Enduring All Things: 2018

Friday, June 8, 2018

How to get out of your Boring Dating Rut with Date Crescent

This blog post was sponsored by Date Crescent. All opinions are mine.

It's no secret around here that I love my date night and think continuing to date your spouse and make date night a regular occurrence in your marriage is very important. In fact, I just wrote a round up post with a bunch of articles about dating your spouse, many of which were my own blog posts, for Date Your Mate Month. And the fact that there is such a thing as Date Your Mate month means our society is realizing the benefit to dating your mate! Which is great!

There are many hindrances that keep couples from having a regular date night. Busy schedules, kids needing attention, cost of babysitters, cost of the date itself, being too comfortable in the relationship, and not realizing the importance. Just to name a few.
One of the biggest hindrances that gets in the way of regular date nights is the creativity and planning. Often we're discouraged because we don't want to do yet another dinner and a movie. Now there is a concierge service that does all the research and planning for you! Introducing Date Crescent!
The one that I want to focus on today and that seems to be the biggest issue in mine and Pearson's stage of life right now is creativity. We sometimes struggle with finding fun things to do for date night. We just moved to a brand new city, completely across the country from where we've lived all our lives. We want to explore! We want to try new things. We want to experience all that Portland and the PNW has to offer. We want to do more than just dinner and a movie (though we just got MoviePass so that just adds to this hindrance, oops).

Well guys, I've found a solution to this problem!

Introducing Crescent: A dating concierge service for couples!

You guys this service is so cool, convenient, and all around awesome! I don't know why nobody has thought of it before. Basically, Crescent does all the research and planning and comes up with a fun, unique, local date for you (anywhere in the country)! All the work is taken out and all you have to do is put in your preferences, accept the date, and show up. I'll explain how it all works.
How to get out of your Boring Dating Rut with Date Crescent One of the biggest hindrances that gets in the way of regular date nights is the creativity and planning. Often we're discouraged because we don't want to do yet another dinner and a movie. Now there is a concierge service that does all the research and planning for you! Introducing Date Crescent!
First you go to datecrescent.com and click "Get Started Now." Once you click that button, Crescent will ask you to sign up. Basically, this is just so they have your email as a way to contact you. You don't pay anything until you request a date. Once you sign up (or log in if you already have an account), you can go to your profile and update your info and preferences. I believe if this is your first time logging in, it will automatically take you to your profile but I don't remember that for sure.
One of the biggest hindrances that gets in the way of regular date nights is the creativity and planning. Often we're discouraged because we don't want to do yet another dinner and a movie. Now there is a concierge service that does all the research and planning for you! Introducing Date Crescent!
The preferences page is pretty self explanatory. You click the thumbs up on activities you're interested in and thumbs down on the ones you're not. We actually just left the ones we're not interested in blank. I'm not sure if there is a benefit to that or not. You can also include some extras in your profile like your birthdays and anniversary.
One of the biggest hindrances that gets in the way of regular date nights is the creativity and planning. Often we're discouraged because we don't want to do yet another dinner and a movie. Now there is a concierge service that does all the research and planning for you! Introducing Date Crescent!
Next, you'll create a date request! You'll choose what kind of date you want to do: Energizing Experience, Enriching Experience, Epicurean Experience, or Surprise Me. We chose to be surprised.
One of the biggest hindrances that gets in the way of regular date nights is the creativity and planning. Often we're discouraged because we don't want to do yet another dinner and a movie. Now there is a concierge service that does all the research and planning for you! Introducing Date Crescent!
Next you'll schedule your experience. You pick 3 or more dates you'll be available, what time of day you want, how much you want to spend, and how far you're willing to travel.
One of the biggest hindrances that gets in the way of regular date nights is the creativity and planning. Often we're discouraged because we don't want to do yet another dinner and a movie. Now there is a concierge service that does all the research and planning for you! Introducing Date Crescent!
One of the biggest hindrances that gets in the way of regular date nights is the creativity and planning. Often we're discouraged because we don't want to do yet another dinner and a movie. Now there is a concierge service that does all the research and planning for you! Introducing Date Crescent!
Next, you decide which concierge package you would like. We chose deluxe because Crescent was kind enough to gift us their service for free in exchange for this blog post. But $14.99 isn't bad (and I have a 50% off coupon code that you can use: 12B85AAA49, which is good for any package). I also believe the benefit is still fantastic at the $2.99, budget price point! With the express package, Crescent will still do all the research to find your perfect date, it just might take them a little longer to get back to you and you'll have to actually do the booking yourself.
One of the biggest hindrances that gets in the way of regular date nights is the creativity and planning. Often we're discouraged because we don't want to do yet another dinner and a movie. Now there is a concierge service that does all the research and planning for you! Introducing Date Crescent!
Once our date request was submitted, we got the below email saying they received the request.
One of the biggest hindrances that gets in the way of regular date nights is the creativity and planning. Often we're discouraged because we don't want to do yet another dinner and a movie. Now there is a concierge service that does all the research and planning for you! Introducing Date Crescent!
Then, within 24 hours, I got the below email. The description of the date was also available on my account at datecrescent.com. Then we clicked the button to except the date. If we didn't like the date, all I had to do was reply to the email saying so. I did reply to let Victoria know that we would eat at the festival and to not worry about planning a dinner for us.
One of the biggest hindrances that gets in the way of regular date nights is the creativity and planning. Often we're discouraged because we don't want to do yet another dinner and a movie. Now there is a concierge service that does all the research and planning for you! Introducing Date Crescent!
Once we had accepted the date, the people at Crescent booked our tickets for us! We didn't have to pay for our tickets because, again, this date was a gift from Crescent in exchange for this post. But I believe if you have to pay at the time of booking and Crescent is booking for you, you'll pay for the date through the same payment method you used for the service.

Our Date, Scheduled and Booked by Crescent

The next day, I got another email from Victoria at Crescent with a link to access our tickets. All we had to do was either print them or have them ready on my phone at the festival. We didn't have to do any work!
One of the biggest hindrances that gets in the way of regular date nights is the creativity and planning. Often we're discouraged because we don't want to do yet another dinner and a movie. Now there is a concierge service that does all the research and planning for you! Introducing Date Crescent!
So this past Saturday, we headed into Portland at about lunchtime! We really enjoyed the festival. The atmosphere was so fun. The weather was perfect and it was a great way to try something new!
One of the biggest hindrances that gets in the way of regular date nights is the creativity and planning. Often we're discouraged because we don't want to do yet another dinner and a movie. Now there is a concierge service that does all the research and planning for you! Introducing Date Crescent!
It was held at The North Warehouse which is a really cool little venue in a fun part of town. Most of the festival was set up out side with a few vendors and sitting area inside the warehouse.
One of the biggest hindrances that gets in the way of regular date nights is the creativity and planning. Often we're discouraged because we don't want to do yet another dinner and a movie. Now there is a concierge service that does all the research and planning for you! Introducing Date Crescent!
We even enjoyed some delicious German street food from the food truck there.
One of the biggest hindrances that gets in the way of regular date nights is the creativity and planning. Often we're discouraged because we don't want to do yet another dinner and a movie. Now there is a concierge service that does all the research and planning for you! Introducing Date Crescent!
After we'd had enough of the festival (and it started getting more crowded), we decided to extend the date a little and explore some of Mississippi Avenue, one of Portland's famous happening streets. We decided to check out ¿Por Qué No?, a tiny hole-in-the-wall taco place that we had heard was amazing. Sure enough, we got there around 3 pm and the line was still out the door!
One of the biggest hindrances that gets in the way of regular date nights is the creativity and planning. Often we're discouraged because we don't want to do yet another dinner and a movie. Now there is a concierge service that does all the research and planning for you! Introducing Date Crescent!
Luckily, the staff was efficient and it didn't take us long to order. Plus, a benefit of going at an "unpopular" time was that we easily found a seat and got to enjoy the fantastic atmosphere a little better than if we had gone at lunch time. And I must say, the tacos lived up to their reputation!
One of the biggest hindrances that gets in the way of regular date nights is the creativity and planning. Often we're discouraged because we don't want to do yet another dinner and a movie. Now there is a concierge service that does all the research and planning for you! Introducing Date Crescent!
After our snack, we walked a little more up Mississippi avenue. We checked out some businesses including a vintage guitar shop, a vintage music shop, and a comic book store, before coming across a Blue Star Donuts! Blue Star is another place we've been told we had to try. So try we did! I got a Real Maple Bacon donut and Pearson got a Blueberry Bourbon Basil one. Both were fantastic!
One of the biggest hindrances that gets in the way of regular date nights is the creativity and planning. Often we're discouraged because we don't want to do yet another dinner and a movie. Now there is a concierge service that does all the research and planning for you! Introducing Date Crescent!
So basically, we had a fantastic all day long date on Saturday! And we would have never even known about the festival if it weren't for Crescent. We wouldn't have known The North Warehouse existed nor would we have seen a list of future events and even made plans for future dates. We would probably have eventually explored Mississippi Avenue, but probably not on Saturday. Crescent made everything so easy and I definitely plan on using them again for some fun dates in the future!

If you want to try Crescent for yourself, be sure to use my code: 12B85AAA49. It's good for 50% off whichever package you choose!

Do you ever struggle with coming up with exciting things to do for Date Night?
Would you consider using a date concierge service?
Thanks for reading!

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Posts on this blog may contain affiliate links. 
If you click on a link and make a purchase, I might get a little money. 
All opinions are my own.
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Monday, June 4, 2018

5 Simple Father's Day Gifts - Especially if you're Long Distance

Happy first Monday of June, guys! Did you know Father's Day is two weeks from yesterday? Yep. It snuck up on me this year. I feel like there is so much to celebrate in May with Mother's Day, graduations, weddings, and lots of birthdays in our family. And then June just sort of sneaks up. But there is a lot to celebrate in June too, my mom's birthday, mine and Pearson's dating anniversary. And Father's Day.

In a lot of ways, I think Father's get the short end of the stick. They work hard and share the responsibility of parenting! And especially if they work outside the home, they don't get the recognition and the perks of watching their kids grow up that most mothers do even if she works outside the home. And the holiday just doesn't seem to get as much attention as Mother's Day.

Anyway, because of all of this, I didn't want this Father's Day to go by without my acknowledging it. So here is my Father's Day gift guide, just like the one I wrote for Mother's Day last month.

*This post contains some affiliate links. If you purchase through my link, I might get a small commission at no cost to you.
I live super far away from my dad and Father-in-law so I always try to make Father's Day special from a distance. Here are 5 simple Father's Day gift ideas for when you live far away!

Oh and by the way, if you don't know, my husband and I moved to Portland, Oregon this year. Which is almost as far away from our parents as possible while staying within the continental US. Both of our families live in Atlanta, Georgia. So all of the things on this list (as well as on my Mother's Day list) can be easily given across long distances!

ONE || BrightBox

You guys, Shea from Bright Box is a genius! She's created a company that will send someone you love a fun and super cute little box for only $5 (plus shipping - $8 total)! Each box comes with one main surprise (think candle, lip scrub, jewelry, socks), some candy and a cute card with your message on the back (can be anonymous)! She even has some guy oriented boxes. AND for Father's day, they have a special $15 box with some extra goodies! All you have to do is type your message and she does the rest!

TWO || A Trip

With all the travel agents and travel packages out there these days, planning and booking a trip completely in advance is easier than ever. So plan a fun trip for you and your dad to take in the next year. Or maybe for him and your mom to take. Try an all inclusive package from somewhere like Getaway Today to take all the stress of planning off of him! Oh and Costco has great travel packages too! I'm not sure if whoever books has to be on the trip though so just be aware of that.

THREE || Entertainment Subscription

Whether it's MoviePass, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime or whatever, your dad will love you forever. Or at least mine would. We live in a world of constant entertainment and it's all going the way of monthly subscriptions! Most of these companies have gift options where you can specify how many months to give. AND they even work if your dad already has a subscription. Now he just won't have to pay for a few months. It could not be easier to give!

FOUR || Broquets from Amazon

For my Mother's Day gift guide, I suggested ordering either flowers or edible arrangements for delivery from Amazon. Well Amazon has the men covered too! Have you heard of Broquets? They're a company who makes "bouquets" for men! They package up manly things in a perfect little box as a great alternative to flower bouquets if your dad isn't into that. They have packages with jerky, hot sauces, sodas, and even shaving sets! They come at many different price points and most options are on Amazon prime. Click here or shop below!


FIVE || A Care Package

And lastly, if you live far away from your dad, like I do, there's nothing better than putting together a care package of all his favorite things to tell him you love him! Just like I did for my and Pearson's dads a couple years ago! Gather some of their favorite goodies: candy, silly toys, k-cups. Be sure to include some homemade baked goods. Decorate the box with The Dating Divas' free Father's Day Care Package Printables. And you're golden!


So these are my Father's Day ideas for long distance. I'm still not sure what Pearson and I are going to do for our dads this year but it will be something special for sure.

Do you live far from your dad? How do you make Father's Day special? What are your favorite Father's Day traditions?
Thanks for reading!

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Friday, June 1, 2018

Monthly Goals for June {2018}

How in the world is it June already?? We're in the sixth month of the year which means at the end of this month, 2018 will be half way over! How crazy is that?

This month marks the beginning of summer. Although, it hasn't felt like summer around here. It's been in the low 50's for the last week or so. But I hear that's just how Oregon weather is. It never gets too hot and sometimes it dips back down after being in the 70's and 80's for a while. But hey, I'll take it!

Pearson and I bought some camping gear at REI last week during their big annual sale. We're planning a big camping trip at Crater Lake in July for our anniversary but we're actually hoping to do a couple small weekend camping trips this month now that we have some supplies. Wish us luck! I'm so excited for this!

But enough about all that, let's get on to the point of this post, shall we? My goals for July (and how I did in May).

How I did in May:

Spiritual:

  • Read 1st John EVERY DAY. I got this idea from Jami of The Young Wife's Guide when she did a webinar for this year's Homemaking Bundle. I have a whole blog post about it that I will share but I really think reading one book of the Bible every day for a whole month will be life-changing! 
    • I would say I did this about 3 times per week. So not bad. Though most of those times I actually listened to it rather than read it.

Physical:

  • Stick to the Keto Diet, only cheating at most once per week on the weekends.
  • Work out at least 3 times per week
  • Drink all the water I'm supposed to every day

Mental:

Marriage:

  • As always, I'm setting the goal of going on at least one intentional date per week!

Blog:

  • Post on the blog twice per week
  • Read through the Instagram Monetization guide by The Social Media Posse.
  • Write at least one sponsored post
    • I didn't technically write a "sponsored" post but I wrote a couple posts about Dating Divas sales with affiliate links

Home:

  • Keep the kitchen clean. Don't let dishes pile up for more than one day.
  • Finish decorating and setting up everything. 
    • Or at least I set up as much as I could. We still have a few things to buy but the budget wouldn't allow it this month
Before I actually wrote these out and crossed them off for this blog post, I thought I did a lot worse than I actually did! I accomplished slightly more than half of my goals! I'm calling that a win!

Resetting in June:

Spiritual:

  • Read (or listen to) Matthew chapters 1 through 4 at least three times per week
  • Get up in time to go to Sunday School class every Sunday
  • Do the reading and homework for Sunday School class every week

Physical:

  • Stick to a healthy diet, only eating out on the weekends (we stopped Keto because we were both having stomach issues. I am now currently on a modified low FODMAP diet and Pearson got really bad acid reflux from all the fat)
  • Work out at least 4 times per week (hiking and walking on the weekends counts)

Mental:

Marriage:

  • One intentional date or trip per week
  • Spend intentional time in the evenings talking over dinner rather than turning on The Walking Dead as soon as Pearson gets home
  • Finish planning our anniversary trip

Blog:

  • Post on the blog twice per week
  • Read through the Instagram Monetization guide by The Social Media Posse.
  • Plan out my anniversary month series for the blog

Home:

  • Deep clean our apartment
  • Finish decorating and setting up everything. 
My goals for this month are more on the simple side. I'm still trying to keep sight of my word of the year, RESET. So I'm resetting every part of my life by going back to the basics. For example: my spiritual goals involve simply reading the bible and Sunday School. There are no elaborate devotionals or study habits. I think you can see that "RESET" word in all of my goals.

Do you set monthly goals? Share your link in the comments or just tell me a few of your goals! Let's support each other!
Thanks for reading!

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

30 Articles about Dating Your Spouse

Well, it's the last day of May is Date Your Mate month. I've talked about it here on the blog a couple times as well as on my Instagram feed a couple times, and for my "Marriage Monday" tips on my IG story (now on the "marriage" highlight). Plus I've been trying to share some articles about dating your spouse on Twitter.

Anyway, as a send off, I thought I'd do a little round up of such articles today!
For the last day of Date Your Mate month, I've compiled a list of great articles from the internet about dating your spouse! This list is split up into the importance of dating your spouse, tips for dating your spouse, and date ideas.

On the Importance of Dating Your Spouse:

  1. 5 Reasons Why Date Night is Important, Even After You're Married - guest post by Rachael Drennan on What's Up Fagans
  2. How Your Marriage Could Benefit from a few Dates at Home - by Amberly of A Prioritized Marriage
  3. If you haven't been on a Date in a While - by Amy of Freshly Married
  4. 3 Obvious but Important Reasons to Date your Spouse - by Sean of Simple Marriage
  5. The Hidden Benefits of Dating your Wife - by Greg Smalley of Focus on the Family
  6. What Makes Date Night Different - guest post by Amberly Lambertsen on Enduring All Things
  7. What Defines a Date Night? - guest post by me on A Prioritized Marriage

Tips for Dating your Spouse:

  1. The entire Dating Divas website and store!
  2. 10 Tips for YOUR Perfect Date Night by me of Enduring All Things
  3. 5 Things to Talk About on Date Night by me of Enduring All Things
  4. Elevate Your Date Nights by Amy of Freshly Married
  5. Guidelines we've Set to Make our Date Nights Count by Amberly of A Prioritized Marriage
  6. Our Favorite Date Night Resources by Amberly of A Prioritized Marriage
  7. 8 Date Night Tips for Married Couples by Amberly of A Prioritized Marriage
  8. Making Date Night Happen with Opposite and/or Busy Schedules by Amberly of A Prioritized Marriage
  9. Making Date Night a Habit in your Marriage Again by Amberly of A Prioritized Marriage
  10. Why And How To Date Your Spouse: 6 Tips For Successful Date Nights by Dr. Jamie Williamson of Huffington Post

Date Ideas:

  1. Ultimate List of 30 Date Ideas for Valentine's Day by me of Enduring All Things
  2. Spring Date Ideas by me of Enduring All Things
  3. Every Marriage Needs a Little Spring Romance by Amberly of A Prioritized Marriage
  4. 12 Springtime Date Ideas Under $50 (for ANY City) by Lauren of ModWife
  5. 7 Date Ideas for Rainy Days by me of Enduring All Things
  6. Fall Date Ideas by me of Enduring All Things
  7. Snuggle Up for a Little Autumn Romance by Amberly of A Prioritized Marriage
  8. 10 Fun Date Ideas to try This Winter collaboration by Brita and me on Enduring All Things
  9. At Home Winter Date Ideas to Keep your Love Warm by Amberly of A Prioritized Marriage
  10. Christmas Season Date Ideas me of Enduring All Things
  11. Top 10 Cheap Date Ideas by Amy of Freshly Married
  12. 365 Date Night Ideas by Amy of Freshly Married
  13. Date Night Ideas from the NICU by Amberly of A Prioritized Marriage
So there you have it. Some of the best articles/blog posts I've seen about dating your spouse. Please don't ever stop dating each other. It's so important and helpful to your marriage! I hope you've had a great Date Your Mate month and that you continue to date your mate all year!

Have you read any articles about dating your spouse lately? Share a link in the comments!
Thanks for reading!

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All opinions are my own.
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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Surprise EXCLUSIVE Dating Divas Flash Sale

BIG NEWS GUYS! The Dating Divas are finishing off Date Your Mate month with an EXCLUSIVE Flash Sale on one of my favorite of their products! 52 Dates for Two is now 50% off with the code 52DATES. That means it's just $4, so for less than a Starbucks coffee, you can get an entire year's worth of dates! But the sale ends on Thursday the 31st.

This sale is extra special because that coupon code is exclusive to Divas Partners and their readers. That means the Divas aren't giving this code to just anybody. So you should feel special!
So as I said on Friday, I've been slacking in the date department lately. I bought the 52 Dates for Two pack last August with the intention to either start it at the beginning of this year and officially go through all the dates or to at least use for inspiration. I downloaded it and it has been sitting in my google drive, untouched for 9 months. I found it again when I heard about this sale and now I've printed and assembled it. I'm still not sure if we will every follow it perfectly because there are so many specific things we want to do in our new home, but it will be great for inspiration. And who knows, I bet most of the things we want to do for date night anyway have a corresponding card, especially since they've included blank ones.

But I'm getting ahead of myself!
The 52 Dates for Two pack is a printable that usually costs $7.97 but is 50% off with the code 52DATES until the end of May (only 3 days). The pack includes...
  • 52 Weekly Date Night Cards - A date night idea for each week of the year.
  • Blank Date Night Cards - Customizable cards to include a few, more personal dates.
  • 16 Bonus Date Cards - For more weekly date night ideas to choose from.
  • Steps & Tips for a Photo Album - Create an easy way to track your date night memories.
So you can totally print this out and customize it to fit your marriage.

So basically, you print out these cards along with the super cute gift tags and picture cards and assemble them in a photo album. Then as you go on your dates, you fill out the cards and add photos of your dates. The best part is you'll always have a keepsake of this year of dates.
To help with choosing a date that's perfect for each week, the date night cards have these perfect little checklists at the top. That way, if you know you can't get a sitter you can choose an "At Home" date or if you're a little strapped for cash lately, you can be sure to pick a "Free" date.

Oh and wouldn't this be a super cute wedding gift as well! I'm going to have to use it next time I have a wedding to go to. Unfortunately, I'm getting to the age where all my friends are already married. We've moved on from wedding showers to baby showers. Really if I'm being honest, that shift happened several years ago. Anybody else? haha

So anyway, totally go grab this pack while it's 50% off! Click right here to read more about it, scroll to the bottom of that post to add the pack to your cart, and then use the code 52DATES at check out! You only have until May 31st!

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All opinions are my own.
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Friday, May 25, 2018

How Labeling Date Night Makes it More Special

I have spent this week working on one blog post and through procrastination, distraction, and some things out of my control, it didn't get done. And honesty, I'm not sure I love the idea anyway.

Does that ever happen to you? You're planning something and you're excited about it, but then as it comes closer and closer you're not too crazy about it and you fail to prepare and you're just not so sure anymore.

So here it is, Friday, and I haven't published a blog post all week. So I decided I'm just going to talk.
May is Date Your Mate month and I've let almost the whole month go by with only one blog post and two Instagram posts (here and here) about the subject. I've been sharing other people's content about dating your mate, and I've given some tips on IG stories about it, but that's it. I've not been motivated to blog much at all, let alone come up with multiple good quality posts about a similar topic.

And while I've been feeling pretty down on myself about this, I realized that I've been neglecting something more important. I haven't actually been dating my mate.

Oh sure, to some standards, Pearson and I go on plenty of "dates." Especially now. For the last two years he was working upwards of 80 hours per week and we never saw each other. But he graduated with his PhD in December, then we celebrated Christmas and got ready for our move. Then in January, we went to Orlando for #MaugerisMagicalAdventure after which we drove across the country for #MaugerisDoTheOregonTrail. So we spent most of December and all of January together. Like, 24/7. Plus, Pearson has been training every since we got here so he hasn't been working very many hours yet. And we have had a bunch of #MaugerisPNWAdventures.

And yet, in a way, I feel like we actually dated each other better when he was working a ton in grad school and we saw each other a lot less!

There are several reasons why this is the case and one of them is that the time we spend together isn't always quality time. I mean on our trips in January it sure was. Spending lots of time in the car together and working out logistics of moving and traveling together will do that. But most of the time we've spend together here, at least lately, has been spent on the couch in front of our latest Netflix binge. At lest when we're not exploring the PNW. And don't get me wrong, having time to veg together is not a bad thing!

But in my opinion, a "date" has to be planned ahead. It has to be intentional. And it has to be different from the norm. And yes our PNW adventures are technically all of those things, but for some reason they still don't always feel like "dates" to me. Maybe that's just because they don't look like what you typically think of when you think of a date. Or maybe it's because we just sort of nonchalantly say "Let's go hiking this weekend" and find a place without much planning or thought.

And there have also been times when we'll go out to dinner or see a movie or do something else out of the ordinary, but they still don't really feel that special.

What I have found is that a date doesn't feel like a date to me unless I actually call it that. I have to mentally label it as "Date Night" and think of it as such ahead of time for it to feel special. As I've already said, plenty of the things we've been doing here in Oregon could be considered "dates." Even by my definition above. But I didn't really consider that until after the fact.

So a date feels special when we call it a date. It's different from our typical evening of binging TV on the couch and it's different from the times when we're just hanging out as best friends and exploring together. A date has an added purpose of strengthening our marriage as we enjoy an activity together. Again, not that all activities we do together can't strengthen our marriage, it's just when I label something a date, I go into it with that intention at the front of my mind. Does that make sense? And it absolutely makes me melt when Pearson says "Lets go on a date tonight" more so than when he says "Let's go to such and such place tonight."

So here's to labeling dates. Here's to strengthening marriages through date night. Here's to making that quality time special and different.

I don't know, maybe I'm weird in this.

What do you think? Do you have to give date nights a label to make them feel special?

Thanks for reading my random Friday thoughts! I hope you have a wonderful weekend and find some time to go on a date together!

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Friday, May 18, 2018

What I'm Reading, Watching, and Listening To {May 2018}

The following post contains SPOILERS FOR AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. If you do not wish for that movie to be spoiled, please do not read that section (or don't read this post at all). The rest of this post contains no spoilers but I could not help myself with that one. Read at your own risk.

Now that that's out of the way, Happy Friday, Friends! If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know I've loved doing my monthly book review posts. And if you read my blog last month, you know that I have decided to switch things up and include things I've been watching and listening to in my review posts as well! So here is my second ever "Reading, Watching, Listening" post. I hope you enjoy reading these reviews as much I as I enjoy writing them!

Books:

The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

A while back, I bought JR Rowling's adult novel, The Casual Vacancy from a discount table at Barnes and Noble. I was never quite compelled to pick it up until after I read the Cormoran Strike series. You see, I didn't love the Cormoran Strike series and since the Harry Potter series is like my favorite literature of all time, I wanted to see whether I would like The Casual Vacancy or not.

Well, it turns out I didn't really enjoy it. I think JK Rowling is an excellent writer. But I think she can be too blunt and crude for my tastes. Hence why I enjoyed her "children's" novels and not her adult novels. The Casual Vacancy follows the goings on of a small town after a key member of the parish council dies unexpectedly. It's very political. But surprisingly, I didn't mind that. In fact, I was drawn in by the small town politics and frankly, the pettiness of a lot of the characters.

But it was difficult to get into. I found myself avoiding reading it whenever I had time. That is, until about two-thirds of the way through the book. I think part of that was because there were so many characters and the book jumped around to each of their perspectives so it took a while to start to understand and care for them.

I will say the ending was unexpected and sort of jarring. It certainly challenged my perspective on some things and I think some people would certainly benefit from reading it. But I can't really say I give my stamp of approval because of the crude nature of some of the content. So read at your own risk.

Blog Posts/Articles:


TV Shows:

Better Call Saul

I talked a little about Better Call Saul last month because we were mid-way through season two. We finished seasons two and three and I must say, it got better! It's still no Breaking Bad, but it got better. Oh and season three ended with a sort of crazy cliffhanger. So now I'm dying for season four to come to Netflix!

Anne with an E

So Ann with an E is a TV series based on the story of Anne of Green Gables. I think it originally aired on a Canadian TV channel, but season one is now on Netflix and it's pretty amazing! I love the story of Anne of Green Gables. I've never read the books but I loved the old movies growing up. I think this show has done an excellent job. The acting is great and the show totally sucks you in. I've fallen in love with the story all over again. It's all about girl power and adoption and there is so much to learn from Anne. Now I want to read the books!

Movies:

A Quiet Place

You guys, A Quiet Place was SO GOOD! So as I'm sure you know from the trailers, this family has to be really quiet because the monsters that have taken over the world are attracted to sound. As long as they can be quiet, they're safe. So the movie used sound as a huge character involved in the story telling. And it used a lot if indirect story telling in general. You had to infer the backstory from clues you see (or hear) here and there. I thought they did a fantastic job with this. I don't want to give too much away but the sound mixing was really cool.

The whole concept of a movie where the characters hardly ever talk is so foreign to us. It was weird sitting in an almost silent theater when I'm so used to high action, super hero movies that almost burst our ear drums! But that's what made it so great. This movie is certainly a piece of art and I hope it wins a lot of awards.

Oh and it is very suspenseful. I doubt that's a surprise. But there are almost no jump scares. As far as the scariest parts, they are sort of expected. Does that make sense? Basically I'm trying to say it's not that scary of a movie.

The Ritual

The Ritual is a scary Netflix original movie that Pearson and I watched the other night. At first, I wasn't a fan. For some reason, scary movies set outside in the woods don't sit as well with me as others do. In the first half of the movie or so, there was a lot of suspense. It was a really good set up in the forest in the middle of nowhere, Scandinavia. But once the action sort of picked up, I enjoyed it a lot more! I won't give anything away but the ending is one of those that makes you think. Which I absolutely love!

All the Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies [Possible SPOILERS if you haven't seen these]

In the two weeks leading up to the Avengers: Infinity War premier, Pearson and I watched all the MCU movies out so far. Actually, that's not entirely true. We didn't watch The Incredible Hulk because it's not Mark Ruffalo. But, it apparently does count in the univeres so I wish we did watch it. We also didn't watch Black Panther again because we didn't have movie pass yet and didn't want to spend the money to see it in the theater again. But we watched all 16 of the others!

I forgot how good the Iron Man movies were! I don't love Robert Downey Jr nor do I love Tony Stark. At least not as much as others in the series. But the Iron Man movies are actually pretty good! I mean, it makes sense, right? They're the movies that started this whole phenomenon. Oh and in Pearson's words, "The Iron Man movies are the most realistic Marvel movies as far as science and technology are concerned." So that's why he likes them so much. haha

I will say though that Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World are probably my two least favorite in the whole MCU. But they're still pretty great! It's just unfortunate that they come back to back. But, as I said, all of these movies are all really good.

And I am so glad we watched them all together because certain things made more sense and I picked up on things better. For example, in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, when SHIELD falls to Hydra, there is a particular SHIELD agent (Specialist Klein) who shows up later in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Oh and Marie Hill is shown interviewing for a job with Stark after SHIELD falls and the next time we see her she's working for Stark. I wouldn't have put those things together if I didn't watch them back to back.

Also, did you know Cap says "I can do this all day." In ALL of his movies? And lastly, both Bucky and Loki's stories are so much more raw and emotional when you watch the movies back to back. You can see them turning from friend or brother to villain and back and it just means so much more!

So I think when Avengers 4 comes out, we might start even earlier and watch them all again but include the TV show Agents of SHIELD too. Maybe we're crazy. Who knows.

Infinity War. [SPOILERS]

Okay first of all ALL THE WRONG PEOPLE DIED. Which just means they will all be coming back somehow. And I kind of hate that. Alright let me take a step back. I expected this movie to be devastating because they were facing Thanos, the most powerful being in the universe. And because there is a part two coming out next year. So I figured Thanos was going to dominate during this movie and the Avengers would rally again next year.

What I didn't expect was to be left with all the original Avengers and have all the new kids on the block disappear rapture style at the end. I mean Evans, RDJ, and Hemsworth's contracts are almost up (except Hemsworth might be extending his but that's another story for another time). And there's no way Marvel isn't going to make more Black Panther and Spider-Man movies. So, I totally give them props for going for the unexpected. They definitely took me off guard. But at the same time, I wasn't really even that sad when everybody died because they will be coming back. I mean after all, as Dr. Strange said "It was the only way." So something crazy is going to happen to make everything right again.

I will say that I'm pretty confident that only the people who disappeared at the end will come back. Which means that everyone who died before that are really gone. Which makes me super sad for Loki! I wasn't sad when it happened because I was like "everybody is going to die so w/e." But now I'm sad because he's probably really gone for good.

Anyway, I could talk theories all day. But I'll just say everybody needs to go see it. And I also highly recommend taking a month or so to watch all the movies back to back. It's pretty great!

Update 5/18: I wrote the above "review" right after I saw the movie. Now it's been four weeks and I am not so sure the people who died before the finger snap are dead for good. After all, Loki is an ice giant. If he really died, wouldn't he turn blue and die as his true form? Also he told Thor that the sun will shine on their people again. Also, the next Guardians is supposed to focus on Gamora. Now it could be on a different timeline or maybe Gamora comes back but she's not really back (there are lots of theories). Anyway I said I wasn't going to get into too many theories but I just wanted to correct my opinion.

P.S. Sorry this wasn't exactly a "review." I feel like at this point, a review of an MCU movie won't persuade you to watch it or not. They have a cult following and you either love them or not. This movie was the best MCU movie so far in my opinion for many reasons. They had a lot of hype to live up to. They had a BIG and seriously dangerous villain to portray. And they had 40+ named characters all fighting for screen time. I thought they did an excellent job. When the movie was over, I didn't even realize it had been two and a half hours. I thought we still had half the movie. And that's saying something! Especially since it started at 11 pm.

Ok I'm done now, I promise.

YouTube:

SNL

Pearson and have been watching SNL sketches on YouTube. I'm not exactly sure why we don't just watch it live on Saturday Nights. Maybe because we hate commercials. Netflix and our streaming culture has ruined us. We hardly ever watch live TV. Anyway, they put all the sketched on YouTube the next day so you can watch the while episode for free.

Avengers Stuff

Ever since Avengers: Infinity War came out, I've been pretty much obsessed. So while I work during the day, I watch YouTube videos all about it. I've watched a lot of interviews with the actors and press tour stuff, but also explanations and theories about the content of the movie and future movies.

My favorite channel that I've found for the latter is New Rockstars. These guys are comic book nerds but they have great presentation and I've watched all the videos they've made since the movie came out (which is a lot).

Listening:

I haven't discovered any new music or podcasts since my last post. But I've been listening to the live action Beauty and the Beast soundtrack again as well as the Hamilton and The Greatest Showman soundtracks.

NEXT:

These are what I hope to be reading, watching, and listening to next...
  • Book: I'm not sure. I bought some Mary Higgins Clark books from the friends of the library sale recently. I'm also thinking about reading the Harry Potter series again this summer to get ready for Wizards Unite. And as I mentioned earlier in this post, I kinda wanna read Anne of Green Gables. Oh and per Ali of Our Happily Ever After's recommendation, I kinda wanna read Jane Eyre too. Too much to read and too little time!
  • MoviesDeadpool 2 and Solo: A Star Wars Story, of course. But we have Movie Pass now so we'll probably be seeing a lot more than that.
  • TV: Pearson and I are currently watching The Walking Dead and I am currently watching A Little Help with Carol Burnett.
What have you been reading, watching, and listening to lately? Have any recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading!

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