Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cordies Keep Cables Under Control

"Argh! Can you come here and grab this cord while I go under the desk and feed it up to you?"

Does your man hate it when his USB cables or headphone cords slip off the desk in to the netherworld underneath? It is so hard to keep them organized! And finding them when you need them without a flashlight and mining equipment is sometimes impossible, depending how cluttered the under desk is. (Is that a Mountain Dew bottle and a half eaten bag of Cheatos?)

Well, the good people at Quirky have come up with a logical and simple solution to organizing cables and cords on a desk. Cordies are an invention that prevents a lot of hassle and makes a work space look much neater.

Basically it holds the cords in place, right where they are attached and the slack hangs down the back of the desk area. This can be useful not only for a desk but a nightstand as well. It is very handy for phone cords so you don't have to search for them on the floor or behind a table when it is time to plug in before going to bed.

They come in assorted colors to match any taste or d├ęcor. Cordies are a great gift for just about anyone. The receiver of this present will think you are so clever for coming up with the idea for them. It is functional and affordable. Take a quick glance at his desk to see if he has cord control issues for all of his many electronics, and you'll know you are getting him a fantastic gift.

Black and White versions are shown above. The Metal version is a couple bucks more, but it looks really good with most computers, especially Apple products. (Shown and linked in the picture directly below.)

And, of course, since we love colors here at Gift Reviews for Guys, they also have Blue and Pink available. Get one for yourself and for your husband!

Do you know of any other great uses for this simple device? Share your thoughts about that or anything else in the comments below!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Nerdy Deals

Here are some really great deals for the nerdy guy on your shopping list. The sales go through March 2, 2014, but there are some links to great products if you find this post too late. 

Buy 2, Get 1 Free Apparel

Buy 2, get 1 free is a really fun deal! Check out some of the apparel below. There are others, but I personally suggest these.
Blue Sun
Blue Sun T-Shirt for your Firefly fan. My husband loves this shirt. It is usually only recognized by true Firefly or Serenity fans, but he does get comments from them sometimes. It is a unique color so it isn't exactly like all his other T-Shirts.

  Crest of Hyrule
Crest of Hyrule T-Shirt for your Zelda playing man. They also offer a baby-doll style shirt in case you and your guy are in to matching outfits. (Don't mock us! It is really funny to hear comments about our matching nerd shirts.)

Bazinga! T-Shirt for your Big Bang Theory loving guy. I've never seen the show, but my husband gets a kick out of this shirt.

And, he will appreciate this gift for you just as much as you will. The "I Am R2-D2 Ladies' Tunic Tank" is really cute, and wearing it is a treat for him. So go ahead and buy one for yourself! My husband bought it for me to wear on our honeymoon. I like how it is extra long. I don't like shirts that get short and wide and show off the belly. This one hides the crack in the back and belly in the front and is fun!  

I Am R2-D2 Ladies' Tunic Tank

Don't forget to get him a Jedi Bathrobe, or a Sith Bathrobe if he is so inclined. Check out my Jedi Bathrobe review here.

Save up to 50% Off Tools, Gadgets, Survival
There are some really great sales on tools, gadgets, and survival stuff as well. Check those out for a guy who is practical yet nerdy. Or, have a look around for a gift for your zombie hunter.

Don't forget to read my Force FX Lightsaber review and check out the Star Wars Death Star Tea Infuser review as well. 

I will write a full review on the Pivot Power products from Quirky soon, but for now check it out on sale!
Pivot Power - Articulated Power Strip is a great gift for anyone. It is very useful and practical. I love ours. My step-dad and father-in-law both enjoyed getting them for Christmas.
Pivot Power - Articulated Power Strip
I hope you enjoy shopping through these geeky sale items and finding just the right thing for your nerd. Share in the comments below what you bought for your man! (Or for yourself!)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Every Nerd Needs a Lightsaber

Star Wars Force FX Lightsabers
For Kids of All Ages
Anyone who has seen any Star Wars movie immediately wants a Lightsaber . The closest (and safest) thing there is to a real one to play with is a Force FX Lightsaber. These Star Wars Force FX Lightsabers have many features which make them a really cool gift and lots of fun for everyone.

·         The blade lights up from the hilt to the tip of the blade just like a real Lightsaber.
·         The hilts are designed to match the movie versions perfectly except a little bit larger.
·         They make realistic sounds when they are on and react to motion and impacts. So if you hit something with the blade it will make the clashing sounds from the movies.
·         They are much more durable than expected. We have each had a few for several years and they have endured many epic battles.
·         They have an automatic shut off to save batteries. I don't know if this is important but I discovered it when using them to light a room when the power was out during a storm.
·         Each one comes with a stand to display it if you are more in to looking at it than playing with it.
·         They come with either a fixed blade or removable. This is important to people who go to comic cons and other nerd conventions. They have to be able to carry the hilt in their sleeve or on their belt.
·         These Lightsabers are available to match several different characters, both Dark and Light side.
·         They make a great gift along with the Jedi or Sith Bathrobe!

Star Wars Force FX Removable Blade Lightsabers
Really Great Gifts for Guys
These Lightsabers really are the best imitations. They look great, feel great, sound great and are very high quality. They make great gifts for anyone, even actual kids. They really do hold up very well. Just figure out who his favorite character is and get him the blade to match. Also try to figure out if it would be worth it to get the Star Wars Force FX Removable Blade Lightsabers for your man. The removable blade ones are more expensive but it is important to some people.

The above links are directly to Think Geek, but they are also available on Amazon. (See below.) Check out both to see who is offering the best deal at the time. They offer some really great deals on Star Wars stuff.

Too bad those pictures don't show the color very well. Mace Windu's purple blade is really cool! 
What do you think? Do you have any experience with toy Lightsabers? Does your man still like to play with Star Wars toys? Share with us in the comments below!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Holy Coffee!

Good Coffee can be a Spiritual Experience
There is a group of cloistered monks in the state of Wyoming who pray, work, study, meditate, and sell amazing coffee. I was doing a little more research about these Carmelite monks and realized they are pretty much the Jedi of the Catholic Church. They wear brown robes (kind of like the Jedi bathrobe but even cooler) and are prayer warriors in their own little community.

I was first introduced to Mystic Monk Coffee by my brother who won a box of the Monk Shots (Mystic Monk brand specific K-cups for Keurig coffee makers) from his local radio station. At first he thought, "Oh that's nice that they have a trade to help support their monastic lifestyle." But after he tried it he realized that like many other monks they don't just make an ordinary product, they provide a really great product and supporting a good cause isn't the only reason to buy it.

What do they sell?

The main product line these Jedi Monks sell contains a variety of coffees. They sell the K-Cups for individual mugs, ground coffee, and whole beans. There are several different flavors, roasts, blends, and caffeine levels to suit anyone's taste. My dad loves the dark roast. I'm excited about the fact that they have decaf, yay I can actually drink some! And my husband sometimes enjoys flavored coffees like caramel.

Some of the blends are named in keeping with the Catholic theme. They have "Vespers Decaf" and "Midnight Vigils Blend". This adds to the novelty and the fun. There is even a little picture of a prayerful monk on the box.

They do warn that their K-Cups have more coffee than the typical ones, so they are perfect if you like a stronger cup of coffee, or else just make 10 ounces instead of 8 ounces.

The monks also sell a variety of teas. My only complaint is that it comes in tea bags instead of loose leaf tea, so we don’t get to use the Death Star Tea Infuser, but there is nothing wrong with tea bags. They are convenient. Their tea has cute names and bold flavors.

Gifts and Accessories
In addition to the delicious coffees and teas they also have mugs and gift sets available. The assorted sizes of mugs or travel mugs have the Mystic Monk logo on them, which is pretty cool. There are sweet treats like chocolate covered cherries and other candies as well. All are made with the same eye for quality as the coffee.

They also sell rosaries, religious books, medals, statues, holy water fonts, and other spiritual gift items. There is something for everyone.

A really nice gift to give is a coffee of the month or other type of subscription. This way the gift keeps coming every month as a reminder of your love. The price is a little lower overall if you buy a subscription, too.

Building Project
If you're interested in what the monks are doing with the profits, you can have a look at their building project. There are so many men interested in joining their religious order that they have to expand their structure. It is going to be a really cool place in a beautiful area. Click here to learn more about the building project.

Great Gift Idea

This is a great gift for anyone who enjoys coffee or tea. Isn't that everyone? Of course, it is a great add-on present if you are purchasing a Keurig coffee pot for your man. Get him the Keurig for his birthday and then a subscription or box of Mystic Monk Coffee for the next occasion. You will really make his morning ritual special. (His afternoon ritual, too, if he is an all day coffee drinker!)

If you aren't sure what type of coffee is his favorite, there are sample packs available. Then you can figure out which one he loves and load up on that for the next gift. The fact that this coffee is unique and quite high quality makes it a very special gift for anyone who enjoys drinking coffee.

What about your man? What is his favorite type of coffee? Have you ever tried Mystic Monk Coffee? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New Toy Day - Nest Thermostat!

So, my husband just bought a Nest. You know, that fancy smartphone controlled thermostat. He has been wanting one for a long time, and has been saving his Amazon points for one. He finally decided to go for it. It just arrived and he is playing with it already. I have some things that I need help with, so I asked how long he was going to be playing with his new toy...

"It is probably going to be awhile."

Well, at least he is honest. If your guy is the type that can play with something that isn't a toy for awhile, then this might be a good gift for him. Sorry honey, I know I missed date night but I just got a new thermostat! I really want to play with that for awhile, you don't mind do you? Boys are so funny sometimes.

We had to get some paint matched because the people who lived in this house before didn't take the old thermostat off to paint behind it, and the Nest is a lot smaller than typical thermostats. I was excited about this because there was another spot that has needed repairs and paint for awhile, so we finally got to it. Everyone wins!

He likes the idea of this thermostat because of several reasons:

  • It is a fun new piece of technology. Of course he wants it.
  • It turns the air conditioner compressor off before it stops blowing air. It doesn't need to be on the entire time because it stays cold for a little while after it turns off. This is particularly exciting to us because that is likely the part of the air conditioner to break next which will probably make it so we need to finally replace the whole thing. I imagine this would extend the life of any air conditioner unit.
  • Instead of just having a set timer of when to turn on and off the Nest can learn when to turn on based on what temperature you want it to be at a certain time. It does something so that it saves energy anyway.
  • If you forgot to turn the a/c or heat off when you left the house you can do it while you're gone from your phone. This is particularly useful if you leave the house expecting to only be gone for a few minutes but then decide to stay out longer. 
  • It can learn! You can set the Nest to watch trends about usage and such so it will learn when you are home, when you turn the settings a certain way and then adjust to those things to save energy. 
I'm not sure of all the other details yet. He will use it for awhile and then tell me all about how great it is and I will write a full Nest review. I might not see my husband for the rest of the night, but at least we will get a pretty interesting product review about it!

Let us know what you think about all these new Smart products in the comments below! Do you have a Nest? Do you love it?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Extra Juice for His Phone

Guys who love technology go through their batteries pretty quickly. My husband is constantly using his phone for something. When there is no way to plug it in for awhile it seems like a tragedy to him. He's not really great at being "unplugged" from the world for very long.

We got him this external battery case for his phone in case of such emergencies. It doubles the life of the battery. That means that it will charge it fully once without being plugged in itself.

The Mophie Juice Pack Air doubles the life of the battery.
The Mophie Juice Pack Helium adds life to the battery but not quite as much, but the benefit of this one is that it is smaller and lighter, in case he doesn't want to add a lot of bulk to the phone.
The Mophie Juice Pack Plus adds makes the battery last 120% longer.

It comes in several colors and doubles as a protective phone case. It doesn't increase the size of the phone too much, which his important to him. He used to keep the extra battery case on all the time, but I think he wanted one that was more rugged for protection so he uses that now. But, he keeps the extra one charged and ready to go just in case.

If it is on the phone then it plugs in the same way as if it were not on it. Then the phone and the extra battery both charge automatically. It is really easy to use. I love that he has one of these for emergencies, and he loves how it has functioned the entire time. It is a great way to extend the life of a phone battery without a lot of fuss.

Great Gift for Men

This is a really nice present for your guy if he is always saying he didn't call because his phone battery died. No more excuses! Of course, make sure to get the one that fits his phone. The affiliate links above are for the iPhone 5. Included below are links for other phones.

This is a link for the battery case for the iPhone 4 and 4S.

This is a link for the battery case for the Galaxy S3.

On a side note, be sure to purchase this case as fulfilled by Amazon. (Rather than the other buying options on the side for Used and New.) Some of the reviews state that there is a counterfeit product being sold, so just make sure to get it sold and fulfilled through Amazon and that won't be a problem.

Do you or your husband have an external battery charger? What is your experience with extra batteries for phones? Please share in the comments below!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Gun Box - Keep it Safe

Keep Your Family Double Safe

When we found out that we were pregnant one of the first things we thought of was, "I guess we're going to have to lock up all the guns now." Usually I keep one in my nightstand and his goes on the desk next to the bed when he gets home. Living in an city where burglaries and home invasions are fairly common, it is safer to be able to defend your family.

He started searching for a good option to have easy access to his weapon in case of emergencies, but to protect the kids from any kind of harm caused by accidents. Of course we will teach our children from a young age about gun safety and that they are never allowed to touch a gun unless one of us hands it to them. But, kids sometimes do stupid things (good thing adults outgrow that?) and there is no sense in being anything but safe when it comes to someone's life.

So, my husband was looking for something that could meet specific qualifications:

·         Something that kids couldn't get in to even if they tried
·         Something that would give him fast and easy access to his weapon at any time even if he is woken from sleep and it is dark in the room.
·         Something that is small enough to fit on or around his desk so he can reach it easily from bed.

He found The Gun Box.

Defend Responsibly

The catch phrase, "Defend Responsibly" makes perfect sense for this product and it is exactly what my husband was looking for. The Gun Box meets the requirements he set out as a perfect solution to the problems he identified, and had features that make it even better than he expected. It even incorporates technology! Tactical gear and technology combined; he's in love.

There are three different "levels" of The Gun Box. Each one has additional features, but the price increases as well. I hope this helps you to figure out which one best meets your needs.

Features Common to All Three Levels of The Gun Box


All three can be opened by response to an RFID chip. This technology uses specific individual codes that are embedded in a really tiny chip. They can be put in to stickers and lay flat. A lot of libraries are using this technology now to track their books. The way it works for the Gun Box is that each one comes with a chip with an individual code in a wristband. When the wristband is brought in to proximity with the box, it will open.

Basically, my husband can put the wrist band on when he has his gun locked up and then all it takes to open it is bringing his hand above the box. This is great for the middle of the night or in emergency situations. He can just open the box and not have to worry about remembering codes or lining up dials perfectly.

Opens real smooth, huh? And I think that might be his Pebble Smart Watch that he is wearing in the video but it is hard to tell.

USB Ports

If your man loves technology as much as mine, finding enough USB ports to plug everything in is always an issue (well until he installed one of these). The Gun Box has two USB ports so that accessories and devices can be plugged in to it. This is great for on a desk or next to a bed where things are often plugged in for charging.

Other Common Features to All Three

Here are some other cool features that all three of the Gun Boxes have:
·         Made of durable material – The way it is described on their website is "aircraft strength aluminum alloy shell". Guys love thinking their stuff is made out of fighter jets. It makes them feel manly.
·         Motion sensor – If someone does pick it up, play with it, move it or try to open it there is an alarm that goes off.
·         Battery backup – I liked this one because I thought, what's the point of it if someone is burgling your house and they cut the power first? (Why are the electrical boxes on the outside of houses in Arizona anyway? Doesn't make sense.) Then you can't get to your gun anyway if it needs power to open the box. They thought of this, so don't worry. (The battery will last 3 days without power.)
·         Mountable – It has holes that make it easy to mount the box upside down or sideways, whichever works best for your situation. My husband's just sits on a desk for now but it might get mounted under the bed. It is nice to have options.
·         Kensington lock port – I think that means that you can buy a separate cable and lock set to keep it even more secure in case someone tries to steal the box.
·         Assembled in America – Woohoo! 'Murica.

So if the features just described are enough for you, buy The Gun Box "RF". If you're looking for more, bump up about 20 bucks to the next level.

The Gun Box Biometric

In addition to all of the above features, this gun safe also includes a fingerprint scanner. Fancy! This one can open with the RFID chip in the bracelet, or by fingerprint identification. It can hold many different finger prints and can detect them at different angles. That is important for emergencies when it needs to open quickly and the finger might not be exactly centered or might be sideways.

The fact that it stores many prints is perfect because then your husband can use several different fingers, or different people's finger prints can be stored. So I have access to the gun even though he is wearing the bracelet. It is nice for anyone who doesn't feel like wearing the bracelet at home, as well. (On a side note, they were originally going to make it a ring instead of a bracelet but had problems with it in production. We might see that in the future as an option, though.)

The Gun Box Biometric is the one that we have, though we did consider the next step up. Maybe someday! It would be an amazing gift.

I put my hand in this picture to show scale, but then realized my hands are really small compared to most people, but the dimensions are given below. Note the red light in both of the pictures. I picked up the box to move it and of course, it has a motion sensor so the alarm went off. Again, the finger print does not need to be in this direction or place any certain way, the box will be able to read it. 

The Gun Box Premier

This one has all of the features of the two others, including the fingerprint scanner. It also adds security monitoring, tracking and electronic notifications. The Gun Box Premier has a GPS device inside so if it does get stolen it will be easy to track. That is a great feature if you are not home when your house is bugled. It will help the police to track this, all of your other stolen possessions, and the jerks who took them.

In addition to the audible alarm system, since this one has tracking and alert notifications it can be set up so that if someone is tampering or playing with it a message can be sent to your phone. This is a great feature for so many different reasons. You can know immediately if someone is in your house messing with your stuff. It helps protect your belongings as well as your children. The kids won't be able to get in, but it is really great to know if they even tried.

The Gun Box Premier is more expensive than the other two, but it has some really fantastic features. It has a $75 subscription fee paid annually. The purchase price includes the first year of service. The box can continue to be used without the service, but the special GPS tracking and alerts will shut off after the first year if the monitoring fee is not continued. Just like any home security system, they expect compensation for 24/7 service.

A Responsible Gift

The Gun Box is a great gift for anyone who wants to safely take care of their family. First, make sure his favorite gun will fit inside, and that the box will fit where he will likely put it.

Outside dimensions – 11.6"W x 10"H x 2.7"D
Inside dimensions – 8.9"W x 6.5"H x 1.5"D

There will probably be plenty of room for a gun (even with tactical flashlight attached), and a few other personal valuables. Some guys like to keep their keys or wallet inside if they fit so that when they open it in the morning they know to just take everything out to bring along with them so they don't forget anything.

The company offers military and law enforcement discounts, which is really nice of them. The website explains how to get them if you or your special guy qualify.
This is a great gift for expecting parents who are also responsible gun owners. It seems like all the baby shower gifts are cute and soft, the daddy will probably appreciate this more. It is also a good birthday, Christmas or any occasion present. It is very nice to get for a guy who is marrying a woman who might not be too enthusiastic about her man keeping guns in the house.

Most of the product reviews I write contain affiliate links as explained in the About section, for which I receive some compensation. While I believe in every product I review and only promote them with honest opinions, I am suggesting this one without any affiliate links. I wrote The Gun Box review because I just think it is a great product and important for safety.

In response to the great question about how to get in the box if all power is lost and the batteries are completely dead:
The batteries should last for up to three days, so if you sleep through the power going out or if you aren't home when it happens you should still have time to get in to the box.
However, if for some reason everything completely runs out of power you still have the option of getting in to the Gun Box. On the bottom of the box there is a small hole for the tiny wrench to fit in. With that you can turn it and the box will open. You have to remove a screw first to reveal the hole. The picture below is of the bottom of the Gun Box with the wrench in it for emergency opening.
Keep in mind that this gun box is designed to keep kids or other people away from the gun, but provide you with easy access to it. It is not a traditional gun safe that will force burglars to use a torch or other advanced tools to get inside.

Do you have any thoughts about gun safety in the home? Have you seen any products that work? What do you like about this one? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Monday, February 10, 2014

USB Wall Outlet

You Can't Spell "Husband" without "USB"

It seems like everything is charged by a USB cable these days. Well if you are looking for a gift for your husband or boyfriend that will make charging all of his electronics easier, consider a USB wall outlet. Most of the time things that need to be charged by USB cord need to be plugged in to a computer or to have an adapter to plug in to the wall.

The product I'm suggesting replaces the regular electrical outlet in the wall with one that accommodates both traditional plugs and USB cords. There are several designs of these types of outlets. Some replace one of the traditional plugs with two USB ports, some replace both, and still others just add two USB ports but still have two normal outlets. That is the type my husband has and enjoys.

They are not hard to replace, or at least it was easy for me. He just showed me when he was done, but my husband isn't an electrician or anything so it must not have been too difficult. They come in different colors to match the ones you already have or to match the electronics. It is also nice because some computers don't like to charge things when they are off. With this device he can charge everything and have his computer off at night.

Gift for Guys

This is a great gift for anyone who has several gadgets that require USB adapters to plug in. Power sources are a hot commodity around most guys' desks these days. This is also nice to have in a living room or a kitchen so that he can charge his phone or other device without having to leave it in the office or bedroom where he would typically charge it at night.

Although this isn't a really exciting review, and it isn't a terribly exciting product, it is very useful and very convenient. He will really appreciate it if he is having power source issues. It is a simple idea that makes a lot of sense for guys with an ever expanding collection of electronics.

Click on the links or pictures in this review to bring you to the various products mentioned. And share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Better Relationship is a Great Gift

Love is the Greatest Gift

Of course, the best gift we can give to anyone in our life is love. That is what we are seeking to express when we get gifts for boyfriends, husbands, fathers, sons and friends. And, if it is a thoughtful gift, most people will appreciate it to some degree. But, did you ever notice how some people appreciate gifts even more than you expect them to? Or have you noticed that even if you put a lot of thought (and money) in to a gift some people don't seem to give it the appreciation you expected?

Part of the reason for this difference in reactions among gift recipients is the way they receive love the best, or their "love language" as it is explained in the book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman. This book helps to explain how to show love to people in our lives in ways that will be the most meaningful to them. It is a huge help, not just in romantic relationships but in relations with everyone around you as well.

Three's a Crowd

I had read this book around the time I graduated high school. My dad recommended it to me, and I am forever grateful to him for that. I read it and took it to heart, and even shared the ideas in it with some high school kids on a Youth Group trip I was chaperoning. They ate it up just as much as I did. It turns out we all have not just a need and desire to be loved, but a real longing to love other people fully as well.

A few years ago, several years after I had read this book, my husband (then boyfriend) and I were having problems. He was working a lot of hours, usually seven days a week and late in to the evening every day. My logical mind was happy for him that he was getting so many hours because he was paying off debt and setting himself up with a strong financial future. It was also making a good impression for him at work, which would help him with promotions down the line.

However, I knew that the relationship was struggling a lot. I was trying not to be upset, but I just didn't feel loved anymore. I couldn't tell if he did or not, all I could see in him was that he was tired and focused on work. It didn't seem like he was making any efforts towards our relationship so I felt like I wasn't important and that he didn't love me.

Naturally, I thought about how I felt and what I would like to do to improve the relationship. For me it was obvious, to fix a relationship you need to spend time together. So I thought about it and found a Glock Armorer's class. (It is all day class where you learn how to fix and maintain guns.) I thought that he would enjoy it because he loves guns and is interested in how they work. He also loves learning. I figured that I was making a small sacrifice because I wasn't as interested in the subject matter, but I thought it would be really fun to sit together and to have him help me the whole day and to teach me more about it.

He agreed to go, even though he had to take a day off work. It had been months since he had a day off and figured one day wouldn't hurt. I was really looking forward to spending this quality time with him. That is, until the day before when he said, "Bob offered to pick us up so we can all ride together to the class, so I told him that'd be great." I was completely dumbfounded. He had invited his coworker, who he was spending about 80 hours a week with already, on our date. We were supposed to spend the whole day together, just us! I was heartbroken. He had no idea at the time what he had done.

We still went to the class as planned, but just as I expected, I was largely ignored the entire day. There was another guy from their work that was there that they didn't expect and the three of them had a jolly time. I struggled through the class, not just to keep from crying from disappointment, but because the material was difficult for me. A nice old man took pity on me and helped me through while my boyfriend laughed and joked with his friend. It was terrible…for me.

Still Not Getting It

Within a few weeks of that incident there was another one that was a similar clash in the understanding of love languages. There was a gem show going on across from his workplace. He and his coworkers decided to go over on their lunch break. My boyfriend had sent me a text message with a picture of some beautiful jewelry his friend had bought for his wife. I replied, "That's nice I guess, but I know she would rather spend time with him than with that piece of jewelry." He seemingly ignored the comment to talk about the great deal his friend had gotten.

That same day he came over and gave me a necklace. Now, don't get me wrong. It is a beautiful necklace. Probably one I would have picked out myself, which is pretty good for a guy to pick something that good on his own. I don't know the cost, but I'm sure it was expensive. I love it and still wear it and all that, but it hurt inside that he didn't understand what I really needed was time with him. I wondered how many hours he had to work to earn enough to buy that, and how I would have traded it for just an hour alone with him.

Time to Go

Finally, I decided to break up with him. I hadn't been happy for months. I "knew" he didn't love me, and according to all of my past experiences I figured he wouldn't be willing to work on the relationship to make it work. So I told him that it was over. I hadn't ever seen him that emotionally affected by anything in the entire time I knew him. I was honestly completely shocked. I had no idea that he cared that much, because from my perspective he didn't show it at all ever. He even wrote me a letter begging for another chance.

I remembered my dad's advice about the 5 Love Languages book. I started to realize that if he really did care for me, maybe he just didn't know how to show it in a way that made me feel it. I asked if we could listen to or read this book together and he agreed. At first it was hard because he would text message or talk in the middle of listening to it. Maybe he is great at multitasking, but it made it seem like it was unimportant to him and that hurt my feelings.

A New Hope

Eventually, we did the little quiz together to figure out what our love languages are. If you haven't read the book or heard of this concept before, the love languages are as follows:

·         Acts of Service
·         Physical Touch
·         Quality Time
·         Words of Affirmation
·         Gifts

Basically, everyone likes most of these things (probably all to some degree) but there are usually one or two that if we don't receive them then we feel unloved. That is our primary love language and we need it. Everyone is different and there is nothing wrong with any of them. They are all important, but there is a particular one is most important to each individual.

What we found out, surprise surprise, is that my primary love language is Quality Time. So it had been really hard on me to have him working so many hours and spending so little time with me. The damage was severe when in the example above, I expected to get to spend a whole day together and he invited his friend along. He had no idea that it was that important to me because Quality Time isn't a language he speaks naturally.

We realized we needed to learn each other's languages and how to speak them. So we decided to do a five week challenge where we do something that is in the other person's language every week. This made a huge difference. It was still a long hard road after that, as all relationships are difficult. But, this book saved our relationship and has been a continued help for years. We even try to incorporate the ideas for our friends and family members, trying to show them love in the ways that they understand.

We really started to understand how to show each other love in an effective and meaningful way. Please don't think that this was all one sided either. I am writing from my perspective because I knew my feelings best. I have struggled through learning his languages just as much. Relationships are hard! But they are even harder if you're attempting to get through it in another language. Let this book start teaching you and your man how to speak each other's languages.

It turns out he had always wanted to be a good boyfriend. He wanted to work hard to give me all that I needed and to show me how much he loved me. He wanted to make me happy just as much as I wanted to make him happy, probably more. But how can anyone be expected to know how to do something if no one has ever taught them? Sometimes we make lucky guesses, but everything we really know needs to be learned.

As a Gift

There are a few ways to approach this book as a gift. One is to suggest reading it together. That is what we did, and it didn't cause either of us to become defensive because we were working on it together. I don't remember now, but I hope I suggested it in such a way that implied that we both needed to understand the concepts, and not just him. If you have a fairly strong relationship and you would like to improve it, then there is probably no danger in buying it for him and seeing if he is willing to read it on his own or together. You should read it, too in either case though.

Another way to make it a gift is to read it yourself. He doesn't even need to know that you read it. Then apply the ideas. You will probably be able to figure out what his primary language is, and you can start to adjust your actions to love him in a way that he will really understand. Showing him love in his language really is the best gift you can give him. He will notice it, and probably respond in a loving grateful way even though he doesn't realize what the change is that occurred.

This book is also a fantastic gift for teenagers, people starting to date, or anyone who is starting a relationship. It is one of the books that will be required reading for our children before they are allowed to date. (Getting a drivers license requires training and testing. Why shouldn't dating? It is much more difficult and dangerous.)

It can be a romantic Valentine's Day gift or anniversary gift. It is even a great unasked for wedding gift for friends. Even if it isn't on their registry, a young couple should have this and will appreciate it later.


The same author, Gary Chapman teamed up with Jennifer Thomas to write a similar book called The Five Languages of Apology: How to Experience Healing in all Your Relationships. It turns out that we all apologize and forgive in different ways as well. My husband and I read this book together and started joking about couples who literally yell at each other when they apologize. If you say it loud it shows that you mean it more, right? It is funny to us, only because we started to really understand how to ask each other for forgiveness and to give it freely.

It turns out that I was holding grudges and denying forgiveness just because he was saying it in a way that I didn't understand. How can you say you're sorry if you're just going to do it again? I needed a plan for change. It was great to learn that about myself, and for him to start to understand, too.

I was amazed at how liberating it was for both of us when I learned to apologize to him in a way that he understood and could accept. I have learned to accept responsibility for my actions, to not make excuses and to apologize directly for what I had done. It was hard to swallow my worthless pride at first, but when I saw how much it meant to him and how well it worked to heal our hurts, I started to delight in it. It has become so much easier to just admit that I was wrong.

This book is also essential reading for anyone who desires to be in a loving and selfless relationship. It helps all relationships, not just romantic ones. Apologizing is a skill that most people lack, probably for want of practice. It could probably change the world if we all worked on it even a little bit.

Details and Notes

The author of these books is a Christian and there are some Bible verses and ideas in it, but even if you are not religious in any way you can still get a lot out of these books. It isn't overwhelmingly strong or preachy at all. If you give it as a gift, the recipient won't get the impression that you are trying to evangelize; it is just plain good advice.

There is also a book about how to love and discipline children according to their love languages. We read this one together to help prepare us for our own kids. (The 5 Love Languages of Children) We learned a lot. There is another book about showing appreciation in the workplace in ways that are meaningful to coworkers and employees. (The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People) These books both utilize similar concepts, but are applied to specific situations.

The books are available in several formats. If he has a Kindle eReader then the Kindle version is a great follow-up gift, or add-on if you're buying him one. The audio versions are great if you want to listen together.

What do you think? Have you had any success with relationship books? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Life is a Game

The Gift of Productivity

You know that long list if things your guy has that he always wants to get done but never has time for? It has a list of projects and things to do around the house, or books to read and other things to catch up on. Now there is a way to give him the motivation to get all of those things done!

How to Play

Habit RPG is an online game that is directly influenced and controlled by real life actions. If you are familiar with any adventure type video games you will see how this game works just like them. In the video games you are the main character, often joined up with other characters who join your group or party. Together or individually you follow a story, go on quests, fight bad guys, find items and pets, and gain experience for your character so it can be stronger and fight tougher enemies.

Habit RPG incorporates all of these ideas in to a real life based game. In the video games you gain experience and level your character in different ways. Often it involves doing mundane tasks like killing a whole lot of the same poor creature over and over again. Sometimes the tasks are more difficult and involve more steps to complete. These are usually worth more points and you can usually gain cool items from them.

Habit RPG uses these same concepts to help you to complete tasks and to form good habits in your life. To gain experience you can do tasks like remembering to floss your teeth every day, by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, reading a chapter of that book you've been meaning to finish, or any other thing you are working on improving. The game also has built in quests where you can fight bad guys by completing items on a to do list, and even join up with real life friends or family members to fight the enemy together!

To get started you put things in either as "Habit", "Daily", or "To Do". An example of a Habit might be "Put the toilet seat down" and every time you do it you get to hit the plus button which earns you XP (experience) gold, and maybe an item. But, every time you walk out of the bathroom without doing it you have to do the minus button, which causes you to lose points from your health bar. If you lose all 50 points then you lose a level.

If you put something under "Daily" you can set it to be required to be done every day or just certain days of the week. An example could be "Go for a walk." Then if you go for a walk you get XP and other rewards. If you don't walk that day then you lose health. If you are in a group with other people and working on the same quest they will lose points if you don't do your "dailies" too, so it is even more motivation to get them done!

Placing something on a "To do" list leaves it open ended unless you put a deadline on it. So if you don't get to it for a few weeks you won't lose points. "To Do" items typically grant more experience points upon completion. You can also determine if each activity is Easy, Medium, or Hard difficulty. This will affect how much experience you earn as well as how much damage you take if it is an incomplete daily or a habit that you failed to comply with.

You can get different outfits, equipment, weapons, and pets. You can even feed your pets enough to become mounts! There are a lot more details to it, but that is basically the gist. It is a game where you level up your character while you're improving yourself as a person.

Getting Stuff Done

This game has helped to get a lot of tasks done, and has made our relationship less stressful. Instead of saying, "Honey can you please do this for me?" I can just say, "Do you think you could add this quest to your Habit RPG To Do list? It is probably a hard one so you'll get lots of XP." It makes trimming hedges and poisoning weeds worth doing instead of dreading.

Pretty soon he will start looking for things to do around the house that can earn him experience points. It is a great motivator and lots of fun. I know a lot of people who have been flossing their teeth every day for several weeks now because of it. Who does that, really?

It is a way for the whole family to work together to defeat the enemy of Laziness and to have fun completing tasks that would otherwise be kind of a pain. Life is more of an adventure!

Where Does the Gift Come In?

Habit RPG is free to play, but they offer a subscription that gives bonuses that help make playing more fun! The subscription is only $5 per month.

·         Disables Ads - There are some ads to help keep up on the maintenance and development of the site. Buying the subscription removes them from the page.
·         Allows Purchase of Gems with Gold – Gold is found every time a task is completed. It can be used to purchase new equipment or other rewards. Gems are used to purchase extra special things like different clothes, skin colors, and quest scrolls. Buying the subscription makes it so the player can use the gold they find to buy gems to buy these fun items.
·         Retain Full History Entries – The website keeps a short history of completed "to do" items and information about habit formation and daily completion. Non-subscriber information is consolidated or deleted after a certain amount of time to save space on their servers. A subscriber has full access to their history in graphs and to export to other programs.
·         Daily Drop-Caps Doubled – There is a limit to the number of items a user can find each day. No matter how many tasks they complete they will only be able to find a certain number of pet eggs, hatching potions or food. This number is doubled for subscribers. That is a huge bonus for people who enjoy the little pets and mounts. (They really are so cute.)
·         Supports the Developers – The money goes to supporting further development to help make the game better, and rewards the people who have put so much time and effort in to creating it. This is a feel-good point to buying the subscription.

Overall, the subscription makes the game more fun to play which makes getting things done much easier. He will find the subscription fun and helpful. It isn't much money so it is a nice inexpensive gift idea.

This is a nice gift for anyone who appreciates video games and wishes he got more done in real life. It is good for the guy who likes to see direct results and rewards of their work. (That's all guys right?) This gift will only work for guys with a computer and internet access. There is an app for Smartphones, but it is much easier to set everything up on the computer.

This is outstanding for adults as well and kids. My niece and nephew are really excited that they are in our party. They look forward to getting things done and it helps them to strive to be better at school. It is a good way to remind kids to get their chores done. A boy of any age will work harder at anything in order to get a bigger virtual sword and an outfit that makes their little cartoon guy look tough.

I tried to get a direct link to the subscription page, but I guess you have to have an account first. They are also introducing group and family rates to get the subscription benefits for your whole party! You can look at the Group Plans here

You can see my little character on the side of this page. My husband created a program to make it appear on a website and show which animals I'm using right now and what outfit I'm wearing.  Here is a picture of my husband's character right now. He has a golden gryphon, a shield that looks like a skull, and a smoking sword. He kind of looks like a ninja. He has been getting a lot done to earn all of these cool items.

What do you think? Will this help your husband, son, boyfriend or friend get their work done? What is your experience with old fashioned to do lists, and how would it compare to this? Please share in the comments below!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Not Just Ordinary Underwear

Unicorn Underwear

Men are funny about their underwear. Even though they just have multiples of the same style in different colors they still make sure to rotate through them properly so one doesn't wear out faster than the rest. Won't they all wear out at the same time then? Anyway, underwear is probably something most men don't think about much unless there is something truly remarkable about them.

My husband had a couple pair of these special boxer briefs before I even met him. I was at the BX (Base Exchange-the store on an Air Force base) with our mutual friend one day, and my guy asked me to check to see if they had these Under Armour underwear. (Hey, tax free on base!) When my friend and I saw the price we were both baffled because we know my man to be a frugal person. Why would he spend that much on one pair of underwear? Granted, he only had a couple pair at that time, but still…

"They must be hand made out of unicorn hair or something!"

This was just one of the explanations that my friend and I came up with for spending over $10 a pair for men's underoos. Still, I bought a pair for my then boyfriend, and my friend got a pair for himself to try out. My friend reported back to me that they were indeed worth every penny and more, and our guess about being made out of unicorn hair was accurate. Thus, they became "unicorn underwear".

Since that time my husband has replaced all of his under clothes with unicorn underwear. It was a slow process. He found lots of really great colors and added them to his wish list. His dream of throwing away all inferior under garments came true this past Christmas when mother and mother-in-law came through in a big way and got him several pair.

The Low Down on the Down Low

These boxer brief style underwear are made out of some breathable blend of polyester/Elastane…whatever that is, they are stretchy but breathe and are soft. They stay in place and he doesn't crawl up the crack. The stitching is designed to prevent irritation in the sensitive areas.

They provide support enough for working out, but are excellent for everyday use as well. They are moisture wicking to give that fresh clean feeling all day. I'm told these are comfortable with any types of pants or shorts. They last a long time even with regular use and wear.

Some important things to keep in mind when shopping for your man:

·         Make sure the ones you select have the easy access hole so he can go potty without pulling his pants down. (Unless your guy doesn't like that.) All of the links on this page lead to ones with the opening fly.
·         They come in three different lengths. 3, 6 or 9 inch. The guys I know like the 6" but you can probably guess based on how long his current underwear are. This number indicates how far the leg part goes down past the crotch area. (I mostly just wanted to write crotch, but it is still accurate.)
·        Most people say these are true to size with other underwear, but some say they run small. The guys I know personally use compatible sizes. (They are small, medium, large etc sizes instead of using measurements.)
·         They also make these out of some other material called "charged cotton". My husband tried one set of these and didn't like them as much. Yours might, but just be aware when you're shopping.

Personal Experience

After my husband completed his collection this Christmas and was able to toss out all the ratty old underwear he realized he even had enough to replace some of the unicorn underwear he had had for over five years. The elastic was starting to get a little lose, though they were still wearable.

Since he was going to throw them away anyway I decided to try them out as pajamas. I had discovered years ago that wearing men's pajama pants was more comfortable. (Is there some conspiracy to make all men's clothes more comfortable than all women's clothes? Is that why we always take their sweatshirts and old ratty clothes for ourselves?)

So I tried them on and they were really soft and comfortable. I don't know where the seams fall on manly parts, but they were really comfortable for womanly parts. They aren't anything I would wear as real underwear but they were soft and cozy for wearing to bed. They disappeared after one night of me doing this, so I'm guessing my husband didn't like the way dude underwear looked on me. I don't blame him, they felt better than they looked.

As a Gift

Of course, this is a more personal item. You have to at least know what size he wears. This is a really great present for pampering your husband, or treating your son to something special. They are good for any underwear worthy holiday. They are probably even good Valentine's Day or Anniversaries where you give something a little more intimate. Or, if he is a comfortable guy then he won't mind at all if his mother-in-law gets them for him for Christmas.

They come in a lot of really great colors, I just couldn't get the pictures to show up properly on this page. Check out the links to see the selections, though!

Do you know anyone with special taste in under garments? What do you think about giving underwear as a gift? Share with us in the comments below!