How not to ‘let yourself go’ after marriage + 2 free movie tickets

My husband and I have been married 15 years. We got married in the year 2000, which was the best decision ever because we never forget which anniversary it is. 😉

Our-wedding-pic

He’s my lover, my best friend, my unfair advantage … all that mushy stuff. And I truly do love him more today than ever before. I have to admit, though, that keeping the passion alive after 15 years of marriage can be a challenge at times. With kids, work, volunteer activities, hobbies, etc., the last thing I’m thinking about is whether or not I’ve freshened my lipstick! But I also know that we both desire to have a partner who makes an effort to “fan the flames” and one who we’re proud to have standing next to us at parties.

So despite the fact that what I really want to put on every morning is paint-splattered yoga pants and a sweatshirt, I try to take the “me” time I need to look and feel good. I also encourage my man to do the same.

To give you a recent example, my husband was lamenting about how, after a few years, he was still using a raggedy, old grooming kit and getting a poor shave as a result. He said he didn’t understand why he still hadn’t taken the time to buy a razor that worked well for him.

When our time is consumed with the demands of work and family, taking care of ourselves often takes a back seat. And since I knew my amazing husband values teaching our daughter to ride a bike and our toddler son to count to 10 more highly than buying a new shaving kit, I bought the razor for him myself.

Schick-Hydro

It was more than a razor purchase, though. It was an affirmation from me that he was worth taking care of himself.

Schick-Hydro-closeup-2

So how, with all the daily pressures of life, do we not “let ourselves go” after marriage? Today I thought I’d share my top three strategies for keeping a marriage sizzling hot!

  1. Make grooming a priority. I realize a regular shave may seem like a small thing in this department – that is, until you’ve got a few kids hanging around your ankles. Then it may become the biggest feat you hope to accomplish in a day. Yes, there are times when sweatpants and crazy hair are acceptable. But I’m not talking about those moments. I’m talking about the regular, everyday you. Somehow we manage to show up at the office or church looking civilized. Why do so many of us give ourselves permission to no longer care how we present ourselves to our life partners? Shouldn’t we go the extra mile for that most important person?

To help motivate us, Schick® has a “Make It Epic” campaign going on right now to encourage us to make taking care of ourselves and spending time together with our partner a priority. Here’s how it works:

  • Buy. Purchase two participating Men’s Schick® or Edge® products in a single transaction from now until July 10, 2015. Retain your receipt.

Schick-Quattro

  • Snap. Draw a star (*) next to the qualifying items on your original, dated receipt. Take a clear photo of the entire receipt and text it to 811811 with the word SCHICK by July 10 for validation. (Text message terms apply.)
  • Redeem. If validated, you will receive a text back with a code valid for a movie certificate for two admissions (up to $20 total value) to see any movie! Click here for more information about this promotion and for idea starters.
  1. Watch your mouth. Yelling … disrespectful words … just plain crazy talk … I’ve been guilty of them all. The problem is that it makes me look like, well, a crazy person. Think about it this way: Just as we wouldn’t show up at the office in paint-splattered sweatpants, we probably also wouldn’t go running around the place yelling at the top of our lungs, “Can’t any of you animals throw your lunch trash in the garbage where it belongs? This place sucks!” In other words, we should make an effort to speak in a manner that would prevent us from being embarrassed if a visitor was standing outside our front doors listening. Think more classy, less crazy.
  2. Honor reasonable requests from your partner. Wearing the perfume or hairstyle your spouse finds attractive is about showing you love and care for him. Making an effort to dress nicely when you go to dinner and picking up after yourself around the house will show the same. Small gestures that cost you a little time and effort can have big payoffs with regard to how your partner feels about you and the relationship.

Just like a garden, a marriage requires regular care and feeding to produce beautiful results. What can you do today to help #makeitepic?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Schick® Men’s Shave. The opinions and text are all mine.

Father’s Day gift: New paint and hardware at the cabin

My parents have been seriously considering selling their current home and moving to the family cabin full-time, now that they’re empty nesters. The problem? The cabin needs a lot of TLC before it is move-in ready.

So this Father’s Day, I wanted to give my dad – from whom I’ve gotten most of my DIY savvy – the gift of new door hardware (and some sweat equity) for their soon-to-be retirement pad.

I ordered door hardware for all the camp’s exterior doors from Unhinge Hardware. This online store has one of the biggest selections I’ve seen of door and bath hardware at super low prices. Unhinge offers discounted prices, free shipping, next-day delivery and a meet-or-beat-any-price guarantee.

UnhingeHardware

I chose EZ-Set levers and deadbolts in the Tuscan Bronze finish to enhance the cabin’s rustic vibe.

Dad and I spent Monday working together painting the exterior doors and window trim, installing the new door hardware, and sprucing up the front porch. This is what the front of the camp looked like when we started:

Door-before-3

I painted the French doors first, while dad installed hardware on the back doors.

Painting-cabin-door

Dad has lots of great tricks of the trade he’s learned after a lifetime of working in the construction industry. I love to soak up his DIY knowledge every chance I get.

Installing-hardware

For example, one tip he shared yesterday: Use a screwdriver with a rubberized coating when attaching door hardware to avoid scratching the finish.

He also requested that all the locks be keyed alike, to avoid fumbling around with a bunch of different keys for the same home – a small, but important detail to remember when ordering.

Rubber-screwdriver

New-Tuscan-Bronze-door-hardware

After a day of painting, attaching hardware, and cleaning up the place, the camp is now starting to look a little more like a home.

Cabin-door-transformation-with-hardware

EZ-Set-closeup

New-French-door-hardware

It’s amazing what a difference some paint, hardware and a good scrubbing can make. What do you think of the transformation?

French-door-before-and-after

Special thanks to Unhinge Hardware for providing the hardware that made this Father’s Day gift possible. 

Cool campfire idea and a ‘Summer Bucket List’ free printable

I don’t know about you but, after this year’s brutal winter, I am welcoming summertime with open arms! Today I thought I’d share with you two cool summertime ideas that will help your family grow closer this season.

The first is how to build a campfire using only one log and some lighter fluid. It is a cool idea I came across in Cabin Life magazine. Below is a quick video tutorial I put together a few summers ago on how to do this.

Using this method, our campfire burns for more than three hours. It’s also a great conversation piece for our guests and a good way for us to use up a large log we would have otherwise needed to split before burning.

The second idea is the Summer Bucket List. Our family has turned this into an annual tradition. It’s so much fun to see what the kids dream up for us to do each year. At the end of summer, we typically get most or all of our list checked off! Below you’ll find a free, printable Summer Bucket List you can use for your own family adventures.

Summer-bucket-list-photo

What adventures do you have planned with your family this summer?