The five friends everyone needs to have

Friendship quoteIn every person’s life, some good times will be had and some tears will fall—but who is always there to share the ups and downs with you? You may not realize it, but your friends shape and sustain you through both happy and sad times, altering forever our perspectives, our hearts and even the course of your life!

When hard times appear, you always turn to your friends for the right reaction and words. While the pressures of daily life may have gotten in the way of nurturing these relationships, a bump in the road is always a speedy reminder of what (and who) is important to you.

With this in mind, here is our list of the five friends that every woman needs to have:

  • A shared history: Whether you met playing junior high basketball or at your first job out of college, having a friend who knows your history helps you to remember who you are and where you come from. Even if you don’t get to see each other as often as you’d like, when you get together it’s like no time has passed at all.
  • Your own personal therapist: Having a friend who truly listens, helps you get to the root of problems, and come up with solutions is essential. She helps to keep you balanced and is always there when you’re not feeling sure about what to do or even how you feel. Best yet, you know that no matter what, she’ll keep your secrets in the utmost confidence.
  • Two peas in a pod: Having a friend who shares your interests–whether it’s a love for listening to local bands or spending the day quietly scrapbooking, helps keep you on track and active. Whenever one of you gets a hankering for your favorite things, you know you can always reach out and make solid plans with one another.
  • The work friend: Since we don’t get to make friends on the playground anymore, sometimes you need to be a little old school and make a friend in the office lunchroom. Having someone to share your daily gripes (and giggles) with definitely makes the work day go faster, and oftentimes these friendships can blossom even further after you’re coworkers.
  • Mommy madness: If you’re a parent, you need another mommy friend to talk to, vent, and share tips with. Whether you meet her through your child’s school or just around town, you’ll need someone who truly understands your daily struggles (and also your joy!) She can also be there in a pinch—whether you need someone to pick the kids up

While it can be more challenging to make friends as an adult, making it a focus to both create and nurture these relationships has great rewards. Always keep your “friend antenna” up and tuned in to see what new friends you can make. You never know if they may turn out to be just the type of person who could make meaningful contributions to your life.

Did we miss any types of friends that you think are must-haves?


Take on a creative challenge

Take on a new creative challenge

Last week we shared a few fun ideas for hobbies, but this week we wanted to expand with a few that lean into your artistic side!

Did you know that learning a new skill could improve your brain function and help protect against cognitive decline? The brain is a complex and fascinating network of nerve fibers that respond to mental stimulation and exercise. But beyond the physiological benefits of trying a new hobby or craft, there are benefits to your self esteem as you expand your horizons, make time for yourself, and even have the opportunity to connect and share these hobbies with friends and family.

Put your crafting skills to the test with these fun creative challenge projects that are simple to master and then reap the unexpected benefits!

  • Knitting: What do Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz know that you don’t? While some may guess that they know what it’s like to collect multi-million dollar paychecks (which may be true), the real answer is that they all know the joy and skill of knitting. Stitching and purling is not only rewarding in the sense that you are creating a new accessory and garment, but many find that the feel of needles and yarn to be relaxing. The craft is so popular, there is an entire social networking site dedicated to the craft!
  • Scrapbooking: Preserving family photos has come a long way from the days of just placing them into an album behind a plastic sheet. Today scrapbooking has grown into a multi-billion dollar business where “scrappers” (as they’re affectionately called) create personalized, multidimensional storybooks to be treasured for years to come. Many scrapbook companies and craft stores offer workshops, weekend scrapbooking retreats, and even cruise vacations to enjoy the hobby in the company of others. What better way to celebrate fond memories of the past while making new ones (and getting a suntan!) at the same time?
  • Cooking:  You don’t have to attend culinary school to tap into your inner Julia Child. We mentioned last week that trying new foods can be considered a hobby, but if you’re not already skilled in the culinary arts, attending a cooking class can expose you to new types of food, preparation techniques and a world of tastier and healthier meals with less processed ingredients. For a more laid back approach to the art, pair up with an adventurous friend and take turns hosting an evening where you cook together, learning a new recipe in unison.
  • Photography: We’ve often heard people described as “having an eye” for photography, but have you really given your eye the opportunity to flourish? Learning a little bit of composition and gaining a clear understanding of settings offered by your particular camera goes a long way in making you able to operate it confidently, and with ease. Once you’ve mastered the technical aspects, go out and express yourself while recording places, people, and occasions that are important to you. You never know, you could turn your love of photography into a new career!

Whatever new hobby you choose, selecting one that suits your lifestyle will benefit you tremendously… And if things go awry, at least you’ll have some fun anecdotes and you can be commended for giving it a try.

Do you consider yourself crafty? What’s your latest project? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!


New hobbies (to do with friends!)

New Hobbies to Do With Friends

If you search for the most popular hobbies today, you would learn that our society considers pretty much anything a hobby. In fact, we came across one list that included napping and watching TV! Not that there is anything wrong with either activity (who doesn’t love a nap?) but we were aiming for something…a little more creative to help us get through these last few weeks of winter.

However, the more we thought about it, the more we realized that most of the simple things everyone enjoys can also be opportunities for us to not only learn something new, but to spend quality time with our family and friends who may be suffering from a similar bout of cabin fever!

So, with that optimistic spring-forward view in mind, we compiled a few suggestions to transform leisurely activities into useful hobbies.

  • Start a book club: By forming a club based on your love of reading you not only gain more ideas to help you as you peruse bookstore aisles and library shelves, but you also get some much needed quality time and thoughtful conversation. To personalize your group, focus on topics, titles or authors that you have always wanted to read. If you really want to challenge yourself, come up with a goal of how many books you would like to complete by year’s end, and keep a running tab of how you are doing.
  • Get in the game: Video games have evolved from being the bane of parent’s existence to a great pastime for anyone in the family! Now, with the wide variety of games (including singing and dancing competitions) that get you up and going, you can add a little activity into every day without leaving your living room. Multi-task by spending some time with loved ones while burning off a little energy in the process. Set up a regular game night or begin a tournament to get your competitive juices flowing.
  • Create a whole new playlist: Musical tastes ebb and flow like few other forms of entertainment, but few hobbies are as universally appreciated. This year, embrace your love of music and expand your horizons by trying out new genres and performers. Research older artists that may fit your particular tastes or seek out new acts that friends enjoy. Whether adding to your playlist for the treadmill or taking in some fun concerts, the practice will certainly help you gain some appreciation for the medium.
  • Start a culinary quest: Checking out the latest restaurant, or simply enjoying a quiet dinner out, can be a challenge. Budgeting time and finances often leads to ordering in or making a quick meal instead of an outing. This year, spice things up by creating a small dinner club or schedule “dinner dates” with other couples every month. Enjoying a good meal and a quiet night can be the perfect anecdote to a long week, and making it a monthly practice will help ensure that your newest hobby is affordable while giving you something to look forward to.
  • Lights, camera, hobby: Few activities have been made more convenient over the past few years than enjoying a movie. You can make a night out of it by hitting the local movie-theater, rent a DVD or set up the ultimate Netflix queue. So, whether you are looking to host your own film festive live from your living room or revel in all of the subtleties that make a movie theater so charming, coordinate a regular movie night with friends and family.

By integrating entertainment into your life in a way that not only helps you to learn but also connect more with those close to you, you are sure to grow and have a lot of fun in the process. No matter what piques your interest, challenge yourself and be sure to include others to enhance your appreciation!

Do you have a new favorite hobby? We’d love to hear it in the comments!


Reconnecting with Long-Lost Friends


There may be many friends—from childhood classmates to work acquaintances—who (despite the best of intentions) we lost touch with over the years. We think of them often, recall warm memories and wonder what they’re up to today. Even in this age of social media, it can sometimes still be difficult to locate people after name changes and not everyone uses social networks to keep in touch. But when contact information is available, why is it so hard to take that first step to reach out?

Enter the heartfelt note.

Writing a personal, handwritten note is a great solution to reaching out to long-lost friends. Whether in a birthday or holiday greeting card or just an unprompted note to say, “I’m thinking about you,” receiving a special note makes us feel important and loved.

So why not give that great feeling to a friend or family member that you’re missing? It only takes a few minutes and costs next to nothing, but the impact to your relationship will be long-lasting.

To help you out in this process, we’ve consulted our greeting card writers and relationship experts for some helpful tips on how to write a meaningful message every time. 14_29_06First off:

• Try playing some music that gets you in the mood for the type of note you’d like to write, whether it’s touching and heartfelt or upbeat and fun.
• Think back to experiences you’ve shared together—that outing you took, the time they gave you really great advice or even a shoulder to cry on. You should focus not only on the event, but how it made you feel and the impact it had on your life.
• If you need some help walking down memory lane, try revisiting old photos and looking through mementoes.


• Create a list of words that describe your friend, as well as notable personality quirks that make them unique. These words can help to create a handy reference guide if you encounter writer’s block.
• Start with a quick draft on scrap paper before penning the final note on your card or stationery. Try writing a few simple sentences that describe what your friendship means, how grateful you are, and what makes them so exceptional.
• Just remember, no masterpiece was written on the first try. So don’t get frustrated if your first version doesn’t turn out as perfect as you’d like it to be. As you write more notes to friends and family in each birthday and holiday card, it will steadily start to become more natural to you.


• When you’re ready to write, select a nice pen and some beautiful stationery or a great card.
• Penmanship counts! Take your time to carefully write the note so that every letter is clear. Since this is something they’re likely to keep (and possibly even display), you’ll want your handwriting to look its very best!
• If, after all this effort, the words still don’t come, you can always head to the greeting card aisle and select a sentiment that best expresses what you would like to say. Then underline the words that stand out to you and jot a short note inside to let them know that you really mean what’s written on the card.

With a little practice, you can become known as the person who always writes sweet sentiments in notes and cards. Each time you write a personal message, it will become easier to get to the root of what makes your relationship unique so that you can express it most effectively. Happy writing!

Who is on your list of people to reconnect with? Share your stories of long-lost friends in our comments section!