Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Him

 

Valentine’s Day is just a few weeks away!  My husband and I don’t make a huge deal about it but we do celebrate.  Typically we’ll go out to dinner and exchange gifts.  This year he’ll be out of town for work but we’ll probably just celebrate the weekend before.  It’s better that way anyway since restaurants won’t be as crowded and we won’t be limited to pre fixe menus many have for high traffic days like this.

I’ve put a list together of gift ideas for the special man in your life.  Some of these I’ve already given as gifts that I know he likes, some are things he’s asked for, and others are just some fun creative ideas.

  1. Putting Green Mat

For the golfer who may want to practice his putting at home indoors.  It can be used on carpet or hardwood.  It doesn’t appear that it’s recommended for permanent outdoor use but it seems like you could use it on concrete.  We have the perfect spot for this in our basement!

2. HyperChiller

I have not tried this but it looks super cool, no pun 😉  It claims to chill the beverage of your choice in 60 seconds, including hot coffee!  Perfect for those drinks that you may not want to water down with ice.  Think wine (that’s what I’m thinking!), whiskey, pop/soda, coffee, water, etc!  This may be kind of gift for me too!

3. FitBit Alta

Todd wanted one of these for Christmas and Santa delivered!  It has a number of features but one that he was most interested in is tracking his sleeping patterns.  Of course it also tracks his physical activity and previews his text messages.  I purchased his from Costco in a size Large and it came with interchangeable black and blue bands that he does use.  It’s available in a variety of colors HERE for a great deal!

4. Knit Bomber Jacket

Bomber jackets aren’t just in style for women!  I tend to steer away from picking out clothes for my man.  He’s very particular and rarely likes anything I choose.  Last year I tried to get him on board with the joggers trend and it was a no go!  I even tried a few different styles.  It just wasn’t for him.  So, I made sure to run this gift idea for my post by him to see if it’s something he would wear.  He said he would!  He asked me to buy him one.  These are just IDEAS Todd!  I have to leave a little suspense 🙂  THIS one also comes in black.  There are many different types including styles that are considered outerwear.

5. Nike Cortez Sneakers

While old school Adidas is certainly having a big moment for men, women, and children, these Nike Cortez sneakers are also making a comeback.  My 20 year old step son asked for a pair for Christmas.  When Todd and I went shopping for them he was contemplating getting a pair for himself as well.  He told me when they were in style when he was a kid that he always wanted a pair but couldn’t afford them.  Well he can certainly afford them now especially at THIS killer sale price!  He got super excited when he saw these made my list. They come in several colors.

 

6. Zafu Meditation Cushion

I’ll be honest, this gift may not be for everyone.  But, Todd has been talking about wanting to get into a meditation practice to start his day.  I know he’s done it a few times since the new year but I’m not sure that he’s in a regular routine yet.  I thought by creating a specific space where he can go and be comfortable might support his goals.  THIS cushion comes in other patterns and you can find others in solid colors and prints to suit his/your decor.

7. PowerBeats 2

This is another gift Todd had requested for Christmas and received.  They are wireless headphones that not only can be used for music, video, etc, but also for phone use.  He spends a good amount of his work day on the phone and has used an earpiece as long as I have known him.  Being hands-free and cord-free is convenient but now he has good quality sound in both ears.  The cord that you see hangs behind your neck.  They come in other colors and are on sale HERE.

8. Whiskey Decanter and Glass Set

If your man drinks whiskey, this is a beautiful set to display and serve it in.  Todd likes to have a glass once in awhile and this would be a gorgeous piece in our home.  I discovered it a few days ago while researching housewarming gifts on the Nordstrom website for a friend and immediately thought this would be a a great gift and look stunning in our home.  It has since sold out there but I found it for you HERE!  If you don’t know, copper is on trend and huge favorite of mine!  Ok is this another gift for me? Ha!  I don’t drink whiskey but if it’s going to be in my house I’d prefer it be displayed in this beauty!

Whatever you decide, remember it’s the thought that counts right?  Don’t stress yourself out.  If you aren’t a risk taker, play it safe.  He’ll love you just the same!  XO

NAIAS // Slip Dress // Velvet Lace Up Flats // Velvet Bomber Jacket

Vera Wang Slip Dress, similar HERE and HERE // Express Sweater // Velvet Lace Up Flats // H&M Handbag, similar HERE // Givenchy Earrings, similar HERE // Stella & Dot Choker

This spring my husband and I are considering selling our cars and finding something new or at least newer.  We bought both of our cars used and want to move onto something newer before we get into too many maintenance issues due to the age of the cars.

Both of our cars have been great and given us little to no trouble (knock on wood!).  In fact, there is a chance that I’ll get the same car but just a little newer.  We’ve also talked about looking into leasing this time.  Todd works from home when he’s not flying around the country or world.  The most miles he put on his car are his trips to and from the airport about 25 miles from our home.  My days of long road trips have ended, especially since we sold our cottage last year, so a lease could be a good idea.

In addition, my step daughter recently turned 16 and we will likely be buying or leasing her a car this spring.  Todd has taken her out to look at cars once but there is more looking and research to be done.  So far the Jeep Compass and Ford Escape are on the list.

I had the privilege of partnering with SheBuysCars to attend the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) here in Detroit this week for Press Days which allows the media to come and view all of the new products and technology on display before it opens to the general public.  (Be sure to scroll to the bottom for a chance to win 2 free tickets to the Detroit Auto Show.)

I went into it excited to see what options will be available to us later this year.  I wouldn’t say I’m that into cars but I do drive them and know what I like and what I don’t like.  Of course style is a big factor for me but I’m also drawn to the latest and greatest technology.  There was plenty of that at NAIAS!

To me, the most exciting part of the show was all the talk of autonomous, also known as self driving, cars!  Companies like Google have been testing these cars on the road in a few U.S. cities.  For now they have test drivers behind the wheel to provide feedback and in case of emergency.  The company behind the Google project is Waymo which stands for a new way forward in mobility.

Michigan Governor, Rick Snyder, kicked off the Waymo press conference where information was shared regarding the design, safety, and testing of their fleet.  They unveiled their newest vehicle in the fleet, a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Minivan.  They’ll be adding 100 of thesee to road very soon.

It’s incredible to think of the efficiency that these cars could bring to every day people like you and I.  Think of the time you could save everyday if you weren’t behind the wheel having to focus on the road.  Think of your elderly grandparents that may not or should not be driving and the independence and safety this would offer them to get them where they need to go.

The software and sensors on these cars are incredible!  They can detect and anticipate movements with their sensors up to 2 football fields away in all directions!  How’s that for safety?  I don’t know any human that could do that.  In fact, 94% of all auto accidents are the result of human error.

The testing of these vehicles has really ramped over the last year and while Waymo seems to be the furthest along in their testing there are several other companies with concepts for future autonomous cars, including Hyundai.  Our group was able to view their Ioniq concept car on a private tour of their display with the company.

I was also able to experience supplier, Denso’s, self driving technology through virtual reality.  The scenario was a 3D experience of me in an autonomous car driving down a country road demonstrating the technology’s ability to detect deer and other objects in the road to avoid an accident.  Very cool!

It wasn’t all business at the NAIAS.  I had a little fun too playing an oldie but goody race car game, Gran Tourismo, at the Hyundai Racing display.  I’m about as average as I remember being though I was told I did pretty well by the staff and observers!

As long as I’ve been driving I’ve had a dream of owning a convertible so of course I was immediately drawn to this beauty.  A friend of mine had a Mercedes convertible that he let me tool around in when I would visit him in Naples, Florida in the winter.  It’s a fun little ride.  It’s not super practical here in Michigan but maybe someday I’ll get one when I retire to a warmer climate!

Socialite Velvet Bomber Jacket, similar HERE and HERE // Minkpink Dress, similar HERE // Catherine Malandrino Boots // Shinola Watch // Stella & Dot Choker (black) // Stella & Dot Choker (gold) // Nordstrom Initial Pendant

I currently have a SUV, a BMW X5, but Todd recently asked if I thought I could get by with a sedan instead.  The main reason we went with an SUV before is for our trips to and from our former cottage.  It has also come in handy as we have been settling into our new house to haul various items home.  Could I get by without one?  Probably.  On this particular day BMW didn’t have their full line displayed in their exhibit but I did take a liking to the M6 Coupe and Convertible.  A girl can dream!

A brand that I knew very little about before this week was Hyundai.  They graciously hosted our group for a private lunch in their executive suite and gave us private tours of their exhibits. Their mantra is “better”.  They seem to be doing all they can to make a better car for a better consumer experience.  I was impressed to hear that a portion of every purchase goes to Hope on Wheels, an organization dedicated to fighting childhood cancer.

Their luxury brand, Genesis, is one that I honestly hadn’t heard of before.  All of their models have received the top safety ratings in their respective classes.  There is literally nothing missing in these cars, including holographic windshield display, reclining rear seats, and a trunk that opens within 30 seconds when you stand in front of it with the key fob.  Complimentary valet service is available when you have maintenance needs. Your car will be picked up wherever you are and you will be provided with a Genesis loaner.

All G90 purchases come with a one year complimentary Amazon Prime membership and an Echo which integrates with the car (Think “Alexa please start the car” when you are in your house!)  I’m kind of geeky when it comes to new technology, especially for cars.

It was exciting to see the new innovations and dip my toe in the water for our car buying adventures in the coming months!  If you are planning on heading to the Detroit NAIAS you might as well go for free!  Enter the drawing below by this Friday for a chance to win tickets.

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*  This post was sponsored by SheBuysCars.com.  The opinions stated are completely my own.

 

Jake Rotger // Elder Island Movie Premiere

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Jake Rotger // Elder Island

I have to admire the “you can do anything” mentality that I see many young adults taking to heart.  It’s true.  Hustle, work hard, and the payoff will come.  It may not be easy but most things worth having rarely are.

Maybe I lived in a bubble at that age but I’m not sure I subscribed to those beliefs at that time.  They didn’t seem meant for me.  I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I applied to one school, got accepted, and off I went to find my path in life.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved everything about my experience at Michigan State University.  I would go again if I had to do it over again but I wonder how my life would have been different if I had had the courage to dream big and take risks during my late teens and early twenties.

I landed a job as a lobbyist for the American Cancer Society and worked there for almost 20 years.  It was a very rewarding job and I believed, and still do, in the cause.  I liked my job but I didn’t always love it.  I had a lot of achievements that I am proud of and are now a part of history.  Pretty cool but I’m not so sure it was the best fit for me long term.

When I got married two years ago, my step son, Jake, was finishing up his junior year of high school and was busy studying for the ACT and deciding where he wanted to apply to college.  By the time he graduated the following year he had chosen Indiana University and intended to apply for the business school.  He was all set to head to freshman orientation that summer when he divulged that he wasn’t passionate about business school and didn’t see himself at IU.  Instead, he sought his dream of becoming a professional actor.

This dream was a surprise to many.  While Jake had been in a few small movies that were filmed in Michigan during high school, it wasn’t something that he had been very vocal about.  I, personally, had no idea this was something even on his radar.  But, this goal wasn’t something he thought of on a whim.  He had been doing research for months, keeping a journal, and even writing a screenplay, unbeknownst to his family.

I can tell you that the weeks following his news brought many sleepless nights to his father.  It’s not what his parents would have chosen for him but, realizing how serious and passionate he was, they decided to get behind him. His whole family did.

With a seemingly fearless demeanor, Jake moved to LA a little over a year ago at the age of 18.  He started his adulthood living on his own in a modest, yet secure, studio apartment in Hollywood, nearly 2,300 miles from his family and friends.  In less than 6 months he found a manager and agent and had numerous auditions.  He is currently taking acting classes and working toward the requirements to apply to a film school.  He’s booked a few jobs so far but I have no doubt that, with his determination, that there are many more to come.

His trips back home have been good for him to relax and catch up with family and friends but he is always eager to get back.  He doesn’t want miss any opportunities.  My husband and I have even helped him film a few digital auditions during his visits.

Elder Island was one of the movies he filmed before he moved.  It recently premiered at the Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak, Michigan.  Jake flew home for the event and I had the honor of attending with our family to support him in this great accomplishment.

I give Jake so much credit for knowing what he wants, having the guts to put himself out there, and putting his nose to the grind.  Acting is not only a passion of his but it truly seems to come naturally to him and he is totally in his element when performing.  To be so comfortable in your own skin is a gift in itself.

If you have the pleasure of meeting Mr. Jake Rotger someday, I’m sure that you will find him to be, like I do, kind, compassionate, and charismatic.  He has surrounded himself with good people and has the support of his family which, coupled with his drive, is certain to result in much success and happiness.

Let Jake be an inspiration to you to pursue your goals, do what you love, and take chances.

Follow Jake on Instagram at @jake.rotger.

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Born Yoga

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Z by Zella Girl Capri Leggings, similar HERE and HERE

A few months ago a friend of mine told me about this adorable yoga studio right down the street from me that she was at with her young daughter.  “So stinking cute” were her exact words!  She thought it might be something fun for me to do with my 2.5 year old niece and she was right!

Born Yoga offers yoga for teens, kids, and families.  They have everything from prenatal yoga, baby wearing yoga, parent and toddler yoga, all the way up to teen aerial yoga.  I talked to my sister about it and since she has started doing some yoga at home that my niece is all about, she thought it would be a great idea.

We’ve gone twice so far to the Parent and Toddler Yoga class, with me obviously subbing for the role of parent.  There was actually another nonparent in the class, a nanny, with a toddler.

The decor couldn’t be any cuter.  A bit of rustic modern charm.  A sliding barn door on the studio leads to an open studio with floors lined with interlocking floor mats that look like gray wood floors.

Both classes started with what I would refer to as a yoga obstacle course.  Various stations are set up in a circle with activities that the children are encouraged to participate in along with their caregiver.  The activities incorporate movement, balance or stretching.  I have a couple favorites that I think are so cute watching the little ones try to master.  One involves grabbing a plastic stick with ribbons hanging from it, placing it in one hand, and stretching from side to side like a rainbow.  Another has participants seated with the soles of their feet together while placing a plush flower in between their feet and bending forward to smell the essential oils sprinkled on it.

The rest of the class is filled with singing, story telling, and other interactive yoga activities.  It’s a bit of Kindermusik, gymnastics, dance, and yoga all rolled into one!

The class is 45 minutes long which is a good amount of time for little ones.  I notice my niece starting to lose some of her listening skills toward the end haha!  A big screen tv is available in the reception area to view classes.  My mom tagged along and was able to watch us that way.

It looks like they offer some cute events.  Coming up this month they have a workshop where girls bring a doll or stuffed animal and decorate a doll sized yoga mat to have a yoga with doll session.  Later in the month a costume Halloween party is taking place.

Of course I had to style my little fashionista-in-the-making niece!  I found these Z by Zella Girl capri leggings at Nordstrom Rack.  It doesn’t look like they are available online but HERE and HERE is what they do have.  She’s pretty tall for her age and already wearing a 4 in most bottoms.  These are XXS/4.  They are a little baggy on her but I’m sure she’ll fill them out in no time!

My leggings are a recent TJ Maxx find.  The brand is Kyodan and I have quite a few of their pieces.  The quality is great and I get tons of compliments anything I where from them.  I’m often asked if it is Lululemon if that tells you anything about how great they look in person.  So far it looks like TJ Maxx and Marshall’s are the only places that carry this line.  I highly recommend checking them out!

If you live in the metro Detroit area and have a little one in your life you need to check out Born Yoga!  It’s simply a darling studio that introduces girls (and boys – there were a few boys in our class!) at a young age to feel strong and beautiful.

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Humble Design

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of participating in a day of service with a wonderful nonprofit, Humble Design.  The organization partners with local homeless and abuse shelters to identify families that are being placed in low-income housing.  In most cases, the families left any personal belongings they had behind to escape emergency situations and seek shelter. When they finally emerge from a shelter into a home, they find themselves with a roof over their head but little else.  It is common for them to go without beds, furniture and home good essentials that most of us take for granted.  Enter Humble Design.

Humble Design accepts donations of home decor, linens, furniture, beds, toys, books, you name it.  Once a family is referred from a partnering agency, Humble Design staff meet with the family to get a sense of their likes and interests.  From there they are able to pull home goods from their warehouse of donations to best suit the family.

While Humble Design has grown and has a small staff, much of the work they do is reliant upon volunteers – accepting donations, sorting the donations in the warehouse, and participating in Days of Service to decorate homes – are just a few examples.

My husband introduced me to the organization.  He had been a financial donor in the past and we decided to take that involvement to the next level.  Humble Design improves the lives of 3 families each week with moving furniture in, light cleaning, and a full home makeover.  Think extreme home makeover light with gently used home goods. They know exactly how much of a financial commitment it takes for each makeover.  We decided that we wanted to sponsor a family and participate in the Day of Service and meet the family after.

We made it a family affair by including my step daughter, my sister in-law, and my niece and nephew.  We met at the warehouse in Pontiac, MI to meet the designers that we would be assisting and to load up our cars with the home goods they previously chose for the home we were going to decorate.

Humble Design has recently formed a partnership with a veterans organization.  The family we were aiding was a couple with 4 boys ages 6-18.  The father was a veteran.  The family had been living in their Detroit home since January with very little.  We were warned that while it wasn’t the worst home they’ve seen, it was pretty dirty and would need some cleaning.  It was a near 90 degree day and there was no air conditioning.

The family was gone before we arrived.  We had only 3 hours to work some magic before they returned for the reveal!  Everyone hopped into action by volunteering to partner up and get to work in a room of our choice.

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Not to be cliche, but the experience was very humbling.  I thought I had a pretty good idea of what it would be like but to see first hand how some people live was eye opening.  It was a great experience for our entire family and everyone got something out of it.  It was especially nice to see the kids’ involvement.  No one complained and everyone worked like a dog the entire time.

The before and after is pretty incredible!

Kitchen/Dining Before:

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Kitchen/Dining After:

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Living Room Before:

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Living Room After:

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Teen Boy 1 Before:

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Teen Boy 2 Before:

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Little Boys Before:

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The family’s reaction was what you would expect:  Grateful.  Mom had to grab a tissue.  The older teenage boys didn’t say much but you could tell they were impressed.  The best part was watching the younger two boys’ reactions.  They were so excited.  Everyone deserves to have a home they can be proud of.

Watch our experience and the family’s reaction in action.

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It was wonderful to be able to give back in such a hands on way.  We intend to volunteer with Humble Design again in the future and recommend the experience to others.  If you would like to volunteer and/or donate please visit humbledesign.org.

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