Next Level Gift Guide: For the Men in Your Life

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When it comes to gifts I am always looking for that perfect thing to bring surprise and or that happy light into the gift receiver’s face. I do my utmost best to find something the person always wanted but never bit the bullet to purchase. Those are the best gifts as they show the person you were truly listening to them even in a time they may have not even realized they were talking out loud. The giving part as well as the happiness it may bring to this gift receiver is what brings joy to my heart.

That being said the men in my life are the absolute hardest to read when it comes to finding them the ultimate gift. While great gifts most of the time, I wanted to think out of the box instead of the typical gifts given to men such as golfing, grilling, and tool related gifts.

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Gym Items:

Are those dirty stinky gym shoes festering in the corner of his room. Many guys get their full use out of their gym clothes, shoes, and gear, but find themselves too busy to go out and get more. These make great gifts to boost his mood for going to the gym.

Does he work out at home? Maybe there is gear he needs to help improve his home gym capabilities. Get him a TRX this is a total body home gym created in the Navy. It uses your bodyweight and gravity to give you an ultimate workout by incorporating suspension type exercise. TRX Training – Suspension Trainer Basic Kit + Door Anchor, Complete Full Body Workouts Kit for Home and on the Road

Audio Books

Audio Books:

You’ve still got to love those page turner books, but men do not always have time for them in their busy schedule. Whether it’s jumping between work, kids, or hobbies,men tend to need to make use of whatever time they have to enjoy a good book. Commutes, Road trips, heck even getting fifteen minutes in with a good book could be a great deal for your busy Guy. Get him an audiobook or a subscription to audible.com Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks. Where he can pick out his own thrill of an audio book depending on his favorite categories.

Hey maybe even a good audio book could be just the distraction to get him through his morning run. Sometimes when you’re a busy guy like my dad, it’s all about the multi-tasking. Why not get some enjoyment out of what might otherwise be a mundane time of his day.

On Audible.com he can join the program depending on his listening needs and pick out audio books each month based on his subscription. As well as get discounts on extra books. Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

Camping

Camping & Gear:

When I grew up camping was in a tent, a fire with marshmallows and self-carved roasting sticks, restroom off in the woods, and cooking food in a can over the fire. These days there are so many cool gadgets to optimize the trip it’s hard to pass them up. Does caffeine fuel your man? If he had the MiniPresso GR Espresso Maker he would be sure to wake up spry and ready for that sunrise hike. He wouldn’t have to wait for the old over the fire percolator to get percolating.

Maybe true camping is not your man’s #1 priority? Get him a cabin “glamping trip” by searching the getaways category on Groupon you’re sure to find him a less outdoorsy intense trip. https://www.groupon.com/

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Subscription Box:

It seems like subscription boxes are all the rage these days. With anything ranging from make-up products, workout gear, healthy snacks, to books being sent like a little surprise straight to your door, it’s no question they are addicting and fun. While it seems like the boxes are geared more towards women there are men’s subscription boxes out there as well.

You may think a month to month cost for a one time gift is a little over your budget, but the subscription box I am about to suggest has a few different sized boxes that range in prices. You can choose to gift one box or if your budget allows have two or three boxes show up at your favorite man’s door. Once you’ve used up your budget just cancel or pass along the subscription to the gift receiver to keep enjoying on his own dime. https://battlbox.com/ is a kick butt subscription box geared towards men.

With tactical and survival gear themed boxes, that change from box to box, they are sure to please your hunting, camping, fishing, prepping, outdoor, “soon to be survivalist” Guy in your life. Just don’t be surprised if you find him camping in the back yard the same night his box arrives just so he can try out all the cool gear immediately.

Getaway

Groupon Activities & Get Aways

Sometimes he just wants to get away, or go try a hobby he has always wanted to try but he never got around to. More often than not men do not speak their minds about wanting to do new activities or getaway for the weekend, but they enjoy it. Is the guy you’re shopping for in a different town or state than you? Perfectly fine you can shop Groupon near them and find a archery lesson, boxing experience, even a zipline tour without having to do all the searching yourself of the local area. Groupon does it for you. https://www.groupon.com/

Groupon discounts to take advantage of for a limited time only:
6/19: $5 off $20, $10 off $40, $15 off $60, $30 off $100 with code OFF.
6/18: Gift Dad – very last minute! Extra 20% off with HURRY20!

I hope this list helped spark an idea for a man in your life. Whether it is your dad, husband, son, or another family member, these gifts will help him pursue a hobby or passion he might be missing and give him a surprise he may not have been expecting.

Meet Your New Hobby: Candle Making Edition

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You walk into a room and the scent of apple pie engulfs your nostrils. Is someone baking? No, that scrumptious smell is coming from a jar of wax precisely portioned with scent and color to draw on multiple senses. While I use candles to change my mood, because who doesn’t enjoy torturing their stomachs and taste buds with a good old cinnamon bun scented candle? Many use candles to drown out other scents. A stinky bed room, living room, or the infamous bathroom that was just stink “bombed” by that one guy or girl (yes girls poop too) at work. Whatever they’re used for, they have a distinct reputation of giving a better fragrance to the room for any occasion.

I can admit I am a bit obsessed with them. I can’t walk past a person’s desk without picking up their non-burning candle just to get a whiff of the smell. So… much like my solution for my obsession with shopping at target I decided it might be more “cost efficient” to join the team. Yes, I got a job at Target to get a discount because I liked shopping the clearance end caps so much, and with the same reasoning I decided to commit to make my own candles in hopes to not spend so much money on them.

Kit

The Kit

There is something about a “kit” that makes beginning a hobby seem much easier. Rather than fumbling around from the start making sure I have all the tools I need, If I can buy that one box of things that provides me with all the starter tools I am more likely to do it.  When I received my candle making kit for Christmas I was hopeful in starting my new projects. I imagined all the scents I could mix and match even who I could gift them to. See 5 Ways To Start Your Hobby With A Discount to see more about how I get my hobby supplies without breaking the bank.

When I opened the box and started pulling the pieces to my candle kit out, a fear of difficulty overwhelmed me. There was my childhood self, doubting the hobby before I even started it. If you want to read more about my silly childhood self check out 6 Reasons To Stop Doubting Your Hobby Pursuit

Pushing through this thought I began reading the directions and they were simple. The kit provided all the tools to create a simple candle and described how to do it quite well.

The kit included:

  • Wax
  • Wicks
  • Vanilla Scent
  • 3 glass jars
  • A double boiler
  • Thermometer
  • Stir sticks

This was, in my impression, a very good kit for a beginner candle maker. Here is a link to the one I have Soy Essentials Scented Candle Making Kit

Candle Wax

Extra supplies or refilling

A major thing about this hobby like many “well established” hobbies is they dedicate most of if not an entire aisle at the craft store to its supplies. So you will never have to search high and low to find what you need. If you live near a Hobby Lobby you can also find many refill items there and the benefit of Hobby Lobby is they have 50% off sales on these products very often. Not to mention they have an ongoing 40% off your single most expensive item at all times if you can pull it up on your smartphone. There is of course Amazon  to help you find the out of the ordinary parts to put your own twist on this hobby. When just starting a hobby I like to find the items quick, get to experimenting, and then bring in the full blown operation later. Which is why getting a kit like this gets me moving forward quicker with my hobby. Soy Essentials Scented Candle Making Kit

Along with my kit I wanted to try other scents so I purchased a peach-mango, apple pie, and lavender scent. Here is a great scent kit to start yourself off with other scents too Fragrance Oil Sampler Set With Bonus Oil- Green Apple, Clean Cotton, Vanilla, Cinnamon and Bonus Berry Cobbler- Scents For Candle Making and Soap Making- Works in Diffusers, Warmers As well as a different style of wick that is made with wood to create a fire wood burning type sound.Wood wick- Genuine Wooden Wicks for Candle Making DIY Candle 50 Sets – Brown, 15cmx1.25cm

Upcycling a possibility

Another plus about this hobby is a lot of times you can find jars, the vessels for holding your candles, just around your house. Did you use up the last of that spaghetti sauce or eat your last pickle? Well there is a perfectly good jar that, after some cleaning, can be re-purposed into a candle container. Just make sure you clean them thoroughly otherwise you could be gifting a pickle scented candle to your Aunt Susie.

Candle Light

Besides the obvious benefit of getting to have as many candles as you want there are several other reasons candle making can be a great hobby.

  1. Gifts to others
  2. Several ways to grow your skill
  3. Can experience with others
  4. Time frame for this hobby can be short or extended
  5. Easy set up and take down

Recently I have noticed that all my friends and family have purchased wax melting units which eliminate the burning of a wick at all. You just plop a scented wax cube or beads in to the cup and it heats them to melted form to dispense the scent. This I love! As you can plug these vessels in, turn them on and not have to worry about an open flame. So I have ventured into creating these non-wick waxes.

I got my mom a diffuser like this one for christmas, and then made the scented wax melts with my kit for her.  Candle Warmers Etc. Pluggable Wax Warmer, Fragrance Releasing Decorative Plug-In Nightlight Warmer, Moroccan Metal .She loved the half homemade half purchased gift.

It was extremely simple to make these wax melts with my silicone heart shaped ice mold. You could find different shapes of ice mold to appease the different personalities in your life. With just a tiny bit of oil to line the ice molds the wax popped right out of the mold perfectly shaped once dry. Here is a kit of ice molds a lot like mine with a couple different shapes included.Silicone Molds- SENHAI 3 Pack Candy, Chocolate Molds Ice Cube Trays – Hearts, Stars & Shells, Fun, Toy Kids Set

A major thing I like about beginning candle making is wax is re-meltable so I could experiment a little before determining I was happy with my finished product.

Watermelon Candle

Playing with this hobby I not only found a new appreciation to the store bought candle in my living room, I learned a lot of do’s and don’ts throughout the process. It is not as simple as I thought to properly boil wax, plop some scent in, and place a wick to create exceptionally smelling candle I desire, but it is also not difficult to get started. So this is the exact reason I like it I am still challenged to find the right portion of scent to wax, and continue to research new ways to scent a candle. There are several versions of candle I have yet to venture in to yet and look forward to taking those next steps. I am no pro at this hobby but in my experience if this sounds fun to you do not hesitate to get started. Candle making can be a great way to make money if you pursue it far enough, and with all the different types of candles there is always a new challenge around the corner.

If you’ve decided candle making is not your thing, check out my blog on whom in your life can help inspire your hobby at 5 People To Inspire Your Hobby or stay tuned for my next hobby trial to see if that might be your calling.

6 Reasons To Stop Doubting Your Hobby Pursuit

 

Stop doubting your hobby6 Reasons To Stop Doubting Your Hobby Pursuit And How to Quit

Who needs a Hobby?

I do I do. I need a hobby badly. If you’re anything like me you might need one too!

In my late twenties I have realized I need something better than Netflix to pass the free time, something I can engage my mind on and keep me striving for more. There are a lot of times that I am perusing Pinterest and find a project I would love to tackle. Time after time I begin to research how to begin this project and talk myself out of it. This is because I either cannot find enough information on it to get started, I can’t find a solution to the initial questions I want to ask, or I information overload myself. By asking the questions that so many new hobbyists may want answers to before starting I am hopeful in this pursuit to find my passion, and hopefully help others along the way. Whether it stays a hobby or grows into a career, a hobby should keep a person dreaming about always growing their chosen skill.

Let’s rewind, growing up I attempted tons of hobbies. Not to be vain, but I was “pretty good” at all of them. When I say pretty good I mean I was never picked last in Gym class, but I was also never picked first. No matter what I tried I was good at and then I quit, never committing to it. The list of things I have tried could go on forever so I won’t bore you with it all. I tried several instruments, sports, 4-H, etc. I would drop out when it came to the point of improvement. I was good at all of them but if pushing harder, improving my skill level became a factor to move forward I gave up. For example I made it to a third degree purple belt in karate, but to move on to a brown belt I required more discipline and a louder “Kia”. Yes, that loud sound you hear after powerful karate stance is made…I would not do it loud enough. That is what stood between me and my Karate growth. My shyness got the best of me most of the time, and the rest was pure stubbornness, but the truth is I just haven’t found what I am truly passionate about yet.

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photo credit: snapwiresnaps.tumblr.com

Growing up in a small town I tried just about every hobby to keep me entertained but they were all so generic and I lost interest. I was never that person who knew my passion from a young age. Many things intrigued me but nothing kept my attention long.

Presently

I have a good job but it is not fulfilling my full happiness or potential. Crunching numbers is not exactly the most interesting topic to bring up in a conversation. Most people fake a fever and run out of the room when they hear I like math. I needed something to dream about and keep me striving for further knowledge. This is why I have decided to try hobbies, as many as I can, to experience them first hand and ask the questions many ask themselves, or should ask themselves, before starting a hobby. I guess you could say my hobby will be trying hobbies, and I will dedicate myself to this hobby so I can prove my juvenile self-wrong. To do this I had to stop talking myself out of things I wanted to do and start saying yes to more opportunities. Below is a list of typical excuses and how not to make them anymore.

I finally stopped talking myself out of things I want to do and this is how:

  1. YOU WERE YOUNG AND NAIVE

The first time you started that hobby maybe it was at an age where when someone told you what to do you did the opposite. Maybe your parents gave you an ultimatum like “It’s either hobby A or hobby B.”, and you did not get much choice of the matter besides choosing between the two. Leaving a bitter memory of hobbies in your mind.

Don’t let someone pushing you to do something cloud your vision of that thing. Once you open your mind to it you may discover it’s really interesting or fun. Leave the past in the past and try that hobby with a new attitude.

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  1. MORE CONS THAN PROS

Sure you did some research and scoured the internet for information on this hobby you wanted to start, and after hour’s even days of research you found more cons than pros. That shouldn’t always talk you out of it unless you discovered without a doubt you would not like that hobby. If your pros look enticing and your cons are just things that scare you then try that hobby. You have to push through the things that scare you to find what truly makes you happy. If you spend too much time researching you may come out more confused than when you started, so just start that hobby and defeat the “cons” as you go.

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Photo Credit: 401kcalculator.org
  1. IT COSTS MONEY

Sure money can be a huge factor when it comes to wanting to start a hobby, especially if you’re living paycheck to paycheck. Like in number two it might be that major “con” that’s keeping you from trying your hobby out, but there is always a way if you’re willing to put a little effort to it. There are ways to relieve the money part and I have listed them out in my post about 5 Ways To Start Your Hobby With A Discount

  1. YOU’VE HAD TOO MANY TRIAL HOBBIES

You’re worried this one is just going to be another failed hobby? I used to stress whenever my husband started a new hobby, as his hobbies always required a lot of initial investment (Money!) and I have a habit of being frugal, even when there is no need to be. Today I have a different attitude about all of his trial hobbies because like my younger self above each and every one of these hobbies he has tried has given him different wisdom and knowledge and helps him in his day to day interactions at work or in his social life. He can provide an unusual perspective of problem solving skills for work and more to converse about at a party which can only excel him in life. Plus by using some of the hobby discount pointers listed in blog 5 Ways To Start Your Hobby With A Discount we have even been able to make more money back than what we spent on some of his hobby equipment.

  1. YOU DO NOT WANT TO DO IT ALONE

It’s like the excuse needing a gym buddy to go to the gym, but in reality your gym buddy is already there you just have to go find them. Just like the blogging community there are communities out there doing that hobby you are interested in. There is something about having that buddy to enjoy things with. Well until you find your community maybe find your favorite Youtuber doing that same hobby or follow boards on Pinterest. There are still ways to find a sense of community without immediately having to converse with a real life person. If you want to jump right in to find your community in person there are apps like Meet Up or check out your local Facebook groups that have easy ways to connect with your local community in your niche.

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  1. NOT KEEPING AN OPEN MIND

I have missed out on a lot of possibly great experiences, assuming I would not like it and not even giving it a second thought. If it’s not going to hurt you why not say yes to an experience the worst that could happen is you can come out of it saying “ I tried that, and I did not like it.” rather than having saying no and  regretting it later. The more you try things the more wisdom you have for the next experience in life.

Hopefully these tips will help you next time you doubt your next opportunity, and keep you encouraged to just start. Stop talking yourself out of those hobbies.

Do you have a success story? Have you made your hobby your passion or did you know from a young age who you were going to be and who you wanted to be? I sure didn’t but I would love to hear from both ends of the spectrum. Were you like me unsure of what you wanted to be in your future? Is there anyone out there who shared in the same struggle to find your passion as me, what pushed you to finally tackle your dream? I want hear from you in the comments below.

5 People To Inspire Your Hobby

 

Why not be inspired by the exact hobby of someone you know. They can provide you with a great advantage of advice on what to do and what not to do in starting the hobby. Whatever you fear is holding you up from starting a hobby could be the same hurdle another person had to jump to get where they are today. What could it hurt to ask them how they got over it? If their hobby is not exactly what you want to do let it inspire a new hobby of your own. Either way working together with others to get your hobby going can encourage them to grow, and get your feet off the ground with your interest as well. Whether it is a hobby or life lessons the five following people in your life could be great sources of wisdom.

A Co-Worker or Boss

A while back I had met a couple at work and quickly discovered that if they wanted to do something they went for it. I watched as their passions ensued on Facebook and all the joy it seemed to bring to them. And no I am not just talking about the portrayal of happiness some people try to keep on Facebook. I am talking true happiness of experiencing following their dreams and it poured from their attitudes at work. They were interesting, encouraging, and downright inspiring. We quickly became friends and they truly motivated me to take on my interests in full force even if I feared failure. I learned a lot from this couple as they seemed to have short term and long term goals for their hobbies. They would set their little goals to get to the ultimate final goal and made it happen every time. This couple has gone through several hobbies now some have stuck and some have been put aside, but they do not regret any of the experiences they’ve had along the way. These type of people in my perspective will have advice about several different types of hobbies and can give good guidance about what to do and what not to do to get started.

A Sister or Brother-in-Law

A great example of Hobbybacking (hobby piggy backing) my sister-in-law loves baking. I on other hand do not have a baking bone in my body. What I do have is the love that she loves baking therefore I try to encourage her hobby with baking gift baskets full of fun new baking things. Gift baskets, a hobby? Of course it is and if your hobby can make other’s hobbies thrive than even better. Not only is it a hobby but if you love it enough it could become a business. You do not have to have anything in common with someone in order to relate with their hobbies, you just have to want to support their hobbies. This in my experience will always give you some sort of learning experience towards your own hobby or passion.

Your Best Friend

She has kids, she works out, her house is immaculately clean, and works a full time job. Yet she still finds time to have a hobby. Here is a perfect opportunity to hone in on her ability to do it all and while you may not enjoy the same hobbies. She may still have some amazing tips on how she does it. I find myself coming home from an 8 to 5 Forty hour a week job and I am “too exhausted” to do anything. Yet there is so much more time in the day to do a hobby; obviously so if my best friend, on top, of her job gets so many more things done in a day. So if you’re not interested in her hobby at all at least hone in on her skill to make use of all hours of her day and then some. All in all she may feel great just knowing that some one sees her efforts to have it all together.

An Aunt or Uncle

I have learned a lot from every single one of my wonderfully talented Aunt’s and I appreciate all of their hobbies. As a tomboy growing up, shopping was never really my niche. Then when my parents sent me out to North Dakota to visit my Dad’s side of the family his eldest sister taught me really how therapeutic it is. My Dad’s other sister taught me to enjoy the little things, she could find joy in just about any activity, making it her own. While their hobbies range all over the board I have learned so much from each and every one of them, and most of all received tons of words of wisdom along the way. My parents are absolutely inspiring in their own way, but sometimes hearing their brother and sisters ideals on life can open your mind to a different perspective.

Teens/Kids

A younger generation’s view on things could be just what you need. It seems a little off beat to think about it, but kids sometimes have the greatest hobbies.  Maybe it’s because they haven’t been sucked into the adulthood duties yet and have extra free time or they do not have the responsibility of bills yet. There is nothing blocking their imagination from adult reality opening their minds to all options. Sometimes as adults we stunt ourselves from reaching for the stars because the real world has truly slapped us in the face hard.  As education evolves so does the extracurricular activities offered or made available for children and teens. Maybe it’s a hobby you can do with your kids, nieces and nephews, and family that everyone enjoys. Possibly your hobby is supporting your kid’s hobby, but all that matters is it’s something you enjoy yourself.

While it’s easy to see what someone has or does and be jealous of it, it’s much easier to create a crowd of people around you that you support and they support you, sharing in each other’s hobbies. Trying new things with your friends and family may not start your next big life change but they can create lasting memories. I want to hear who inspires you. Any other people you would add to this list? What hobby have others inspired you to do?