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Spend Valentine's Day with Friends! Some Ideas..

Spend Valentine's Day with Friends! Some Ideas..

Ways to Spend Valentine's Day with Friends

Valentine's Day might make you think of chocolate, flowers, cards and dinners, but this holiday can also be a really wonderful excuse to have fun and get together with your friends!

Here are some things you can do with your friends this Valentine's Day.  What did we miss? Chime in below!

Get Crafty!

Get together and make some of those beautiful diy Valentine's decorations you always see on Pinterest.
It's fun to get creative with friends, and you can pull out your creations year after year and remember your lovely time with your friends.

Bake up a Storm

Join forces and make a giant batch of gorgeous sugar cookies with a friend - give extra cookies to your sweetie or surprise a neighbor or friend in need with a batch.

Coffee + Desserts

We can be so busy during the day.  But it's easy to make time to get together for coffee and dessert after dinner. Go out to a restaurant with your gals or do coffee and homemade dessert in the living room.
So simple, there's lots of time to chat and catch up.

Spa Time

Treat yourself without the sweets! White bathrobes. Face masks. Steam. A Turkish hammam is ideal, but a diy day with homemade concoctions is also fun. Gather your pals and unwind with spa time.

Go Dancing

You don't have a date night planned, but you still want to wear something red and dress up? Go dancing! Lots of clubs have Valentine's Day specials, it's a great way to have fun and hit the town with your friends on Valentine's Day.

Take a Group Class at the Gym

Zumba or yoga, whatever new class you might want to try - drag a friend and have twice the fun! Perfect before that tasty discount chocolate!   

 

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11 ways to avoid Christmas when you're feeling down

11 ways to avoid Christmas when you're feeling down

 

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Unless you are suffering at Christmastime, in which case you might want to jam stockings up your ears to avoid hearing one more overly-joyful overly-played holiday jingle!

The reality is that Christmas can be hard for some people. Really hard.

Anna and John Wilkins have not celebrated Christmas in years. After their daughter was suddenly killed in a car crash one year, the season of merriment has not yet appealed to the couple. 

"All those meaningful family traditions we had have just become painful reminders of Susie, and of everything that we have lost and missed since we lost her," explains Anna, who along with her husband, no longer puts up decorations, and actively avoids the holiday.

 Mourning the loss of a family member or friend can make the forced-cheerfulness and consumerism of the holiday season feel especially empty and meaningless.

There are other reasons for feeling sad at Christmas too.  Any struggle is amplified at Christmas, and add to that shorter days and a higher rate of Seasonal Affected Disorder, and things only get worse.

Whether it's a breakup, you're living alone in a new city, or if you are facing a struggle with a disease like cancer, advertisements that are constantly showing us happy scenes of perfect families can sometimes only show us what we are missing and enhance the pain from the season.

Even people without extraordinary struggles can feel worse at Christmas - sometimes money is tight, and with the super-high expectations of gifts, food, alcohol, and attending events demanding all these things, the cash-strapped can feel especially poor in a season of plenty.

Sometimes rebelling against a "traditional" Christmas is just the thing to do. 

 

 

If you must stay home

 

 

Listen to talk radio or a podcast

Radio has been described as one of the most personal forms of media. 

Even in today's modern Internet era, this is still true.

On a radio talk show or a good podcast. the host speaks directly to you. 

Radio programmers know that their listeners are usually listening alone, and the result is an intimate experience where you might feel comfortable and familiar with some of your favourite hosts, as if they are dear friends. 

A good radio show or podcast can be good company and good entertainment at the same time - a nice distraction from Christmas!

With podcasts, you can listen to entire marathons of your favourite programs, so if you are up all night, at least you are in good company!

Some great podcasts to try:

The NoSleep Podcast If you like horror fiction and radio drama, you will love this podcast! Short horror stories produced and narrated in a dramatic style - so much fun!

Myths and Legends Like most podcasts, you can listen to this one in any order. Learn the original versions of folk and fairy tales like Cinderella and King Arthur from narrator Jason who relays the stories with a dry and slightly sarcastic wit that is most entertaining while also being handy for conversation starters.

 

Take a walk or a hike

Look at the Christmas lights. Create background stories for the scenes you come across - the families rushing off laden with gifts and food, the happy reunions.

Hint - A casual glance towards a home's happy-window-Christmas-scene, with its lit-up tree and jammed full of revelers as you walk by is okay.  Try to avoid standing in front of any houses and staring straight into the window though, no matter how interesting the back story appears to be!

However, if peeking into many worlds of family togetherness is distressing and not amusing, skip the neighbourhood walk and go to a park or nature area instead.

Adopt a pet, a furry friend who is also lonely this Christmas.

Give it the best day ever. Take it on your winter walk. Feed him treats. If you can't commit to adopting a pet, there are many shelters who are desperately seeking "foster" parents - so foster a dog or cat for awhile.  They make great company!

Do a puzzle

If your mind is distressed, sometimes it can help to focus on an engaging task. 

Celebrate the way people of other faiths do..

Enjoy a nice meal at a Chinese restaurant.  Catch a movie a the theatres. (No one will see you alone in the dark theatre!)

Pull an Ebeneezer Scrooge (post-ghostly visits)

Spread joy to any less-fortunate souls you see that day. Load up some coffee gift cards, pack paper bags with treats, and offer them to anyone you see, who looks like they are having a worse Christmas than you.

Read to seniors

Many seniors living in these places have a lonely Christmas - sometimes they are not able to leave the care of their institution, and so they are without their families. Many of these seniors have lost many friends, maybe their spouse, and family members.

But you can still bring a little kindness into a senior's holiday. a nice old fashioned Christmas story.

Yes, it's festive, but giving kindness to someone lonely might just give you that needed feeling of classic joy this Christmas!

Make arrangements with a hospice, personal care home, or retirement village. Choose a classic novel or an old-fashioned book with a historic storyline that might bring a senior back to a simpler time that they might remember fondly. 

Many seniors, besides having a lonelier holiday than many, also have long given up hope for reading books. Vision loss and decreased mobility make it hard to turn pages and read. 

But stories are special, calming, and entertaining!  You can read to a senior one-on-one, or make arrangements for a microphone, and arrange with the care home staff to give a reading to a crowd on Christmas.

One great book choice for seniors? Try Christmas with Anne and other Stories, a wonderful Canadian collection of festive short stories set in the early 1900s. 

Use FriendMatch to connect with a new friend

Come onto FriendMatch and find someone else in the world who feels the same way you do.

 

If you can escape your town

 

Sometimes the easiest way to avoid your troubles is to just run away from them! 

Okay, that might not be the most responsible statement, but sometimes a temporary but instant solution is simply needed.  And December 24 is one of the cheapest days for air travel!

Here are some ideas for how to escape whatever is bothering you this Christmas:

 

Go Skiiing

Picture it; the pristine Canadian Rockies, fresh, sparkly powdery snow, the lifts are running, and they are drastically less busy than they will be in a few weeks. 

Christmas is the perfect season for skiing, and everyone has their favourite ski destination. 

Sure, you'll see a lot of snow and Christmas trees, but that doesn't mean you can't spend the whole day on the glorious mountain, and enjoy the frostiest beers and whatever meal you like in front of a warm fire apres-ski.

 

Go to the Beach

 

One year, Peter's wife left him right before the holoidays.

He was devastated, "I couldn't stand all the "merry this" and "good cheer" that when I felt so hearbroken, I had to get away.  And more than that, I didn't want to face my entire extended family at our usual gatherings and explain what had happened. I still didn't understand it myself!"

On a whim, Peter booked himself a week at a resort in Mexico.

Now married again, Peter and his wife spend every second Christmas away from home.

"Travelling at Christmas has become a new tradition to look forward to. We always go somewhere new and exciting, and we take advantage of great airfare and resort prices before the rush!"

It's even easier to forget about Christmas when you are sitting under a hot sun, drinking a margarita and reading a new book, (Self-care!) or snorkeling...

..or whatever you love to do when all your responsibilities are waiting patiently for you at home.

It can also be much cheaper to travel to a hot destination like Mexico for Christmas time - after the holidays, the rates for sun holidays go straight up.

 

 

Head to a city with Great Nightlife

If you want to be alone, but you don't want to feel alone, a good solution is to spend Christmas in a buzzing party city.  

Head to Miami for tons of culture, and a perhaps slightly toned-down version of a vibrant nightlife - in some places in the world, the streets are filled with music, art, and people - all kinds of interesting characters - to keep you company.  Grab a seat on Ocean avenue, order an iced coffee or a cuba libre and soak up the energy as you people-watch.

Other options of this sort include the French Quarter in New Orleans, Reykjavik in Iceland, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

 

 

 

 

 

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Ways to Spend Halloween with Friends! When trick or treating is no longer an option..

Ways to Spend Halloween with Friends! When trick or treating is no longer an option..

Do your neighbours give you funny looks when you try trick or treating? 

If you're all grown up, but young at heart when it comes to Halloween, there's good  news!

There are lots of ways to celebrate Halloween with friends as grownups, when you're too old to trick or treat.

Here's some of our ideas! Got more ideas? Share below in the comments!

 

 

Get Crafty!

Get together and create a Halloween craft (see our post Crafting with Cocktails for ideas!). This can be as simple as carving a couple of pumpkins, or do what we all do - find something elaborate on Pinterest to replicate!

 

 

Have a Halloween-themed Potluck

Encourage everyone to stick to the theme for a memorable dinner party. This also works great for an appetizers and dessert party. Costumes optional!

 

 

Horror and classic Halloween movie marathon

There are so many good horrors to choose from, from classic Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King movies to modern trilogies like Saw or Paranormal Activity, or just play a marathon of the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episodes if you like your horror served lightly with comedic relief!

 

 

Go for a Walk 

On Halloween, there is an extra energy in the air. In many areas, the air is just a bit crisp, and houses and neighbourhoods are brightly lit and inviting, the excitement of so many costumed kids (and grownups!) adds a real air of festivity to the evening. 

If you miss the days when you could go trick or treating, you can still experience the energy of Halloween by taking a walk with a friend. You'll enjoy the sights and sounds while getting a nice workout and good company.  If you're feeling really brave, visit your nearest historic cemetery!

After the walk, treat yourselves to some chocolate from the candy bowl or go for coffee! 

 

Take a Ghost Tour

There are so many of these around, there is probably one in your neighborhood.

Not only are these tours a fun way to celebrate the season, they usually highlight the most interesting local history that you probably never learned in school!  

Kick off your tour with warming cocktails or cap it off with hot chocolate or a pint at the nearest haunted pub.

 

Team up with Friends and Make the Ultimate Haunted House!

Remember that one house on the block as a kid, the one that went all out on Halloween? The fog, the sound effects, the costumed adult jumping out at you?

As an adult, you now have the power to be that person!

If you love Halloween, horror, and getting creative, team up with a friend or friends and create the ultimate trick or treating experience at one of your houses. When the trick or treating is done, kick back with some well-earned snacks, drinks, a horror flick, and leftover candy of course!

 

 

Throw a Halloween Party

This option is always on the table! It's probably one of the easiest parties to throw - just carve some pumpkins, make punch, throw on the horror sounds background and put your costume on!

 

Pin and Share!

 

 

 

 

 

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Crafting with Cocktails: Fall Fun Day!

Crafting with Cocktails: Fall Fun Day!

Crafting with Cocktails

In this series, we suggest cocktail and craft pairings – because getting your hands dirty and being creative is a wonderful outlet from the stresses of adulting! And getting together with your friends and a couple of cocktails makes it even better.

 

Fall craft idea – Glitter and painted pumpkins

This craft is so easy to do, not even mimosas will cramp your style!  All it takes is a coat of spray paint to transform your pumpkin – and you can use any type of paint or colour, making it easy to create a décor scheme or coordinate with other decorations.

The effect is gorgeous – get ready to gain major crafting street-cred and lots of compliments!

The drink is the ultimate fall crafting cocktail – all the fun and bubbles of champagne infused with the fall flavors of pear, ginger and sage.  It’s perfect for day drinking, and it can be prepped ahead of time so you can put all the focus on your crafterpieces!

Get your bubbles and your spray paint and let’s get started!

 

Supplies:

Protect your clothes – old sheets work great!

Spray paint – any colours you want.

Pumpkins!

Embellishments – gemstones or stencils

 

Instructions:

It’s so easy, you could even do it after a couple of cocktails!

  1. Lay assorted pumpkins or squashes down newspaper
  2. Put clothing-protectors on. (We used old sheets with holes cut out - classic ghost costume!)
  3. Pour Pear Ginger Sage Champagne Cocktails.
  4. Spray paint those pumpkins! Don’t forget the stem!

Optional – Add glitter, or gemstones, or stencil on patterns.

  1. Pour more cocktails while painted pumpkins dry.  Nibble on autumn-inspired hors d'oeuvres.

Food and Drink Suggestions:

Sipping:

Pear Ginger Sage Champage Cocktails

Get this fabulous seasonal cocktail recipe here from Dishing Up the Dirt.

(It's FriendMatch Test-Kitchen approved!)

Nibbling:

Make use of what's fresh and seasonal. Lots of beautiful vegetables are available now fresh and locally, so take advantage - sprinkling fresh herbs also on everything when possible.

Try grilled cheese-stuffed peppers, use a mix of sweet peppers and jalepenos, stuff them with soft cheese, (goat cheese or cream cheese will do nicely), then drizzle in honey and sprinkled with thyme.

What's Gaby Cooking! breaks down how to serve a gorgeous crudité platter, a beautiful way to make use of fresh veggies. Check out her tips here.

If you're looking for something more filling, a cheese plate, rounded out with fresh seasonal fruits, local honeys, nuts and seeds, is another good option.  We love the Cheese platter from Seven Layer Charlotte - check out her tips on perfecting the cheese tray here

 

 

 

More Fall Crafts Inspiration

 

Want to do something different with your beautiful pumpkins?  

Try stacking them into a pumpkin-witch, or make some creative jack-o-lanterns.   

The spa-day pumpkin, the shark pumpkin, and the hamburger pumpkin were all on display at a Halloween event at the Grand Wailea Resort in Maui, but you could replicate them at home! 

 

 Pin it!

 

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Are Married People Lonelier than Single People?

Are Married People Lonelier than Single People?

 

A recent study published in The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships examined the relationships with friends, neighbors, and extended family members, and compared the connections that single people had versus married couples. 

They found that on average, single people spend more time connecting with friends, neighbors, and relatives than married people.

Single people are more likely to give help to, receive help from, and stay in touch with siblings, friends, parents and neighbors than those who are married.

In fact, even if someone has a divorce, they will still spend less time with friends and neighbors, suggesting that the effects of a less social lifestyle can last beyond marriage.

(And maybe we should all be reaching out to our friends who have just gone through a divorce - they might need the company more than they know!)

The study results were able to rule out other factors, like age, kids, education, and income.

So why are married couples so antisocial?

The authors of the study have a few ideas:

  •  People believe that their husband/wife is their soulmate, and should fulfill all social needs
  • Single people may need to make more effort to fulfill their social needs since there is no one to socialize with at home
  • Another theory? Maybe this is another one we can blame on our busy, modern society!

Married people might feel that by the time work/volunteering/the gym/whatever is caught up with (which is never), there is barely time left over to put into a good marriage relationship.

What do you think?

To see the study, check out this link:

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0265407515597564

 

If you are married, and worried that you are socializing enough, The Newlywed Handbook (written by the editors of www.thenest.com), has some advice about double dating for married couples:

 

Turn friendly casual friends into new couple friends 

Do you know any cool couples who might be fun to hang out with? These could be friends-of-friends, friends from work, or volunteering, or even neighbors. 

See how you all might enjoy hanging out by starting with a fun activity that gives you lots to talk about, like an "Escape Room", or a ghost tour, or a Teppanyaki - style Japanese restaurant.

Make sure both genders enjoy the company

At first, either the girls or the guys will dominate the conversations and planning - likely the person who set up the connection. But with a bit of effort, you can all enjoy good bonds with new friends at the same time.

The group time will be more satisfying if the girls and the guys get along great - so if the husbands know each other through work, the ladies should eventually make an effort to email each other, and meet for lunch or coffee without the guys too.

Expand your group again!

Four people at a dinner party is great! Three couples is even more fun! If you get four couples - eight people - now you can use your full dishes set from your registry! 

 

Are married people lonelier than single people

 

Make sure to check out our other blog post, "Social tips for Couples"!

 

Do you think married people are lonelier than single people?

 

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