first date

First Date’s Firsts: Things to Help Prepare You for That Big Meeting

So, you’ve finally set a date — you’ve agreed to finally meet each other in person after talking for quite some time online. You’re feeling a mixture of excitement and nervousness, and that’s pretty normal. After all, you’re still meeting a stranger.

It’s exciting as you’ll finally be able to put a face to the name and see the other person in the flesh. But of course, it can be scary, too. What if they turn out to be completely different from how you’ve imagined them to be or how they portray themselves online.

Whatever you might be feeling prior to that “big day?” they’re all valid. But you can still make the right amount of preparations to make everything right — or at least the things you can control. Going on a first date with someone you met online can be a truly fun experience.

This will also help you determine if you do have a connection, and it’s still a good idea to continue your relationship. Here are some ideas you can refer to make sure your first date is a successful one:

1. Make sure you’re really ready.

Your first concern should be, “Am I really emotionally prepared to meet that other person in real life?” Keep this mind: once you’ve finally agreed to interact outside of your laptops or mobile phones means you’re officially allowing each other to be part of your own lives.

They may still be the same person you met and built a connection with online, but it can be entirely different once they’ve come out of your small online social circle.

2. Come up with activities that you’ll both enjoy.

movie together

This is your first official meeting, so make it as fun as possible for both of you. Here’s how: In your many conversations and exchanges online, we’re pretty sure you’ve tackled several things about your interests, favorite food, and hobbies, among others.

Use all the information you’ve gathered and looked for the best place and the most suitable activities that will not only be fun for you but for your date as well. Whether it’s in a bar restaurant in Spring Hills, KS, a bowling alley, a skating rink, museums or galleries, make sure it’s somewhere that you’ll both be comfortable. Doing fun activities together will also lessen any awkward moments.

3. Arrive on time.

Be punctual and respect the other person’s schedule. Never, ever show up late. Remember, the other person also spared a fraction of their time to meet you, so be respectful of that. Showing up late will also not leave a good first impression.

The other person may see it as a sign that you’re not being sincere about making the relationship work in real life. Do everything you can to be on time and look ready, prepared, and serious.

4. Make your date feel comfortable around you.

This should be your main priority, especially if you’re a guy meeting a girl. This is also true if the other person is the extroverted type. Make sure you’ve consulted the other person about where you’re meeting, and be open to making compromises as long as it’s something you both agree with. Go somewhere you’re both familiar with to avoid making the first date too overwhelming.

Keep all these things in mind and have a fun-filled first date. Good luck!

Different fruit smoothies for people on diet

Quench That Thirst: Shakes and Smoothies You Can Serve to Keto Dieters

With the hustle and bustle of daily life, many people today tend to prefer convenient, on-the-go meals and snacks like smoothies and shakes. These are thick, filling beverages that anyone can make by just blending fruits or veggies in juicer or blender machines. These meal replacements can prevent hunger pangs and snacking urges caused by missed meals.

If you are planning to start a juice bar or a concession stand, then you might want to give it a twist and concentrate on recipes that focus on specific diets, like a Ketogenic diet.

What is a Ketogenic Diet?

This consists of food that is high in fat, but low in carbs. This diet plan allows people to avoid the negative effects of carbs and sugar to their body, such as increasing blood sugar levels, intensifying insulin response, and affecting cognitive function.

What Ingredients Do You Need?

Here are various low-carb smoothie and shake recipes that are perfect for keto dieters:

Fruits

Although a majority of fruits are high in carbs and sugar, there are some keto-friendly options that consist of low carbs but high in fiber.

  • Strawberries: These have vitamin C, manganese, potassium, and vitamin B9. They are also rich in antioxidants that help fight free radicals. A cup of strawberries contains only eight grams of net carbs.
  • Avocado: A cup of avocado has only two grams of net carbs. It is filled with nutrients, such as folate, potassium, and vitamins C, K, E, B5, and B6.
  • Watermelon: A cup of watermelon only contains 10.5 grams of net carbs. It contains iron, calcium, and vitamins C and A.

Vegetables

Opt for leafy greens and other vegetables high in water content. Avoid colorful vegetables, as they tend to be high in carbs.

  • Cucumber: These are low in calories and arbs. It is also a rich source of potassium, fiber, and vitamin C.
  • Spinach: This green is filled with minerals, such as potassium, iron, and calcium. It also contains vitamins A, C, and B12. It boosts energy levels, lowers risks of cancer, and reduces inflammation.

Base

One of the biggest fitness mistakes is disregarding the carbs and calories of beverages. To ensure that you are not adding unnecessary carbs and sugar, go for keto-friendly liquids like water, green tea, black tea, and unsweetened non-dairy milk.

What Smoothie and Shake Ideas Can You Offer?

  • Green Tea Smoothie: Mash the flesh of one avocado. Use an eight-ounce glass of green tea as your base. Blend these with half a teaspoon of stevia powder, a teaspoon of lemon juice, a cup of sliced cucumber, and a pinch of ground black pepper.
  • Watermelon shake: Blend half a cup of watermelon with a glass of unsweetened sparkling water, a 1/4 cup of crushed ice, and half a teaspoon of powdered erythritol.
  • Strawberry Milkshake: Blend together 1/4 cup of raspberries, a cup of unsweetened almond milk, 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream, a 1/4 cup of crushed ice, a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of powdered erythritol, and half a teaspoon of vanilla.

Mason jar mugs filled with green spinach and kale health smoothie

To make sure that your smoothies and shakes will have good consistency, invest in a high-quality commercial blender or juicer machines. It is also essential to remember that although the fruits in these recipes are low in net carbs, adding more than what is indicated will increase the carb and sugar content of your smoothies and shakes. Lower the amounts if you wish to alter the recipes and use more types of fruits.

necklaces

Guidelines for Matching Your Necklace’s Length to Your Outfit

The right piece of jewelry can add an exciting style to even a seemingly regular outfit. This means that you should pick your jewelry pieces carefully according to your outfit rather than simply wear a favorite piece, regardless of your outfit. Among the pieces that should not miss from your daily ensemble is a necklace. A lot of fashion experts focus on picking the right necklace style for an outfit but overlook a vital aspect of the necklace—its length.

A varied clothing boutique in Phoenix will have its necklaces in different lengths even if they are the same style and made of the same constituents. It is best to get even seemingly similar pieces in different lengths so that they match different necklines and work for your outfit. The following are some guidelines for matching your necklace’s length to an outfit:

Choker

This is generally placed close to your neck’s base and is about 14 to 16 inches long. Although it matches most outfits, it works best for boat, crew, and off-shoulder necklines as it will add length and create a proportion for your neck. However, it might not be the best choice for those with large body frames and those who do not like tight necklaces.

Princess Length

princess length necklace

A princess length necklace measures approximately 18 inches and sits on your collarbone. It is the most popular necklace choice since it works with most necklines and body frames. Most princess length necklaces feature V-shaped pendants that will match surplice, sweetheart, and V necklines. The necklaces come as simple chains, pearls, and statement necklaces.

Matinee Length

This measures 20 inches and will often sit between the breasts and collarbone. Matinee length necklaces are the perfect complement to business attire, more so those with collared shirts. They are ideally worn with blouses that match their texture and color. The necklaces work for tall women and those with a large neck. They might not, unfortunately, work well for busty women in official attire since they draw attention to the bust.

Opera Length

This is 28 to 36 inches long and will reach just below your bust. Opera length necklaces are usually statement pieces that feature intricate colors, textures, and patterns based on their material. They generally work for evening wear and official shirts with high necklines such as boat necks and turtlenecks. You can opt to wrap an opera length necklace twice around your neck to form a double-stranded choker.

Rope Length

This is a necklace measuring over 36 inches or three feet. It is meant to sit between the naval and your bust’s bottom. In most cases, you will wrap a rope length necklace twice or thrice around your neck depending on its weight. Moreover, you can fold the necklace into half then loop one end through the fold, thus forming a lariat.

Necklaces in the past were more or less simple jewelry pieces. Nowadays, however, the length of your necklace will determine its effect on your outfit and how it will look on you. Your best choice is to shop the necklace lengths mentioned above and your outfit from the same place to guarantee that they match and get an expert’s opinion on what works best for you.

Cozy Living Room

Decorating a Cozy Living Room

Decorating a small living room can be challenging. You have to be careful with the décor since you are walking a fine line between making the room look cozy or cramped. While there are many guides out there, not each of them will work for your case. You have to know the outcome you are expecting before you start decorating.

An easy way to decorate a room and make it feel spacious is using soft colors. These colors make the room warm and inviting. Your choice of furniture should complement these colors. If you’ve decided to buy your sofa online, many online shops have interactive tools to help you know how different colors will look against different backgrounds. Here are some ideas and inspirations for decorating a small living room:

Add creative storage solutions

To create more space in your living room, you have to find a way of storing items that you rarely use or no longer need. You can do this by adding creative storage options around the living room. One effective method is to install shelves or cabinets on the walls. Make sure that these cabinets aren’t overloaded and that they’re painted to match the appearance of the room. When installing cabinets and shelves, add them to places where they won’t be a distraction or won’t lead to accidents.

Use light colors

Light colors such as white, cream, pale blue, gray, and blush pinks are ideal for tiny spaces since they make the room to appear brighter and inviting. Since you don’t want your living room to appear cramped, these colors can work in tandem with your furniture choices to create an inviting space.

Choose the right furniture

Purple ispired living room

Choosing furniture for tiny spaces is one of the most challenging things you can do. While you want your living room to look and feel comfortable, going for that big plush sofa isn’t a good idea. Instead, select furniture that can offer the most seating without consuming too much space. This means you should opt for sectional sofas, stools, and cushions and avoid large armchairs or sofas. Having multi-functional furniture should be your priority. Your curtains should complement the furniture and colors you have chosen for the walls. If the space is too small, consider going for roller blinds.

Small living rooms need to have fewer items that are properly arranged. To make your room feel big, you need to choose the right colors and keep the space tidy at all times. Install floating shelves and other storage options to keep away items you don’t use regularly. Whether it is the floor or your walls, make sure that every part of the room is designed to make the room feel bigger.

Overall, you don’t have to spend much to make your home cozy. You can incorporate any of the ideas mentioned above to brighten the room and increase storage space. If you aren’t sure of the colors to choose or décor to add, you can always contact a professional.

home improvement

Self-Made: Economical Do-It-Yourself Suggestions for Home Improvement

DIY or do-it-yourself projects are great ways for you to economize while making improvements on your home. Not only that, but it’s also a way to practice your skills in home repair and woodworking. These projects are widely available, and kits are affordable.

You can find them in any hardware store, and supplies are always on shelves. There’s almost no reason for you to ignore the possibilities and not attempt a project or two. It may seem challenging at first, but just like any other hobby; you can learn to do it better as you practice.

Put that DIY magic to your advantage and apply it to the purpose of meeting your home’s needs.

Artsy Accents

Paintings and other works of art are staples when it comes to home décor. Although they usually have a high price, you won’t need millions of dollars to obtain similar pieces. Many artists nowadays sell prints of their work that are available online through websites that offer the service of producing them. What’s great about it is that you get to choose from a vast array of concepts and themes.

When it comes to the DIY part of it, frames aren’t included in most of these products, so you might as well apply your customization know-how and put it to the test. Materials for making a frame as well as mounting, such as foam adhesive strips, are easy to find and are quite affordable.

Extra Storage

shelf

Another need that can be filled by DIY projects is storage. If you’re going to have additional spaces built into your home, it can take a while before you get to use it and the wait can be torturous. Fortunately, do-it-yourself cabinets are available for you.

They’re easy to build and are usually made from lightweight materials, so even children can help you with them. You don’t even have to buy kits if you’re experienced enough with woodworking.

If you have spare wood lying around, you can repurpose and shape them into the desired parts you need to create your own furniture. It’s not only a money-saving idea but also great for the environment since you’re practically recycling.

Outdoor Improvement

It’s not only the interior that could use a little freshening up by your hands. Your home’s exterior and your property as a whole open a lot of possible improvements. One such area is the lawn.

If you’re like any other person who wants to make it look good, you’ll most likely hire a landscaper to take care of it all. But there are things that can be accomplished by your own hands.

For example, you can construct plant boxes with the use of everyday materials such as spare wood or even repurposed pottery. Do you want to have a play area for your kids? You can also apply your DIY skills to make it! You only need to be resourceful and imaginative enough.

It’s always nice to know that you can improve your home without calling in a lot of outside labor and spending much on materials. All you need is a bit of imagination and basic construction skills to perform such enhancements that will positively affect your home life.

Kitchen and dining area of an apartment

Unit Upgrade: How to Convince Your Landlord to Agree to a Renovation Project

Your apartment is a part of you, even if you’re only renting it. As much as you love your space the way it is, there’s always room for improvement. But don’t get too excited to overhaul your apartment. Every rental property has its set of rules enforced by the landlord. You’ll need a solid strategy to get your landlord’s nod to any major changes to your unit.

Here’s what you can do to get that dream renovation going.

Start with Small Improvements

It’s always smart to build a good professional relationship with your landlord, especially if you want to make significant changes to your unit, such as installing new windows. One of the ways you can win your landlord’s trust is by making small improvements to your unit. Start with changing old wallpaper or replacing old taps. Once you’ve racked up these small achievements, try asking your landlord if you could take on bigger projects.

Do Your Research

Woman researchingBefore proposing anything to your landlord, it’s important to do your due diligence and read up on your rental contract. See if it says anything about the extent of changes a renter can make. If you want to make a big renovation to fix an issue, it’s also in your best interest to review Salt Lake City laws on major repairs. If there’s anything that can convince even the sternest landlords, it’s cold, hard facts.

Prepare and Present Designs

When making a case for changes, it helps to provide visual aids for your landlord to see. Try to start with creating a mood board with designs you found online. If you don’t know where to start, try signing up to Pinterest.com and searching for designs that fit your vision.

Talk About Adding Value

Improving a feature in any property will increase its value, but it depends on whether that change is actually worth the time or money to do. Kitchen and bathroom upgrades are almost always going to give big returns, so your landlord might be inclined to allow them. They won’t always be on board with more experimental and personal projects, though.

The best thing to do is to find a middle ground between your preferences and your landlord’s potential profit or benefit from the renovation. If you do plan on renovating your old kitchen, you might have to opt for a neutral color scheme to make sure it will be fairly acceptable to the next tenant – should you decide to move out.

If you have a bit of interior design or architectural know-how, draft a plan for your improvement. You can also walk your landlord through your apartment to show them the spot you propose changing. Reasonable landlords can make an informed decision when they have a clear picture of what you want to get done.

While you do have the right to make major changes to your unit, landlords are often the ones who initiate renovations. It’s important to create a clear case for them to allow your plan. Give them solid evidence that justifies your proposed improvement. Have an estimate of how it will cost, too. They’ll usually pitch in if they think it’ll add significant value to the apartment. If they’re reluctant to do so, volunteer to shoulder the bulk or all the renovation expenses. It is your personal project, after all.

Diamond Jewellery Buying Guide: The 4 C’s

Up until the middle part of the 20th century, there wasn’t a universally accepted standard that could be used for judging diamonds. That is until the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) created the 4 C’s of diamonds, a system used to describe diamonds. The 4 C’s stand for clarity, carat weight, cut, and colour and are now a globally recognised standard for evaluating diamonds. But what exactly are the 4 C’s of diamonds?

Colour

This refers to the diamond’s tint. Majority of diamonds inherently have a tinge of brown or yellow in them. Whether mined or manufactured in a lab, the more colourless the diamond, the rarer and pricier it is. The clearest and rarest diamonds are graded D, E, F, for colourless or G, H, I, J for nearly colourless ones. Note that these colour distinctions are immensely subtle that they’re not visible to the naked or untrained eye. However, they can play a huge role in a diamond’s value. You can seek the help of a jeweller from one of the most renowned Hatton Garden jewellery shops if you are looking for a piece of jewellery that has the rarest of diamonds.

Cut

Diamonds

This represents the shape of the diamond but particularly refers to the arrangement and proportions of a diamond’s facets. The precision of faceting in a diamond is vital to its light performance since this will determine how light will play inside a diamond and how you will see the light as it exits the diamond. A diamond with precise proportions will reflect light from facet to facet and disperse it via its upper portion, giving the diamond its sparkle. While a diamond that’s cut too shallow will allow light to escape before it can be dispersed, another that’s cut too deep won’t allow light to reflect to the topmost portion.

Carat

This is a measure of the weight of a diamond. Since huge diamonds are rare, they’re generally considered to be worth more per carat. However, carat weight itself doesn’t determine the true value of a diamond. For instance, two diamonds both weighing one-carat can differ significantly in price when you consider the other C’s: colour, clarity, and cut.

Clarity

This refers to the cleanness of a diamond, both externally and internally. In general, the cleaner the diamond—meaning no visible external imperfections or blemishes and internal flaws or inclusions are visible to the naked eye—the higher its quality. Blemishes include chips, scratches, pits, nicks, and lines, while inclusions include knots, features, clouds, as well as minerals or crystals.

So why do you need to know about the 4 C’s of diamonds? You can shop for diamonds and know which ones are worth your hard-earned money. When shopping around for a diamond, you need to figure out which C is most vital to you personally so that you can end up with a stone that fits your needs exactly. For instance, some people prefer their diamonds to be big and heavy, while others might value cut and clarity above all the other C’s. Keep the 4 C’s in mind the next time you go jewellery shopping.

A gift for the boyfriend

The Top 3 Gifts Your Man Would Love

You’re probably already planning what present you will give to the man in your life since the holidays are nearing. Shopping for men could be challenging, however, especially if your boyfriend or husband isn’t sure what he wants.

Here are three gift ideas that can narrow down your search in finding the right present for your man.

1. Elevate Your Partner’s Styling Game

Buy your partner pieces that will enhance or complement his wardrobe. Start with the essentials that men should always have in their wardrobe.

You can get him T-shirts in neutral colors, such as white, black, gray, and navy. These colors are easy to style, so your partner would have an easier time pairing them. You might even be able to get shirts that come in a unisex fit, as found on shopfrancesboutique.com, giving you the option to borrow the top.

Button-down shirts are also a nice option because they are versatile. Your beloved man can wear it to work or when he takes you out on a date. He can pair it with a good pair of chinos or blue jeans, which never go out of style.

When it comes to accessories, a watch is a timeless gift for men. There are several things you need to consider when buying a watch. One, the brand he prefers. Two, the features he will need (e.g., water-resistant, stainless steel strap, and long battery life). And three,  the type of watch he wants, sports watch versus a dress watch.

2. His Skin Needs Care, Too

Most men don’t pay attention to their grooming habits as much as women do. This gift-giving season, it’s your chance to help your partner care for his skin. Consider giving him grooming products so he can look and smell better during the holidays and into the next year.

You can buy him a cleanser that clears and refreshes his face and body. You may add a skin moisturizer, as well. Choose products specifically designed for men.

Help him manage his facial hair by buying a set of shaving tools. This may include a high-quality razor, shaving cream, and aftershave, among others.

3. Spoil Him with Cool Gadgets

Woman online shopping for a gift

If you’re willing to spend more for your partner, there are plenty of electronic devices that your partner would love. For example, get a voice-controlled gadget built with features that can help make your partner’s daily tasks easier.

There are also gadgets that fit men who are always on-the-go. You can buy a pair of wireless charging pad so that he can charge his mobile phone anywhere. Wireless headphones are also popular these days because they allow users to listen to music comfortably, whether they’re in the gym or at the office.

Waterproof action cameras can be an amazing gift, too, particularly if both of you love to go on adventure trips. Invest in a camera that can withstand water, snow, and mud.

Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to show your appreciation for the man in your life. So show him some love with a gift that suits his personality and his lifestyle.

Flawless skin

Skin and Premature Aging: You Might Be the Culprit

While there are many positive things that go along with getting older, the way your skin is starting to look or change may not be one of them. This is especially true if you notice some premature signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin, and sunspots.

The natural process of aging, however, is not the only thing to blame. You may not realize it, but your daily habits and lifestyle may be the reason you are aging faster than you expect. Here are some of the culprits and a few tips on how you can reverse the process.

You don’t get enough sleep

This doesn’t just result in dark bags and circles under the eyes. Sleep deprivation, according to studies, can also lead to poor collagen formation, which ages the skin. It can also raise your cortisol levels and affect your skin’s moisture levels, making it dull and less youthful. Make it habit to sleep at least seven hours each night.

You don’t use eye or wrinkle cream

Wrkinle under the eye

Aging tends to be more noticeable around the eyes. This only makes it important to keep this area moisturized with eye or wrinkle cream. Be sure to look for products with retinol, Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, and neuropeptides. You may also want to do your homework to find the best wrinkle cream and moisturizers in the market.

You skip wearing sunscreen

Sunlight exposure is one of the main causes of premature lines and wrinkles on the face. Do take note that UV rays are still present on cloudy and rainy days, and can damage your skin. Be sure to stay out of the sun and slather on sunscreen every time you go out. Be sure to look for a broad-spectrum product or those with an SPF of at least 30.

You sleep on your stomach

This sleeping position can get your face smashed into the pillow. This can then speed up aging and cause the wrinkles to become etched in your skin. It may also cause the fluids to accumulate in your eyes, resulting in puffiness. Sleeping on your back can help you avoid wrinkles, as well as investing in a satin pillowcase.

You wear a lot of makeup

Excess makeup, particularly oil-based ones, can wreck your skin by clogging your pores. Some of these products may also contain irritating chemicals and alcohol that can dry your skin and remove its natural oils. This can then lead to blemished skin, as well as premature lines and wrinkles. Here are a few tips on keeping your makeup simple and natural. The more simple and natural our makeup is, the less problem we will have with our ageing skin.

Take note of these habits and stop aging your skin too quickly. It is better that our skin does not age quickly or else we may look much more older than what are age is. It is also a good idea to invest in creams, moisturizers, and other skincare products that can help fight aging.

How Should You Choose an Engagement Ring?

Getting married is a unique experience. This special event brings families and friends together, as well as bind two souls as one. It is so special that couples spend a significant amount of money for it. The money goes to a variety of expenses, including wedding preparations, catering, wedding dress, venue, and of course, engagement ring and wedding bands.

While most people were willing to splurge on engagement rings before, many couples are becoming more practical these days. When choosing the perfect engagement ring, more people are no longer keen on spending a fortune on their preferred option, especially the millennials. They tend to allot the money on the venue, food, and other important things related to their relationship goals or wedding plan. Some couples just put the extra amount on their joint savings account.

But why do they choose to avoid spending a huge amount on an engagement ring? Student loans probably drive them to keep their spending within budget. A survey somehow reflected this, as most of the respondents believe that you shouldn’t spend more than $3,000 on an engagement ring. Every couple wanting to get married someday should adopt this good practice.

Popular Options

If you plan to buy a diamond ring, AAA Jewelers notes that you should at least be familiar with the four Cs: cut, clarity, carat weight, and color. A stone with a high color and cut, and a lower clarity will cost less, so consider this when you have a limited budget.

It will likely take you at least two weeks before the ring is finished, depending on the level of craftsmanship that you prefer for the item. Whether you plan to buy custom jewelry in Utah or in another state, make sure you have insurance for it. Those who plan to buy diamond rings should also consider an inspection report from a third-party group, such as the American Gem Society. It may cost you extra, but that’s a better alternative to buying a fake or substandard piece.

an engagement ring

Popular Days

The day and time of your proposal should also be a factor for the price of an engagement ring. An analysis showed that the days between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day are the most popular time to pop the question.

Since more people want to be engaged during this period, you should expect prices to be higher. Even if you find discounted offers, you may need to wait for a longer time before the ring becomes available due to a bigger number of orders. If you want to save money, you can propose on other regular days or season. The secret is to make the ordinary day extraordinary. Your creativity and imagination are the limits.

A proposal need not be too flashy and costly. Sincerity, love, and passion are more important than the price of the ring. Set the right budget for an engagement ring and this will make it easier for you to choose since determining how much you’re willing to spend will let you narrow down the options.