It was actually pretty close to this time last year when I penned the piece "How To Get Through The Holidays If You Don't Observe Them". Unlike some of the other articles that I write for the site, I pulled that one from very personal experience. Being that my personality is very wired to "be good" on something once I know its origin, holidays are something that I tend to take a pass on; this includes Thanksgiving (some insightful reads on its origin are found here, here, and here). Still, this doesn't mean I'm not aware of the fact that many people use this time of year to reflect on their blessings and to say "thanks" for all the good that has come their way. Since I like to write on relationships a lot, I thought to myself, "Why not come up with ways for people to show gratitude to their significant other?"
Not only is it a kind thing to do, expressing gratitude can also be a proactive way to preserve your relationship as well. Why do I say that? It's because, more times than not, whenever someone talks to me about how their relationship has gotten to the point where it's basically on life support, one of the main reasons why is because they feel taken for granted and not appreciated.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Whether you've only been with your boo for a few months or it's been several years and counting, before you sit around a Thanksgiving dinner table to share all of the things that you are truly thankful for this year, please make the time to show your significant other why you're so grateful for them as well. If you need a little inspiration to come up with a cool way to do it, I've got a few.
1. Write a List of What You Appreciate About Them. Then Frame It.
"Appreciate" is a dope word. It means "to be grateful or thankful for" and "to value or regard highly; place a high estimate on." The reason why I think a lot of people feel taken for granted in their relationship is that their significant other tends to overlook another definition of the word—"to be fully conscious of; be aware of; detect."
All of us like to feel that the person we are seeing not only values us, but also have the desire to make sure that we're aware of just how much they do. To jot down a list of reasons why you love or admire the special individual in your life and then frame it, not only is that a sentimental gesture, it's something that they can hold close to them for the rest of their life.
2. Mail a Handwritten Thank-You Note for a Week Straight
While checking out an article onLifehack's site, it brought up some points about handwriting letters that I definitely thought were worth sharing. It said handwriting sentiments was a really classy thing to do. Plus, it showed that you cared enough about someone to take the time to write your thoughts and feelings down. It even shared a study that revealed writing things can make you feel happier and more self-satisfied.
These days, we're so used to everything coming in the form of an email or text that, imagine how surprised the object of your affection will feel to receive seven handwritten thank-you notes—one for each day of the week. The only thing that would impress them more is if you actually sent them through the mail. Because who doesn't like to see something other than a bill in their mailbox?
3. Send an Email with 10 Ways They’ve Inspired You
Not to say that emailing isn't also effective. If you take 5-10 minutes to think about what your boo has brought to your life since knowing them, you can probably easily come up with 10 ways that they've inspired you to become a better person. By expressing your gratitude in this way, not only will it be nice for your significant other to hear, but it can also remind you of why you're with them in the first place. It'll be the best email they've received in a while. I'd be willing to put a good amount of money on that.
4. Create an Appreciation Jar
One of the best gifts that I've ever received, hands down, was from two friends who gave me a box. When I opened it up, there were different colored pieces of construction paper on them. Each had a word that my friends said described my personality. Come to think of it, I've had that box for about 15 years now. It's still on display and I still adore it because it was extremely thoughtful. It also gave me insight into how other people see me.
Another way to show your partner just how much you appreciate them is to create something similar; maybe something like an appreciation jar. Go to a local art store, Walmart or Target to get a Mason jar (make sure it has a lid). Then, cut up some pieces of paper. On each one, type or handwrite one thing that you appreciate about them. Try and come up with enough things to fill the jar, at least halfway. It can be a great pick-me-up if they choose to place the jar on their desk at work. All they need to do is open it, pull out a piece of paper, and bam—they will have an instant reminder of why there is at least one person on the planet who values them and is truly thankful for them. Not just for one reason but many.
5. Make Them a Gift Basket
My godchildren's mom was recently telling me that she encouraged my older goddaughter to make the people in her life Christmas gifts this year instead of buying them. My godchild has very particular taste, even at eight years of age, so she wasn't impressed with her mom's suggestion. But I can honestly say that the things that I've gotten from my goddaughter that have moved me the most are things that she handcrafted. Just like my goddaughter, I think a lot of adults also underestimate the impact of what a handmade gift can do, especially if you're looking for ways to show someone how grateful they are to have them in your world. If you're open to considering making your partner something, how about a gift basket of some sort?
You can create one that centers around a theme like a pampering or a favorite memories basket, or you can just put a variety of random small special items in it. Items like what? Your partner's favorite cookies; a framed picture of the two of you; a CD that features some of y'all's favorite songs; tickets to a movie or upcoming concert; a bottle of wine that the two of you can share; some scented candles; a copy of a book that they've been wanting to read—these are just some ideas to get your creative juices going. Once you know what you want to put into your basket, all you need to do is go to a local arts and crafts store to pick up a basket, some cellophane to wrap everything up in, along with a big ole' bow. Just like that, you're good to go.
6. Treat Them to Something They Enjoy Doing
Something that a lot of guys tell me that they hate about dating is the fact that, oftentimes, the date is centered around what the woman wants to do, not them. Some of us don't even think about this when we're talking to our man about what to do the following weekend. No matter what your guy's love language might be, I don't know one man who wouldn't be moved by the "acts of service" decision to plan an entire date around the things that he enjoys most.
Maybe it's tickets to a game. Maybe it's doing something super adventurous. Maybe it's getting a meal from a favorite food truck and sitting in a car and talking for hours. The point is to hone in on what his likes are and then to show how much you adore him by customizing a date that is totally centered around those things. The thought itself is something that will deeply move him. It really will.
7. Have Some “Thank You Flowers” Delivered to Their Job
There's a platonic male friend of mine that I once brought flowers to. He had an acting debut and I thought that a bunch of sunflowers would be a cool gift. When I handed them to him, he said, "I've never received flowers before. I never thought that I would like getting them this much." He still talks about that to this day. That's why sending flowers makes this list. Although traditionally, we think of floral deliveries going to women, I think it would put a smile on a lot of men's faces to get a fresh bouquet at their place of business. Especially when it's from their lady and includes a sweet note.
As far as what kind of flowers to get, ones that specifically express gratitude include roses, irises, chrysanthemums, sweet peas, and any kind of yellow flower. If you want to be symbolic, that is.
8. Give Them a Personalized Gratitude Journal
Another way to show your boo just how grateful you are for them is to gift them with a gratitude journal. The reason why this can ultimately prove to be the gift that keeps on giving is that there is a significant amount of scientific evidence to support that expressing gratitude on a regular basis enhances relationships, improves one's physical as well as psychological health, improves our self-esteem and even makes it easier to sleep at night.
Make the journal an extra special present by getting it personalized with their name on it, along with a favorite love quote, song lyric, or an original sentiment about how you feel about your partner. Don't forget to write an inscription on the inside of the journal too. As far as where you can get a personalized journal, off the top of my head, I know that Etsy offers some that are at a pretty reasonable price.
9. Purchase Something Made Out of “Gratitude Crystals”
If you want to give a gift that comes in the form of jewelry or maybe even a keychain, how about giving your partner something that is made out of crystals that evoke feelings of gratitude by making the individual feel good about themselves? Druzy crystals promote feelings of self-love. Sodalites promote feelings of self-awareness. Danburite encourages people to let their light shine. Rhodochrosite symbolizes joy and compassion in one's life. Green Aventurine is both a comforter as well as a heart healer. A gift that has these kinds of meanings will make the receiver grateful to receive it, and grateful every time that they wear it (or use it) and the gift-giver comes to mind.
10. Get a Wall Calendar and Write a Memory You Cherish for Each Month of the Year
We are right on the cusp of a new year. Something else that you can do to keep your partner organized and make them feel appreciated is to get them a 2022 wall calendar. Then, for each month, write a memory pertaining to you two's relationship that you truly cherish. It's kind. It's thoughtful. And it's something that they can make use of for the next 365 days.
I can just imagine how much closer a lot of people would be in their relationship of expressing gratitude was a priority. Set the bar by doing something creative for your partner over the next few days. It will make both of you feel that much closer. Gratitude always does.
Feature image by Shutterstock
Originally published on November 27, 2019
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
In xoNecole's series Dope Abodes, we tour the living spaces of millennial women, where they dwell, how they live, and the things they choose to adorn and share their spaces with.
Annisa LiMara has called this space her home for two years. Her Atlanta sanctuary, which she aimed to give the look and feel of something you'd see in the glossy pages of Architectural Digest, embodies her vision of "stunning, yet functional and cozy."
"My home is a reflection of my brand, The Creative Peach Studios, and I am the 'Creative Peach,'" Annisa explains. "It was so easy to reflect who I am and my personal story in my space. When you walk into my home, you know that it is Annisa’s home. I’m so proud of that. So grateful."
On the journey to becoming a homeowner, Annisa looks back on her experience as a "rough one," detailing that she officially started house hunting in March 2020. It had become so expensive to rent, and the 30-something lifestyle influencer decided she would rather invest the money she spent renting into owning a home. However, nine days into house hunting, her search was put on hold for a year. The following year, in 2021, the process of finding the right home and going under contract took a total of four months.
"The resell route didn’t work out, so my realtor suggested a new construction home, which turned out to be the better option," she tells xoNecole of her experience. "Although it requires more patience, it turned out to be a much easier process and a lot easier to maintain since it’s brand new."
As it turns out, the open floor plan three-bedroom two-and-half-bath would prove to be a blank canvas for Annisa to flex her creativity and design skills.
As a new construction, she watched the townhome get built from the ground up, and due to the "cookie-cutter" nature of new builds, Annisa knew immediately that she would change everything about it. The best part about it? All of her updates were cosmetic, so transformation could occur without having to do major renovations to achieve the look and feel she desired.
"The first things I updated were all the lighting, adding built-ins around my fireplace, and installing wallpaper in my bedroom, office, and dining room! I also had board and batten installed in the upstairs loft to make a statement and the kitchen island," Annisa details.
"Lastly, we painted the loft a soft blush pink, the kitchen island is a gorgeous terracotta, and added contrast with black on the doors, fireplace, and stairwell banisters."
In total, she spent $15K in renovations (plus the cost of furniture and decor). And although she says the second level of her home is a "work-in-progress," two years in, she considers the transformation nearly done.
Annisa defines her decor style as "organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho," and with thoughtfully placed touches like plants, warm tones, and organic textures, her perspective can be felt throughout. "I found my point of view as a designer in my work and as I worked on my home, so it all came together organically based on what I was naturally drawn to."
"The organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho' is definitely my signature style. You’ll always see greenery, warm tones, brass, and rattan or wicker in just about every room. My color story is based on my brand [The Creative Peach Studios] colors: blush pink, ivory, olive and sage green, terracotta, and nudes," she adds.
It was her brand colors that would be the jumping-off point for her approach to decorating and styling her space. That, and a picture she had of what would become her sofa from Albany Park. She recalled her decor decisions, "It was their olive Park Sectional Sofa, and I knew instantly I wanted it, and it aligned with my brand colors naturally, so it was a no-brainer."
By drawing inspiration from Pinterest, favorite design brands like CB2, Arhaus, and Souk Bohemian, and through her work, Annisa allowed herself to be guided by her signature style as well as her instincts when making decor and color choices for her own home. "Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason; it just feels right."
Some of the aspects of her home that she regards as her favorites include her bedroom and its little nook where her bed is positioned, the open upstairs loft, and the open concept because "it really allows you to see all of the details I put into the design all at once." Another of her favorite finds is a purchase she copped from the thrift store years ago.
"I have this little brown and gold chair that I picked up for $6 at a thrift store in Jersey six years ago. I couldn’t afford much in my little studio, but the chair was beautiful and unlike anything I had ever seen."
In addition to accent walls featuring blush pink and terracotta tones throughout the space, her gallery wall is another element that immediately draws the eye of any guest who enters. Annisa recalled a fond memory of a fine art piece she purchased from a Black woman artist when she first moved to Atlanta that she now prominently features in her living room. "It was a Black villager from her travels in Africa, and I fell in love with it because it felt like an ancestor I never met. I later found out that she was the sister of one of my very first design clients two years later," she shares. "Talk about a full-circle moment!"
Cultivating a space takes time and patience, and that is a sentiment Annisa echoes when advising people who are looking to infuse more of themselves into their own dope abodes through design. "It is not a race, and you’ll spend more money if you rush into designing without really being intentional about the vision for your space," Annisa concludes. "You just need creativity and patience to do it! And most of all, make sure you feel like it’s an oasis for you!"
For more of Annisa, follow her on Instagram @annisalimara.
Tour Interior Designer Annisa LiMara's Modern Meets Midcentury ATL Home | Dope Abodes
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Featured image by Kanobi Pollard/xoNecole
If you followed Beyoncé’s career, then you know how hair has played an important role in her journey. Her mom, Ms. Tina Knowles, owned a hair salon when the multi-Grammy award-winning artist was growing up, and she has shared on several occasions how it impacted her life. We’ve also witnessed her many hair transformations throughout her career, from braids to her signature long, straight honey blonde tresses. However, it was her pixie cut in 2013 that had everyone talking.
Beyoncé and Tina launched Cécred (pronounced sacred), a hair care line that includes a clarifying shampoo and scalp scrub, a hydrating shampoo, a nourishing hair oil, and much more. The mother-daughter duo opened up about their latest business venture together to Essence in its March/April issue, and the “Alien Superstar” revisited her haircut and how it reflected a life change.
“It did. That’s right. I love how we associate a certain hairstyle with moments in our lives, like that short-hair moment. I remember the day I decided to just cut all my hair off. I didn’t have a particular style in mind,” she explained.
“It wasn’t an aesthetic choice, but it was a very big emotional transformation and metamorphosis that I was going through. So much of my identity as a performer has been connected to flowing hair. Cutting my hair off was me rebelling against being this woman that society thinks I’m supposed to be.”
Beyonc\u00e9 to ESSENCE Magazine on her 2013 pixie cut:\n\n"I remember the day I decided to just cut all my hair off. I didn\u2019t have a particular style in mind. It wasn\u2019t an aesthetic choice, but it was a very big emotional transformation and metamorphosis that I was going through."\ud83d\ude2d\ud83e\udd79— (@)
She continued, “I was a new mother, and something about the liberation of becoming a mother made me want to just shed all of that. It was a physical representation of me shedding the expectations put upon me. I just wanted it off.
Neal Farinah, my hairstylist and friend, was freaking out because it was really long, really thick and really healthy. I just got the scissors and chopped it off. It was very intentional. And it was what I needed to do. And after that, I became super brave. It was the first step to many more audacious decisions I made in my life and my career that have led to who I am now.”
Throughout the interview, Beyoncé shared how her new hair line is her “legacy” and how she wants to use her line to highlight the versatility of textured hair.
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Feature image by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy