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Relationships

How Quality Time Makes a Difference in Your Relationship

“Half our time is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.” —Will Rogers

When was the last time you spent quality time with your significant other? Trick question, because quality time isn’t defined by physical proximity, but by emotional togetherness. (#micdrop)

I’m not talking about the last time you binged House of Cards together or sat next to your hubby while he watched football. I’m talking about a time where you felt a deep, genuine, passionate connection to the person you love most. When was the last time you felt that?

Ultimately, a lack of quality time can create rifts in a relationship. You might feel yourself going through the motions without ever truly connecting with your partner. If that’s you, don’t worry—it’s not too late to start spending more quality time with your love-bug.

While it can look different for every couple, one of the best ways to spend quality time together is to do a physical activity together, like taking a walk. Quality time is being fully present with your boo—not checking over your shoulder to see the score of the game or if you got any more likes on your Instagram photo. When you get home from work, put your phones in a drawer and turn off the TV. Spend time talking about your day—the good and bad parts—instead of just vegging out to another episode of The Office.

The best way to ensure that you’re spending quality time together is to commit to a regular date night. Don’t let it become a boring routine—try a new restaurant or visit a park you’ve never been to. Go a little old school and play board games together—that’s right, physical board games. Another fave? Slow dance in your kitchen to music off your iPhone—it’s super romantic and you’ll have a blast connecting with your boo thang on a whole ‘nother level…if you know what we mean. 😉

However you choose to spend quality time together, commit to making it a priority that you don’t compromise on. You’ll notice a big difference in the emotional connection you feel with your love, and they will too!

Relationships, Resources

The Best Date Outfits for Any Occasion – Ladies Edition

Half the battle of any great date is figuring out what to wear. Should you go casual or step up your style game? If you’re struggling to find the perfect outfit for any date, try these looks out for size. You’ll be sure to set some #stylegoals that are equal to your #relationshipgoals.

Sunday Brunch

It’s 2017 and brunch is the highlight of most millennials’ week. It’s the perfect excuse to get dressed up with friends & enjoy mimosas and benedicts. People go shopping just to look for the perfect brunch outfit—or is that just us?

A date & brunch combo makes the importance of your outfit that much higher. One trend sweeping the U.S. right now is statement sleeves. Throw on your go-to bell-sleeved top, pair it with statement shorts or jeans for a more casual look, and you’re in business!

 

Day Date Exploring the City

If you’re looking for a chic way to say I’m adventurous but not at the price of style, gingham is the trend for you. It’s super versatile and you can dress it up or down! Pair a gingham skort with a fun graphic tee or a gingham tank with your favorite white jeans. Just add some comfortable shoes like these and you’ll be ready for anything the day throws at you!

Casual Dinner Date

This look is perfect for a casual dinner date. It’s easy, but will still make you feel flirty and beautiful. Throw on your go-to black tank and your fave pair of jeans. Add a cardigan and dainty jewelry to create a hip date night look. You’ll have you boo swooning in no time!

Special Occasion Date Night

Looking for something to woo your boo? Most girls’ first thought when a special occasion is coming up is What should I wear?! We’re here to break you out of that go-to LBD. Two of our favorite pieces in fashion right now are wide-leg pants and sheer skirts. Pair either of these with a neutral top and your favorite heels and you’ve got a look that will stop your honey in their tracks!

What are your new favorite fashion trends? Comment below or tag us in a pic on your next date night outfit using #getdatebox. Guys, check out our blog post dedicated to men’s clothing for tips and tricks! We can’t wait to see you & your love looking fly!

General, Relationships

Show Love to Your Bae the Right Way

When you put time into showing love to your bae, you want a big reward, right? Sometimes, though, their response isn’t quite what you hoped for. Maybe you slaved all day to make a Pinterest-worthy dinner for your hubby, but he wished you had just ordered pizza. Or maybe you wrote your wifey the most romantic poem in the world, and she’s mad you didn’t use the time to do the dishes. Consider this: Are you showing love to your bae the right way?

Let me explain: Every person loves to receive love differently. What makes you feel loved may be the total opposite from the way your honey loves. Crazy, right? The thing is, knowing how your cutie best responds to love helps you know how to love them better. Plus, it helps you avoid arguments, resentment, and frustration. So, what are ways to show love to your sweetie?

Below are five universal ways of showing love. Think about which ways your honey responds to best, and talk about which way you both like to receive love. Then, the kicker is to start doing more of that!

  1. Speak kind words. Do sugary words melt your sugar’s heart? Conversely, do they get angry with you when you say something rude, sarcastic, or harsh to them? They may feel the most love from your kind words. Someone with this preference needs to know that you appreciate them, and you can validate that by giving compliments, writing cute notes, or praising them often. If that’s your person, try this: Give them one unexpected compliment every day for a week.
  2. Do kind things for them. When you do the dishes, fold the laundry, or mop the floors, does it make your sweetheart swoon? Or, when you forget those things, is it World War III? They may feel the most love from when you do kind things for them. Someone with this preference wants to feel respected, and you can accomplish that by doing a chore they hate, taking something off their busy plate, or doing an unexpected favor for them. If that’s your person, try this: Do their least favorite chore the next few times.
  3. Give them nice things. When you bring home a bouquet of flowers, does your lovebug dance with excitement? Or, when you forget about birthday or anniversary presents, is it the worst day of your life? They may feel the most love when you give them nice things. Someone with this preference wants to feel loved, and you can show them you love them by giving them a just-because gift they’ll love! Don’t worry, this preference doesn’t have to destroy your bank account. People who love getting nice gifts don’t necessarily care about the cost—they care that you thought about them. So, if that’s your person, try this: Pick up a small, unexpected gift for them sometime this week.
  4. Spend time together. When you make time for a date night or snuggle up on the couch, does it thrill your hubs/wifey? Or, if you skip out on date night, are you in the doghouse? They may feel the most love from spending time together. Someone with this preference wants to feel valued, and you can show them that by planning a fun date, listening to them talk about their day, or having a long conversation with them. If that’s your person, try this: Plan an extra date where you can have great conversation together.
  5. Give them extra lovin’. When you hug your love, do they light up? Or, if you forget to kiss them goodbye, are they salty the rest of the day? They may love a little extra love. Someone with this preference wants to feel loved, and you can show them this by adding extra snuggle time, holding their hand in public, or giving them extra hugs. If that’s your person, try this: Snuggling them extra during your next movie date at home.

Once you start showing love to your bae the right way, you’ll be amazed at how much better they’ll feel your love. Then, you’ll be the #relationshipgoals for the rest of us.

 

Relationships, Resources

What to Wear on a Date Night In

Before every date, there’s the classic internal struggle about what to wear. Whether you just started dating or have been married a few years, it’s a whole ‘nother ball game when you start planning your threads for an at-home date. How do you juggle a Pinterest-worthy look with a comfy classic that makes you look like a million bucks but feels like your fave pjs? Struggle no longer, friend. Here’s a quick how-to guide that’ll make your date seamless.

How to Dress for: A Casual Game Night In

The best game night dates are comfy, casual, and a little competitive. A classic outfit like this looks poised, but is actually super chill. Grab your favorite white tee or tank, layer it with an oversized sweater in a gray or neutral tone, and throw on some black leggings to complete the look. Game night goals: achieved.

Shop this look here.

How to Dress for: Cooking Dinner Together

Want to spice things up for your next at-home dinner date? Cook together! Wear a fun, flirty dress, bust out the plates you got as wedding gifts, and have a cute, casual dinner date that will heat things up for you both.

Shop this look here.

How to Dress for: A Netflix Binge Marathon

Let’s be real. Netflix & chill is all emphasis on the chill. Don’t overdo this one. Throw on your cutest joggers or sweats, grab your fave black or white tee, & you’ll set for hours of binge-watching. Plus, smooching & stuff.  

Shop this look here.

Relationships

5 Ways to Show Your Honey You Care

Looking to ignite some passion in your marriage? Date your spouse! One of the best things you can do to heat things up in your relationship is to remember what you did before you got married. And it’s way easier than you think to spice things up. Here are 5 simple ways to show your honey some love this week.

  1. Shave your legs. I totally get it. You wear pants to work, and ain’t nobody got time to think about your prickly legs. But seriously, it only takes an extra 2-3 minutes in the shower to let your love know you care. And trust me, you’ll be glad you did this one, too.
  2. Compliment instead of complain. Think back to last week. Were you mostly nagging your boo for the thousandth time to do what you asked them to? Did you catch them doing more things wrong than right? Complaining is a sure-fire way to dampen your relationship. Instead of complaining when you catch them doing the wrong thing, choose instead to encourage them when you catch them doing the right thing. This week, try to compliment more than complain.
  3. Brush your hair. Some weeks, it’s totally understandable to slather on the dry shampoo and throw up the messy bun three days in a row. And while you know they love you just the way you are, it’s nice to show you still care by stepping it up sometimes. Brush your hair, put on some lipstick, & dress to impress with a date-worthy look at home.
  4. Cook a meal. Popcorn & cereal are my dinner staples—I love them with all my heart. But cooking for my boo bear is special & means a lot to them. It doesn’t have to be super fancy—just make what you can. Who knows? The heat may make you both get out of the kitchen.
  5. Get frisky. This one’s a little self-explanatory. It’s good to get a little handsy when it’s not date night. Surprise your love with some extra snuggles, hugs, or sexy time this week. Since you shaved your legs, why not?

Try these 5 tips and you’ll be winning #relationshipgoals.

Relationships

14 Tweets About First Dates That Are Too Real

First dates can be a lot of things: great, funny, horrible, and embarrassing, to name a few. I’ve rounded up a few of the funniest and most relatable #FirstDate posts on Twitter that will make you and your boo laugh until you cry. Check them out!

 

01. ONLINE DATING DECEPTION.

02. GETTING ANSWERS TO LIFE’S IMPORTANT QUESTIONS.

03. SO, WHAT DO YOU DO FOR WORK?

04. CONFIDENCE IS KEY.

05. IT’S NOT STALKING, IT’S RESEARCH.

06. I ONLY SWIPED RIGHT BECAUSE YOUR DOG IS CUTE.

07. CRAFTS, I DO CRAFTS.

08. ROMANCE IS ALIVE AND WELL IN THE 21ST CENTURY.

09. MOTHER KNOWS BEST.

10. AWKWARD IS, AS AWKWARD DOES

11. IMMEDIATE DEAL BREAKERS.

12. THE WAY TO A WOMAN’S HEART IS….

13. HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY

14. PLEASE TELL ME HOW GREAT I AM

 

Aren’t you glad you’re not single anymore?

Relationships, Work + Money

How Paying Off Student Loans Changed Our Marriage

This is part four in a four-part series on how to become debt free by working with your spouse to achieve your financial goals.

Go check out parts one, two, and three before you read this to get the whole story.

Overall, moving into the camper was one of the best things we’ve ever decided to do.

The thing is, you can do this, too.

We knew that if we wanted to accomplish our big goal of getting out of debt, then it was in our best interest to be on each other’s side

The result? We trust each other more now than ever. I think when you take a big leap together, you’re forced to trust each other.

That’s what our experience as a newly married couple living in an RV for almost a year was like.

Yes, as we talked about in our last post, we faced challenges. And yes, our camper looked like this every day (not).

In all honesty, we had disagreements. We felt crazy at times. And we stretched ourselves personally, financially, and emotionally.

But it was totally worth it. Sometimes, we even miss that simplicity and our passionate pursuit of a goal together.

Look. You can do the same thing. You can do what we did. You don’t have to live in a camper, but you can take steps to improve your financial life.

In fact, I hope our story inspires you to be bold in your dreams.

Money doesn’t have to hold you back. Money should propel you forward.

Get passionate about changing your situation. Take intentional steps to improve your marriage with money.

Make a budget by downloading our free budgeting spreadsheet. Make a plan. Stick to it. Find mentors.

Chase your dream of financial freedom. It’ll be one of the best things you can do for your future.

There’s nothing more satisfying than setting a big audacious goal with your spouse or partner and then achieving it together. The success is so much sweeter.

Dream on.

-Zack

About the Author:

Zack is the founder and Chief Blogger at FreeUp, where he and his wife share weekly money tips that demystify personal finance for twentysomethings. Their story has been featured in Forbes, Yahoo Finances, and U.S. News. Want some help getting your finances in order? Click here to download their latest budget spreadsheet for free.

Relationships, Work + Money

The Truth About Living in a Camper

If you’re new, this is part three of a four-part series on how my wife and I paid off $50,000 of debt in just under 11 months. If you haven’t read the first two posts, click here to read post one and click here to read post two.

In my last post, I mentioned that we would talk more about what it was like living in the camper for 11 months.

To be honest, it was one of the most liberating and challenging things we’ve ever done.

The idea of simple living is fun, but the reality is that it’s actually really hard.

By the time we moved into the camper, we had to sell half of our belongings. We still had stuff that wouldn’t fit in the camper, though, so we decided that the best thing to do would be to rent a storage unit.

Once we made the transition to the camper, the first few weeks of camper life were literally like camping!

It was summer, and we were about 45 minutes outside the city on a wooded piece of land that we were renting.

We called this the “honeymoon” phase. There’s a honeymoon phase in most relationships —you know, the phase where everything is hunky-dory—and this was no different.

Not long after, we began to face challenges that we all face when we’re doing something new or different.

Over the course of the next 11 months, we endured brutal seasonal weather changes, a near direct hit from a tornado, cold showers, and a lot of awkward conversations when people asked us, “Where do you guys live?”

In the end, as a newly married couple, it was one of the most stretching, yet fulfilling seasons of our relationship.

Why? Because we decided that we were on this journey of financial freedom together, and we worked together to reach it.

Setting big hairy goals as a couple can be hard! You’ll face challenges, but in the end, your relationship will be better because you did the hard things together.

In the next post, I’ll talk more about how getting out of debt has changed our lives and how you can do the same!

Onward.

-Zack

About the Author:

Zack is the founder and Chief Blogger at FreeUp, where he and his wife share weekly money tips that demystify personal finance for twentysomethings. Their story has been featured in Forbes, Yahoo Finances, and U.S. News. Want some help getting your finances in order? Click here to download their latest budget spreadsheet for free.

Relationships, Work + Money

Simplifying Life to Pay off $50k of Debt

As I promised in our last post, I’m going to share with you exactly how we managed to pay off over $50,000 of debt in under one year.

Let me remind you, my wife and I are normal people (at least we think we are!) and during the process of becoming debt-free, we were making average salaries.

So before you say, “I can’t do that,” just hear us out.  

The idea actually came to us when we were on our weekly date night, eating dinner and reading about tiny homes at our favorite bookstore. Date night is something we’ve prioritized at least once a week since we got married, and it’s been one of the best things we’ve done for our relationship.

We decided that to become debt-free, we would move into a camper.

In fact, here’s my Instagram post that night.

We decided to move into the camper so that we could reduce our living expenses as much as possible. We created a “get out of debt” plan that outlined how much we could pay on all of our debts each month.

Once we paid off one debt, we added the amount we were paying on it to the next largest debt. It’s commonly known as the “Debt Snowball.”

In order to make the move, we sold our stuff on Craigslist. It was an experience, to say the least. It was extremely liberating to get rid of the stuff we knew we didn’t need (like the CD mixtape my high school girlfriend made me for our 3-week anniversary).

Overall, moving into the camper was not only an amazing way to reduce our expenses and help us get out of debt, but it also brought me and my wife so much closer together.

Here’s a pic of us from Christmas 2015.

Merry Christmas from the McCullocks. #mccullockfarm thanks to @joshmccullock for the amazing photos.

A post shared by Jenna McCullock (@jenmccullock) on

Making a plan for your money with your spouse can be hard, but it’s worth it.

Make it easy on yourself: go on a date night and begin unpacking what you can do today to improve your finances.

We did, and it changed our lives forever!

In the next post, I’ll share what it was really like living in a camper for 11 months with the goal of becoming debt-free.

Stay tuned.

-Zack

About the Author:

Zack is the founder and Chief Blogger at FreeUp, where he and his wife share weekly money tips that demystify personal finance for twentysomethings. Their story has been featured in Forbes, Yahoo Finances, and U.S. News. Want some help getting your finances in order? Click here to download their latest budget spreadsheet for free.

Relationships, Resources

What to Wear on Your Next Date Night – Guys Edition

Let’s be real: most of the time guys are content wearing jeans and a t-shirt. But when you’re going on a date, it’s time to kick it up a notch. These are simple ideas that you can mix & match for multiple looks. Stylish & savvy…that’s what we like.

Here are some tips & date night looks that’ll have your honey bun all ???.

Groom yo’ self.

There’s nothing more disappointing to your date than finding out you didn’t invest the energy to cut your hair, shave, and put effort into looking good for them.  

Have a plan.

When you make even the tiniest plan—even just deciding on a coffee shop—it shows your date that you cared enough to think of them ahead of time.

What to wear.

Here are some date looks that take you from casual to smokin’ hot with just a few easy changes.  

Casual:

A great hoodie, jeans, and sandals/tennies are a solid choice for a casual date. The key is to get quality pieces that fit you well. You’ll be surprised at how comfortable a look like this is, too.

Going Out Date:

Notice how we only switched out the hoodie for a jean jacket & chose a different, slightly upgraded version of boots/designer tennies. Buying key pieces you can switch out in your wardrobe makes a huge difference on how you can dress up (or dress down) your look.

 

Special Occasion Date:

Any special occasion deserves a special outfit. This classic look is certain to impress—all you need are a pair of well-fitted jeans, a button-up or sweater, and a nice suit jacket. We’ve selected a few different choices for this look to show how you can mix & match.

Pro tip: don’t forget that your shoes are just as important as your clothing. A little investment in some nice footwear goes a long way. Add a little extra flair with a MVMT watch.

Look 1: We love taking an awesome blazer & pairing it with something super casual like a gray tee. You could even stick with the jean jacket—it really depends on the venue for your date.


Look 2: Switch the jean jacket out for a well-fitted blazer. Nix the tennies & up your look with a great pair of boots. You could even add a tie or bow tie to add some more fun to this look.


Look 3: Monochromatic done right is super sexy. If you really want to kick up the flavor, go with the brown boot. It’s just enough edge without taking away from the sophisticated look.

Looking great doesn’t take a huge amount of effort, but it does take planning. On your next date, spend some time looking as good for your boo, as they do for you.

General, Relationships

10 Habits of Awesome Couples – Part 2

PRACTICE SACRIFICE

Healthy couples, constantly look for ways to serve one another. It isn’t convenient and it will take time and effort, but it’s one of the best ways to let your partner know you care. Small acts of sacrifice like taking care of the kids, making dinner, or folding the laundry are all great ways to signal to your partner, that you’re in this together.

SET GOALS

The quickest way to drift apart as a couple is to stop sharing goals. When life stops having purpose and direction, it becomes boring and stagnant. Create excitement and anticipation about the future by dreaming together. This is a great way to reinvigorate your relationship. Working towards common goals will help carry your relationship through the less exciting seasons life brings.

DISPLAY GRACE

This is crucial. We’re all human, & we all make mistakes. A relationship without grace has almost zero chance of succeeding. The pressure of being perfect is enough to cause any relationship to crumble, but there is nothing stronger than a relationship full of grace and love.

DON’T KEEP SCORE

If lifelong love is what you’re building, then chances are, you’re going to wrong each other, frequently. We are selfish creatures by nature. Don’t keep track of wrongs. Keeping score builds lasting resentment and regret. Every healthy couple knows how to forgive and forget, & it will prevent the messups from polluting your relationship.

 

LISTEN

Your partner needs a safe place to share their emotions, stories from their day, or challenges they may be facing at work. You share a life together, your stories are interwoven, so it’s important to listen. A relationship is a safe place to be heard, share struggles, & celebrate successes. Listening to your partner shows them they can always share with you safely.

Relationships

10 Habits of Awesome Couples – Part 1

COMPLIMENT GENEROUSLY

Everyone needs to be complimented. Couples who are most deeply in love, compliment each other often. It helps build confidence, respect, and admiration when you make an effort to compliment one another.

The world has a way of tearing us down. Intentionally acknowledging the positive things you see in your partner lets them know that you’re their biggest fan. Complimenting your mate, is an incredible way to build them back up as you face life’s challenges together.

OWN YOUR SHORTCOMINGS

Mistakes are going to happen—often. When you act selfishly, break promises, or do things your partner doesn’t agree with, own up to it. Owning your mistakes creates vulnerability and honesty, which will go along way in cultivating closeness When you apologize, it shows your partner that you’re willing to take responsibility for your actions.

DATE NIGHT

Your relationship started out as fun and exciting. Every effort must be made to keep it that way, but it’s hard work. Couples who spend consistent quality time, sharing new experiences together are PQR% more satisfied than couples who don’t.

Date night gives us a chance to reconnect emotionally, and that’s vital to any healthy relationship. Mark your calendars for weekly or monthly date nights, and don’t budge. There will always be a reason to miss date night, but if you desire a healthy, happy relationship or marriage, then date night is a MUST.

ASSUME THE BEST

Always grant your partner the benefit of the doubt. At times, it’s easy to assume the worst of a person, especially one you’re in an intimate relationship with, because this type of intimacy reveals a person’s deepest, darkest secrets. This level of intimacy can sometimes breed doubt and disenchantment, but it’s important to remember all the reasons you fell in love. Start by always assuming the best of each other.

ACKNOWLEDGE FEELINGS

Sometimes your partner’s feelings can seem insignificant, or even misguided at times. But it’s important to acknowledge that feelings and emotions happen for a reason. Healthy couples always validate one another’s feelings, in an effort to create a space place for each other. No matter the situation, always take your partners feelings seriously, or they may quit sharing them with you.