Thank You To The Girlfriends Who Inspire Us

Thank You To The Girlfriends Who Inspire Us

For everything you are and everything you do.
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For another year, Valentine's day has come and gone. Whether you were at home being salty because that guy STILL fails to notice you, or you were out wining and dining with your boo, I think we can all agree that Valentine's day is the perfect time of the year to reflect on love.

You can either want nothing to do with that treacherous four-letter word or be absolutely blinded by it. Regardless of what side you're on, I think it's time we said thank you. Thank you to those that play a huge role in making us who we are. To those that always have our backs no matter what, and are always ready to pick us up when we're down.

Girlfriends, this one is for you.

As a guy, I know it's easy to think that it's hard for us to explain our feelings or get all mushy, but I feel it's about time somebody broke that rough exterior.

After all fellas, wouldn't you agree? Be honest, where would we be without the strong women in our lives? They're already strong enough to put up with us, shouldn't we show some appreciation for that?

No, but seriously now. I always see articles about being ghosted, college "baes" we wish we had, or "a letter to the guy that tried to break my best friend's heart," but you rarely ever see an appreciation article for the women that are always there for us. I personally feel that our girlfriends are very much underappreciated. For the guys out there who were also raised by strong, independent women, I'm pretty sure you know exactly what I'm talking about.

I remember being in middle school and having my first "legit" girlfriend. I remember trying my absolute best and even spending my last dollar just to have someone show some love my way because it was this new, exciting thing I've basically never experienced before.

I know a lot of us can remember our first relationships, whether they were the best things ever or just absolute failures. They're memorable because they gave us our first shot of love that a lot of us craved so much to have, and even molded how most of our future relationships would play out. Now maybe I'm just saying this because again, I was raised by nothing but amazing, strong, independent women, but I can't help but think that if it weren't for all those paths and experiences I wouldn't be with the one I love today.

Girlfriends, I want you to know right off the bat that us guys love you for way more than just physical attraction.

To think someone is cute or just downright "sexy" is one thing, but to have someone who appreciates you and helps you develop as a human being is another. I can't even hold back my smile while writing this because I know I have someone in my corner who does that exact thing. When you love us for who we are and help us unlock our full potential, it creates this feeling of love and appreciation that can never be matched.

It's no secret that growing up, a lot of guys are told to be strong and not show emotion. What happens when we need to though? Let's say when our dog passes or classes are just so difficult you want to scream, who can we rely on? Now before you say your parents, think about the girl you ACTUALLY text all day. The one who you can't be without for over 24 hours and is always there with a quick reply when you need it.

Knowing that someone is there for us no matter what always makes everything that much easier. Like yeah, I bombed that math test, but you still think I'm smart right? It gives us the drive to do better, and eventually succeed in whatever it is that we're doing. Whether it's a mental or physical adjustment, having you back us up means the world to us.

We appreciate you because you teach us. Now there's no easy way to put this so I'm going to dive right in. Above raising our IQ every day with academic knowledge, you inform us about stuff that, for most guys, is like a foreign language. By that, I'm saying thank you for teaching us about your body and the constant struggles that you go through.

Now I know it's not an easy topic, but as a guy, I feel like it's our responsibility to learn and understand the struggles that women go through. My girlfriend has taught me SO MUCH about what it means to be a woman in today's day and age. Whether it's about periods (wow such threatening word much scared), getting cat-called on the street, going shopping, or just blatant sexism, we wouldn't be as knowledgeable as we are today without you in our corner.

Guys, once you understand what she goes through, don't be afraid to talk about it. Offer your hand to buy some feminine hygiene products or just spoil her every once in a while. A small gesture makes a big difference, and the least we can do for them is show that we care about their wel-lbeing—mentally and physically.

Because of you, I can't wait to have my own daughters and help them grow to be just as amazing as a lot of passionate and driven women out there.

I can't wait to help them acknowledge that everything they face is natural and that if they ever need something, I'll always be there because YOU taught me about those struggles.

We appreciate you because you elevate us. As mentioned a bit before, it's a lot more than just physical attraction. At this stage in our lives, I'm pretty sure a lot of us are looking for that person that can tolerate us for extended periods of time without wanting to pull their hair out. Once you become that person that we can envision a life with, we keep you closer than Obama keeps Joe Biden.

You become our best friends. You elevate us to the point where we learn not only more about ourselves but the world around us.

You have the ability to instill in us a drive that almost no other person can do.

Once we have that drive to be successful together, no one can stop us. I know it's all about self-love, but once you have someone that loves you even when you hate yourself, it makes life in general that much easier.

In my opinion, the only thing more amazing than a woman who loves you no matter what is a woman who teaches you, motivates you, and drives you no matter what. O

nce you help elevate us to your level, it's almost like the greatest gift you could possibly bestow upon us.

Overall, I'm writing this to say thank you to the unsung heroes that care for us on a daily basis. No matter your orientation, race, gender or belief I think we can all say that our girlfriends are always there to back us up and pick us up when we need it.

For that, we say thank you.


And for my girlfriend, Lanette. I want you to know that I appreciate you with every fiber of my being. As I don't want to make this a love letter, I want you to know though that you help drive my inspiration for many things. My passion for love, equality, intelligence, and life all have grown because you were there to guide and love me. Without you, I wouldn't be at the college I'm at now, I wouldn't be an Odyssey writer, and I most definitely wouldn't have as much fun as I do with you, with anyone else. You are the best, and no matter what, I will be there for you just like you are for me. I love you. I thank you.

I hope everyone's Valentine's Day was filled with love and appreciation. For those who haven't found that person yet, just wait. Because you never know who's going to be waiting around the corner for you to be thankful for.

Cover Image Credit: Kory Longsworth

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The Ultimate Shopping List Of Stuff You Need When You Move In Together

Other than the obvious groceries, there's quite a few things you and your boo should get before moving in.

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You've finally hit that stage in the relationship where one of you moves in or get a place together! It's exciting, it's new but here's the stressful part...what do you bring?

When moving in it's crucial that you each go through your stuff to get rid of anything you don't need/want. But there's also things that need to be bought too. You might not realize it yet, but you do not want to move in together without having all the essentials ready to go. So here is the ultimate shopping list for when you and your significant other move in together!

1. Extension Cords

You don't want to be fighting over who gets the outlet by the bed and who has to put their phone on the other have of the room, get extension cords now so you don't have to worry about the hassle!

2. Extra Blankets

If your boyfriend/girlfriend is anything like mine, he is a HUGE blanket hog. Buy some extra blankets to keep under the bed so when they decide they need 95% of the blanket, you have back up.

3. Extra Towels

You never want to be the one stuck needing to shower without a clean towel at hand.

4. A Calendar

My boyfriend and I are constantly busy. Between both of us having two jobs (me having three plus school) it's hard sometimes to keep track of who's where at what time. A calendar will take away that stress!

5. A whiteboard for the fridge

It might sound silly but this is great! If you need milk but won't have time to pick it up, leave a message on the board for your boo! Or if you feel like leaving a note saying they need to pick their socks up from the living room floor...

6. More hangers

I personally prefer to hang my clothes up, it leaves less of a hassle trying to rummage through clothes to find something to wear. You're going to want more hangers when you're sharing a room with that special someone.

7. An extra key

Obviously you should both have keys to the house, but there is going to come a time where one of you gets locked out, and the other can't get to you for hours. Make that spare key and hide it in a good spot to save the hassle of trying to climb into your window without your neighbors calling the cops...

8. A key rack

This is so convenient. Keeping track of keys can be a struggle as is, let alone when you and your S.O. keys look the exact same. Buy a key rack to keep them in place.

9. A shower caddy

Buy one ASAP. Those shower ledges can hold your shampoo and conditioner but when you double it up, it's messy.

10. Door mat for shoes

Now that you live together, you're going to want to have a door mat (if you don't already) for you to leave your shoes when you walk into the house. Shoes that you tend to wear frequently can be left my the door and other shoes (heels and dress shoes) can be left in the closet!

11. A shoe rack for the closet

One person tends to own at least four pairs of shoes. (Well, my boyfriend owns like four pairs of just boots.) If you both have a lot of shoes and don't want to take up too much space, get a shoe rack for the closet! This keeps them organized and won't leave you tripping over any of them.

12. Candles/air fresheners 

This is crucial. You guys live together now and there's going to be times where you're "doing your business" and it leaves that smell behind. Make sure you have candles or air fresheners to mask away that dreadful stink.

13. More laundry baskets

You may not realize it now, but one or two laundry baskets isn't going to cut it. There is going to come a time where you won't have time to do laundry for either of you that week. One or two laundry baskets can fill up pretty quick with two people. Always be sure to have extras. Better to have more than not enough!

14. Spare bed sheets

This comes in so handy. You always want to be able to sleep in a clean bed, but sometimes it can take FOREVER to wash them! Get that extra bed set that, when it comes time to wash one, you always have a clean back up to not feel rushed!

15. All the cooking stuff

Seriously, whether you are getting a new place together or moving in with your S.O. you want to have ALL the essential cooking needs. Even the non-essential ones.

16. Plates and silverware

Self explanatory.

17. Area rug

These are just nice to have cause they really tie the room together!

18. Storage, storage, STORAGE

This is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL. There's two of you know, you're going to want as much storage as humanly possible to fit all of your stuff together

19. A welcome mat

20. A blow out mattress

If you are anything like my boyfriend and I, we are constantly having friends over. You want to be completely prepared if friends need/want to spend the night!

21. LOTS of tissues, paper towel and toilet paper.

You can never have more than enough of this.

22. Batteries

It's never fun when the remote batteries die.

23. Extra light bulbs

24. Cleaning supplies

Broom, mop, vacuum, duster, pledge, ALL OF IT.

25. Decorations for the holidays

Because you NEED to be spirited. This is finally your time to decorate your home just how you like it.

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21 Festive Dates to Get You and Your S.O. Into the Holiday Spirit

Love AND snow are in the air this holiday season

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So the holiday season is rapidly descending upon us and you're scrambling trying to make this one the best you've ever had. Whether this will be the first you share with your lover or you've lost count of how many holidays you've spent together, it's important that you cherish your romance this December all the same. And because not everyone can make the trip out to New York City to see the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, here are 21 alternatives for holiday-themed dates that will definitely make this season the sweetest it's ever been.

1. Shop for gifts together

Turn your obligatory holiday shopping into a lovely afternoon spent browsing with your sweetie! And if your bank accounts allow it, you could even surprise one another with little gifts throughout the day.

2. Watch holiday movies and bake themed desserts

What's better than an afternoon viewing of "The Polar Express" and some homemade holiday treats? Nothing, that's what. Spend a cozy day on the couch with your lover and bask in the sweet smell of baking cookies in the air.

3. Go ice skating

Whether you're a seasoned pro or a nervous beginner, an ice skating date is perfect for any couple looking to enjoy the winter weather while it lasts. Lace up your skates, link your arms, and set out on the ice for a night of laughs, thrills, and hopefully, only a few spills.

4. Have a snowy photo shoot 

Pose with your boo in front of some seasonal decor or with a snowy backdrop behind you! Set a timer on your camera for some specific shots, or even have a few friends follow you two around and capture some adorable candids!

5. Go for a walk in your neighborhood and admire all of the decorations 

Visit some of the neighborhoods in your town together that are notorious for their grandiose displays of Christmas lights. Or, if you'd rather not wander around in the bitter cold, go for a drive instead and serenade one another with the Christmas carols playing on the radio.

6. Attend a community event together (a play, a festival, etc.)

A lot of towns prepare for the holiday season by hosting community-wide events on the weekends for everyone to enjoy. Holiday plays, concerts, and festivals are just some of the activities that might be held, and oftentimes, admission is free or very cheap to encourage all of the townspeople to participate. Take your sweetie out for a breakfast with Santa, for a orchestral performance, or even to feed some goats and cows at a holiday petting zoo.

7. Make Christmas cards to give to your loved ones

Your relationship surely is the envy of all your friends, so why not make that official with a series of cute, clever Christmas cards that really document how perfect your love is? Have your cards printed up at the store or make a date out of crafting them yourselves at home!

8. Spend the day decorating the Christmas tree

You can even precede this activity with a visit to a local tree farm if you prefer real Christmas trees to artificial ones. Then you can spend the rest of your day decorating your tree with ornaments, lights, and other trinkets. For some personal flair, purchase a few keepsake ornaments with your initials on them or frame a holiday photograph of you and your boo to put at the very top in place of a star!

9. Get some friends together for an ugly sweater party

Everyone loves to hate ugly Christmas sweaters, so why not throw a party to commemorate your shared feelings? Have every guest come prepared with their best (worst) holiday sweaters and drink and be merry together. You can even ask that everyone who attends brings along their favorite dessert or cookie platter. Host this gathering with your boo and be sure to impress everyone with how well your sweaters match!

10. Cuddle by the fireplace

Relax for the evening in each other's arms as the fireplace roars and crackles. Curl up with a good book or turn on your favorite holiday movie and try not to fall asleep as comfort and pure bliss overwhelms you.

11. Have a karaoke jam session to all of your holiday favorites

Look up some karaoke versions of holiday hits on YouTube and prepare to belt out all of the lyrics in a cheerful duet with the person you most adore. Or if you happen to be musical, have one of you play the guitar or the piano as the other serenades them in the most romantic fashion.

12. Play around in the snow like little kids

You're never too old to join your lover for some snowy shenanigans. Show up at their house with your sled in hand and show them that you haven't lost your readiness to have fun and live in the moment. Make some snow angels or build an igloo in your backyard to cuddle up in once it's finished (and hopefully, stable enough that it doesn't cave in).

13. Raise money for charity in the spirit of the giving season

Volunteer at a local soup kitchen to cook a hot meal for the less fortunate. Organize a community food drive among your friends and family or invest in some Christmas presents to donate to the Toys For Tots gift drive. However you choose to give back, sharing in that spirit of giving is bound to bring you both closer than ever before.

14. Drink holiday-themed coffees in a cute café

Venture at last into that downtown coffee shop you both keep swearing you'll visit and order some festive drinks to warm yourselves up. The cozy atmosphere of the café and its tasty sweets will no doubt have you both smiling at each other like it's Christmas already.

15. Go on a walk and have spontaneous snowball fights every so often

Bring out your inner kid again and softly toss some snowballs your baby's way, starting an all-out war right in the middle of a romantic stroll. A snowball fight might call the attention of passersby, but who cares? All that matters is that you're having fun and laughing together.

16. Hunt down some mistletoe and kiss under every bundle you see

Or even better, carry some mistletoe with you and hold it up at various points throughout your date to signal your need for another smooch.

17. Plan a holiday-themed scavenger hunt all through your town

Keep your sweetheart all afternoon with a festive scavenger hunt! Seal up the clues in some decorated envelopes that you leave at meaningful destinations in your town—in the park by the lake, in the window of your favorite shop, on the streetlight where you shared your first kiss…the possibilities are endless. Just make sure that the final hint leads your lover directly to you and makes their travels worth it.

18. Drink some hot cocoa and build a gingerbread house 

Make some delicious hot chocolate that you and your honey can sip on as you out-build each other in a friendly gingerbread house competition. Or keep it more peaceful and work together on a home-renovation project that Ty Pennington would be proud of.

19. Have a winter bonfire in your backyard

Bundle up under some blankets with your baby and roast some chestnuts (or s'mores) by the open fire. Some of the best and most intimate conversations you will ever share just might "spark" right there under the snowy night sky.

20. Have a Christmas Eve Eve party

Celebrating the "Eve of the Eve" is a great opportunity to gather all of your friends for a Christmas party without disrupting anyone's plans for the actual day itself! You and your sweetheart can plan out a lovely preamble to the festivities to come; invite your buddies over for dinner, for a holiday movie marathon, or for a coffee and dessert party!

21. Have a Hallmark marathon just to make fun of their cheesy movies

Bond with your significant other in the best way—that is, by ruthlessly criticizing the cliché holiday romances televised by the Hallmark channel every winter. So go ahead and sit back in the arms of the person you love and let the roasting begin.

No matter what holidays you and your lover celebrate, you can personalize any of these date ideas to include the customs and traditions that are special to you. All seasonal celebrations are valid and deserve to be shared with the people you love.

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