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March 2020

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How to Resolve Conflicts with a Best Friend

Even with your closest friendships, you will likely encounter a time when you need to resolve conflicts with a best friend. Fighting with friends is never easy. But dealing with conflict can make you and your BFF better as individuals and as friends. Conflicts can strengthen a relationship, improving your communication and emotional bond once you have resolved it. Whether you are experiencing conflict now or want tips for the future, it’s always helpful to learn friendship conflict resolution.

Address the conflict soon—don’t wait!

If you wait to address the conflict with your best friend, bad feelings and negative thoughts can fester and grow. Like popcorn in the microwave, you let things stay heated too long and it burns up—ruining what you had. Try waiting 24 hours for the dust to settle and then talk to your friend.

Communicate from both points of view.

Try to see both sides. Your perspective is your reality. Your friend’s perspective is their reality. Both perspectives are valid. When you talk to your friend, keep an open mind and an empathetic point of view. See the situation from their side. Avoid statements that begin with “You did” or “You said.” Communicate with “feelings statements” such as “I feel…” regarding the conflict and ask your friend how they feel. Make sure you are focused on the current conflict. Bringing up past conflicts or feelings will only make the situation worse. Stay in the moment and be in the here and now.

Convey your honest feelings and be vulnerable.

Tell your friend honestly how you feel. Even if you aren’t sure you are the one to blame for initiating the conflict, apologize. It’s important to acknowledge that you are sorry for the fight and sorry for your part in it. Take responsibility so you can both move forward. Be courageous by showing your vulnerability. When your best friend hears your honest, genuine feelings, it’s likely he or she will reciprocate positively.

Suggest solutions for moving forward and be a sensitive listener.

Problem-solve this friend conflict by suggesting ways you can come together again. This may involve making personal sacrifices or compromises. Sometimes you can’t both get everything you want. Try to be solution-minded and propose ways you can come together. But along with offering solutions, be a sensitive listen and let your friend speak. Maybe they have ideas for resolving the conflict, allowing you to form a solution together.

Move on from the past.

Once your conflict is resolved, move forward with your best friend and don’t keep thinking about the past. The more you work out these conflicts, the more you will learn and grow together. Mending this rift means you will have the skill set to handle conflicts even better in the future. Healthy relationships take work. But love for your BFF makes it all worth it!

Dedicate time reminiscing about your favorite friendship memories.

Recall your favorite friend moments together and remember why you became friends in the first place. Sometimes recalling these memories can help you focus on the positive aspects of your relationship. Laugh and have fun together! Open up a photo book, or a personalized friend book such as the Book of Us™. A personalized book of photos and loving messages can rekindle the fun and laughter in your friendship.

Resolving conflict with a best friend can be painful, but it’s also necessary in order to move forward and deepen your relationship. Try these tips the next time you have a scuffle with your BFF. Your loving friendships are worth fighting for!  

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7 Most Romantic Ways to Propose

If you’ve been anxiously wondering “How can I propose to my girlfriend?” or “How can I pop the question to my partner in a personal, thoughtful way?” then these most romantic ways to propose will help you plan the perfect moment and avoid being one of those “proposal fail” videos. An engagement is a beautiful relationship milestone for couples and deserves to be one of your best days ever!  

Make your marriage proposal story one to remember and make sure to have someone on hand taking photos or videos to capture the special day! 

7 Most Romantic Ways to Propose 

You only propose once, so make it memorable with these wedding proposal ideas!  

Go to new heights for your romantic proposal.  

Find a breathtaking spot for your romantic proposal. Propose at the top of a famous building like the Space Needle or the Empire State Building, or pick the rooftop of a luxury hotel. Hike to the top of a mountain with a beautiful view or pop the question in a hot air balloon. These locations create a beautiful backdrop for your romantic moment.  

Spell it out.  

If you think your voice will fail you at the big moment, spell it out—literally! Arrange rose petals in the shape of a heart on your bedroom floor and spell out “Marry?” inside. Sprinkle rose petals from the front door to the bedroom, as a romantic way to lead her inside and guide her to say “yes.” If you are both board game lovers, spell out “Will you marry me?” in scrabble tiles and put the ring in a dice cup. Ask her to roll the lucky dice and see what she finds.  

Create a keepsake proposal book, like the Book of Us.

This personalized book will help you pop the question on the big day, with a final page that says, “Will you marry me?” Customize every page and include your favorite photos, memories, and stories. This lasting keepsake about your love story will beautifully commemorate your relationship journey and marriage proposal. 

Include your dog in the marriage proposal.  

Perfect for animal lovers, this marriage proposal is not only creative but impawsibly adorable! Since your dog is part of the family, give your pampered pooch a starring role in the proposal. Hang a “Will you marry me?” sign around your dog’s neck and attach the ring to the dog collar. The next time bae calls your dog into the room, they’ll get one incredibly cute surprise! Seriously, who can say no to those puppy eyes?  

Surprise your partner with a home video. 

Sometimes it’s easier to show rather than tell your partner how much you love them. Create a home video with video clips and photos of your time together, with background music of your favorite songs. Conclude the video with your favorite couple’s photo and the words “Will you marry me?” Your partner will probably be in tears, so make sure to bring tissue (and the ring!).  

Set up a stunning beach proposal.  

What could be more scenic and romantic than an oceanfront engagement? Keep it simple by proposing on the beach at sunset, or make it an elaborate setting with candles, flowers, and a sand castle that says, “Will you marry me?” Put the ring in a seashell or reveal it inside a clam shell to make it really magical!  

Make it a family affair.  

Arrange to have all your friends and family hide near the proposal site. When you pop the question, they’ll all jump out with balloons, confetti, and champagne. Your S.O. will be shocked and delighted to see your favorite people together to share these memories.  

If you’re not sure how you can propose to your future spouse, try these romantic proposal ideas and learn how you can use the Book of Us on the big day! 

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​9 Activities for Couples to Develop a Healthy and Happy Relationship

Try these nine couple activities to develop a healthy and happy relationship. That exhilarating feeling of being in love is the best start to a relationship. But how can you make your relationship last? Realizing that relationships take work is the first step to maintaining a healthy and happy life together. The best part? It can be easy and fun to keep your relationship strong! Check out these activities to strengthen your relationship and enjoy a long-lasting life together.

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1. Exercise together.

Exercise is a great way to spend quality time together and develop healthy lifestyle habits. Exercise also produces endorphins that give a natural “high.” By boosting your overall mood, you will both be happier mentally as well as physically. When you work out together, you also function as a support system to your partner—supporting their fitness goals and providing encouragement. Strengthen your relationship with exercise by building a healthy foundation!

2. Organize an activity day every week.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the busyness of life and forget to spend time with your partner. Make time for one another and schedule an “activity date” on your calendar. Schedule a couples’ activity day every week—whether it’s a spontaneous decide-that-day kind of activity or a planned something. When you make time for each other, you will maintain a strong connection. Activity days let you have fun together and communicate on a deeper level. If you have kids, it’s an opportunity to reconnect as a couple and keep the romance alive. Here are some easy and budget-friendly couple activity ideas:

  • Take a bike ride through a park.
  • Picnic by a lake.
  • See a movie, followed by dinner.
  • Bring board games to a local brewery.
  • Relax inside with a wine and charcuterie night.
  • Try something daring like indoor skydiving.
  • Be a kid again and have silly fun at the arcade!
  • BBQ and play cornhole. #collegethrowback
  • Binge a Netflix show with pizza.
  • Hit every local drive-through and see which one has the best cheeseburger.
  • Attend a PGA golf tournament.
  • See a special exhibit at your science or art museum.
  • Take a class together, like a cooking class, cocktail mixology class, or a foreign language class. Put your skills to use and host a party for friends or go on a trip to Europe!

3. Surprise your S.O. with love notes and love letters.

Who says life can’t be like a rom-com? Leave little gifts full of loving messages for your partner to find! Love notes and love letters are easy and simple ways to be romantic and make any day special. Hide a sweet note in their lunch bag, gym bag, briefcase, or stick it on their computer screen. If you want to put your romancing over the top, give them a personalized book about love that you can customize with “I love you” messages and favorite couple photos. Your loving couples gift will be treasured forever!

4. Switch roles weekly to manage chores…or to spice up the bedroom!

Take turns performing chores or tasks to mix things up. Both of you will have equal participation and responsibility in the relationship. This way, one partner doesn’t have the burden of doing it all. Plus it’s fun to switch up your roles! If your partner usually cooks, try taking on the cooking duties for a day or a week. If you usually clean the house or do most of the driving, pass on that role to your partner. This topsy-turvy role play can also spice up the bedroom.  

5. Handle change (physical, emotional, mental) as a team.

Being in a relationship means change is inevitable. As you and your partner grow old together, you will see physical and emotional changes. Stretch marks, weight gain, beer bellies, bald spots, and gray hair are some of the changes you will see—whether they are from aging, pregnancy, stress or other life events. Take on these changes as a team, supporting each other with positive talk. Instead of putting your partner on blast for gaining weight, suggest a workout program or healthy meal plan you can do together. Teamwork is key to a healthy and happy relationship.

6. Laugh together every day.

Laughter will make you feel happier and closer as a couple. Bring up a fun story, anecdote, or memory every day that will make you laugh. The saying “laughter is the best medicine” does have its truth. Laughing closes the distance gap between you, letting you share in fun moments together.

7. Let the fights happen and address them with healthy communication.

Don’t avoid getting into fights, or your resentment will build up into a blow-out. Small fights let you address issues and move forward. When you do fight, communicate with honesty and try to see your partner’s side. Fighting can lead to a better understanding of your partner. When you learn to communicate and compromise, you develop a healthier relationship.

8. Stay intimate in your relationship.

Kissing, hugging, holding hands and, of course, having sex at least once a week will help maintain a healthy, happy relationship. Be bold and initiate intimacy in your relationship. You can never have too much skin-to-skin contact!

9. Go on adventures together.

Travel. Road trip. Take a vacation to the beach, the forest, or to another country! Couples’ vacations are perfect for experiencing new things and growing together. And you don’t have to break the budget either. Camp in your backyard or have a staycation at a nearby bed and breakfast. Vacations are essential life experiences. Make memories you will treasure for years to come.

We hope these nine activities for couples will help you build or strengthen a healthy, happy relationship!


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How to Live Your Best Life Right Now

If you’re looking for ways to live your best life right now, these tips will help you embrace love and happiness. There’s no time like the present to start living your life to the fullest! Don’t settle for less. You deserve the very best. Life is an experience that you can create. Do you feel like you aren’t living every day excited and motivated? Do you get in a negative rut? If you’re looking for a change, these life tips will help you move forward in a positive direction.

Give yourself an hour in the morning, an hour at night.

Everyone needs a little “me time.” Do whatever you like best an hour in the morning and an hour at night. Set aside that time—set up an alarm on your phone if you need the reminder. People often get the most done early in the morning. Get up a little earlier and accomplish something for YOU: meditate, work out, journal, listen to music, sip coffee while watching an episode of your favorite TV show. In the evening, do the same but switch up the activity: read a book, listen to a podcast, clean a bedroom or bathroom, cook a favorite meal, chat with a friend, play a computer game, enjoy an at-home mud mask facial. Whatever you want! It’s important to spend time on yourself—you deserve it!

Take social media breaks.

Social media can be a fun, creative outlet to connect with friends. But it’s also the source of mean comments, tragic news stories, and brag posts. Take a break from social media each week, and spend time connecting with family and friends in person. While it’s important to stay in tune with news and events, it’s equally important to have some “breathing time.” Disconnect from your devices for a while. Get outside and engage with nature. Research has shown that spending time in nature helps relieve stress and anxiety. Ditch the tech for a bit and escape the social media “noise” with a relaxing nature walk.

Go on a bucket list adventure.

If you want to start living your best life, go on that crazy travel adventure you’ve always wanted! We get it—life gets in the way. It’s so easy to put off that big trip and stick it in the “someday” folder. But travel is often the ultimate “reset,” giving you time to unwind and re-energize. Visiting a new place can be the exciting change you need. Cross a long-awaited trip off your bucket list and live to your fullest right now!

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Make someone else happy.

Nothing gives you a bigger boost of joy and love than making someone else happy—without expecting anything in return. Think of small things you can do to brighten the day of those around you. Send a video message to a friend. Compliment a neighbor. Pay for the person’s coffee behind you in line. Create a personalized book for a loved one, with loving messages, photos, and personalized characters that resemble you both! The Book of Us™ is a special keepsake that delivers joyful smiles. These small acts of kindness will put you on a path to living your best life right now!

Start or resume hobbies that you love.

Begin fun activities that you’ll love doing on a regular basis! People often mock the phrase “I can’t adult today” but #adulting is hard! Responsibilities mount, and we often abandon hobbies or activities in order to multitask everything else. Oh for the college days with a cafeteria full of prepared meals, a two-day class schedule, and a dorm bathroom that someone else cleans! But now is the time to pick up your violin and start playing again; take up crocheting or cross-stitching; resume your favorite college sport (maybe join a community team); or set aside time to read every week. Living your best life means doing things that you love!

Stop worrying what everyone thinks about you.

It’s hard not to get in our own heads. But part of living your best life is focusing on you, loving yourself, and concentrating on what matters most. Nobody else is living your life. Only YOU can know what is best for you. When you start overthinking or focusing on others’ opinions, do something to jolt yourself into the present—take a walk, listen to music, sketch in a journal. A therapist once told me that when negative thoughts start flowing, tap your wrist or bounce in your work chair to redirect your brain’s attention. Stimulation and activity, however small, can refocus your mind. Meditation is also a great tool for centering yourself, shutting out negative thoughts, and finding peace.

Practice positive self-talk.

Loving yourself takes time and practice. The more you treat yourself as a best friend, the more you’ll welcome love and joy into your life. Beating yourself up all the time can be wearing. Try to repeat positive affirmations about yourself each morning in the mirror. Give yourself a hug—this one can be kind of embarrassing, but sometimes we need the physical act to really feel self-love. Your journey toward living life to the fullest begins with fully loving and accepting your whole self.

Forget resolutions. Make self-care life goals.

Resolutions can feel restrictive and demanding. But self-care goals are positive objectives with a focus on bettering yourself. Set goals you would like to achieve each year, but don’t put pressure on yourself to fulfill them. These life goals might include working out more, eating healthy / changing your lifestyle habits (take the word “diet” out of your vocabulary!), getting one-hour extra sleep a week, making an effort to chat with friends regularly, traveling—or something as broad as wanting to bring more happiness and joy into your life. By setting positive, flexible goals you can achieve, you’ll feel motivated and confident to make positive changes.

Release whatever (or whoever) is weighing you down.

Take the time to organize your life. It feels so good to clean and declutter your living space, getting rid of junk and useless items that are weighing you down. Donate clothes and shoes you never wear. Sell or donate that furniture you inherited when those items no longer fit your living situation or match your style. The same goes with people. Purge those toxic relationships that fill your life with negative energy—a relative that always makes snide comments or a friend that asks you for endless support without giving in return. Time to let it all go. Once you get rid of that dead weight, you can move forward with a free, clear mindset. ​