7 Healthy Valentine’s Day Traditions for Girlfriends

7 Healthy Valentine’s Day Traditions for Girlfriends

valentines day girlfriend healthy traditionsIt’s not just about romance and chocolate, Valentine’s Day is a fine day to start some traditions for girlfriends – and they can be healthy Valentine’s Day traditions too.

So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, Singles Awareness Day, or any day with friends, here are a few healthy ideas on how to celebrate Valentine’s Day with girlfriends:

  • Movie Date: Get ready for the 88th Oscars on Feb. 28th by going to see some of the nominated films. Valentine’s Day is on a Saturday so you make a day of it and view several films in a row – in the same cinema! Sneak in some healthy snacks and bottled water to avoid candy and popcorn cravings. Then, go ahead and plan your Academy Awards party for all your girlfriends complete with ballots, prizes, and celebrity fashion judging. To be silly, add interesting categories to the ballot for worst dress, best hair, most skin showing, best body, etc. It makes the red carpet time much more interesting!
  • ME Party with Your Girlfriends: Before you can fall in love with someone else, shouldn’t you be in love with yourself? Author Christine Arylo created a “Madly in Love with Me” Day on February 13 to celebrate self-love and independence. Check out her site for ideas on throwing a party with your girlfriends and to download a self-love starter guide as well as a Party Girl guide for creating an event of your own.
  • Wii & Wine Party: Combine some girlfriends with a Wii Fit and add some healthy snacks and wine (definitely optional–it could be a Wii and Tea party!), and you’ll have more fun than Cupid. Wear yoga or comfy clothes and bring fresh veggies, hummus, pita and fruit. You’ll have a great time and get in some exercise together. Laughter uses up calories, too, so you might want to make this a weekly or monthly tradition. Get your Wii Fit competition on with prizes for yoga class coupons, a gift certificate to give a girlfriend a manicure or a certificate for a healthy dinner at a later date.

A FRIEND is what the Heart needs all the time. — Henry Van Dyke

  • Progressive Dinner Party: Never have enough time to see, much less eat with, your girlfriends? Well, change that in one night by having a dine-around together in each other’s homes. Depending on how many houses are nearby and involved in the party, assign each destination with a healthy meal course–appetizers, soup, salad, main course and light dessert. The focus doesn’t have to be on the food–share healthy tips at each home. Make it an exercise progressive where you start with yoga at one house, walk to another house and have a light meal, then walk to another home for a healthy dessert and finish off the evening with meditation.
  • Gratitude Boxes: What is one thing means the most to women without need for a vase or involving any vices? No heart-shaped box or guilty calories–just gratitude! Who better to give appreciation to than our girlfriends, right? Have a party where everyone writes down the things they’re most grateful for about their girlfriends on a sheet of paper and places them in a box for each person. Here’s some Gratitude Box Ideas to personalize the home of these wonderful testimonies of friendship. You’ll cherish that box, and time together, forever.
  • Friendship Valentines: Remember those childhood Valentines? Silly dime store cards were how we expressed affection and appreciation toward our friends. Now that we’re grown up, why not pretend we’re not? Give Valentine’s Day cards to all your friends (even the drugstore variety). Combine Valentine’s red with going green by crafting handmade cards from recycled materials or buy cards made from recycled paper. Bake some healthy cookies or create a small bouquet of spring flowers to accompany the card. Just make an effort–big or little. She’ll appreciate it, and your friendship.
  • Plan a Girlfriend Trip: Nothing like a tempting beach in your future to get you exercising and eating healthier! Plan your girlfriends getaway now and a fitness routine to prepare you for it. Set realistic goals and inspire each other to reach them. Girlfriends who have a fitness goal and work together are twice as likely to reach their goals than those going it alone (or with spouse). So, get the girls together and make some fun plans for a great girls escape!

Nothing against candy and romance, but Valentine’s Day is a fabulous opportunity to show you care for your gal pals, too! It’s a wonderful time to express your girlfriend gratitude–make a card, share some chocolates or healthy treats, send flowers, phone a friend or just get together. Actually, every month is a fabulous opportunity to celebrate female friendship. Make it a healthy, happy and less-stressed month by spending time with your girlfriends. Happy Valentine’s Day, Girlfriends!

More Valentine’s Day Girlfriend Traditions & Ideas …

P.S. NEW this week to Girlfriendology, we’re sharing DAILY FRIENDSHIP QUOTES (because everyone loves Friendship Quotes!). Stop by for your daily inspiration!

 

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5 Tips for a Great Girls Night In

5 Tips for a Great Girls Night In

Great GIrls Night In tips piJust what you and your girlfriends need! Tips for a Great Girls Night in!

Is there anything better than curling up on the couch with a good drink and gossiping with the girls? If you want to have more girl’s nights in, why not take a bit of time to create the perfect night in? Whether you make sure to choose the right girlfriends to attend or prepare delicious appetizers, these tips for planning a girl’s night in will work every time.

Choose Friends That Get Along

We all have some girlfriends that shouldn’t be in the same room together. To make your evening more enjoyable, don’t put two girls in the room that are going to be snippy all night. If one of the friends who wasn’t invited gets offended, simply explain that you know that she doesn’t like one of the friends and you didn’t want her to be uncomfortable all night. You can always plan something special to do with her another time. Regardless, choosing girlfriends who get along for your invite list will ensure people will want to attend the next girl’s night in.

Invite some New Girlfriends

Introduce your girlfriends to other new friends! Invite some new women to the group to keep the conversation fresh and fun. Select women (like the point above) who you believe will get along and enjoy meeting each other. Make sure to introduce them to each other and include them in conversations so they don’t feel left out. Think of things they have in common in advance so you can encourage their connections and discussion. 

Try a Theme Night

One of the easiest ways to plan an event is to choose a theme. For example, you might choose a romantic comedy that everyone loves and then make drinks and appetizers that match that movie. If you are watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding, grab a blue and white checked tablecloth, put on some greek music and serve delicious Greek appetizers and Ouzo.

Find New Drink Recipes to Try

Whether you go with a theme or not, go online and find new drink recipes for everyone to try. For example, if your girlfriends love a certain candy, see how you can incorporate those flavors into a cocktail. You might even make more than one cocktail recipe and see which one is the bigger hit. The key is to have fun, try new things, and see what works for the next girl’s night in. Don’t forget mocktails or fancy waters for pregnant girlfriends or designated drivers.

Stick with Appetizers

Last, but not least, stick with appetizers for a girl’s night in. Appetizers are easy to make, easy to eat, and can be snacked on throughout the night. You can even make trays of appetizers and keep them in the fridge and bake them throughout the night so you always have something fresh and tasty coming out of the oven. If you’re watching more than one movie, choose a different appetizer for each movie.

 

A great girl’s night in is the perfect way to spend an evening with your girlfriends. Best of all, it’s so much more affordable than hitting the local club or going to your favorite restaurant. It also gives everyone the chance to cut loose and truly enjoy themselves.5 ideas for GNO Girls Night Out

 

More girlfriend inspiration for a Girl’s Night In (or a GNO – Girl’s Night Out!)

Happiness is in the Harvest – Fall Fun for Friends

Happiness is in the Harvest – Fall Fun for Friends

autumn friendship quoteAutumn is a second Spring where every leaf is a flower.” Albert Camus

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a fan of sauerkraut. Finely cut cabbage fermented by various lactic acid bacteria is one step away from eating Kale (for you Dana!) – it hardly seems to me to be something to bring about happiness; much less something an entire town and its inhabitants would plan a fall festival around. But each fall, Waynesville, Ohio does exactly that, drawing thousands upon thousands of people – including me – to a weekend celebrating sauerkraut in all its glory.

The days are getting shorter, cooler, summer is on the wane and autumn is fast approaching. You can feel it. So it’s time to celebrate the harvest in a thousand different ways in a thousand different small towns – it is the happiness brought about at harvest festival time.

Whether it’s the Apple Festival in La Crescent, Minnesota, the Pumpkin Fest in Crest Hill, Illinois, or the Sussex County Harvest, Honey and Garlic Festival in Augusta, New Jersey, celebrating the prosperity, joy and happiness of the harvest has been a part of the human experience since time began.

Fall festivals are a reminder that there are fruits born of our labor, and that the labor isn’t always easy, but worth it in the end. I personally use the occasions to spend some time with my girlfriends. I’m thankful for the growth and harvest of real friendship. A festival is a great place to catch up on life, browse the arts and crafts, sample some unique food offerings, people watch, and do a great deal of smiling and laughing. Festivals make me happy.

Fall festival season has begun girlfriends, and continues through Thanksgiving, so do a little looking to find a few fall festivals in your area that would be a great way to spend a day with your girlfriends. Then make it a date!

And if you get to the Waynesville Sauerkraut Festival, make sure to try the sauerkraut pie! Seriously.

For more FALL INSPIRATION:

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Month of Friendship, Day 24: Surprise your BFF

Month of Friendship, Day 24: Surprise your BFF

Surprise your girlfriendsWhen was the last time you surprised a friend, or she surprised you? Love a good surprise? I bet she does!

Was it a ‘big’ birthday or graduation? Was it a girlfriend gift you found that made you think of her? Was it a surprise visit when she had no idea you were nearby? It’s the “peek-a-boo” syndrome – generally, we love being surprised, when it’s a good surprise!

Or maybe we’re more like Oprah, who has said: “I love surprising people, I don’t like being surprised.” (But remember how her Producers LOVED to surprise her?!)

A Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.

Boris Pasternak

Today’s ‘girlfriend challenge,’ in this Month of Friendship, is to surprise a friend and make her feel as special as her friendship is to you. Here’s a few idea on ways to surprise a friend:

  • Friendship Jen Mindy girlfriend surprise

    “School of Thoughtfulness” – Mindy and Jen are the two fabulous friends featured in the photo. Mindy returned home from vacation late one night. On her doorstep, a cooler filled with ‘breakfast’ – food for the following morning. Knowing she wouldn’t have anything to eat, her BFF Jen filled a cooler with everything needed to wake up to a great breakfast on her first day back home. (As Mindy says, she “studies at Jen’s ‘School of Thoughtfulness'” in this previous Girlfriendology blog.)

  • Have a Surprise Party – Even if it’s not her birthday or an official day of celebration, throw her a party – like Jill’s friend did for her (aka: Happy Jill Day!). Any day is a great day to celebrate and surprise a friend, right? Show up where she’d least expect you. Invite other friends to join you. Make it all about her and making sure she knows how much her friendship means to you. (Here’s 9 Tips to planning a Great Surprise Party!)
  • Send a Surprise – Women love to receive flowers (like this bouquet of ‘friendship flowers‘), which can be an awesome surprise. Or get creative and send a box of helium balloons or a bunch of little gifts that you know she’ll love. Make your own gift basket filled with all her favorite items/products. Or send a card – or one every day for a month. Just let her know that you’d thinking of her.

And we had some amazing girlfriend surprises shared by our Facebook friends:

  • Cynthia Lee shared: One of my best friends just sent me a goodie package from Harry and David! She is the best!
  • Denise added: One of my friends sent me an email telling me to go outside and look under a bush near my driveway – she had left me a little garden statue that just spoke to my heart and left me smiling for days!
  • Paige offered: My dear friend in St. Lucia just sent me a monogrammed leather belt! We’ve never met in person, but I just love this girl!
  • Janelle broke our hearts with this story: I found out my friend was living in her car in another state (a week until her apt was ready) I canceled my vacation plans and sent her the money for a hotel. She tried to pay it back but I won’t take it. I’m glad I was able to help her. A gift of love is just that!
  • Janet shared: One of my best friends from high school just invited us to a villa in Cabo. Unfortunately, I can’t go because I have a convention that week, but I was so happy that she thought of us. Means a lot to me!
  • Janelle also offered: I would like to give special thanks to Deanna. I was in another state after back surgery and someone intentionally broke my cane, after seeing the trouble I was having trying to walk she gave me hers. We had just met.

Doesn’t that make you feel like surprising your BFF? What are you going to do for your best friend? Share and inspire!

Thanks for celebrating this MONTH OF FRIENDSHIP with us! Tomorrow … it’s cool to go to school with a girlfriend!

[Tweet “Surprise Your BFF 🙂 Be a Better Friend! Make her feel as special as her friendship is to you!”]

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Month of Friendship, Day 16: Get a Mani/Pedi Together

Month of Friendship, Day 16: Get a Mani/Pedi Together

Mani Pedi happiness friendshipYou can’t buy HAPPINESS but you can buy a Mani/Pedi and that’s kinda the same thing 🙂

Need a little girlfriend time? And maybe some pampering?

Spending time with our girlfriends is perhaps the most wonderful experience of female friendship. The way that we communicate and share is unique to our friendship. Sometimes we laugh, we share, cry, laugh some more or walk side-by-side in silence. Always we connect like no other relationship and feel all the benefits that female friendship provides.

We’re exploring lots of ways, during our Month of Friendship, to reconnect with old friends and build new friendships. Today’s girlfriend advice: get a mani/pedi together.

How is that building into friendships? Well, we girls generally like a little pampering, right? We also all love time with our friends. Combining the two is, well ,,, just ‘efficient’ – not to mention fun! It is the perfect opportunity to sit side-by-side, enjoy the experience and talk about all kinds of silly things like TV, People Magazine, kids and all the fab conversations we have when we’re just hanging with our friends.

We got a few tips from our girlfriends (and added some ourselves) for making this a perfect way to spend an hour or two together:

  • Jennifer shared this great girlfriend advice: “I bring my own polish for pedi’s. That way I know I’ll have a color I like and if I get a chip, I can easily fix it instead of running back for a whole new pedi.” (Thanks – love that one!)
  • @ShaynaBurns tweeted: “Salon with a friend! I don’t find idle chat with strangers relaxing, so it’s nice to haveFriendship Girlfriend Toes someone to talk to.” (I agree!)
  • Pick a slow day for the manicure and/or pedicure – often the rates may be lower on a Monday or Tuesday and it will be less crowded so you can definitely sit together and feel like you can take your time a little more.
  • Make it a Pedi Party – Schedule a salon for multiple manicure or pedicures and invite a bunch of your girlfriends. Many spas will let you bring in snacks and beverages. Make it a party or host a shower in a spa.
  • Give each other Manicures and Pedicures – You don’t have to go to a spa. You can save money and have your own snacks and music by doing the spa treatments at home. Buy some manicure/pedicure tools/kits (or dig some out of your own nail supplies), get your favorite polish, remover, soaking dishes, etc. and take turns pampering the other. (Here’s info on how to do your own manicure/pedicure.)

Just have fun with it and spend time with your girlfriends! Share your mani/pedi stories and advice too!We’ve got the rest of the month to keep celebrating International Women’s Friendship Month. Tomorrow … we’re going into the closet!

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Month of Friendship, Day 15: Practice Random Acts of Kindness

Month of Friendship, Day 15: Practice Random Acts of Kindness

Ways to practice random acts of kindnessWant to make a friend’s day? Practice Random Acts of Kindness!

AKA: Surprise her! Make her day! Make her feel special!

Call her when she doesn’t expect it, leave a note in her cube, send her a really sweet tweet. Just do something out of the ordinary to show her how much her friendship means to you.

Want to REALLY make her day? Practice random acts of kindness. Mow her lawn. Help her paint her house. Leave a gift certificate for a spa in her desk drawer. Bake her favorite Mac & Cheese (shared by Cathie – thanks!), do her laundry (thanks, Alison) or weed her garden (thanks, Joan!).

It’s a great exercise actually. To get in the habit of going out of our way for a friend, or even a stranger. It’s the stuff ‘pay it forward’ is based on … your kindness inspires your friend, she passes it along to someone else, who pays it forward, and so on. It’s how things are supposed to be, right? I care about you and I want to make your life better. To quote Diane Warwick and Friends: “That’s what friends are for.”

Well,  with a little research, I found out that it’s actually more than just making her life better and/or easier. Practicing kindness is beneficial to your health. Numerous scientific studies show that acts of kindness result in significant health benefits, both physical and mental, like:

  • Helping contributes to the maintenance of good health, and it can diminish the effect of diseases and disorders serious and minor, psychological and physical.
  • A rush of euphoria, followed by a longer period of calm, after performing a kind act is often referred to as a “helper’s high,” involving physical sensations and the release of the body’s natural painkillers, the endorphins. This initial rush is then followed by a longer-lasting period of improved emotional well-being.
  • Stress-related health problems improve after performing kind acts. Helping reverses feelings of depression, supplies social contact, and decreases feelings of hostility and isolation that can cause stress, overeating, ulcers, etc.
  • Helping can enhance our feelings of joyfulness, emotional resilience, and vigor, and can reduce the unhealthy sense of isolation.

Practice Random acts of kindnessSo, today’s Month of Friendship ‘assignment’ is to practice random acts of kindness toward a friend(s).

Do something kind and unexpected. Challenge yourself to carefully and thoughtfully identify a need or want that would make her happy. Be the kind of friend you’d love to have.

And, then experience the ‘euphoria’ of kindness. Feel the benefits yourself of being generous, considerate, a friend. Be a better friend, because life really is better together.

Share your random act of kindness story – what did you do for a friend? How did it make you feel? How did she respond?

How’s your Month of Friendship going? Ready for tomorrow? Your toes will appreciate it! (Come back tomorrow for more Month of Friendship ideas!)

[Tweet “Surprise a friend with a Random Act of Kindness – here’s how 🙂 “]

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