Unexpected Gifts For a Guy

This Valentine’s Day, I actually had my act together to get Luke some presents ahead of time. I decided this year instead of getting him something he NEEDS, I would get him a bunch of small things he probably never thought of, but would think were cool.

Just some fun things he could open and be surprised by. Here’s what he got:

Batman & Robin t-shirt, because he’s my favorite side kick. :)

Man soap, because my guy likes natural body products and this one smells like black licorice

Coffee canister, because Luke takes pride in his coffee. We’re talking full on drip method every morning.

And finally a sweet belt buckle, because we live in NV and every man must have a belt buckle.

I put all his presents into a “bag of surprises” as I called it and watched with a smile on my face as he opened each present. Sure, they aren’t the most practical of presents, but for Valentine’s Day, they were just the right way to say “I Love You” with some quirk.

What did you get/give this Valentine’s Day? You can click on any image above to go to the site where it was purchased.

Handmade Bird Feeder: Perfect Porch Entertainment

One of my favorite parts of our new apartment rental is that it has a front porch. I don’t what it is, but I’ve always liked front porches more than back decks, patios or other outdoor living spaces.

Soon after moving in, I noticed that we have a lot of lively, pretty birds around our apartment and got an idea. Hmm…front porch + birdies = birdhouse!!

Etsy had quite a few adorable birdhouses to choose from. Click on any of the photos below to go to the listing on Etsy.

After looking at about 100 different birdhouses on Etsy, I decided on this affordable ($9.00!), red bird feeder made from an old barn door. I loved the rustic look of this one.

Luke used a staple gun to hang it from the awning over the porch and we filled it with some seeds we got at a local nursery.

Within minutes our yard was filled with birds chirping away. We went inside to give them some privacy to explore the new restaurant in town.

The one bird we saw the most of was this black & blue, regal-looking Stellar’s Jay.

This guy LOVED the seeds we put out but had a hard time landing on our “small bird” sized feeder. He kept sitting below it to check things out,  flying up to the feeder, deciding he was too large to land and kicking the house before flying away in the hopes that he could free some of the seeds.

It took about a half hour before be finally devised a plan to let him perch on the house just long enough to get his fill. It was quite entertaining to watch from our living room! I was starting to think we could just pitch our TV with all the action our bird feeder was supplying.

Who knew a tiny wooden bird house could make our temporary rental feel like home? :)

The Vintage Pearl: Hand-Stamped Jewelry

Did you all have a wonderful Mother’s Day? We were in Scottsdale, AZ relaxing by the pool for a belated one  year anniversary trip. I was missing my mom though. Days like Sunday are when it’s hard to live so far from home!

I sent her a little something to let her know I was missing her from a lovely website called The Vintage Pearl. Have you heard of it? It’s handmade jewelry with a very personal touch perfect for moms. I got my mom these “mother of pearl” earrings that she loved.

Mother of Pearl Earrings

They have a lot of other sweet gifts perfect for a special lady in your life as well. Most of them are handstamped with special names, dates or phrases so you can personalize the gift.

The Vintage Pearl

Charm bracelet with names

Cross necklace

Mother Necklace

Cross necklace

Handstamped NecklaceI can think of so many occasions where a piece of jewelry from the Vintage Pearl would be a wonderful gift – engagements, mother’s day, baby showers…

I love that the jewelry is causal enough to wear every day and will go with most any outfit. Plus it’s very appropriately priced for handmade, personalized jewelry – necklaces are around $45.

What did you give mom this Mother’s Day?

Only I Would Get Hurt at Yoga / Handmade Heating Packs

Soooo, yeah. Remember last week when I blogged that I took my first yoga class and loved it!? Well, that love has quickly turned into hate. I hurt my back during my second class!

I know, I know….who gets injured doing yoga???

I took a class last Tuesday that involved a lot of twisting and stretching of my back. Appartenly the athlete in me didn’t realize that yoga is about bringing balance to your body and NOT pushing each stretch to the absolute limit until you’re hurt.

The odd thing was that during and after the class I felt fine. The next morning I felt fine. Then around 11 am things started to go downhill quickly.

My whole back tightened all the way up my neck, so I could hardly look left or right. The next morning was even worse- I could hardly get out of bed and almost started crying while trying to wash my hair.

Six days, several ice packs, heating pads, husband massages and IB Profuen tablets later, and I’m finally starting to feel somewhat normal again. It probably didn’t help that I skied three days in a row during our trip to Breckenridge, but there was NO  WAY I was sitting out due to a yoga injury!

Luckily, right before this little mishap, I had purchased a homemade heating pad off etsy.

Filled with rice and flax, this wrap provided 45 minutes of soothing heat to my stiff neck and shoulders after just 45 seconds in the microwave. Plus it traveled really well.

These heating pads have become my go-to gift for friends/family who are feeling stressed out. They’re in expensive and very useful. My best friend (and big cat lover) Julia just got this Kitty Heating Pad in the mail from me after she went through a crazy time in her residency.

I laugh every time I think about her wearing a giant cat around her neck. lol!

Anyway, I’m glad I had one of these on hand during my little injury or poor Luke would have likely heard “my back hurts!” even more than he did this week. ;)

I hope you all had a more pain-free weekend.