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Last Minute Valentine’s Day Gifts That Will Keep You Out of the Doghouse

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Gifts That Will Keep You Out of the Doghouse

    Nothing says “I forgot about Valentine’s Day” or “I don’t care” like a box of Whitman’s chocolates, a stuffed animal, and a Hallmark card bought from the closest drug store. If you have indeed left things to the last minute, resist the urge to pick out your Valentine’s Day gift at CVS or Walgreens. You’ll thank me later. Instead, look over this list of gift ideas that you could give your loved one this February 14th. They don’t take much time to purchase or plan, but still make it look like you actually gave it at least some forethought.

    For the Technology Lover

    Microsoft Zune + Zune Pass

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    If your loved one doesn’t yet have a portable music player, or is in need of an upgrade, this is a perfect gift. Instead of going for the now somewhat clichéd engraved iPod, I recommend looking to Apple’s rival, Microsoft, and their Zune player. While the Zune initially failed to impress the masses as the Apple iPod has, it’s grown up and matured and become a very quality device as Microsoft has paid more attention to fine-tuning things and making it a better experience. The Zune Marketplace, Microsoft’s equivalent of iTunes, is pretty cool. If you really want to go all out, pair your new Zune purchase with 12-month Zune Pass. This will allow the recipient to have access to pretty much all the music the Zune Marketplace offers on rental basis. While you don’t get to keep all of the music, you do get 10 downloads per month included with the Zune pass, and these are yours to keep. The Zune will run you anywhere from $120 to $300+, depending on the model and storage options you choose. The 12-month Zune Pass will run you $150. Customize your purchase and choose your recipient’s favorite color, or pick out a nice cover or case to go along with it, and if you have time install the Zune software on their computer and start downloading all the sappy love songs you want to pre-load for their immediate listening pleasure.

    For the Movie Lover

    Netflix  Subscription

    A subscription to Netflix will allow you to watch an unlimited number of movies and television shows on your TV using a Netflix-enabled device (such as Google TV, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Roku, Apple TV, etc.). You can also watch them on any computer, your phone (with a Netflix app), and other mobile internet devices. If you pay a little extra, you can also get the standard Netflix by mail service and get DVDs and Blu-Ray discs mailed to your home. You can purchase a Netflix subscription online for a minimum of 3 months or more, and have the option of e-mailing your gift subscription or printing out a certificate. I’d recommend printing out the certificate and including it in a nice card.  It starts at about $8.99 per month. If your recipient does not have a Netflix enabled device, pairing the Netflix subscription with one would be even nicer. Your cheapest option would be a Roku device, which starts at just $59. Best Buy has you covered.

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      For the Foodie

      Gourmet Station

      Scoring dinner reservations at that ultra cool restaurant you’ve always wanted to try, but haven’t gotten around to checking out might be a bit tricky on Valentine’s Day. Restaurants are notoriously packed on February 14th, and even take-out can be a painful ordeal. Instead of promising to take your love out for a nice meal at another less busy time, point your web browser to www.gourmetstation.com. Had you thought about Valentine’s Day in advance you could have ordered an awesome meal and prepared it on the actual holiday, but you did not so your option at this point is to purchase one for the future. You could select the meal yourself, but why not just purchase a certificate and let your partner decide what they’d like to order. They’ll have fun visiting the website and selecting a delectable meal.

      I actually got the classic beef wellington Christmas dinner from Gourmet Station a couple years ago and was extremely impressed. The beef wellington was to die for, and the tomato bisque soup was heavenly. The dessert put the meal over the top. They really make amazing food, and all you have to do is set the table and pop the food in the oven to warm it up. You could opt to order a meal from a similar service, but because I’ve tried Gourmet Station in the past, I highly recommend them.

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      For the Sports Fan

      Opening Day Tickets

      Baseball season is just around the corner and Spring Training is about to kick off. Delight the sports fan in your life with tickets to opening day. To acquire the tickets, just head out to your team’s local team shop, usually at a mall or near the ballpark. They’ll print them out for you, and all you have to do is pick up a V-Day card to put them in. If you want to give your gift a little extra punch, you could purchase a new t-shirt, hat, or jacket to pair with the tickets.

      For the Romantic

      The Old Stand-Bys

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      If your lover is the romantic type, you can pull off the chocolates and flowers. Please though, skip the drug store and at least go to the grocery store where you can likely find something a little higher quality than Whitman’s. Make them swoon even more with a nice poem or a heart-felt message written in your carefully selected card. Later, hit up Redbox to pick out a romantic comedy and order in Chinese and you’ll be set for the evening. Guys, if you’re not yet married or engaged and want to pop the question, doing it in a romantic way could get you out of getting a gift that day entirely.  You’ll just have to promise to take her ring shopping.

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      Julie McCormick

      Julie McCormick is a writer, and co-owner of The Cleveland Leader, a Technorati Top 1000 site.

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      Last Updated on January 21, 2020

      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

      Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

      your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

        Why You Need a Vision

        Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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        How to Create Your Life Vision

        Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

        What Do You Want?

        The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

        It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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        Some tips to guide you:

        • Remember to ask why you want certain things
        • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
        • Give yourself permission to dream.
        • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
        • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

        Some questions to start your exploration:

        • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
        • What would you like to have more of in your life?
        • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
        • What are your secret passions and dreams?
        • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
        • What do you want your relationships to be like?
        • What qualities would you like to develop?
        • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
        • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
        • What would you most like to accomplish?
        • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

        It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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        What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

        Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

        A few prompts to get you started:

        • What will you have accomplished already?
        • How will you feel about yourself?
        • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
        • What does your ideal day look like?
        • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
        • What would you be doing?
        • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
        • How are you dressed?
        • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
        • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
        • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

        It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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        Plan Backwards

        It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

        • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
        • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
        • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
        • What important actions would you have had to take?
        • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
        • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
        • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
        • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
        • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

        Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

        It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

        Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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