Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Guest Post: Tips To Strengthen Your Long Distance Relationship

Relationships of any kind take a lot of hard work and patience. Being able to do so face to face is a huge plus, a plus that’s absent in long distance relationships. Distance can complicate small matters and lead to unnecessary heartache. Here are 25 tips on how you can work to maintain a healthy long distance relationship.
  1. Agree on the relationship parameters: Right at the onset, both of you should understand the nature of your relationship and how much you are willing to sacrifice for each other. Are you prepared to relocate to be near your partner? Is this a mutually exclusive relationship or are you allowed to date others?
  2. Set up communication channels and timeframes: When you’re away from each other, calling at random times might be inconvenient. Again, if your call is not received properly, it’ll give rise to suspicions. To avoid all this, set up daily or weekly calls.
  3. Share everything: Being away from each other, you miss a great part of the daily camaraderie. Make it a point to share as much as possible about your daily lives, the people you meet and the things you do. This allows the other to feel as much a part of your life as possible.
  4. Enjoy things together: Watch a TV show or movie at the same time, with the phone on so you can share your opinions and thoughts. Come up with creative ideas to ‘do’ things together, the way you would if you were living in the same place.
  5. See each other often: Web cams are a great way of seeing the person you love. Set up web conferences; do not dress up for the web cam. Be natural, just as you would be if you were next to that person.
  6. E-mail each other: Share news, forward jokes and send each other greetings for every occasion via email. Make an effort to make your emails warm, loving and detailed, to show you care.
  7. Send gifts to each other: You don’t need an occasion; just send small gifts, books or flowers whenever you are able. Make it spontaneous!
  8. Set up reminders: Use good reminder software to set up reminders of important dates. Include your partner’s special days, your special days as a couple and birthdays of your partners’ friends. Always remember to commemorate special days.
  9. Don’t forget friends: Send cards or gifts to your partner’s friends on their birthdays; this extra effort will not go unnoticed.
  10. Pursue common interests: Take up similar hobbies, or attend similar events in your individual cities. You can compare notes later and enjoy the shared camaraderie.
  11. Find creative ways to bond: Join an online forum together, follow each other Twitter, and take up an online course together – you can come up endless creative ideas to bond.
  12. Give and take space: Don’t hog each other’s time to the exclusion of other things, just to make up for the distance.
  13. Don’t control each other: If you are both interested in being in the relationship, you’ll stick it out. Don’t control who each other can talk to, where each other can go and so on.
  14. Challenge each other: The distance between you can motivate you to do things you’ve put off. If you or your partner was planning to lose weight or learn cooking, you can challenge and motivate each other to do it before you meet next.
  15. Discuss your future: Talk about where you’re going to live and what you’re going to do when you’re finally together in one place. Working towards a common goal will keep you motivated.
  16. Visit each other: If you don’t live too far apart, try to visit each other as often as possible. Even the best long distance relationships will fail if you see each other only once a year.
  17. Be consistent: Be consistent when it comes to your visits, frequency of communication and so on. Spending a solid hour chatting one day and ignoring your partner for the next three days won’t help your relationship grow.
  18. Trust your partner: Allow each other the trust any healthy relationship needs; keep the jealousy, drama and obsessive possessiveness away. Remember, Everyone is trustworthy unless proven otherwise.
  19. Stay positive: Even if your partner did not return a call or did not keep up a commitment, stay positive within. Even the best laid plans can go awry sometimes.
  20. Focus on yourself: Focus on your needs, career objectives and hobbies for self growth and to keep from obsessing over your partner.
  21. Share personal items: Keep something that belongs to each other to hold on to when thinking of each other.
  22. Prioritize each other: Even if there are other pressing obligations in your lives, prioritize each other when it comes to emergencies, or urgent situations.
  23. Write letters: Buy some expensive stationery, scented if possible, and pen long, romantic letters to each other. These are the ones you can store and read when you’re old, tied up in blue ribbon.
This post is by Marina Chernyak, a freelance writer and co-owner of an online wall clock store located at -

Monday, August 22, 2011

Reason, Season or Lifetime Friend?

Have you ever read this poem? My mom reminded me of it recently when I was having difficulties with a friend. She reminded me that friends will always come and go, mostly for reasons I cannot even comprehend. So today I will leave you with this wonderful poem about friendships and how people come into your life for different reasons, sometimes for a short time and sometimes forever. It really helps me to move on when friendships fail and I hope it helps you in some way too!

Reason, Season, or Lifetime

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

— Unknown

Friday, August 19, 2011

Guest Post: 10 Tips for a Positive Daily Attitude

Today I am bringing you a guest post from the lovely writer, Christine Connor! Enjoy!

There are times during which each and every person the world over will inevitably feel a little down in the dumps or sorry for themselves, but when this begins to happen a little too often it may be time to give a little thought to a little proactive attitude adjustment. Whether suffering the stresses of student life, dealing with moving services for a relocation or playing second fiddle to the boss, it is far too easy to fall into a negative mindset.Of course, it is not quite as simple as giving yourself the proverbial kick up the backside and hoping this will be enough to bring back the smiles, but there are a few simple and realistic tips any person can follow in order to help build a positive daily attitude – none of which include magical hocus pocus or other potential nonsense whatsoever:

1. Negative Thoughts – It is imperative to learn how to recognize negative thoughts so that they can be acknowledged as soon as they begin to raise their ugly heads and put down before they are given the chance to take hold. Rule over emotions and don’t let them take control.

2. Positive Catalysts – One of the easiest and most powerful ways of boosting an attitude is to spend time around those who also think and act positively. It is simply impossible to remain down when among such people.

3. Avoid Negative People – Just in the same way as the example above, a negative mindset is highly contagious and serves no good purpose – so avoid those who may rub off those around them the wrong way.

4. Get Physical – Eating well and exercising may not breed results overnight, but a healthy diet and active body are known as two of the best contributors toward a content persona.

5. Ditch the Clutter – Make sure all living and working space are only surrounded by things that bring positivity, such as photographs of friends and family, memorable artifacts and other examples such as potted plants.

6. Prove them Wrong – If told that something is impossible or beyond personal capabilities, see this as a challenge rather than a setback and consider doing everything possible to prove them wrong – even in the smallest instance the bragging rights can be worth their weight in gold!

7. Count Blessings – When the world gets too much and an explosion of trauma and anger seems inevitable, list all of the blessings that come to mind starting with the most important and treasured things of all – this really does work!

8. Be Selfless – Charity work and helping other for no incentive can give the greatest reward of all, which is a level of self-worth that reflects on every single second of the rest of a person’s day to day life.

9. Limit Stress – A no-brainer of course but all too easily forgotten, it really matters not how important any activity or daily requirement is, if it is not life or death then take time out and break away from stress at regular intervals. Stressed and cranky people are rarely of a positive attitude.

10. Be Realistic – Incorporate all of these tips and as many others as required but do not expect for one second that the world will change overnight – allow time for the new ways of thinking to set in and the positive attitude will follow naturally, never by brute force.

Christine Connor gave up her full-time job three years ago to devote herself to writing and a less stressful way of life. She writes frequently on behalf of a moving services specialist and a few other on and offline publications.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Guest Post/Blog Swap: First Few Days In A Strange Country

“Francesca, I’m trying to call my mom, it’s not working”.

I’m starting to panic.

I just arrived at my host family’s house and I am just trying to call my mom and tell her I’m okay. My school-issued international cell phone is not working! I am half a world away, seven hours ahead of my home town and I just want to tell my mom that I made it safe and sound. I know I’m starting to tear up and I am desperately trying to blink them back-this is so embarrassing, way to prove how dumb Americans are on your first day.

“Okay,” she tells me-I know she knows… “dial this country code first, try that”.


Now I am even more embarrassed, I forgot all about using the country code! I KNEW THAT!
“gratzi, gratzi mil” I tell her and practically run back to my closet-sized room before she really sees me cry.

I have been in Florence for approximately 90 minutes and I am already crying for my mommy. Whose idea was this? Oh, right, mine. Independence, freedom, art, history, ITALY- that’s why I came. The phone’s ringing and I hear my mom pickup.

“Mom?” And now I’m sobbing….

She keeps asking me what’s wrong, am I okay? I know now that she is starting to really worry because all she can hear is me crying. I eventually manage to choke out that I was okay and I just wanted to tell her that I made it and everything was fine. Then I explain about the stupid country code fiasco. Now it’s funny.

Phone calls home will cost me a dollar a minute so we make it a quick phone call and I promise to email.

After I hang up, there’s a knock on my door- it’s Francesca, followed closely by Camilla, the giant German Shepard that lives in this tiny apartment. Francesca offers me a plate of biscotti and says she thought I might need a snack. I know that Camilla is silently offering her services should I not want this snack. I take it from her and she leaves me again, calling Camilla behind her.

There’s one window in my room. The scent that wafts through it from the flowers outside is heavenly. This is when I know I’m okay. I take a bite of biscotti. It is, of course, everything real Italian biscotti ought to be, and I stare out my window directly to at Brunelleschi’s dome.

I am calm. As I take my last crunch of sweet Italian cookie, I turn to my suitcase and begin to unpack. For the next five weeks, Florence Italy is my home.

*Hi, I'm Susan from Adventures in my Kitchen! It's been such a pleasure swappin' blogs with Lauren! I normally write about food, fitness & nutrition on my blog but decided to share some of my memories from my summer in Italy for this swap! I hope you'll come visit my blog to read more, posting my memories for this swap has inspired me to keep writing them. Thanks to Lauren for having me & thanks to you for reading! You can check out Lauren's post on my blog today as well!


Monday, August 15, 2011

Let's Be Kind To One Another

Recently I had someone tell me that their boyfriend sometimes made them feel like the ugliest person in the world. Keep in mind this person was a beautiful, almost 50-year-old woman who looked much younger.

That pretty much broke my heart. I told her that no one should ever make her feel that way and I believe that no one should ever be subject to those feelings, especially by someone who claims they love you.

This proves that controlling relationships aren't just held by teenagers or twenty somethings, but can happen at any age and in any type of relationship. We all judge each other too harshly and too much. Even I have been told at times that I am too judgmental and every time it makes me break down. I don't want to make anyone feel badly about themselves or feel as if they can't tell me things.

So stop for a minute. Think about your relationships. Think about your boyfriend or girlfriend, your parents, your friends, your children, and even acquaintances. Acquaintances are the most judged because you don't know their real story. You judge their decisions even though you don't know the background of it, you judge their outfits or the way they look to make others laugh, and you say hurtful things because you don't really know them and they don't know you.

Remember that one little comment that you may think nothing of can break someone. Telling your girlfriend she gained a few can completely tear apart her confidence or gossiping about a high school classmate could get back to them and cause them to break down.

This is a really tough thing but if we all stopped with the bullying, name calling, gossiping, and controlling, think about what the world could be. What a world that would be. Let's all band together to stop ourselves and others from tearing people down and causing hurt. Start today - say something kind when you're tempted to say something nasty.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Advice from "Real Housewives of NYC" Kelly!

The only "Real Housewives" show I've gotten into was the New York version. My friend got me hooked on the show and while at times I find it a little annoying with the constant drama, it is very entertaining. The last season I watched I wasn't sure what to think of Kelly Killoren Bensimon. Bethenny was one of my favorites and the two often feuded. However, this past season, Kelly seemed much more balanced, fun, and quick to share good advice. I've been reading her blog and Twitter posts and I absolutely loved this post on relationships. Enjoy!

Courtesy of Kelly's Blog:

"My mantra for this season was that “every relationship needs boundaries“. While watching the The Real Housewives of New York reunion, the reason everyone is so taken back by the special is because of the lack of boundaries and the way life is percieved by delusion by some of the women on the show. Everyone on and off tv has their own storyline.

I’ve learned a lot though my mistakes and by the mistakes of others. Here are a few rules that got me through filming and will be my manifesto with the man I love and my close personal friendships.

Relationship Rules :

1. Be honest to yourself. If you are honest, than no one has ever any reason to doubt you. this doesn’t mean you need to constantly tell people what you think of them, but always be honest with yourself, and in turn you will earn trust from others

2. Walk in other peoples shoes. Its easier when you recognize where people are coming from than just make judgements. name calling and judgments are for childlike behaviors, whereas recognizing flaws and being open to possibilities are adult behaviors.

3. Right place right time. Save conversations that could get heated and go sour fast for a time when both parties are well rested, have eaten, and relaxed.

4. Dont fight to fight, fight to resolve. Every problem has a solution

5. Create boundaries for yourself. don’t engage those who are pushing buttons. Disengage, walk away, change the subject, or compliment-most people are so vain and a compliment is a great diffuser

6. Smile as much as you can. Life is short, and a smile goes a long way. Its the universal language for “its ok, lets have fun.”

7. Forgive but dont forget. The past is a foreshadowing of the future, but you can also change the way you respond to the past.

8. Listen to what others are saying, not what you THINK they are saying

9. Dont compare and contrast exs with the ones you love. It hurts. Period

10. Dont kitchen sink your life to a partner, or kitchen sink an argument. What is the core to the problem? stay clear and tackle one issue at a time

11. Dont air dirty laundry in front of friends and family. Everyone has relationship issues and no one wants to get involved especially at a dinner table.

12. Have a code word for “don’t start this now.” I like the word lemon.

13. Do unto yourself and you want those to do unto you. Its a two way street. Be careful for it hurts just as much if you don’t call him, as him not calling you.

14. Dont draw lines in the sand, for you may be left at the beach. Lots of people welcome that challenge, and others take it as an easy out.

15. Everyday is a new day. Make sure you partner is a part of it."

This post was written by Kelly Killoren Bensimon - I didn't change anything.

What do you think? Do you agree with her rules?

Monday, August 8, 2011

I Want to be Fit For my Future!

I always talk about goals I want to make to be healthier but never seem to get around to them. I always marvel at blogs of healthy and fit girls that just seem to glow with happiness. I start to eat healthier or work out more for a few days then always end up getting too busy, getting too lazy, or whatever excuses we all use to opt into watching TV and mindless snacking instead.

If you feel the same as me or are interested in being accountable for your health, comment here! I want to get some other wonderful blog friends to keep me going on my quest for healthier living. :)

Here are my goals:

1. I want to eat healthier. While I did learn I have a faster than normal metabolism and can eat whatever and not really gain weight as of right now, I know mindless snacking and unhealthy treats all the time aren't good for me. I know eating healthier would make me feel better.

-I want to eat at least one fruit and one vegetable a day, hopefully more
-I want to eat yogurt every day (I don't really like other dairy and yogurt helps digestion)
-Keep the intake of salty and sweet snacks down (I tend to crave a lot of sweets and salty snacks, not all bad but I eat way too much of it when I am not even hungry)
-In general, I am not looking to be super strict with what I eat and count calories or anything, but I would like to be more mindful of what I am eating and go for healthier options instead of junk food

2. Do some kind of exercise every day. Often I opt for watching TV when I am bored when I could be doing something more active. I use the excuse that I don't want to shower and get ready again, or I just ate, or I am too lazy but there are plenty of things to do that aren't that strenuous.

My favorite ways to exercise (Do something each day!):
-Play tennis
-Bike ride
-Play Wii (Just Dance, Cardio Boxing, Wii Sports, etc.)

Trying to think of more...

3. Stretch! I have back problems that aren't helped by the amount of time I need to spend on my computer because of work. I know doing stretches will help, along with exercise. I am hoping to stretch each morning.

Now I would like to hear from YOU! Would you be interested in hearing a recap of my day as far as my goals go in addition to my regular posts? Or would that be too much posting from me? I would love to hear your opinions and if anyone would like to join me in my quest for better health! :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

True Life: I'm a General Blogger

Today I am participating in "True Life: I'm a "General" Blogger" from Mrs. Monologues and Fabulous But Evil.

Here's one of those about me & about my blog posts if you're visiting me from one of those websites. :) My name is Lauren and I blog about anything and everything. I mostly blog about relationships, experiences, and just general musings about life. I love reviewing books and girly products. I recently graduated with a degree in Journalism and I currently work as a freelance writer and assistant. You can find me on, The Daily Leap, and I help out with the Michigan Lean Consortium. I've been dating my boyfriend for over three years and I have two pets, a dog named Hannah and a rat named Buddy.

Some of my favorite and most popular posts are:

Why are Quiet People Weird?

New Nail Polish Effect: OPI's Black Shatter

Life Goes On

How To Be a Great Girlfriend

See photos of my pets

My Boyfriend of 3 years

Generation of Online

I hope you enjoyed visiting my blog and stay for more! xo

Friday, August 5, 2011

I Just Can't Relax!

Do you ever hear someone say something or read something that just strikes a chord with you? You sit there and think: "Wow I am the exact same way and I never really realized it in that way before." This happened recently over on One of our loyal readers wrote this comment on an article about getting rid of bad habits:

Shen says:

I enjoyed reading this for many reasons; I am guilty of certain ‘addictive’ or ‘negative’ habits, but then I also think it’s important to define what makes them negative–and that isn’t easy. I think negativity enters in when one habit interferes with other important things. My negative habit is being overscrupulous; I have to do everything, and I have to do it at 150% capacity, and I lack the ability to practice self-nurturing. I have to answer all e-mails, I have to be the BEST teacher, the BEST mother, and the BEST friend. I am also faithful with yoga, meditation and working out. I have forgotten how to relax, read and just ‘BE.’ If I am watching a movie I adore, I am also thinking about the dishes that need to be put away, or a call I forgot to return. It is difficult to replace obligatory habits with self-healing ones, but I am sure open to options.

When I read about her bad habit being "over-scrupulous" and her description of it, I thought, "Wow that's me!" I often think to myself about how I can rarely ever truly relax because I'm always worried about something, thinking about my next work tasks, my future appointments or things I've scheduled to do. While thinking about the future, planning, organizing, doing my best work, and working hard are all good qualities: what happens when you start to obsess over things?

Always the first thing I do when I wake up is check my phone and my emails and immediately start answering and often do a few hours of work in my pajamas. Otherwise, I would be getting up and getting ready too quickly in order to go straight to work. Working in my pjs is one of the true perks to working from home, but where do I draw the line?

I want to be able to find the balance between work and play. I can rarely ever truly relax until after all my work is done, there are no starred emails in my inbox, and I tend to freak out when I have a to-do list as long as my desk and feel the need to get everything done RIGHT NOW.

I am starting to think of a better morning ritual. If I get up early enough, I should be going for a walk, stretching, making myself breakfast and relaxing instead of jumping out of bed, grabbing a granola bar and diving right into my emails.

Anyone else out there "over-scrupulous"? Any tips for me? I'll be thinking about this and hopefully writing another blog soon on the topic.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"I'm Bored!"

Luckily, lately I've been too busy to actually get bored. I remember many times that I've used that phrase however when I've really just been restless and couldn't think of anything to do. Don't we all get "bored"? It is kind of a useless saying because there's always something you could do! I love these captions and will try to remember to look at them next time I think, "I'm bored".

What do you do to keep from getting bored?