14 Valentine's Day Gifts For Your S.O. If You Haven't Been Dating Very Long
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New relationships can be difficult to read once Valentine's Day rolls around. You haven't been together so long that you feel it's okay to splurge and spend $100+, but you also have spent a length of time together that warrants something sentimental and sweet. Instead of rushing to the florist or to the nearest Russell Stover, challenge yourself to think out the box this time around.

Here are a few cheap Valentine's Day gift ideas if you haven't been dating very long:

1. Make their day a lot sweeter with Popbar's hot chocolate on a stick!

Perfectly portable and irresistibly delicious, Popbar's hot chocolate sticks are the ideal gift for your sweets-craving sweetie. Not only do they taste divine, but they also start melting as soon as they are heated, giving your partner a mug of rich hot chocolate in mere minutes! And as nice as it would be to cuddle up together for this yummy treat, let's be honest— they probably won't want to share.

2. Keep him cozy with a pair of IZOD slippers!

Guys seldom like to admit when they're cold, so eliminate the problem for your man altogether with a pair of IZOD-brand slippers. The memory foam inserts ensure maximum comfort and the durable rubber bottoms make it so he can rock these cozy clogs outdoors as well. And if that isn't enough to sell you on these, the slippers even arrive fully boxed up and ready to exchange!

3. Ensure she's always on fleek with the ESARORA makeup brush cleaner!

Your lady will definitely LOVE to know that you're thinking about her skin health. Made from silica gel, these cleaning mats are non-toxic, odorless, and durable enough for her to deeply clean her beauty brushes. She can secure them to the wall for hands-free use with the back suckers, or she can fold them easily for storage in a drawer or cabinet. Sometimes, the best gifts aren't necessarily the prettiest, but the most functional.

4. Boost their spirits (and their energy) with their very own cold brew maker!

Your caffeine-addicted love will thank you endlessly for fueling their mornings, afternoons, and evenings with some tasty homemade cold brew. While heated brewing processes release coffee's natural oils and acids and yield a bitter taste, cold brewing does not, keeping your concentrate mellow and smooth (and preferable to a lot of people). The pitcher above also comes with a built-in infuser that can be filled with ANY flavor of ground coffee. Honestly, what's not to love?

5. Make sure your man is organized with this leather toiletry kit!

(Note: this kit is made from genuine buffalo leather, but there are definitely faux alternatives you can buy instead) Tired of watching your new man struggle to keep all of his belongings together? Done with him forgetting all of his toiletries when he stays over? Allow him to organize in style with this gorgeous leather toiletry kit, because there is nothing sexier than your boyfriend NOT leaving his toothbrush at home and asking to use yours.

6. Spice up your sex life with a game of kinky truth or dare!

Show your new beau that you're serious about your sex life with a raunchy set of truth-or-dare questions. Surprise them after a romantic dinner with this desirous deck and kickstart a night filled with passion and plenty of laughter. While your relationship is still in its honeymoon phase, take advantage of this coming V-Day and really show your partner just how loving you can be.

7. Keep her toes warm with famous painting socks!

Whether she's an art connoisseur or a sock enthusiast, she'll love wearing these novelty crew socks with any OOTD. There are ten sets to choose from, each featuring prints inspired by Van Gogh, Munch, DaVinci, and other famous artists!

8. Get your boo a board game customized with their favorite TV show!

Make your first game night even more memorable with a personalized ode to your significant other's favorite TV show! If you're going to argue over Monopoly for a few hours, it may as well center around your go-to for Netflix and chill. "Bob's Burgers," "Game of Thrones," and "SpongeBob Squarepants" are just a few editions of popular board games that you can find for sale online!

9. Make their coffee table picture-perfect with custom Polaroid coasters!

Showcase some of your favorite moments together with these adorable photo-holding coasters! Not only are these great conversation pieces, but they will also look adorable should you ever use them in a home together ;)

10. Help your baby see the stars with this heat-activated constellation mug!

Any astronomy buff or astrology lover will appreciate their morning coffee even more if it comes with a view of the stars above. The drawings are revealed once a hot beverage is poured into it— just add coffee to bring out a beautiful galaxy of illustrated constellations.

11. Cook up some love for your sweetie with a waffle stick maker!

Share your love of breakfast food with your sweetheart by giving them a waffle stick maker of their very own! Bonus points if you get them a side of decadent melted chocolate, jam, or syrup for them to dip their waffles into.

12. Treat your lovely bookworm to a personal library kit!

Your bookish boo is the universal lender in their friend group, so it's only fair that they get a chance to be the librarian they've always dreamt of being. With this personal library kit, your S.O. will never complain about another lost novel again!

13. Give your beer junkie a place to display their collection of bottle caps!

Help your beer lover display the best of their craft experiences with a wooden wall piece shaped like their home state!

14. Dazzle her with a super-cute ring holder!

Your darling will love to showcase her jewelry in this dainty elephant ring holder. While it may be too soon to give her a necklace or a bracelet, it's never too soon to PLAN for those future presents… ;)

Move over, flower bouquets and heart-shaped boxes of chocolate— there are countless other options for creative gifts that your Valentine would be much luckier to get!

Literally, so hot RN

Literally, so hot RN

My Boyfriend Is Deaf, But He's Still A Great Listener

This is what dating my deaf boyfriend has taught me.

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I have heard countless complaints over the years resembling the statement, "My boyfriend is a terrible listener."

Women say this simply to describe how irritating it is when their boyfriends zone out as they are talking about their day or when they simply stare off into space as they try and ask whether they wanna order pizza or Chinese. They may use phrases such as "selective hearing" or compare the likeness of talking to their boyfriend to "talking to a wall."

I must say that I can relate to these women but in a much different way.

My boyfriend is deaf.

I have to say that my boyfriend's deafness has never once been a roadblock for me. If anything, it made me more interested in him. I had zero experience when it came to his deafness. I had many misconceptions of his hearing ability in the beginning. But, overall, it was something that just increased my interest in this kind-hearted, goofy guy. As I started to date this person that sometimes can't help but not listen to me, I realized that his deafness had zero effect on how much I cared for him and how well we worked together.

Unlike some other members of the deaf community, my boyfriend has two cochlear implants. Fun fact: cochlear implants are actually frowned upon throughout the deaf community a lot of times. They are said to remove the individuality that comes with the deaf community and its members. However, and I will admit I am biased, I do not agree and neither does my boyfriend. Cochlear implants assist him in living his life, but that does not mean that every deaf person needs or wants them to live theirs—which is OK. They benefit this person that is very important to me, and that is all that matters in my mind.

While all cases of deafness and implant-users are unique to the individual, my boyfriend had his first implant surgery when he was just 2-years-old. Then, his second when he was 10. I knew cochlear implants existed before I met him, but I had no idea how they worked, which was soon very apparent to myself and him.

Gabby Sheets

So, basically in the simplest terms possible, there are two magnetic receivers implanted in his skull. Then, there is the outer part that holds a circular magnet, a transmitter, and a microphone that magnetizes through his skull and to his actual implant. This, somehow, gives him the ability to hear, and to be fully honest I do not understand how they work. I probably never will. All I know is that he can hear me, which I did not know would necessarily be the case when we first met...

Gabby Sheets

When we first started going out with each other, I definitely had many misconceptions about my boyfriend's hearing, misconceptions that he will tease me about to this day. For example, I thought that I had to look directly at him whenever I spoke. My mistaken logic was that he would have to read my lips in order to understand me. False. Wrong. His implants allow him to hear exactly what I am saying the majority of the time, depending on if he actually is paying attention and how loud I am talking. He can, however, read lips though, which he has to do any time he is not wearing his implants, or like when I knock them out of his head on accident... Woops.

I also, at first, had this hilarious belief that he wouldn't be able to talk to me on the phone. I thought this even after I knew he could hear me in person with practically zero difficulties. It wasn't until he was over at my place visiting me, and I came out of my room to see that he was talking to his mom. On the phone. Because he can, perfectly well. To this day, I cannot explain why I thought he wouldn't be able to speak on the phone. It was my stupid, stupid mistake, and my boyfriend still finds my naivete when it came to his hearing oh so amusing.

All of this comes to show that I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I have confessed to my boyfriend that I was self-conscious at times, simply because I didn't understand. I was terrified to ask the wrong questions and upset him, but then I came to find out that he makes deaf jokes that make me cringe, not him. I was afraid of yanking one of his implants out of his head on accident. I have multiple times now, and it has never once been a big deal. I was self-conscious about hitting a nerve, about something that not only impairs his hearing but his life as a whole.

There was one night, at the beginning of our relationship, where we just sat asking each other questions as new couples commonly do. The question was, "What is your biggest insecurity?"

His answer was his hearing. My answer was my body.

I discovered that there are always times where he will feel insecure because he isn't able to hear like everyone else. However, I love the fact that he isn't like everyone else. I sincerely hope that he realizes that.

But no, I will never be able to truly understand what it is like to be deaf, to have this life-changing impairment, and that's OK.

What I do know is that by dating my boyfriend I have learned this—everybody is insecure about something. Some are insecure about something as superficial as their looks like I am. Then some are insecure about something that affects their entire life, such as my boyfriend with his hearing. It has occurred to me that if my boyfriend can overcome something as life-altering as his deafness then I can overcome body insecurity and many other obstacles in my life now, thanks to him.

I have never met a guy as willing to listen to me and my minuscule problems as my boyfriend. I have never experienced problems in my life as severe as his deafness, but he always makes my problems, thoughts, insecurities, etc. feel validated. He is understanding and considerate. He is reassuring and has a heart of gold, and I continue to be amazed by him each day that we spend together.

So, yes, my boyfriend is deaf, but he most definitely is not a terrible listener. Not at all.

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The 7 Best Restaurants For Valentine's Day Dates In Springfield, Missouri

No matter what you and your date are feeling, the Queen City has something for you.

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Love may be in the air, but so are the smells of some delicious restaurants. Springfield, Missouri is a place I have been lucky to call home for the past three years. And it's full of restaurants of all varieties, perfect for any Valentine—even the pickiest of eaters.

From casual dining to the finer side, Springfield has what you're looking for. By knowing some options besides Olive Garden, you can add a little variety to your dining experience and ensure a happy and romantic evening.

Take a look, build your appetite, and make your reservations early (if you can) so you can treat your date to the evening they deserve.

1. Aviary Cafe & Creperie

The Aviary Cafe is a Springfield favorite. This restaurant is open late, has a full bar, and serves sweet and savory crepes along with other traditional bistro items. The Aviary allows you to make reservations for Valentine's Day and even has a unique menu specifically for the holiday, which includes a pan-seared pork chop, pommes frites, and New York cheesecake made fresh in the bakery.

2. Flame Steakhouse

Flame is a great place to go for a more upscale and expensive Valentine's Day dinner if you're in the mood to wine and dine your date. Rated three dollar signs our of four on Yelp, this steakhouse and wine bar has everything from Alaskan King Crab legs to fresh flash-fried calamari to a dry aged 24 oz Porterhouse steak. This restaurant will no doubt be packed on Valentine's Day, so be sure to make your reservation as soon as possible.

3. Bambinos Italian Cafe

Bambinos Italian Cafe has some of the best Italian food in the Springfield area. Rated "Best Date-Night Dinner" by Missouri State University's newspaper The Standard in 2017 and Best Italian Dining in 2018 by 417 Magazine, this cafe proves it can back up that claim, too. This quaint Italian restaurant has some of the best food the city has to offer from crab cakes and pasta to tiramisu to some house pastas that are to die for. With vegan options, Bambinos is the place for everyone.

4. Druff's

If you're looking for more casual of a dining experience, look no further. Druff's is known for it's incredibly tasty and different sandwiches and soups. For Valentine's Day, though, things are getting a little spiced up at this downtown hot spot. For just $45, you and your Valentine can experience the magic of Druff's with an appetizer, some sandwiches, soups, and a dessert. Make your reservation now, because it's going to be a busy night on Valentine's Day!

5. Metropolitan Grill

On the more expensive side, Metropolitan Grill is sure to make this Valentine's Day a romantic one. If you and your date come here for your evening, be sure to dress the part that this upscale restaurant expects. From pasta to steak to surf and turf, there's plenty of food to choose from. This fine dining experience is a great way to show your Valentine just how much they mean to you.

6. Nakato Japanese Restaurant

Nakato is a Japanese steakhouse and sushi bar that will leave you and your date wanting to come back again and again. With a full bar and a hibachi grill experience like no other, you can have a great evening with food cooked just the way both you and your Valentine like it. Whether you're a sushi fanatic or experiencing it for the first time, Nakato is sure to provide a fun and interactive Valentine's Day experience.

7. Black Sheep Burgers & Shakes

Who says Valentine's Day needs to be steak and wine? Known for their fun alcoholic shakes and crazy burgers, Black Sheep is also filled with some yummy food. If fine dining isn't your style, relax this Valentine's Day with a nice decadent burger and a shake or beer. You don't have to go all out for Valentine's Day to make it a great one, and Black Sheep's burgers won't disappoint.

From burgers to steaks to grilled cheese, Springfield is known for all kinds of foods. With seemingly unending options for your Valentine's Day date, it's fair to say this list is not at all the only restaurants to consider.

The most important thing to remember is that no matter where you and your Valentine go out to eat, make your date special. With the right person, it doesn't even matter if you're eating at Steak 'N Shake or Applebee's. There's a lot of pressure to make Valentine's Day special and perfect, but as long as you think the person you're with is both of those things, you're set.

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