6 Meaningful Christmas Gifts for 2019

girl offering a wrapped gift

You know the drill. Your kiddo sees a toy. They want to have it. They need to have it. You secretly oblige in anticipation of Christmas. Morning comes. They tear through the wrapping paper so that shards of confetti fills the room. As paper flies everywhere, you see the smile on their faces. It’s exactly what they hoped for (insert excited shrieks)! And then weeks pass, maybe even just days, and that new toy they had to have is of no interest to them at all. Rather than storing unwanted toys in the closet this year, give the children on your list meaningful memories instead. Here are six connection-based gift ideas for ages two and up that we love for the holidays and all year long.

Big Life Journal (Ages 7+)

Big Life Journal for Kids helps children develop strong growth mindset skills through inspiring stories, colorful illustrations and engaging guided activities. Children discover how to believe in themselves and face challenges with confidence. They learn that mistakes are opportunities to grow and that they can achieve anything when they're persistent!

Big Life Journal

Why we love it: If you are a parent, grandparent, sibling, relative or friend, you can participate by being a child's  Journal Buddy. Spend quality time sharing, growing and connecting. Some of our inside favs include a gratitude scavenger hunt and the “Follow Your Heart” poem. And they have a special teen edition too!  

Silly Street Board Game (Age 4+)

Silly Street makes character builder games and toys that support cognitive learning and life skills. Silly Street Board Game helps to build qualities of confidence, creativity, empathy, adaptability, and grit.

Silly Street Board Game

Why we love it: This fun family game is pure silliness, just as the name implies. We love creating the board (yes, it’s a fun puzzle). Each card instructs you and your co-players to do fun, goofy tasks. This game gets the family thinking and moving. Be prepared for a good belly laugh!  

GoZen! (Age 5 to 15)

Feeling good is a skill! GoZen! uses animated videos to teach skills of resilience and well-being. Imaginative games, workbooks, cartoons, and quizzes help enrich this unique experience.  Why we love it: This innovative and interactive tool helps break down life’s big skills into bite-sized pieces for kids. It talks about sometimes complex things like feelings, stress and more in ways children understand! The animated characters help children learn to better understand what is going on inside of them using all of their senses and can be used with or without an adult.

Barefoot Books Mind and Body Set (Ages 4+)

This gift set includes two empowering practices that can be shared with children and adults alike. Yoga Pretzels includes 50 yoga activities and Mindful Kids includes 50 mindfulness practices that encourage kindness, focus and calming skills. These fun, powerful tools help build strength from the inside out to support all-around wellness.

Barefoot Books: Yoga Pretzels and Mindful KIds

Why we love it: Yoga pretzels is a great way to get moving (and laughing) with your favorite kiddo. The partner poses and movements are a fun way to build connection as well as inner strength and confidence.  We love Mindful Kids for its whimsical illustrations and easy to follow practices for cultivating focus, love, and stillness --- helpful for silencing the mind before bedtime. Some of our inside favorites are Sharp Eyes, Mountain Rising and Open Ears.  

Kids Cook Real Food (Age 2 - 13+)

This family-friendly cooking opportunity is a multimedia online course designed to help adults (yes you mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, etc) teach children how to cook. The courses are set up for a span of ages, from tots to teens, by offering beginner, intermediate and advanced level meals.

mom teaching her daughter to cook

Why we love it: This is such an amazing opportunity to spend time with your child and co-create meals from the heart. The recipes use real food from scratch, without the processed stuff. The Recipe Book is packed with recipes the whole family can enjoy. Food allergy? No problem. The course provides many substitutions for special diets. The focus of the course is less about the recipes and more about spending time together to learn, create and connect.

Generation Mindful’s Time-In-Toolkit and SnuggleBuddies

Ok, since connection is our jam, we would be a bit remiss if we didn't mention two favorites from our own community -- the Time-In-Toolkit and SnuggleBuddies. The Time-In-ToolKit is a step-by-step guide for nurturing social and emotional skills in children through mindfulness, child-led play, and positive discipline. This ToolKit includes PeaceMakers mindfulness cards and other playful activities that make learning about emotions fun, moving families and classrooms away from time-outs to Time-Ins! Generation Mindful Time-In-Toolkit The SunggleBuddies plush toy collection helps children name and share their feelings in daily playful ways, decreasing meltdowns and helping children feel safe. There are 7 different animals to choose from. Each plush comes with four mood emojis in a back pocket and a laminated feelings poster, calendar/journal. Generation Mindful SnuggleBuddies Why we love it The Toolkit’s superpower is in its Calming Corner, a space you create with your child (you too grandparents)! Together, you have the opportunity to design the space, choose calming tools and toys and further connection through naming and taming big emotions. Bonus, siblings love it too. We love the SnuggleBuddies because they are cuddly, relatable and engaging. The emojis make it easy for even young kids to share what they are feeling inside. The SnuggleBuddies are also great for military families and/or any family who has members living in different households/countries etc. PRO TIP: Grab a SnuggleBuddies and facetime your loved ones! This plush will get your child thinking and talking about their day. ----------------

Generation Mindful creates tools, toys, and programs that nurturing emotional intelligence playfully. Join 100,000 members and receive joy in your inbox each week including four free gifts when you join.

Which Is Better: Smoking Or Vaping?

Crazed Marijuana Vaping (e-Cigarette) Trend The vaping craze took the world by storm and caused a lot of fuss! It is one of the hippest trends and many people have started to use e-cigarettes instead of the traditional tobacco ones. The same thing goes with cannabis usage, as many users have walked away from traditionally [...]

The post Which Is Better: Smoking Or Vaping? appeared first on GC.

I want my man to sweep me off my feet like Christian Grey. What do I do?

What woman in a relationship does not want to be swept off of her feet? Actually, that may be the most recurring fantasy that any married woman has. She closes her eyes and imagines her husband doing the unthinkable; whisking her away to an exotic, romantic location or even just a delightful little bed and breakfast for a weekend or a week. He has made all of the arrangements right down to packing her luggage for her. All she has to do is enjoy the trip!

In the book, Fifty Shades of Grey, Christian Grey does exactly that with Anastasia Steele. He is rich, powerful and physically perfect. So what does it matter that the only sexual encounters he has are those of a rather dark and dominating nature? Besides, don’t a lot of women want to be dominated sexually? According to the popularity of the book and the anticipation of the movie, more than just a handful of the straight female population want to be dominated by a rich, powerful and pretty man. In fact, quite a few women are trying to figure out how to get their husbands on board with this type of behavior.

Communication

If you are serious about getting your husband to do a bit of sweeping you off of your feet, the first thing that you must do is sit him down for an open and honest chat. A glass of wine or a beer might help to ease you into the main purpose of your conversation. Get him relaxed and open to hearing what you have to say. Then, just explain to him what you want. You may want to present it to him as a fantasy of yours. You can even whip out our Kinky Contract and go through the document together. It always helps as an ice breaker.

Most men are more than happy to comply when it comes to fulfilling the fantasies of their women, as long as it does not involve them wearing women’s lingerie or something (although, some men are into this also, and that’s perfectly ok! It’s only a bit of fun right?).  He may surprise you and jump right on board with the whole thing.

Give Him the Book

The easiest way to explain what you want of your husband is to present him with a copy of the book Fifty Shades of Grey. Copies of this book are available in all formats including ebooks (audiobook is perfect if he’s not into reading). In that way, he can read it without anyone else knowing that he is doing so, if that is something that bothers him. Everything is pretty detailed in the book so it should be rather simple for him to understand. If you are not married to a reader, then you have a couple of choices. One of them is to read it to him yourself. Make it a bedtime story for a few nights. The other choice is to insist that he attend the movie with you. There are enough hot scenes for him to watch that he probably won’t mind going once he is there. He can pick up some cues just from watching the interaction between Christian and Anastasia.

Give Him the Help He Needs

Once he has read the book or seen the movie, sit down together and talk about it. There are some rather dangerous elements to the BDSM scene, and there are some rules that need to be followed. One of the most important ones is that you have an agreed upon “safe word.” This means that when you have had enough of something, or it is truly hurting you in some, you say this word and he stops immediately with no questions asked. There can be such a thing as too much of something. Some couples use “Red Light,” “Yellow Light,” or “Green Light.” These translate to Stop, Slow down a little, and Oh my god, keep going because that feels so good! These words should all be pretty easy to understand, even in the heat of the moment.

Help your husband figure out ahead of time the parts of the book that really turned you on and what you would be most excited for him to try out on you. Find out if there are any parts that he really liked or were not comfortable with doing. Sex is supposed to be fun, after all, and should never be unpleasant for either partner.

Praise, Praise and More Praise

Once you and your husband have managed to figure out a day for this new fun experiment and have actually turned fantasy into reality, don’t forget to tell your husband how awesome he was. Praise will go a long way to encourage him and make him want to do it again. Criticism is usually one of the worse things that you can offer a man when it comes to his sexual performance. Most of the time, they are quite sensitive to this topic and do not take it well when they are told they are lacking in some way.

Begin by telling him how amazing he was. When you have his confidence built up, find a way to gently suggest a different way to do anything that you found unpleasing. This does not mean that you have to tell him he sucked. It only means that you might say something like “You know, I really liked that thing you did with the ropes, but next time, do you think we might try it another way?” Bring him into finding the solution to anything that was problematic. If he feels a part of it, he will not take it as criticism.

Open His Mind

Obviously, if you get him to be Christian Grey once, you can get him to do it again. Discuss with him whether you would both like to continue playing out your fantasies. Use our Kinky Contract to get the erotic conversation rolling.

Play the part of Anastasia so perfectly that he truly feels like he is the one in control. That is a pretty heady sensation for most men unless they happen to be true submissives. In that case, you probably should just keep that fantasy on hand for you and your shower massage. On the other hand, for those men that are open to trying new things; Fifty Shades of Grey is the ideal way to open his mind even further for more adventures in the future.

Tips for Sticking with Your Casual Sex Agreement

We have all heard the horror stories where you hook up with someone a few times and all of a sudden they think you’re dating. She starts nagging you for a commitment or he thinks it’s ok to text you every hour. Many people like to cut the crap and enjoy sex for what it is – just a purely physical release. But how do you achieve this over a longer term without getting feelings involved? Can no-strings-attached sex really be ‘no strings’? The answer is yes, of course, as long as both parties know the deal and you avoid mushy situations which can lead to emotional dependence on one another.

Here are some tips for maintaining an informal sexual arrangement without commitment:

Be upfront and honest – the best way of not letting sex progress into a relationship is to let the other person know your intentions from the start. If it’s just about sex, tell them and ask them if they’re interested in such an arrangement. If you don’t do this, you run the risk of the other person getting confused and you could end up with an emotional disaster. If you don’t know how to bring up such a conversation, try using a casual sex contract. This can be a good ice breaker and also sets clear boundaries for you both.

Avoid dating – this might seem obvious but so many couples fall fowl of this rule. As soon as you start going on dates (whether it’s dinner, movies or just a casual day at the beach), that’s when you start getting closer. The other person may start expecting more of these outings and this can become confusing very quickly.

No sleeping over – yes it might be more convenient to crash over after your steamy sex, but this can lead to problems. What happens in the morning? Do you make them coffee/breakfast? It can get quite awkward. If you really need to stay over, for example if you’ve been drinking or it’s late, then at least don’t sleep in the same bed (you might find yourselves spooning in the middle of the night). That would be a breach of your contract.

Watch your conversations – if you just want casual sex with no feelings attached, you shouldn’t be discussing anything other than what positions you like, how the other person is performing and when you’re going to shag next. You shouldn’t be dumping your family or work problems on the other person or sharing your favorite songs or movies. Keep your dialog strictly to business; use your friends for chatting. The less you know about each other outside the bedroom the easier it will be to break away when you need to. This should be mentioned in your casual sex agreement.

Keep your social lives separate – taking someone to a family get-together or even just to spend the day with your friends can say much more to the other person than going on a mere date together. Doing this essentially says to them “this person likes me enough to introduce me to his friends and loved ones”. It can create false impression of dating, a much deeper connection than taking just someone out to dinner. If you don’t see it going anywhere other than the bedroom, avoid this at all cost.

These are just some of the rules you should stick by when engaging in strictly casual sex. Some of us are skilled at keeping our distance but a lot of men and women out there have trouble with not getting emotionally involved. Whatever you do, set the rules straight from the start. You can always change your mind later if you feel the urge. Just communicate honestly along the way.

How to have an Intimate Conversation

Triangulation

Ask a Sexpert

Does it feel awkward bringing up safe sex to your partner(s)? 





How do I choose the right condom for me?

First Check the Lable…

Make sure to read the condom label to check if it is FDA-approved for use against unplanned pregnancy and STDs. According to FDA regulations, anything that “sufficiently resembles” a condom must comply with FDA standards including novelty condoms, like those that glow in the dark or are flavored. If condoms do not comply with these standards, they may not claim to be a contraceptive device.

Condoms also have an expiration date, make sure that your are using it BEFORE the date on the packaging.

Now Let Us Consider Size…



Did the sizing activity make you feel insecure? 







Now Let’s Discuss Material…

Latex Allergy?

What Tecture Does Your Penis Like?
What Strength Do You Need?
​​​​​​​How Hard Do You Want to Play?
How Long Do You Want To Last?

Non-latex Condoms
Non-latex condoms are ideal if you or your partner has an allergy to latex. These condoms are made from non latex materials such as polyurethane or lambskin. Non latex condoms are hypoallergenic and known for their natural feeling.

Do Your Sexy Parts Like It Slippery When Wet?

Personal Lubricants
Personal lubricants are a vital part of a healthy sex life. Find a wide selection of lubes including silicone, water-based, natural, vaginal, anal, flavored, and more. Lubricants can be used during intercourse, foreplay, desensitizing, and some are formulated to increase the likelihood of pregnancy.

Finally, Make Sure That We Protect All Our Body Parts During Sex!

“Nowadays, you can do anything that you want—anal, oral, fisting—but you need to be wearing gloves, condoms, protection.
― Slavoj Žižek

Dental Dams
Dental dams are thin pieces of latex or similar material that can be used to protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) during oral sex or rimming (anilingus). They come in the shape of a small square or rectangle and each piece should be used only one time.

How Effective Are Condoms?

According to PlannedParenthood.Org, Condoms are great at preventing both pregnancy and STDs. If you follow the instructions and use them every time you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex, there’s very little chance of pregnancy, or getting or giving an STD. 

 

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The Advantage of a Cuddle Buddy

Have you ever felt that feeling of cloistered peace within a night’s rest, listening to the drifting wind or the soothing rain? That warm sensation that you are watched over, safe and not alone? Perhaps the comforting cuddling of another, despite the struggles and turmoils of the day by day. This elusive ideal sensation of peacetime, of relaxation. It should belong to all, as it astronomically improves one’s well being, and attitude towards life. But what is one to do in the cold, when there is no other to aid in this feeling?

Perhaps it may be received as juvenile, rejected, or unsettling, but the positive results are positively undeniable. The solution is to cuddle inanimate, comfortable objects in the absence of another. Sometimes, it is even more advantageous to cuddle inanimate objects in the presence of another partner. Why is this the case? There are two answers to this question, however. The secular advantage, in the chemical balance of the body, or perhaps the more personal perspective from that of one’s own actions.

Examining the secular advantage to inanimate cuddling is the simple act of endorphin stimulation. The comforting touch of another, be it inanimate or otherwise, is of a healing process that aids in the reinforcement of safe feelings. This act of routine or occasional relaxation provides a necessary reprieve from the day to day stresses of the singular individual. Although it may seem tacky, it allows one to revisit the instinctive comforts of youth and safety, and allows for a better sense of security overall. The continuous, unchecked anxiety of the individual unconcerned for their own wellbeing can be detrimental to daily life, so it is imperative to keep the anxiety in check and take care of it.

Turn your favorite buddy into one of our most loved products in a matter of minutes.

When looking from the personal experience perspective, the advantage of such cuddling and relief, be it an object or person, is not totally obvious. Some find it warm, unsettling, or perhaps lack the experience of such practice. But it cannot be denied the relief when, faced with monstrous and overwhelming obstacles, that one simple hug from the correct individual may grant one the strength to persevere and continue to provide their best in the trials ahead. That correct hug, that promise of safety, can be provided by something like a doll or teddy as well if preferred. 

There is nothing shameful or condemnable about self-help. It is the responsibility of yourself to tend to yourself and enjoy life’s wonders and enchanting moments, even in spite of the seemingly inescapable lows of life. No matter the person, the tools, or the object, it is important to care for your wellbeing, in any way possible. What have you to lose?

Better communication applies to self talk, too

Here is one exercise to begin developing positive self-talk:

Write down some of the negative messages inside your mind.  Be specific, whenever possible, and include anyone you remember who contributed to that message.
Next, to those negative messages write down a positive truth in your life.  Don’t give up if you don’t find them quickly.  For every negative message there is positive,  keep looking until you find them.

For example, you might write, when you make a mistake, you think, “I can’t do anything right.” Right beside that negative statement, your positive message could be, “I accept my mistake and am becoming a better person.”

Positive self-talk is not self-deception, positive self-talk is about the truth, in situations and in yourself.  When negative events or mistakes happen, positive self-talk seeks to bring the positive out of the negative to help you do better, go further, or just keep moving forward.

Better communication applies to self talk, too

Here is one exercise to begin developing positive self-talk:

Write down some of the negative messages inside your mind.  Be specific, whenever possible, and include anyone you remember who contributed to that message.
Next, to those negative messages write down a positive truth in your life.  Don’t give up if you don’t find them quickly.  For every negative message there is positive,  keep looking until you find them.

For example, you might write, when you make a mistake, you think, “I can’t do anything right.” Right beside that negative statement, your positive message could be, “I accept my mistake and am becoming a better person.”

Positive self-talk is not self-deception, positive self-talk is about the truth, in situations and in yourself.  When negative events or mistakes happen, positive self-talk seeks to bring the positive out of the negative to help you do better, go further, or just keep moving forward.