Here's How to Spark the Romance on a Budget
When you're young, you picture married life or dating life as an adult to be this magical whirlwind of an experience. There will be nightly surprises, red roses, enough candles to start a forest fire if you're not careful, and frequent trips to private islands.
And then you grow up and realize: So much of that just doesn't happen.
Adult life is hard and exhausting. Love as an adult isn't the thing the movies make it out to be. It's a daily struggle to battle the drudgery of adult life, beat exhaustion, and find enough energy to spend time together. And those private islands? Well, for most of our budgets, those are few and far between.
So how do you keep the spark alive when you can barely keep yourself alive some days? How do you keep the romance, the unexpected in your relationship when you're living a paycheck to paycheck kind of existence?
After being with my husband for 18 years and being married for a total of 7 of those years, I've discovered that it can be done. It just takes some effort, some creativity, and some willpower. Here are our 4 tips for keeping the spark alive in a relationship, even if you're on a budget.
1. Groupon has affordable date options
Recently, I realized Chad and I hadn't done anything new or special in a long time. Still, we were trying to save money, so a random weekend getaway wasn't really in the cards.
Enter Groupon. Especially when they have a sale, they have such great deals on local or semi-local adventures. I was able to get us a brewery tour for $26 total for the two of us. The brewery was a 2-hour drive, so close enough to not be too expensive or taxing but far enough away to be something new. We spent the day wandering around the quaint and adorable vineyard, Chad drank a lot of beer, and we just had a good time focusing on each other.
Groupon is a great place to find brand-new adventures that you've never done. It isn't always about what you're doing, either--sometimes it's just the fact that it's a new experience that can bring back the spark and the memories.
2. Think Local For New Adventures
You don't have to venture far to find new things to try. Is there a new restaurant in town you've been wanting to try? Or are there menu items that usually scare your predictable tastes at your local haunts? How about a new ice cream stand or a park nearby you've never been to?
If you look, there are probably places you've overlooked in your own hometown. Scope out newspapers for upcoming events that you can explore together, or venture into a new business.
One of our favorite dates was on a winter day when the whole town was shut down. We walked up to our favorite Chinese restaurant and saw a consignment shop we'd never been in. We've walked past it hundreds of times, but never took the time to stop by. We spent an hour browsing relics from the past and laughing about what we could buy. That will always be one of my favorite days because it was simple, spontaneous, and just about us being together.
Don't be afraid to search your own hometown for new experiences.
3. Stay Home for True Date Savings
You don't even have to leave the house to reignite the spark...and no, I'm not saying you have to whip out the lingerie for this one. Sometimes it's just about breaking the routine. Try a new recipe together from a different country. Do the shopping for the ingredients together, the meal prep, and of course, the eating, together.
Stay up later than normal and go stargazing on your back porch. A cheap bottle of wine, some stars, and some good conversation might just be the reconnect you need.
Do a no-tech night where you put away all technology and spend time together. Pull out an old school board game and start your own competition.
4. Remember What It's Really About
I'm a firm believer that extravagance does not equal love. Sometimes the best kind of dates, the ones that can re-spark our connections, are the simplest. Sure, it would be nice to be surprised with a trip to a private island. But when that's not possible, know that you can find ways to reignite the spark without spending a ton of cash.
You just have to remember what romance is really about... it's about having someone beside you in this crazy thing called life who makes you smile, who makes everything a little bit more fun, and who grounds you in the beauty of your reality.
It doesn't take loads of cash, candles, or roses to remind you of that. It just takes some creativity, some dedication, and most of all, time.
Do you have any great date ideas on a budget? How do you keep the spark alive? Post in the comments below. I would love to hear your ideas!
Best Dark Romance of the Summer: Pepper Winters The Girl and Her Ren
The Girl and Her Ren by Pepper Winters
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I'm always hesitant about a sequel because I always worry it won't stand up to the first book. Pepper Winters' The Girl and Her Ren not only stood up to the first book but enhanced it. I loved book one even more thanks to this second book.
This book picks up where book one left off, and I was so happy to see the story continue because I was definitely left wanting more from book one. This series is so unique because it really does explore how love is multi-faceted and really doesn't care about rules. There is a constant back and forth to the plot and the emotions in book one; this continues in book two. I found myself weaving in and out of emotions, from anger to joy to sorrow and back again. Pepper Winters really makes you invest in the characters and their love story in a way few other authors can manage.
The formatting of the book is also unique in that it is told not only from the male and female perspective but also from the format of a manuscript. As a writer, I enjoyed that tie-in and loved how Pepper Winters tied up the series.
I really can't say anything negative about the series. I don't have any critiques. It wrapped up the series in a satisfying way, leaving an impression on me about Della and Ren like no other romance couple. I also love that in the book, Winters highlights that this was never intended to be a romance story, necessarily, but a life story. She accomplishes just that by showcasing how life is a winding, unpredictable journey of pain, sorrow, loss, regret, and guilt. However, through Ren and Della's story, she shows us that love always makes it worth it.
There is certainly a unique aspect to Ren and Della's love story. If you read book one, you understand that their history is very different. Some may even get a bit of a taboo vibe from their union. However, I thought Winters did a great job at acknowledging how their relationship is different but also at not backing down from the love story. Love doesn't follow the rules. It doesn't even follow our own rules. The heart wants what it wants, and it was satisfying to watch Ren and Della experience that very sentiment.
I applaud Pepper Winters for her candid writing, her unabashed look at some darker themes, and the ability to weave such a heartbreaking and beautiful tale about a couple I won't soon forget.
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Honest review of the must-read "Night Circus"
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"The circus arrives without warning."
To review and explain the magnificence of this book is a difficult task. Morgenstern weaves a dreamlike tale of a dreamlike circus in such a fantastical way that it is almost impossible to put into words what the book is about, and, more significantly, what it actually means.
Essentially, this book is a romance about two people, Marco and Celia, who are fated to compete against each other in a competition of magical possibilities. Both illusionists are pitted against each other in a competition with few explanations, obtuse roles, and abstract concepts. For this reason, it is somewhat jarring for the reader to partake in this journey. This is a book where you never 100% understand what is happening.
I enjoyed the layers to the book and the different perspectives. There are many characters in this book, but Morgenstern weaves them together in exciting ways. Part of the attraction to this book is the fact that you never quite know whose story you are really reading. Who is actually important? What is the main purpose? Who is really going to rise as the central figure? There are so many swirls and whirls in the narrative that it begins to feel like the dreamlike circus she writes about.
The circus itself essentially becomes a character in this book. This circus is very different than the one you are probably imagining, however. It is a place where magic is real and the impossible really is possible. The illusions aren't really illusions, although the cover of night makes patrons of the circus understand that reality is perhaps the biggest illusion.
The narrative voice in this book does give it a bit of a distant feel from the reader at times. I have read critiques of this book where readers are not a fan because they couldn't connect. I can understand where that comes from. There are certain points where the narrative voice is second-person narration and you feel utterly connected. Then, there are parts where it is difficult to even understand what's going on or who is who, so it can be difficult to hang onto the connection.
I think the brilliance of this tale, though, is the fact that Morgenstern was able to create the dreamlike feel in which the reader can question what reality really means. I also loved the layering of tales and story lines. I cannot begin to imagine the process of coming up with this story and writing it. I think it is a testament to the creativity of Morgenstern and her writing skill that she pulled off this book.
I do wish the romance element had been more thoroughly established. I felt there was a disconnect between Marco and Celia at times, which is understandable but also frustrating. The love story could have been more clearly developed to provide more satisfaction to the reader.
The ending was superb. It was perfect and everything a reader could hope for in a book like this.
Overall, this is a unique read that is like nothing you've ever read. It will stand out in your mind for a long time after you're done reading. Most of all, it will make you realize that you should never be constrained by expectations or realities in your own life.
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Whips and chains. Thrusting bodies. Hot, spicy encounters.
Certainly, passion has a place in love and in romance novels. Most of us enjoy some escapism from time to time--and sexy abs aren't a bad thing, for sure.
However, some of the most common questions I get are: Why sweet romance? Where's the hot sex in your books?
In fact, some of the harshest criticism I've received has been about the lack of explicit sex in my books.
Let me say this: My characters do have hot sex. It's just that most of it happens off the page, behind the scenes. Some of my book characters share some spicy foreplay and some sexually tense moments. However, I leave "the act" up to the reader's interpretation. Why, you may ask? I think it boils down to three reasons.
1. I blame Nicholas Sparks
Nicholas Sparks has always been my writing inspiration. I've been a fan since junior high. I think he proves that love stories don't have to have explicit sex to be memorable, emotional, and effective. I think that subconsciously, when I started writing, he impacted the style of my romance.
2. I'm a teacher
I think it's always been a consideration that whatever I write may end up in students' hands. I teach high school, so the maturity level is higher. However, I still don't know that I'd want to look out to a sea of my book knowing there are some racy, racy parts in them.
3. (The most important reason) Love isn't all about sex
Over 17 years of knowing my husband and 7 years of marriage, I've come to learn that love is definitely not all about sex. No way.
Love is soooo much more complicated than the carnal needs we have. Sure, sexual chemistry is a huge part of our search for a partner. However, love is about so much more. Love is this powerfully complex, emotional journey. It's about identity and sacrifice. It's about struggle and triumph. It's about finding someone who builds you up even at your worst. It's about finding someone who not only accepts your baggage but embraces it.
For me, that's where the story has always been. I want to chase the complexity. I want to reveal the harder side of love, the more trying side of the emotion. I want to embrace the deep, emotional side of my characters and who they are together.
Sex plays a role in that, but for me, the more difficult and, thus, more engaging part of the story doesn't usually happen in the bedroom. It happens in a truck in the middle of a blizzard when sex is so far from even being a possibility. It happens in an assisted living center where an 80-year-old woman has completely given up on connecting with anyone. It happens in a small town where a couple who is just too stubborn to admit they're perfect for each other flirts with the possibility of who they could've been.
So there are many reasons my romance falls on the sweeter side of the genre. I hope this helps you understand why I write what I write.
What do you think? Do you like your romance on the sweeter side, or do you like more physical connection in your stories? I'd love to chat with you, so hit reply and tell me what you think.
Author Lindsay Detwiler
Sneak Peek at Small-Town Romance, Still Us
From the first time they locked eyes, Lila Morrow and Luke Bowman had a special spark. Their first kiss sealed their fairy-tale romance… until everything fell apart.
Here’s your excerpt of Still Us. I can’t wait to hear what you think of it!
Sitting on the sofa with the curly-haired hunk who was a singer and an animal lover, I couldn’t help but wonder if this might just be different and if Luke’s desire to see Henry might turn into something more.
“I’d like that too.”
We spent the next few hours chatting about school, childhood memories, animals, and life. For those hours, it didn’t feel like Luke was some man I’d met less than twenty-four hours ago. It felt like he was someone I’d been meant to talk to my whole life, like the piece of me that was missing.
When we woke up in the morning to Floyd’s cries for food, I awkwardly stumbled to my feet. I’d been leaning on Luke’s shoulder, a wet spot on his shirt showing where my drooling mouth had been. I flushed with embarrassment.
“Oh my God, I’m so sorry. We must’ve fallen asleep. I’m so sorry,” I said, cupping my mouth in embarrassment.
Luke looked at his shirt, then at me, and started laughing. “It’s fine. Just a little drool, right, Doctor? Nothing you haven’t dealt with before.”
He shrugged. “Could be worse.”
“Not really. I just fell asleep on a patient’s owner’s shoulder and drooled on him. Not quite professional.”
“Well, there’s one solution for that.”
“What’s that?” I asked, rushing to get Floyd some food from the cupboard, mostly to busy my hands.
“Let’s not make this professional. Let’s make it personal. Go out with me tonight.”
I froze with a can of cat food in my hand. I turned to look at Luke, trying to avoid looking at the drool spot. “I don’t know. That’s not very professional. I mean, what would people think?”
“People can think what they want. Who cares. Go out with me.”
He took a step forward now, and I felt that familiar flutter. I wanted to say yes, to see where this feeling would take me.
But with the haze of the evening gone and the bright daylight streaming in, I realized this could lead me down another path to heartbreak. I didn’t know much about Luke, but I knew he seemed too good to be true. Those eyes were inviting, but they also said trouble.
“I don’t know. I’ll think about it.”
“That means no.”
“It means I’ll think about it.”
“Dammit, Lila Morrow. Just go out with me.”
I sighed, shaking my head. “I can’t. But I think Floyd is okay to take home. Call me if anything changes.”
Luke stared, those eyes piercing into me. For a moment, he hesitated, as if he was going to push me further. “Okay. But you call me if anything changes on your end, okay?”
I smiled, shaking my head. “Okay, I will.”
I helped him get Floyd ready for the ride home, giving him medicines and instructions and things to watch for. As I walked him to the door and thanked him for the coffee, he turned around to me.
“Just one more thing.”
He leaned in and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I froze, shocked by his boldness. He pulled back so we were almost nose to nose, his eyes glinting in the sun’s rays floating through the door. “I don’t think this is over. I think you haven’t seen the last of me. I think we could be good for each other.”
I sighed again, the fluttering intense now. “Well, for starters, that was more than just one thing, FYI.”
He shook his head now. “I’ll see you soon, soul mate.”
“Soul mate? Really? Don’t you think it’s a little soon?” I said, unable to stop the smile from spreading on my face.
“Nope. Not at all. Come on, Floyd. Let’s get out of here before Dr. Morrow makes a move. We’re not ready for marriage yet, you know.”
“You’re unbelievable.” I was flabbergasted by his confidence, more accurately labeled as arrogance. From his smirk to the way he walked out of there, it seemed like Luke Bowman knew I would be his.
Which was both frustrating and surprisingly intriguing.
“Well, thank you,” he said, whistling as he walked to his pickup truck, loaded Floyd, and drove out of the parking lot, leaving me to stand and wonder what the hell kind of trouble I’d gotten into.
“Maren, this is a terrible idea. I have no rhythm,” I whined, yanking down my hot pink exercise top and feeling completely out of place. I had no idea why I’d let her talk me into it.
“Come on. Zumba’s great. Plus, that guy I’ve been telling you about works out here, so come on. Just go with it.”
“Wait, that Will guy?”
“Yes, idiot. Hence the hour it took me to get ready for Zumba. Didn’t you think the eye makeup was a little over the top?”
“Still do. But I don’t see what your obsession has to do with me.”
“Because I need a Zumba buddy. Only creepos come alone. I don’t want Will thinking I’m a creepo.”
“That seems like seriously flawed logic,” I said.
“Okay, doctor lady. You get that white jacket and you think you know everything,” Maren said, rolling her eyes but grinning.
I shoved her into the wall, and we started yelling and pinching each other like the preteens we still were together. After we’d settled down, I turned to the right, eyeing the muscular guys on the machinery, taking a peek.
And then I froze, putting a hand on Maren’s arm. “Oh, shit. Are you serious?” I asked, seeing the familiar curls.
He was in a T-shirt and shorts, but even from here, I could appreciate his amazing biceps at work. My heart started to beat faster.
“It’s him. That guy from the other day. You know, the whole Floyd thing?”
“Oh, Lila, he’s gorgeous. Go get him.” Maren let out what I thought was supposed to be a Latin growl, but sounded more like a cough.
“No. I can’t. He’s crazy. Super bold. He’s trouble.”
“Trouble is what you need,” she hissed. “You’re so boring. He could liven you up. Now go talk to him.”
“Not in this outfit.”
“Absolutely in that outfit. Now go, or I will.”
“I thought you were here for Will,” I observed, staring at my crazy sister.
“I am. But if you let that fine man go to waste, I’ll just have to move in on both.”
“You’re ridiculous,” I said. “But fine. And besides, there’s Will. Go make eyes at him,” I said, rolling my eyes now. We pinched each other one more time before heading off in separate directions. So much for using the gym to get fit.
What did you think of Lila and Luke? Feel free to hit comment and tell me about your own love story and what you thought of Luke and Lila. If it sounds like your kind of romance, click the button below to add it to your TBR pile.
My two most popular sweet romances, Remember When and Inked Hearts, are #free for a limited time!
Remember When is a romantic drama about a married couple trying to survive a car wreck in the middle of a blizzard. As Jessica and Todd fight to survive, they reflect on their love story. Will their love be enough to help them survive?
Inked Hearts was named a Romance Times Top Pick in October of 2017. This is book one in the Lines in the Sand series, set in Ocean City, Maryland. When Avery finds her marriage over and her life falling apart, she moves to the beach town of her dreams to start over. She makes one promise to herself: No man this time. She's living for herself.
But then she meets Jesse Pearce, the green-eyed, tattooed hunk who may just change her mind about the line she drew in the sand.
Check out the links below to grab your copies now. This free sale is for a limited time, so hurry!
Inked Hearts links:
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All of my other titles are on sale this week only! Head to Amazon to browse all of my books.
Free Excerpt of Book 2 in Lines in the Sand by Lindsay Detwiler
Hi! I hope you’re having a great week. Scroll down for another free excerpt from Wild Hearts. This is one of my favorite scenes in the book because it just makes me laugh.
Will a chance and very uncomfortable run-in be the scene to finally bring Jodie and Levi together? Read on to find out why Jodie got to see a whole lot more of Levi’s gorgeous boy than she bargained for...
“Are you sure you should’ve let Gemma handle this? From what you’ve told me, she just isn’t the most trustworthy,” Avery says. We’re sitting at the kitchen island sipping coffees she brought. Avery’s forehead is dripping with sweat, and she’s trying to create airflow by pulling on the front of her shirt.
I’m wearing the skimpiest tank top and shortest shorts I could possibly find in my dresser this morning, but there’s still sweat beading on my forehead, too, and dripping down all sorts of places I don’t want to think about. I’m a hot mess, and I mean that quite literally.
It figures that on the hottest day of the year, our main air conditioner in the living room would break. Just figures.
Gemma’s out at the local Home Depot getting a new one—after swiping my half of the money for it, of course. Apparently, when she was at the bar last week, some hot guy was there who works at the Home Depot in town. I wouldn’t put her past breaking the unit on purpose for an excuse to go there.
Regardless, it’s quiet without her, and Avery doesn’t have to be at her new painting spot for a couple of hours. I’ve suggested we catch up on Teen Mom or The Bachelor. Avery has other ideas, insistent I lure the cowboy out of his apartment so she can get a look. I’ve shot the idea down. We’ve both considered having some real fun and letting Sebastian into Gemma’s room. I can just imagine the horror in Gemma’s perfectly lined eyes at the sight of the cat on his back right in the middle of her pillow.
“Hey,” Avery says after taking another sip. “Speaking of Sebastian, where is my buddy? I haven’t seen him, and come to think of it, he didn’t greet me.”
I freeze, looking at Avery before glancing around. I think back on the morning, realizing I haven’t seen Sebastian, not since I got up and noticed it was hotter than hell in here. I remember feeding him his canned cat food bright and early, but after that….
We both leap to our feet and investigate, checking Sebastian’s favorite napping spots. I find nothing but clumps of gray hair where Sebastian should be.
I start calling out his name, wondering where the big lug of a cat ended up. Avery dashes room to room.
And that’s when I see it. The window. The wide-open window, the screen that was there this morning gone.
“Dammit,” I yell, dashing toward the open window, hoping the fat cat didn’t get very far. But I don’t see him anywhere. Avery rushes to my side.
“Oh, shit,” she says.
We wordlessly dash outside, frantically peeking around the apartment lawn.
And it’s then I hear some wild parrot squawking above the country music blasting in Levi’s apartment—so much for heeding my neighborly request to keep it down.
That’s when I notice his window is, as usual, wide, wide open. He says real men believe in natural air conditioning.
“Is this the cowboy’s home?” Avery says, her eyes glimmering despite the situation.
“You know damn well it is,” I say. “But looks like he’s not home.”
I creep over to his window, peeping in to see Sebastian, all twenty pounds of him, climbing up Johnny Cash’s cage, his claws fiddling with the door, the parrot screaming. Apparently he didn’t get very far after his great escape. I can’t even begin to imagine how he got his fat body through Levi’s window and onto the parrot cage. Regardless, this is the predicament we’re in now, and I have no idea how to get us out of it.
“Oh shit,” I yell, waiting for Levi to come bolting to Johnny Cash’s rescue. But he does nothing of the sort. He truly must not be home, despite the music blaring.
Thus, I do what any sensible woman would do. I try the doorknob, find it locked, and pound furiously on the door. We wait a moment, but detect no Levi movement. I kick the door in frustration.
Avery yells at Sebastian, hands on her face. “Jo, he’s going to get the parrot. You need to get in there.”
“And how do you suppose I do that?” I scream, in panic mode.
Avery looks at me and then peeks at the window. “Here, I’ll give you a boost. You can just shimmy through there.”
“I can’t just climb through his window. Are you crazy?”
“You need to save the bird!” She is insistent, the take-charge Avery emerging in our time of crisis. I sigh and obey. She’s right. Levi might drive me crazy, but I can’t risk Sebastian hurting his bird—although if Johnny Cash bit the dust, it would be much quieter. Still, it wouldn’t be the neighborly thing or the humanly thing to do.
Avery awkwardly makes a step for me out of her hands. “Apparently neither of us were cheerleaders,” I say as we struggle and fumble on the front lawn. Finally, Avery practically tosses me to the ledge of the window, and I pull and strain to get myself through. The cat is hanging on the cage. At least he hasn’t burst it open yet.
I finally slide through the window, and Avery claps behind me, apparently proud we’ve pulled off this James Bond—hardly—move.
I yell at Sebastian, flapping my hands at him, as I cross the living room floor. I’m almost at the cage when a door flies open inside, and footsteps come running toward me, probably to see what the commotion is.
The real Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” is blaring as Sebastian meows at me, Johnny Cash the parrot screaming and flapping. Avery shrieks from the window, and says “Oh, my.” I turn slightly to see Levi staring back at me wide-eyed.
But it’s me who lets out the next scream, backing toward the window, because Levi is standing a few feet away from me, completely and utterly naked.
Like completely. Everything, everything, everything is hanging out for all to see.
And see it all we do.
It is only after a long, confusing moment he realizes what’s happening and covers himself with cupped hands, but it’s too late.
I’ve seen things I can’t unsee, and maybe don’t want to.
What did you think of Levi and Jodie’s awkward run-in? Hit Reply and let me know if this scene made you laugh. I’d love to hear from you.
P.S: Want more of Wild Hearts? Join my VIP Fan Club For your chance to get more Free excerpts of Wild Hearts. I want you to get to try it out before you buy it... I only want you to add it to your TBR pile if it's your type of romance.
5 Must-See and Must-Read Pieces to Cure Royal Wedding Fever
"I want to be a princess."
It's a line so many of us uttered as a child--and maybe some of us are still saying now. Becoming a princess is just the thing of childhood dreams. The dresses, the castle, the lovely teas and handsome prince. It's the thing of dreams, far away dreams for many of us.
So it's no wonder that when Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle live out our childhood fantasies in real life, we all get a little obsessed. There's just something magical about a royal wedding. From the clothes to the venue to the dress, it seems like the thing fairy tales are made of.
I can remember watching Kate Middleton's wedding, mesmerized by the beauty and extravagance of it all. I know for a fact I'll be tuned into Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding on May 19th, taking in all the magical beauty of the scene.
But, if you're like me, May 19th seems so far away. Other than a few cute engagement photos and the engagement interview, there's not a lot to keep the momentum going. So, I've come up with this list of top five books, movies, and shows for those of you also suffering from royal wedding fever. Feel free to comment with any additions to the list.
1. The Crown
I'll be the first to say I find The Crown to be a little bit dry. However, it does give you a deep look at the royal family and all of the crises they survived. The dresses are stunning, and the actors and actresses do an amazing job at portraying daily life for the family. It is insightful and gives you the glimpse into the lifestyle few are actually privy to.
If you're obsessed with all things royalty, this is an amazing series from the CW. It follows a very fictionalized story line of Mary Queen of Scots. Adelaide Kane does an amazing job at portraying the beautiful, young ruler. The love story between Mary and Frances is truly swoonworthy.
Although a different royal family and not historically accurate, this is sure to satisfy anyone who loves everything royalty. The costumes are to die for, the scenery and castle is magical, and the secrets and lies keep the plot engaging. This is my favorite "royalty" series of all time. I highly recommend you check out the five seasons of the show.
3. The Prince and Me
An oldie but goodie for anyone who loves the "average girl marries prince" idea. Julia Stiles does an amazing job at portraying the average, girl-next-door who unknowingly falls for a prince. It's a magical movie that gives hope to all of us that our princess dreams can come true. Check out The Prince and Me to hold you over until the royal wedding... and maybe pretend that your dreams of being a princess are still possible.
4. A Christmas Prince
This is the holiday movie that took the internet by storm. A Netflix Original, A Christmas Prince touts some cheesy acting and plot... yet is somehow irresistible. It has a similar plot to The Prince and Me, where an average girl ends up falling in love with a prince. A reporter is sent to cover a story on the prince, but accidentally ends up closer to him than she plans. As her lies snowball, she must decide whether or not to confess the truth or to follow her career passions.
It's a holiday movie, but I recommend it for anyone who can't wait for the royal wedding and wants to watch the lives of princes and princesses.
5. Tegan Wren's Inconceivable
This book is a 5-star read. It again follows the idea of an average woman (a reporter) who falls in love with a prince. However, this book actually goes into their marriage and their struggles as a couple. This book gives a realistic look at how becoming a royal could change you. For those of us who won't get to live out our princess fantasy, it makes you realize that even being royalty doesn't shield you from heavy life issues. It maybe dulls the pain of the fact that Prince Harry and Prince William are off the market.
I highly recommend this read. Check out my Goodreads review here.
The Powerful Netflix Romance You Need To See Now: 'Irreplaceable You'
Tissues. You will need lots and lots of tissues.
Let me preface by saying I'm not usually one to cry at movies (EXCEPTION: Marley & Me. That one killed me). But Irreplaceable You made me tear up, made me weepy, and made me so emotional. It's a true tear-jerker movie with beauty, emotion, and a whole lot of feels.
It is a tragic romance about the devastating effects of cancer. I know what you're thinking--because I thought it too--there are so many movies out there already about this topic. Fault in Our Stars, and A Walk to Remember, for example--how could anything beat those?
Nonetheless, Irreplaceable You does a good job at creating its own feel and story line. For one, the protagonists are in their early 30s and planning their wedding. The age of the protagonists alone created a new set of problems, emotions, and a different dynamic.
Abby, who is diagnosed with cancer, worries about what will happen to Sam once she dies. Will he be able to find joy again? Will he be able to find someone to share his life with again? Thus, she decides to spend her final months preparing for her death by scoping out the dating scene for Sam. Her hope is that she can find a replacement for herself so she can die at peace, knowing he'll be happy.
I know it sounds like an odd premise... and it made me a little uncomfortable at first. However, Abby's quirky personality was able to shine even during the most depressing moments. There are small moments that break up the depressing, heavy scenes and even made me laugh. Furthermore, Abby's sense of dark humor throughout the movie allowed the tension to ease at points and allowed me to appreciate her character even more.
The story is a tad cliche at points and is pretty predictable. However, I felt like the point wasn't to have some over-the-top plot or unexpected twist. The point was to capture the emotions of this tragedy while also showcasing the depth of a love story. The movie did just that and ripped my heart out in the process.
I think the fact that Abby and Sam were childhood sweethearts added a layer of depth to the story as well. They didn't meet during her diagnosis or shortly before or after. They had already lived so much of their love story and were looking forward to decades more when cancer ripped that from them. Their shared history makes it all that more difficult to accept, for the characters and the audience.
I liked that their history came through in their interactions. The memories conveyed, their roots, and their catch phrases made them feel so real as a couple.
At times, I did wish I could see more of Sam's character. I felt like he wasn't as open in the movie as Abby. Of course, she is the main focus, which could be why I felt like that. Still, I wish I could've seen more of his struggles with the diagnosis and the situation. Sometimes, it felt like he wasn't emotionally moved by what was happening like he should've been. I also don't know that the movie accurately depicted the true devastation, emotionally and physically, of cancer. The movie skipped over a lot of the heavy issues Abby would have been dealing with. I think this could have made it richer and more realistic.
I will say that this movie is very heavy, especially with the ending. It really makes you think about so much. Most of all, it made me think about time and how time with my husband is really the most important thing.
If you're looking for a romantic drama with all the feels, check out Irreplaceable You on Netflix... but be sure you have some waterproof mascara and some comfort foods ready to go.
Have you watched this yet? What did you think? Comment below and let me know if you have any other Netflix recommendations!
How was your day?
It's such a basic question, one so many of us toss around countless times a day. We ask our mailman, the barista at the coffee shop, or the random person we pass at work. It's a question that seems to carry so little weight.
However, these days, that question carries a lot of weight in my relationship because, in many ways, it's been a chance for my husband and me to stay connected.
For the past few months, we've endured vastly differing work schedules that only afford us a limited amount of time together a week. I won't lie--it's been crazy hard.
I know there are so many other couples out there dealing with worse schedules: traveling jobs, military positions, and other circumstances probably keep other couples apart more than we are. Still, he's my absolute best friend, and the plain truth is: I miss all of our time together.
I miss our random, Monday trips to Target. I miss our hour rants about our days right when I would get home. I miss our dinners together and our Lunchables on nights we didn't feel like cooking. I miss the constant companionship, the simple moments, the shared laughs.
I miss him.
Over the past few months, though, we've learned that to make love work, you have to choose to invest in it.
Even though we don't have a lot of time together, the simple fact is we make time. He gets up at the crack of dawn with me to see me off to work, and I stay up super late to talk to him when he gets home. We both are running on "E" in many ways, our sleep schedules totally dysfunctional and lacking. But we do it, not because we're okay without our eight hours (we both are super grouchy without sleep), but because our time together is more important than a few extra hours.
Sacrifice. It's something we've learned over the past few months.
And we also stay in touch through texting. We make a point to send each other messages, to chat when we get a free moment.
And, every single day, I get this text: How are you?
It's a simple phrase, just a few words, but it's really become symbolic of who we are.
He's not around for my day now. He's not here for me to vent or to share in the joys with. Still, even when he's not here, he still wants to know how my day was.
He still takes the time to check in, to find out what's going on in my life, even if it has to be reduced to the words on a phone screen.
These past few months have sucked in a lot of ways, but they've also reinforced the fact that keeping love alive is a choice--and it's not always about grand gestures. Keeping love alive is about simple moments, small gestures of sacrifice that go a long way.
It's about choosing to find any and every way possible to stay connected. It's about showing care for the other person even when you can't physically be there.
Most of all, it's about truly wanting to know how the other person is and caring enough to ask.
How do you keep love alive throughout the drudgery of the work week? Have you ever dealt with different schedules? How did you keep the connection going?
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