When you're hunting for the perfect holiday gift for a girlfriend, it's all about the little luxuries. You want to find that special gift that makes your friends smile, something small that they wouldn't splurge on, or something they've never seen before. We've given you a head start on your holiday shopping by scouring the web for small, affordable gifts that your girlfriends are sure to cherish. So check out these funny, fancy, and unique gifts — all $20 and under — now!
Watching Ashley last night on The Bachelorette was like watching a long, drawn-out car crash. Hearing her cry and sigh over her lost love Bentley, who we all know is a soulless jerk, was so painful that only a drinking game (drink every time Ashley mentions "Bentley") kept my friend and me from losing our marbles. While we sat there dismayed that she could be so clueless about the show's "worst villain ever," my friend said, "this is what happens when you're separated from all your girlfriends." Exactly! What Ashley really needs to help her process these relationship decisions are her girlfriends (sorry, Chris Harrison, you can't quite fill those shoes, er, heels). Here are five reasons the bachelorette needs her besties.
- Tough love: She needs her girlfriends to knock some sense into her, and I don't mean in the boxing ring. Guess what, Ashley, Bentley is gone, move on. Are you really pouting about one guy who left you when you have 11 guys who are obsessed with you? Get it together. And her friends would be able to see Bentley for the scumbag he is — sometimes you need outside perspectives from the people you trust to see a bad guy's true colors.
- Shoulder to cry on: Yes, Ashley needs to move on, but she also needs to allow herself to be sad about losing someone she cared about. Maybe if she had been able to talk through Bentley leaving with a friend and really get all those emotions out, she would have been able to get past it and start fresh with the other guys.
- Fug radar: I'm sorry, but some of the fellas she's keeping around are a bit on the fugly side. We all have those friends, or have been them ourselves, who keep a guy around because he's nice, even though there's no sexual chemistry. She needs her friends to tell her straight up, "why are you keeping him around if you're not attracted to him?"
- Loosen up: Ashley is so stressed out, I get anxiety just watching her. What she really needs are some gal pals around to laugh with and put things in perspective. She's taking everything so seriously right now and is so tightly wound she can't even enjoy the process. It's even causing her to make rash decisions like kicking off both Ben F. and William on the two-on-one date. A much-needed, girls-only venting sesh would help her relax and clear her mind.
- Confidence boost: Why in the world is Ashley so down on herself? She is so self-conscious about the guys not liking her or wishing the bachelorette had been Emily (and that nightmare roast didn't help), she can't even see that these guys are head over heels for her. She needs her friends to give her a heart to heart about all of her strengths and how she's a great catch.
Photo copyright 2011 ABC, Inc.
Make new friends, but keep the old . . . The friendship philosophy of the Girl Scouts might work on the playground, but isn't always the case when a baby enters the picture. When one friend enters the next stage of her life, others may feel left behind. On last night's episode of How I Met Your Mother, Robin began withdrawing from a trying to conceive Lily after growing apart from her childhood best friend (and "Space Teens" costar!) when the latter became a mother. Did your pre-baby friendships remain the same after your lil one arrived?
Photo courtesy of CBS
It's like the first day of school all over again — only this time, you're an adult looking for a new friend. Even if mama has a gaggle of friends before giving birth, chances are she'll seek out other moms with tots once she enters motherhood. Spending time with moms who are experiencing the same baby milestones and setbacks makes the journey easier but requires some effort. I've rounded up some of my favorite ways to meet fellow moms.
- New mom exercise groups: Group exercise programs like Stroller Strides and boot camps help burn the weight and gather women in a central location.
- Pediatrician's office: Check the bulletin board in your doctor's office for new-mom playgroups. If there aren't any, post something yourself.
- Hospital birth clubs: You know that mom giving birth in the room next door to you? Her tot is the exact same age as yours. Many hospitals help coordinate "birth clubs," which bring new mamas and their tots together for parenting workshops and breastfeeding support.
- Playground visits: Your tot may not be old enough for the monkey bars yet, but a walk around the playground with your newborn may make you a magnet for other moms looking for some fresh air and friendship.
- Gym babysitting area: Mamas who turn to their gym's babysitting services while sweating away their weight already have something in common. Coordinate your babysitting/workout schedules and watch your friendship blossom.
- Mommy and me classes: Yes, baby yoga and newborn music classes are meant to stimulate your lil one, but they're also prime opportunities to befriend other new mamas who are feeling their way around the class.
How did you meet other mothers?
Kim Cattrall knows girlfriends make the best friends. She told Meredith Vieira that she loves Sex and the City 2 particularly because it focuses on friendships rather than relationships. And that's really, despite all the heart giving and taking away, what the series has always been about.
For SATC 2's debut today, we're leaving sex and the city behind to talk friendship — at its best and worst.
Photos courtesy of Warner Bros.
Between the car pool lines, growing to-do lists and constant pile of laundry finding a moment for mom is much like finding a needle in a haystack. A night of dinner and gossip with the girls, or a long weekend away without the husband and kids may sound like the perfect way to decompress and recharge the batteries, but for some mamas, a few solitary minutes at home is just as exciting.
In an essay in the May edition of Real Simple, Managing Editor Kristin van Ogtrop opines about the working mother's ability to maintain friendships. She says:
And so I frequently have to choose between making time for a friend and making time for me. Usually I win. But is this healthy? And is it healthy to feel put out when the telephone dares to ring? I can’t tell you how often we hear the phone and before it gets to the second ring I am shouting to my kids, "Let the machine get it!" Terrible, terrible, terrible. I receive e-mails with the subject line "Girls’ Night Out!!!" and not only do I not think, Woo-hoo!!! as I’m undoubtedly meant to, but I just want to crawl under my desk.
Have you put your time for yourself over time to nurture your friendships?
Make new friends, but keep the old . . . The Girl Scouts knew what they were talking about especially when it comes to mommy friends.
Once a woman has a baby, she actively seeks out other mamas with like-aged lil ones of their own. Knowing moms who are simultaneously going through the same things you are – sleepless nights, teething and spitting up to name a few – makes the journey easier and can help provide a reality check for first-time moms. Making these "mommy friends" often requires a lot of work – introducing yourself to them on the playground, attending "new mom luncheons," or going on "blind dates" arranged by caring friends.
But do you take the friendships to the next level and make "couple dates" with your new-found friends? There often seems to be a divide where women keep their mom friends separated into playdate and moms' night out scenarios, never taking it to the dating scene.
Tell us, do you go on couples dates with your mommy friends?
Many of you had dates to go out with your girlfriends over the weekend, which leads me to believe that eligible bachelors took notice. In the wonderful world of dating, getting the attention of the person you have your eye on is crucial, but often times lame pickup lines are used to do so! I bet we've all heard our fair share of them so do tell, what's the worst pickup line someone's tried on you?
When girls get together, it's a time for them to talk about everything from their careers to their love lives, and all the fun stuff in between. And even if you have a few different groups of friends, there are usually reoccurring topics that get touched upon each and every time. When I'm with my friends, we catch up first but the conversation always finds its way back to men, dating, and relationships. Does this sound familiar? Do tell, what's the most common topic of conversation between you and your girlfriends?
One of my favorite things to do on a girls' night out is head to a bar for some dancing. My friends and I have been having dance parties since college and I can only hope we’ll be having them when we’re little old ladies, too! But the problem is, every time we go out, the guys just won’t back off. Over the years, we’ve come up with a handy set of signals we use to get away from such pointless attempts at flirting, including code words and hand motions. I have a feeling you’ve experienced this too so do tell, do you have signs to alert your posse that you want away from a guy? If so, what are they?