Girlfriend Celebrations - Because Girlfriends Make Life Better

Girl’s Guide to Handmade Gifts

Tis’ the season for giving, but finding a gift for the girlfriend who has everything is challenging, especially if you are trying to stay within a holiday budget. But with a little creativity this holiday season, you can solve that dilemma by handcrafting your own unique, heartfelt gift. Let GirlfriendCelebrations guide you with a few easy-to-do ideas to make your own. We’re positive you’ll find something for everyone on your list. Click the links to find the how-to!

For the foodie girlfriend:

Pecan clusters
Pecan clusters
Chocolate Truffles, Pecan Clusters, Chocolate covered pretzels or Oreo truffles –  What girl doesn’t appreciate a yummy, melt-in-your-mouth indulgence? Place  chocolates in individual candy or small cupcake liners, arrange in a box, garnish with  a beautiful bow. Voila’ Beautifully wrapped chocolates prepared with your own two  hands and a giving heart.

Cookies in a jar
Cookies in a jar

Cookies in a jar - all the ingredients for a delightful girls night in, to make when she needs it the most.

Spicy pecan bites
Spicy pecan bites
Spiced Pecans or Candied Pecansgive to the girlfriend who enjoys the nuttier side of  life, a tasty snack that she  won’t want to share.

For the fashion-forward girlfriend:

scarf_beauty_600x400
scarf_beauty_600x400
Doodle noodle scarf, Fringe Scarf, strip scarf, Circular scarf, Ruffled Scarf,  or Frilly  scarf – accessories are a fashionista’s best friend.

dip dyed t-shirt
dip dyed t-shirt
Dip dyed t-shirta chic, stylish re-crafted shirt she is sure to love.

For the pampered girlfriend:

bath bombs/fizzies
bath bombs/fizzies
Bath fizzies, Body scrub, Bath salts, Lavendar sleep pouches, Rose dusting powder,  or Winter lip balm, - a gift  of luxury  is always welcomed.

For the entertaining girlfriend:

cupcake stand
cupcake stand
Decoupage platter , or Cupcake stand – a beautiful gift any girlfriend would love to show off at her next girls night  in.

doily tablecloth
doily tablecloth
Doily tablecloth – perfect for the entertaining hostess of elegant dinner parties.

etched glasses
etched glasses
Etched glasses – a thirst quenching way for the hostess with the mostest to share a bevy of cocktails in style.

For the gardening girlfriend:

jewelsofthegardenbirdbath-1
jewelsofthegardenbirdbath-1
Clay pot bird bath – painted simply, this can be a great tool for enhancing garden space or attracting birds to watch.

bulletin-board
bulletin-board
For the busy girlfriend:

Message board – an eye catching way to showcase cherished photos or important notes with beauty.

For the sentimental girlfriend:

fleece tied blanket
fleece tied blanket
Fleece tied blanket – a unique way to give the gift of coziness and warmth, perfect for cuddling up with a book on chilly days.

For the girlfriend who makes life a whole lot better:

Girlfriends Make Life Better
Girlfriends Make Life Better
Girlfriend Celebrations gift shop – when you don’t have time to make your own gift, but you need to share just how special her friendship is to you. The GirlfriendCelebrations shop is filled with all kinds of apparel to show that you care. (mugs, messenger bag, aprons, magnets, t-shirts, ornaments.) 

With a little creativity, we are positive you can create a charming gift for a special girlfriend. Leave a comment: We’d love to hear about the favorite handmade gifts you have given or received over the years. Read the rest of this entry »


Five Ways to Keep Friendships Fresh

As our Month of Friendship posts continue, we’d love to remind you to plan those girls nights! We hope you’ll enjoy our contribution to this week’s celebration, below.

By Dawn Bertuca and Tina Bishop

If you’re reading this on one of the Friendship Circle blogs, then having and keeping girlfriends must be important to you. Perhaps you identified the need for new girlfriends in your life, for whatever reason, and now you’re ready to grow some new friendships. Or, you’re already blessed with good girlfriends but you’re looking for ways to renew and reinforce those female friendships. We’re here to help! In nearly five years of writing about the things girlfriends do together, we’ve learned loads about what does and doesn’t work when girlfriends get together.

On one hand, planning a successful girlfriend get-together is simple if you remember that the number-one thing that girlfriends like to do together is…you guessed it…TALK. Women crave connection. We need time to catch up on each other’s lives. We even have a physiological need to huddle together and talk, according to that now-famous UCLA study. On the other hand, it’s easy to get into a bit of a rut when it comes to girlfriend time. “Bunco” and book clubs are great excuses to get together and gab with the girls, but they sometimes turn stale. Girlfriends stop showing up, and eventually the group —and the relationships—fizzle out. So, what are the keys to making sure your girlfriend time stays fresh?

1. Understand quality time. Sandy Sheehy, author of Connecting: The Enduring Power of Women’s Friendships, says girlfriend relationships naturally strengthen if the women spend enough time together, are honest with each other, support each other equally, and each one feels she is getting something from the relationship. Does your usual girls night fit the bill? If your idea of a girls night is balancing a wine glass and a catalog in your lap while a sales representative tries to sell you candles, makeup, jewelry or kitchenware, then you might be missing the point of “quality time.” You need opportunities to truly connect with your girlfriends without the distraction of a sales pitch.

2. Make friendship a priority. If having girlfriends is important to you, make some time for it in your busy schedule. Commit to making two phone calls a week, or extending one invitation a week, or whatever you need to get the results you want. Be consistent and don’t give up. “Put it on the calendar” is our constant refrain when giving advice to women who say they don’t have enough time with their girlfriends. We’ve found that gathering monthly is about the right frequency for most girlfriend groups. Why not designate the third Thursday of the month, for example, as your “official” girlfriend time?

3. Be specific. Instead of simply suggesting to a friend that you want to get together, take the initiative and make a plan. Invite your girlfriend to a specific time and place so she has to respond. Women who are busy and stressed find it much easier to say yes to “spa party at my place, Thursday night at 7″ than “we really should get together sometime.” You can get some simple girlfriend party ideas at GirlfriendCelebrations.com, or just invite the girls to a favorite restaurant on a specific date.

4. Build in meaning. Learning more about each other is vital to strengthening your friendships. So take your girls nights beyond eating, drinking and gossiping. Experiencing something new together (like learning to bellydance, running a 5K, or volunteering at a homeless shelter) is a classic bonding technique. Or, add a brief connecting activity that helps you understand your gal pals better. It doesn’t have to be lengthy, embarrassing, or corny. We purposely include fun and easy connecting activities in nearly ALL of our girls night party plans. It takes a tiny bit of effort, but pays off in stronger friendships—and that’s definitely worth it.

5. Review the evening. After each girls night, take a few minutes to evaluate. You may want to do this on your own, or together via email. How did the girls night go? Did it meet your expectations? Did you get what you wanted out of the evening? What would have improved the experience? What could you do differently next time? Finally, don’t forget to revel in your achievement. You did it! You made your health and well-being a priority by putting your girls nights on the calendar. Happy Month of Friendship!

Dawn Williams Bertuca and Tina VanZant Bishop are Girlfriends-in-Chief at GirlfriendCelebrations.

The Friendship Circle (a network of five organizations committed to celebrating the power of female friendships) is partnering in September for a Month of Friendship. Visit these Friendship Circle websites daily in September for more inspiration and information:


Make Girls Night Easier With Peapod

As busy women with hectic calendars, we are always looking for ways to make more time for play in our days. With this in mind, Peapod, the online grocery shopping and delivery service, invited the Girlfriends-In-Chief and some fellow bloggers on a warehouse tour to show us how they could make our lives easier with the click of a mouse. As busy wives and moms, we were all quick to see how Peapod could help de-stress our domestic lives.

Perky Produce
Perky Produce
But what really put the icing on the cake was how Peapod’s delivery service can make entertaining easier: Helping a girlfriend take out the frazzle of eleventh- hour shopping and put the dazzle back in a last-minute soiree. Yes! What we learned can help us—and you— delete one more obstacle to having a fabulous girls night.
Look  Who Greeted Us!
Look Who Greeted Us!
Read on to see what we learned about their food quality and offerings for entertaining. And, see the end of this post for a great offer from Peapod that will save you $20 on your next grocery order.

It’s Cold in There

Our tour guide, Tony Stallone, Peapod’s Produce Guru, helped to put all our apprehensions about grocery stores of the 21st century to rest. Being skeptical yet savvy consumers, we initially thought that one would have to physically go to a store to get the freshest produce. But Tony was convincingly quick to point out that in order for Peapod’s service to succeed, the produce has to be better than the produce you would pick for yourself.  Simply put, if you were to pick bad cherries, you would only have yourself to blame. If Peapod were to send you bad cherries, it would not only be the pits for you but for them as well because as a consumer, you’re going to complain. Peapod’s produce goes through a careful inspection process. The fruits and vegetables are not only hand-selected but they are also tasted to ensure a positive experience for the customer. After touring the many different temperature zones in the warehouse (which, it seemed to us, were cool, chilly, cold, colder and freezing—because Peapod takes pride in never breaking the chain of coldness the entire time the food is in their warehouse) and walking among the peppers and apples (each have their own temperature-and humidity-controlled zone, by the way), we were sold on the quality of Peapod’s produce. The fruit in their warehouse looks much better than the room-temperature fruit selection we see at our local Jewel or Ultra. We won’t think twice when it comes to ordering a fruit tray or appetizers from Peapod for our next girls night.

Just a side note, the Produce Guru has his own blog about *drumroll please* produce which you can find here. He is very knowledgeable when it comes to selecting and storing produce: even grandma would be impressed. Here are a few of the tips he shared with us en toure.

  • Strawberries – Inspect the entire box of strawberries, don’t be afraid to turn the box over. The strawberries on the bottom and sides of the box will go bad first. Look especially at the shoulders of the strawberries, that’s where bruising occurs first.  Strawberries will last longer if kept at a colder temperature.
  • Apples – Refrigerate them. Keep them cold or they will go mealy.
  • Avocado – If the button pops off the end easily Makes, it is ripe.
  • Guacomole Dip – To store dip overnight without it turning black, place a plain piece of saran wrap over the dip and gently press down until all of the air is out of dip. Keeping the air from coming in contact with the dip will ensure it stays green.
  • Read the rest of this entry »


A Poetic Alternative to Book Club: The Poetry Party

While book clubs seem all the rage these days, gathering with the girls to discuss books leaves little room for a girl to express her creative side. Why not change up your next girls night in with a hip and soulful poetry party? With inspiration from National Poetry Month, Girlfriend Celebrations has created a party plan for girlfriends like you looking for a fresh, expressive outlet. A poetry jam for women who want a creative slice of life or an alternative to the humdrum girls night. Yes, you can create this party with poetic ease, even if you’re feeling at a loss for words.  So go ahead, get your guest list together and plan away with us. Read the rest of this entry »


5 Thoughtful Gifts For Mothers Day

With Mother’s Day less than a month away, it’s time to start thinking about a gift for the important moms in your life, a gift special enough for the women that have helped to make you who you are. Some of us are blessed to have a mom that is like a best girlfriend; nearly all of us have a mom, mother-in-law or mother figure to remember on Mother’s Day. Giving the right gift can be tricky: you’re navigating the fine line between what you can afford, what mom will like and what gift will make mom feel most appreciated. Who knew it would be so complicated? But don’t drop before you shop, girlfriend, because the Girlfriends-In-Chief have come up with a few gift ideas to inspire your Mother’s Day gift giving.

Here are 5 thoughtful gift ideas for special women in your life:

Charitable

Volunteer – Find a cause that mom is passionate about and volunteer together.

Present her with a wrapped or ribbon-tied photo album. In the front, place an invitation stating the day, time and place you have planned for the two of you to do your volunteering together. She can use the album for pictures to remember the special day you shared  helping out those less fortunate. Not only will you both be rewarded  with warm feelings of helping others, but volunteering can help you to grow as individuals as well as help to make your mother/daughter bond a little stronger. It’s a gift filled with warm fuzzies for all. Try searching www.volunteermatch.org to find volunteer opportunities near you.

Inspirational

Motivate – Encourage her to exercise! Give mom a gift certificate for your time as a weekly walking partner.

A key reason many people don’t work out is simply because they  lack motivation. It’s easier to work out if you have someone there  to motivate, get you going and hold you accountable to a workout  schedule. Why not be that motivation for mom to help her get in better shape and to help her feel better about herself?  Schedule a night or two each week ( just make sure you keep up your end of the bargain) to accompany mom on a healthy walk. Not only will you inspire some healthy habits, it will give you some quiet mom/daughter bonding time. Best of all, it’s free! A win/win gift for all.

Green

Plant a garden - Surprise her with a garden! Bring the supplies and your muscle power to plant the garden she always wanted but never had time or energy to create.

Planting a garden in the outdoors is a great option if you have the  yard space. However, If she lives in a townhouse or condo, you can still make an indoor garden together. A garden makes a great gift because it will keep her busy and give her something to look forward to. A gift bearing the fruit of your labor, what could be better than that? Read the rest of this entry »


Top Ten Ways to Help a Girlfriend Get Well

get well soon
get well soon
With this season of colds, pneumonia and swine flu, someone in your circle of friends might be feeling under the weather right now.  Recently the Girlfriends-in-Chief themselves were shut-in for one illness or another and personally  understand “It’s really pretty sucky!”  So we’re here to remind you to take a minute out of your busy schedule, arm yourselves with love and compassion and let a girlfriend know you are thinking of her. Taking some time to nurture a girlfriend can make a world of difference not only in her life but yours as well.

When a person is unable to take part in normal daily activities outside their home, their world shrinks dramatically. Keeping in touch and connected to the outside world can be a saving grace. By daily taking time to phone-a-friend you provide emotional support and mental stimulation. Yes, being her link to the outside world is an important role so don’t forget to ring and do so often.

All too often women offer to help each other by saying, “If there’s anything I can do, please give me a call.” Yet, the phone never rings. And why, you might ask? Because as women, we us feel uncomfortable asking others for help unless it’s an emergency. Women are not taught to ask others for help but believe that they can do everything. Women in our society strive to be super mom, super wife…super everything. So do your girlfriend a favor and don’t put her on the spot! Don’t ask if you can help, just do it! Your unsolicitated thoughtfulness and caring is like chicken soup for the heart. A healthy dose will do a girlfriend some good.

Here are 10 ways to show a girlfriend you care:

1. Mail her a card everyday she is unable to leave the house. Ask other girlfriends to do the same. A daily reminder that you and others are thinking of her will add a little color to a blue day.

2. Drop off a basket of magazines, books or movies. Keeping her mind occupied will help to keep her spirits up.

3. Leave a favorite treat on her doorstep. (white chocolate mocha, hot apple pie) A yummy treat will do wonders to warm her heart.

4. While you are out grocery shopping, pick up a few extra staples of fresh fruit vegetables, bread or milk. The perishables in her refrigerator will be the first to go bad and are packed with nutrients to help a sick one heal.

5. Send over a basket of homemade soup, crusty bread and cookies, along with the recipes. A bowl of steamy soup will help to warm a bluesy day.

6. Have the little ones you know create a special and bouquet of colorful tissue paper flowers for her. Brighten her room with cheerful color, a special touch to remind her you care.

7. Load up a disc of happy and inspiring music to step up her mood.

8. Give her a scrapbook kit to fill while she has the time on her hands. Getting the chore of putting her pictures away will be much appreciated.

9.  Make a few freezer meals for her to store for use when she really needs some help.

10. Rent a few video games for her to try. Adding some fun to her day with video games she’s never played can be just the prescription she needed.

Helping a girlfriend during a time of need can be a truly rewarding gesture. How have you have helped the friends in your life? We’d love to hear about it. Stay tuned to GirlfriendCelebrations for more ways nurture your friendships. Read the rest of this entry »


Grateful Habit at Last

Girlfriend-In-Chief Tina here:

It’s Day 21 of our Gratitude Challenge. Today’s instruction reads: Publicly reflect on the 21 days of the gratitude challenge and what this process has meant to you.

So today is the end of the road for my journey in experimental gratitude. I have to say I’m a little sad, in a way; it was nice to have the daily reminders to think about my not-so-perfect world in a cheerier way. It kept me on my toes, always finding something good out of something mundane or not so great.

The challenge made me appreciate the small things in a different light. For that, I am grateful. I’ve always thought I was a positive person and agreed to do the challenge because I thought it would be easy-peasy pie. However, a few days into it, I realized my true colors. I truly wasn’t the rosy person I’d claimed to be and it was really hard trying to find something good in certain situations. Some days, it was really a lot of work for my mind.

They say it takes 21 days to make a habit. My hope is that gratitude is a way of life for me now. I know I’ve been in a better frame of mind and have been looking at things in a more positive light.  In fact, I think if more people rode the gratitude wagon we would have less need for antidepressants and therapists. I know that gratitude has spilled into my relationship with my husband. I no longer gasp at all the things he doesn’t do for me (bring me flowers?) and I focus on what he adds to my life (a loving, caring guy with no romance skills).  I truly think we would need less divorce lawyers if couples were made to do gratitude counseling.

I’ve even realized how important it is for my children to be thankful for the small things in life too!  So we’ve started a gratitude journal to talk about at dinner time.  We share 3 things we are grateful for that day. It’s sometimes hard for them to think about something other than the yummy dessert to be thankful for. But just like me, I’m hoping it gets easier over time. Read the rest of this entry »


Gratitude Challenge: Through Open Eyes

Girlfriend-In-Chief Tina here. Today is Day 10 of our Gratitude Challenge. My task is to pick one of my five

IMG_4040
IMG_4040

senses to be grateful for.

I am thankful for my ability to see the world through open eyes.

I was fortunate enough to have been born with wonderful eyesight. Yes, with the blink of an eye, I’ve had mine for total of 14,860 days now. Yet, it took The Gratitude Challenge to open my eyes to being thankful for such a simple gift. Being able to see the many colors of the rainbow is something I’ve taken for granted all these years. Sad but true.

Here is a small glimpse of beauty I saw over the summer through the eye of my camera. I realize now I’m not only fortunate to be able to see such wonderful visions but I’m also lucky to be able to capture such heartwarming memories one click at a time.

At the right is the shore of Lake St. Germain. Yes it is a picture of rocks, sand and water. But through my eyes it is much more than that. This is the spot where my boys playfully giggle as the dig their entire bodies into the sand, skip rocks with the greatest of ease and build sand cities to get lost in. I know these times with my children will come to an end as they grow older, so this picture of a place that holds so many memories is dear to my heart.

Thank you Tiny Prints for opening my eyes to something so simple to be grateful for. Read the rest of this entry »


Gratitude Challenge Today – Tina

Girlfriend-in-Chief Tina here. Since I’ve had more than enough time to contemplate the Gratitude Challenge

Two men look out the same prison bars; one sees mud and the other stars.
Two men look out the same prison bars; one sees mud and the other stars.
today and something that I am grateful for, my list of things to be thankful for is growing by leaps and bounds. But that is what a total of
five hours and twenty-one minutes to be exact, driving alone in the car post-vacation will give you. Lots and lots of time to think.

Read the rest of this entry »