What is the next step?

If you’re not making progress, don't let your optimism keep you from accomplishing your goals. Honestly, something will and probably is, going to go wrong. Just take a look at what is keeping you from accomplishing your goal and make a plan to overcome them.

Support Others

If you have big dreams, find others who also have big dreams! Encourage one another and provide support. Surround yourself with dreamers, believers and people who see the world as big as you do. #fireworkpeople is a great community for creatives, dreamers and entrepreneurs who want to change the world. I'm a member and I am truly blessed by all the encouragement I receive from others. Every Tuesday night at 9pm EST, there is a Twitter Party using the hashtag #fireworkpeople. If you are full of dreams and want to put them into action, I encourage you to come join us! We also have a Facebook group where we can share encouragement and stories. The community is so friendly and I hope that we can all unite with the common goal of making a difference and changing the world.

I am...a Dreamer | The Kardia

 How will you achieve your dreams? 


P.S. Check out my very first post on why I blog!

8 Ways to Simplify Your Life

This list of 8 things to do to simplify your life today will help you begin living a happier, more balanced lifestyle.

There is joy in simplicity. It brings balance, freedom, and happiness. Simplifying your life can really make a difference in your mood, productivity, and health. I'm striving to learn to live with less. This list of 8 things to do to simplify your life today will help you begin living a happier, more balanced lifestyle.


In a world where multi-tasking is considered normal, even admired, people still aren't getting stuff done as efficiently as they could. Simplify your to-do list by learning to single-task. Handle one task at a time. Do it well. And when it is complete, move on to the next. Here are a few tips to help you become the master at single-tasking:

  • Focus on having only one tab open at a time so you can truly engage with what you're reading and learning. (This is hard for me. I currently have 22 tabs open...)
  • Keep your desktop clean, clear, and organized so that you aren't distracted or stressed out throughout the day.
  • Avoid distractions by turning off the TV, putting your phone away from sight, and closing the door.
  • Prioritize by focusing on what is most important first and moving to the next task as you complete them.

Evaluate Your Commitments

Take a minute to look at everything you're committed to each month and write it down. Work, family, friends, personal projects, everything. What's most important to you? Highlight those things and consider what can be dropped from that list.

Say No

This is the one tip that can help you cut out 99% of the events and tasks that clutter your life. Release yourself from time commitments. It's ok to say no. Opportunities will come and go, and there will always be more.

Spend Less Time Online

Media affects your life more than you think. It has a great impact on your attitude and outlook and can dominate your life if you let it. To truly appreciate the influence of media in today's world, you need to take a break from it. Step back and turn it off. Your mind will be refreshed and ready to take a new look at what there is to offer.

Be Mindful of What You Say

Use fewer words and keep your speech plain and honest. Mean what you say. Avoid gossip and anything that adds unnecessary drama to your life.

Stay Out of Debt

Debt adds stress to your life, and that stress won't be gone until the debt is gone. Start today. Do what you got to do to get out from under its weight. And once your are free from debt, be mindful of your purchases.

Nurture Real Life Relationships

Social media puts a real dent in real life correspondence. Facebook, Instagram, and texting clutter your life with surface information about others. Go meet with a friend in real life and talk with them face to face. Take a moment to slow down and cherish the relationships you have with others.

Declutter Weekly

Every week set aside some time and choose one thing to declutter in your life. Take a look at the things you own, your wardrobe, your pantry, your papers, your computer files, emails, and apps on your phone. Remove the things that are just adding instead of simplifying.

What are some of your tips for simplifing your lifestyle? 


P.S. I made a 101 in 1001 list! Do you have one?

101 in 1001

A list of 101 things to do in 1001 days | The Kardia Blog

I've always loved goal setting, and so when I saw this post by Design Darling, I knew I had to make a list of my own. Some of my favorite bloggers have lists of their own too, like Oh Simple Thoughts and The Wetherills Say I Do. 1001 days (2.75 years) is longer than a to-do list, but shorter than a bucket list. It allows you to dream big and make continuous progress towards those long term goals, but still lets you list the fun, to-do list type of goals as well. I think it's a great idea and would love to see you guys make a list of your own! I'll be posting updates as I complete items, so follow my completion posts by going here or following me on Instagram.

Start Date: October 16, 2014

End Date: July 12, 2017

Completed: 7/101

(in progress, completed)

Love & Marriage

1. Marry my high school sweetheart :) (August 7, 2016) 2. Find the perfect wedding dress (May 16, 2016) 3. Kiss the one I love on New Years 4. Celebrate our 1 year marriage anniversary 5. Kiss under Mistletoe St. (or Ave. or Court or Blvd.) 6. Go to a drive-in movie and cuddle 7. Slow dance in the rain 8. Establish a family tradition 9. Begin an annual family newsletter that is sent out during Christmastime

Personal Growth

10. Graduate college with a double major 11. Celebrate my 20th and 21st birthdays! 12. Give Caleb a birthday box for his 20th, 21st, and 22nd birthdays! 13. Learn my ancestry 14. Learn calligraphy 15. Take a floral class 16. Enter Minted Design / Photography Challenges 17. See a TED talk live 18. Read at least 30 new books (follow my progress and see what I'm reading on Goodreads! - 1. The Vacationers // 2. Where'd You Go, Bernadette // 3. Leave Your Mark // 4. The Goldfinch) 19. Write a letter to myself to open in 10 years (when I turn 30! whoa, so old) 20. Achieve my target weight 21. Vote in a non-presidential election 22. Learn my blood type 23. Learn the alphabet in sign language (and other basic signs) 24. Learn to tie a tie 25. Successfully hold the crane pose for at least 10 seconds 26. Intern for an online magazine 27. Watch at least 5 documentaries 28. Take a self-defense class 29. Sponsor a child in a third-world country 30. Open an online shop 31. Write my life vision statement


32. Invest in blog business cards 33. Attend a blogging conference 34. Write a guest post 35. Reach 100 blog followers (February 19, 2015) 36. Reach 500 blog followers 37. Reach 1000 blog followers 38. Met up with 5 or more blogging friends in person 39. Collaborate with a major brand I love 40. Start an email newsletter 41. Make a media kit 42. Make a blog book for 2014-15 and 2016 43. Attend BlogShop

Family, Friends, and Strangers

44. Mail a care package to my sister 45. Send surprise flowers to my mom 46. Surprise my dad with a gift 47. Call home at least once a week 48. Pay for someone else’s meal 49. Skype with a long distance friend 50. Host a dinner party


51. Put $10 into savings for every goal accomplished 52. Double our savings 53. Open separate bank accounts for our businesses (and pay ourselves a salary from it) 54. Do the 52-week money challenge


55. Create a gallery wall 56. Create my own artwork to hang on our walls 57. Organize all our files 58. Create the perfect blogging workspace 59. Own at least 5 beautiful coffee table books 60. Organize our favorite travel mementos and souvenirs into display boxes for easy sharing 61. Plant an at-home herb garden


62. Visit Mount Airy, NC - Andy Griffith’s Hometown 63. Take a day trip to a nearby, quaint little town 64. Go to the Renegade Craft Fair 65. Hike Harney Peak with Caleb

To Experience

66. Go to a jazz concert 67. Do the polar bear plunge 68. Go camping in the Boundary Waters 69. Ice skate in Central Park 70. Ride in a horse drawn carriage 71. Ride in a passenger train (August 10, 2016) 72. Attend a horse race 73. Attend a First Friday Art Walk 74. Eat ice cream in front of a fire and watch a movie 75. Sleep under the stars 76. Attend a hot air balloon festival

To Do

77. Fill a sketchbook with drawings 78. Answer the 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind 79. Learn to drive stick shift 80. Learn how to change a tire 81. Start (and complete!) a 365 day photo challenge 82. Get a keratin treatment and blog about it 83. Get a blowout 84. Make an apology cake 85. Take a nap in a hammock 86. Do a gold leaf DIY project 87. Do at least 10 different nail art designs 88. Go to a Minnesota Twins baseball game in a different state 89. Donate 10,000 grains of rice on (5,000/10,000) 90. Have my apartment published on a major blog or in an online magazine 91. Find the perfect overnight bag 92. Invest in 3 classic closet pieces 93. Find a brand of jeans that fit me well 94. Own a pretty bicycle 95. Own a Diana toy camera 96. Own a pair of Hunter rain boots 97. Have a font of my handwriting made 98. Have a REAL Christmas tree 99. Get a puppy 100. Bring someone to the Mall of America who hasn’t been there before (December 19, 2014) 101. Inspire someone else to do 101 in 1001 (and if I did, tweet me the link!) (Steph Nora in December 2014, Paige in March 2015)

Speaking of #100, anyone want to come visit me so I can check that off? ;)


P.S. Read all of my monthly goals here!

Random Thoughts // 01

Random Thoughts | The Kardia Blog
Our senior year of high school, Caleb's english class had to make a portfolio. They included lists such as 100 Things That Make Me Happy, Five Top Fives, and 10 Random Thoughts. When I read Caleb's random thoughts, I couldn't help but laugh! That man is so funny! That list planted the thought of doing a series here on the blog called Random Thoughts. Every month Caleb and I will sit down and say what's on our mind. Whether our thoughts are funny or serious, I hope this series will make you smile and give you a little insight to our lives. Here's the original Random Thoughts and a glimpse into the brain of that 18 year old boy (I didn't change anything at all, this is literally word for word!)

Random Thoughts (circa 2013)

“I don’t have random thoughts.  All of mine are in order.”

“Where can I find a clean shirt?”

“We could've won the football game, but our quarterback was sick, and there were a bunch of substitutes, and the referee was the quarterback for the other team.”

“I love sitting in my underwear.”

“I think heaven is going to be 82 degrees.”

“Flossing is very difficult.  My hands are too big and my mouth is too small.”

“I still need to return all the Bibles I borrowed from Mrs. Vigil.”

“Brittany is really pretty, very smart, very nice, and very fun to talk to.”

“I love standing over a fan.”

“I need to do laundry, but I don't have any quarters.”

And now, here's today's random thoughts by Brittany and Caleb!

More Random Thoughts


"There needs to be a day between Saturday and Sunday."

"I think I have selective reply-ism. I forget to text people back sometimes."

"I should paint my nails sometime soon. Maybe burgundy. Oh wait, I don't have burgundy. Maybe teal. Wait, I don't have that either."

"I really want some L.L. Bean boots..."

"You know why students gain the freshman 15? Because there is always free donuts, Panera bread, chips, or bananas outside of Student Services. They're trying to make us fat."

"I think all my thoughts are hiding. I can't think of anything."

"Pinterest should count as researching. I'd be a great researcher."


"I don't have any [random thoughts]."

"I think my backpack is pregnant, I hope it doesn't break."

"My water bottle is really tough, it has lots of dents in it. The lid will probably break first, but that's ok, I'll just mill a new one."

"I just got an email."

"I'm not very funny, I don't know why you're typing things I'm saying."

"I really like Tinkerbell, the little pixie. She's pretty. But not as pretty as you my dear."

"I don't have any random boxes floating around, everything is organized very nicely and neatly." (He's talking about how his thoughts are organized)

"You're very cute when you type. And when you sniff your hair." (That's a habit of mine...and he proceeds to mimic me by putting a blanket over his head and sniffing it)

 What are some of your random thoughts? 


P.S. Speaking of Pinterest...check out mine!