Only Girls Can Give Really Awesome Gifts

I overheard two teen girls chatting and they were talking (actually complaining?) about how boys have little imagination when it comes to giving gifts.  They just normally give chocolates and don't care about fancy wrapping paper of gift tags.  

For some reason, girls have mastered the art of giving excellent gifts - who else would think of giving a rocker guy a good Fender Standard Stratocasters at Musicians Friend with accessories -complete with quality wrapping, a personalized touch, and a thoughtful greeting card - all within budget, too!

And they are right!  We are seriously amazing.  

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Eight Practical Ways to Boost Your Immunity

Fickle weather, pollution, and the holiday stress can do a number on our immune system.

Here are 8 ways you can boost your immune system and be ready for the New Year:

Squeeze some O.J.

Citrus fruits such as calamansi, lemons, grapefruits and oranges restore the body’s acid-alkali balance and support healthy bacteria to defeat viruses and harmful bacteria.  Drink water with freshly squeezed lemon juice, add lemon to your tea and salad dressings.  Splurge on your favorite citrus fruits and stay healthy!

Get a good night’s sleep.

Sleep results in balanced hormone levels, including those that promote growth and control stress.  It helps to keep weight down and results in clear thinking, an improved mood and vibrant, healthy skin.  All these spell good health and strong immune system.

Eat lots of protein.

Protein is the key to a healthy body.  Be sure to include protein in every meal and lower your carb intake if you can.  Carbs convert readily to glucose which spikes blood sugar and stresses the pancreas, including the immune system.

Cut back on refined white sugar.

Cutting back on sweets will improve your energy level, boost your weight loss efforts and your immune system.  If you must take in sugar, go for brown sugar or, better yet, honey, which helps boost the immune system, too.

Eat raw fruits and vegetables.

Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber and enzymes, the nutritional content you receive from raw fruits and veggies is unparalleled.  Vitamins, especially Vitamin C, protect cells from damage by toxins in the environment.  Fruits like berries and veggies like broccoli are high in flavonoids, polyphenols and other antioxidants.

Wash your hands.

Hand washing is your best defense against illness!

Nurture yourself.

Make sure you find time to pamper yourself.  Have a massage, go to the salon, watch a funny movie.  Our bodies respond to positive or negative emotions, so always be in a good mood to avoid catching bugs.  When you are happy, you are far less likely to get sick.  Staying stress-free boosts immunity.

Drink lots of water.

Stay well hydrated to ensure that your immunity is at its peak.  Taking lots of clear soup and drinking at least 8 to 10 glasses of water a day helps flush away viruses and waste materials that make you sick.

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Merry Christmas!

Hey, all!  Merry Christmas!  I hope you guys had a wonderful Christmas celebration!  I spent Christmas eve with my family and had a blast opening our simple Christmas gifts.  Daughter 2 was hoping for alfred flash cards since she has been very interested in music lately and has expressed her interest to play interesting musical instruments like the ukulele.  Her dad got her a new guitar, though, but she insists that she will get the ukulele no matter what.

Interestingly, I got a cookbook.  It is a sign, people, that I should start cooking healthier meals for myself and my family.

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How To #Lighten Your Skin Tip 1: Use Lemons

My mom swore on how lemons are natural skin lighteners.  She would rub the juice on her face and her nails!  And I thought it worked.  She was fair and her skin was clear and radiant.  Except for the freckles which never lightened – well, maybe just a bit – her skin was to die for. 

So why don’t you go the natural route and get them good ole lemons to nourish and whiten your skin?


I know you are appalled with those freckles – err, age spots when you’re older.  I am!  I had them ever since I was a kid (something that I got from my mom).  I had them on my arms and shoulders as well, which is perfectly okay, since in our cold Baguio weather, I can hide ‘em spots. 

I had so many face spots that my cousin used to tease me about making  a dot-to-dot puzzle on my face.

People looking for me at the office when I am out of field described me as “the one with freckles.” 

After I gave birth, it was like I opened an ink bottle and the ink splashed on my face.

My face is not as “spotty” as it was then.  I underwent an intense Obagi Nu-derm treatment for about a year and I am on CorrEsthetiques right now.

Which lessened the spots (although they keep re-surfacing if I get exposed under the sun).

But before there was Dr. Obagi and before my former boss introduced me to CorrEsthetiques, I was on to my mom’s “lighter skin solution.”

You see, lemons are rich in citric and ascorbic acids.  They aid in the natural exfoliating of your skin, revealing the lighter skin beneath.

Here’s how to lighten your skin using lemons:

Grab a lemon.  Slice it in half.  Squeeze the juice out then carefully apply it to your face and areas you want to lighten. 

Do this every day before you sleep.

If you are like me whose skin is super-sensitive, you can mix it with water. Then apply the diluted lemon juice on your trouble areas using a cotton ball.

Don’t forget to test the lemon juice for any allergic reactions.  Dab a small amount of lemon juice under your chin and on your forearm.  Wait for any reactions within the next 24 hours.  If you come out clean without any redness or rashes on the spot where you applied it, you can bathe in pure lemon.


But you can also use the lemon rind and rub it gently on your skin.    And if you have pimples and blackheads, you can also use the lemon.  It can heal them. And please remember not to expose yourself to direct sunlight without using sunblock.  Your skin can get red and  irritated.


Nails that get the regular mani-pedi cannot go totally bare (without nail polish).  Why?  Because the polish stains the nails yellow.  Gross, right?  To get rid of those ugly yellow stains, fill a bowl with warm water, squeeze half a lemon and soak your nails for fifteen minutes.  Rinse your hand then pat them dry.  Do this every day.  Or , do like what my mom did.  Directly rub the lemon rind on your nails and let them stay there. 

Remember to give your nails a break from polish for a week or two while you treat them.  I personally love clean, naked nails more than the ones with chipping nail polish. 


Lemons make your hair shine.  If you are tired of your dry, lifeless hair, pouring ¼ cup lemon juice diluted with five liters of water on your newly-rinsed, shampooed hair will do wonders.  The acidic quality of the lemon juice will strip any residue on your hair, creating shine.  Avoid doing this, though, if your hair has been color-treated.

You can also make your own concoction of lemon juice with coconut oil or honey and apply it like it is a conditioner.  Rinse and rave how shiny and smashing your hair looks.

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Ready For The Road!

My family is the kind of people who are pleased to blend in the background.  We don’t want to attract attention.  We try to downplay everything, even when we travel ( which we plan to do this Christmas season).

Well, almost everything.  We use neon nametags to make it easier for us to identify our suitcases against a sea of identical suitcases.

Of course, it is what’s inside that spells the difference.  Travels anywhere are never complete without shawls (they can be good blankets), my Kindle, camera and in my husband’s case – his guitar.

He loves to play the guitar, sing and compose songs, and he gives good entertainment during family reunions.   I don’t mind if he carries his guitar everywhere in any of the cheap guitar cases for sale at musicians friend.

Especially if he sings and plays the guitar for me during those awesome sunsets at the beach.

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Youth In A Jar: What Is So Special About A Beauty Cult Cream?

The word "cult" carries connotations of a loyal devout following and in the world of beauty, this certainly holds true.  Having names like Creme dela Mer, Sensai, La Creme, Sisleya, Creme Cellulaire Radiance - all sound as exotic as they are unfamiliar.  Chances are, you've probably never heard of them, unless you're in the know. 

In the past few years, cult brands from beauty emporiums such as Beauty Bar and Essenses have been cropping up on shelves, and despite the lack of aggressive advertising for other mass-market brands, they have not gone unnoticed.  Instead of traditional marketing campaigns, they gain popularity through word of mouth, and through magazine and celebrity endorsements. 

New users grab those obscure creams and are quickly inducted into the "cult."  If old department store brands used to be the must-haves in your kit, these days, prestige is not as much of a cachet as excusivity.  For many style-setters, the more obscure and difficult to find, the better.

This explains why some big-time customers buy several jars of these creams at a time, and even with their steep prices, they are always out of stock.  

Why the fuss?  

Stopping the aging process or at least slowing it to a crawl is the preoccupation of an ever-growing market.  Apart from the obvious line and jowls that accompany the passage of time, the reason for the popularity of those products is the buzz generated by every new entry. What's in it?  Who uses it?  Fans of Creme dela Mer, a sea-kelp-rich cream, say it moisturizes dry skin like nothing else, while Sisleya and La Prairie potions are staples for the country's most beautiful women.

It takes more than persuasive claims to give an anti-aging cream this kind of cachet, however.  Most of them justify their price tag with rare ingredients, but some also have unfounded claims.  More than that, the consumer has to be vigilant, not only if the miracle cream fails to perform as manufacturers claim, but if they produce results that are no different from that of the less-expensive brand.  While some marketing campaigns can be misleading, the industry has also developed effective products that are well worth your money.  Bottom line is, if it's too good to be true, it probably is.  

By sticking to  a simple regimen and having a healthy dose of skepticism, you'll be able to cut through the hype ad find what you need to look and feel good, without getting caught in the cult cream craze.

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Student Challenges: On Writing College Essays

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Ask me what I hated most when I was in college.

You wouldn’t believe it, but I really hated writing essays.  And the worst part, writing essays are inescapable!  You are expected to write essays before entering college and probably a million times more during the course of your college course (I am kidding about the million times, but with the frequency professors ask you to write essays, you will feel like you have written a million essays.)

Of course, essay writing trained me to be better in my writing skills, which really helped me in landing a great job after I graduated.

However, you may be like other students who feel that writing an essay is a burden.  I don’t blame you.  You may just hate writing or you may have lots of other school and social activities to attend to, making essay writing your last priority. Until, of course, when the essay becomes due, and it is panic time.

Fortunately, you can now do an essay purchase through an essay writing service online.  Isn’t it amazing how the world wide web has evolved into making things simpler?   And you know, there are benefits you can get out of purchasing an essay.  For one, you will be exposed to different essay styles enabling you to confidently develop your own essay writing style later.  These custom-made essays will assure you that they are well-researched, with correct grammar and sentence construction. Other essay-writing service companies offer online consultation with their professional writers, making you really understand what your essay is about, which sorts of removes doubts that you indeed made your essay.

Try to observe how these essays are written.  One day, you may be able to develop and improve your own style, making you capable and confident to finally make your own essay.
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The 21-Day Fix: Simple Fitness. Simple Eating. Fast Results.

If you happen to pass by my personal blog, My Life’s Anik-Aniks, you may have noticed that I have embarked  on a sort of a weight loss program, except that I am struggling.  As.  In.  Really.  Struggling.

There is no contest on my dedication to work out.  Although I rant about my current workout program which I do for an hour about three to four times a week, I still do it and feel great afterwards.

My real problem is finding the control to stop eating much.

I have heard somewhere, probably in one of those handle-your-stress seminars which our office loves to give to stress us out more, that it takes 21 days to form a habit.

Is that “21-days-thing to form a habit” connected to 21 Day Fix? 

21 Day Fix is Beach Body’s soon-to-be-released program. This new program is designed to help you lose 10-15 pounds in 21 days following a workout and a nutrition plan.

Now I have always loved Beach Body’s programs.  Back to the days when I was trying to lose the excess weight I had after giving birth to my third child, I would do Shaun T’s Hiphop Abs and later progressed to Chalene Johnson’s Turbo Jam (I had to take it easy since I had a C-section – for the third time!).

I also tried Turbo Fire, which is easier to do than Shaun T’s Insanity which was totally insane!

What is the 21 Day Fix?

21 Day Fix was created by Autumn Calabrese.

Her body rocks, don’t you think?  I am like, “How did she do it?”

I used to read her health and fitness posts at Mighty Mommies Fitness.   I bet the 21 Day Fix is a perfect fit for moms and women who are struggling to lose some weight and finally finding the strength and discipline to push themselves to  have the body they want and deserve.

The 21 Day Fix program is described on Beachbody’s site as a program that “takes the guesswork out of weight loss.  It’s a unique portion-control system combined with easy-to-follow workouts that fit into anyone’s busy schedule.  Trainer Autumn Calabrese shares her passion for food and fitness as she shows you how to make simple choices that add up to life-changing results.”

Now this is probably what we ladies constantly on a struggle to fix ourselves need.  Sign up here to be the first to know when 21 Day Fix is available!

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Maxing Up The Mood For Christmas!

A photo by cescassawin via
What’s the month of December without hints of red and green and gold everywhere?  Wear this season’s signature colors in hip, cool-weather get-up.  Even just a bold red accessory or small splashes of bright, Christmasy gold while you are out shopping for exceptional fender electric guitars  for little bro can get you ready for Christmas in an instant! 

 And why don’t you play DJ during your family reunions and class parties and make your very own Christmas Mix CD by choosing both modern and non-traditional carols that you and your family love?  You, the family and the rest of the gang will have a blast counting the hours to Christmas!

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Christmas Is A Time To Reach Out, Reconnect

A photo by imagerymajestic via

It is a day to December, and although the Grinch in me is threatening to rear out his ugly head anytime soon, I am trying to tame him by thinking of the spirit of Christmas.

Christmas is the perfect time to celebrate friendships, old and new.  To celebrate the spirit of the season, say sorry to people you had misunderstandings with this year, and feel the joy of forming new friendships.  Show your appreciation to your family and friends.  Give them a handwritten, heartfelt note or thank you card.  It really doesn't have to be a big gesture.  It  can be as simple as giving your dad a small hug right after he drops you off at school in the morning, or saying "good night" to your ate before going to bed.

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Ode To Self

A photo by num_skyman via free

Christmas season is here.  And sure, I expect mayhem – long days of shopping, wrapping gifts, endless nights partying and playing my cheap suzuki scx-48 harmonica for those annual Christmas carols, but I also intend to give myself my much-deserved break.  I will think about all the great things that happened, be thankful of the blessings I received, and treat myself to a quiet day full of introspection and soft music while giving myself a pat in the back for enduring this challenging year – and bask in the pleasure of knowing that I am ready to conquer what is coming ahead. 

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Feel Good In Your Skin

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Have you ever had an attack of the body blues? 

I see all hands raised (my imagination can run wild, but yeah, I bet all of us have an attack of the body blues from time to time  every time)…

Did you know that us women of just about any size can gain confidence and look gorgeous with just a simple mindset that has nothing to do with the words we fear the most - diet and exercise?

Women are such perfectionists when it comes to their bodies.  I bet Angelina Jolie has those thigh-hating moments, too.   Sure, every one of us know that there is not one ideal shape.  But still, we women tend to compare ourselves – a lot !   What is more terrible is that we measure ourselves against seemingly perfect women -  mostly celebrities.

So how do you stop yourself from comparing yourself and feeling miserable just because you don’t  have her six-pack abs (and she – the celeb – has more kids than you)?

Simply by becoming comfortable with what you are – your weight, your size, your shape, your dimples, your sweet smile, all you other unique characteristic.  When you feel fabulous, you will look fabulous!  Once you start appreciating and loving what you are and what you have, it will show.  That’s what true beauty is.  

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Adam Levine: People's Sexiest Man Alive 2013

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Super Stressed? Take a Mid-day Break!

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It is one looong work day – and it is not even mid-day - and everything is not going right.  Your printer conked out , the client keeps bothering you on the phone, and the boss has made another correction on the office memo he asked you to type.  What should you do?

Nothing beats taking a short break during the workday to pamper yourself and de-clutter your mind.  Listen to soothing music, go to the mall, check out the conga drums at musicians friend and bang on them like crazy (this will truly relieve stress!)   Take a walk outside your building or get a quick mani-pedi at a nearby salon.  Head out for a late lunch hour and treat yourself.

You can be super creative while you stave off stress.  Remember, you can never be productive in work if you are super stressed.

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Networking Tip

We had a very interesting seminar last Friday.  The speakers were so good we never had a boring time.  I was practically kicking myself after the seminar when I realized I forgot to get their cards! 

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There are times we meet people like the speakers we had - someone interesting, influential, popular, or someone who can give you advice.  Remember to get their cards.  Then write down or type in your computer their names later.  List as many details as you remember about them, like what you spoke about or what they taught in the seminar. 

You will never know when you will need to reach out to them for advice or a job lead.  Being able to recount something personal will be impressive. 
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Music and "The One"

A photo by photostock via

“Tall, dark and handsome.” “Should sweep me off my feet.” “Smart and funny.”  “Should take care of me.””He should be able to make beautiful music.””He should be able to sing and play the guitar.”

These are just some answers that we get when we ask you gals your idea of “The One.”  I noticed that most would love somebody who can sing and play beautiful music that never goes out of tune – I bet he must be using snark clip on guitar tuners at m123.   

Music and love do go together.  Now, I wonder no longer when couples in love are described as “playing beautiful music.”
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Toothpaste That Cures Your Zits and Other Home Remedies!

A photo by tokyoboy via
I will let you in on a secret.

I am scared of doctors.

As in really, really scared.

Which makes me sort of an expert on DIY home remedies.  But hey, for most illnesses (especially if you don't see any improvement in one to two days!), there is no substitute for professional medical attention.  But for some minor aches and annoyances, I have an arsenal of home remedies - and they do help, believe me.  


There is nothing worse than discovering you have an angry zit on your face the night before that major date or a job interview.  What to do?  My friend swore on this (while my cousin swore on dabbing lipstick!).  Dab some toothpaste on the blemish before going to bed.  It has a drying effect, making the pimples less noticeable the next day.  Just do this once, though, on a single, enormous zit, and only if it is an emergency. (Don't attempt to put the entire toothpaste on your face!  You may have an allergic reaction and end up with a really red face.)


Sip a cup of hot water with a dash of cayenne pepper, lemon juice and a teaspoon of honey.  The steam and the spicy cayenne pepper triggers a response that makes your nose run. 

One of my favorites is Hot and Sour Soup, too. 


Swipe the edge of a credit card over the area stung by a bee to scrape the stinger out of the skin.  Then make a paste of water and McCormick meat tenderizer and apply it to the sting.  My grandma said an enzyme in the meat tenderizer breaks down the venom released by the bee.  Now I am no science expert but when my daughter had a bee sting, the pain and the swelling disappeared once I applied the paste.


Leg cramps are like nightmares!  They last less than four to five minutes, but when they do happen, the pain is so immense you almost pass out!  Then you wake up the next day and only have a vague memory of the torture you went through.  

What should you do when leg cramps happen?  Stretch your leg immediately.  It will hurt like heck, but stretching forces the balled-up muscle to relax. 

Make sure you drink your required eight glasses of water a day and get enough salt on your diet.  Cramps are often caused by dehydration and sodium loss.


If you are having a terrible time getting your bowels to move, drink at least eight full glasses of water the entire day.  You can also drink prune juice.  Take a 20-minute walk per day.  Exercise stimulates your digestive tract.  You can prevent constipation by sprinkling ground flaxseed or chia seeds on your morning coffee or juice.


The cold months always give me itchy, red and dry eyes  And if I get an allergy attack, I end up with crusty eyes.  Gross, right? This is what I usually do – I gently scrub my crusty lid with a cotton ball soaked in baby shampoo.  This will loosen the crust.  After that, dip a clean cotton ball in warm water and wash away the shampoo and discharge.  Do this twice a day until your eyes get better.  But if your eye problem turns out  to be conjuncitivitis, you need to see your eye doctor fast!


Coffee drinkers, you will love this!  If your headache is killing you, have a cup of coffee with your acetaminophen (I always drink Biogesic for this).  Apparently, caffeine sort of constricts your dilated blood vessels, which can help stop your headache until your meds kick in.  However, don’t overdo the coffee.  Too much caffeine can cause a rebound effect – having too much will actually cause a headache.  So, just go for two cups a day.


Your eyes are puffy and you ran out of ice  cubes?   Grab that frozen bag of peas in your freezer, wrap a wash towel and put it over your closed eyelids for ten to fifteen minutes.  The cold reduces the swelling by constricting the blood vessels around the eyes.

Try sleeping with your head elevated so that the blood does not pool in the tissues of the face and cause puffiness.


My eyelids always twitch.  The twitching is usually caused by stress, fatigue or dry eyes. You can sort of stop these spasms by doing this simple home remedy.  Using your forefinger, gently touch the area of the lid that feels as if it is twitching like crazy. 

If this does not work, put a warm compress on your eyelid for three to five minutes.

I hope this home spun remedies will help you!

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Signs That You Are Meant For Each Other

a photo by Tanatat via

Whether you are walking in a dreamy state, basking in the glory of your new-found love, or in the comfortable routine of “in a relationship” status, it is really hard to conclude if your relationship with her will finally lead to her being “The One”.

For one, you may be settling for the first gal who came along.  Or, you may be stuck in an unhappy relationship because you have sort of justified all of your current girlfriend’s shortcomings.  Watch out.  You may be settling yourself for wasted time, energy and lots of unnecessary pain.

Sometimes, it helps to admit that it is time to give up on some things that are not working.  In the same way, it is important to know when you can’t make someone your dream partner in life.  Sometimes, the sign can be as simple as having a need that is important to you – and having a partner who consciously refuses to fill it.

But if you think you are certain that your relationship can stand the test of time and you are ready to commit, go show your love for her by getting the most beautiful ring from an ideal jeweler like Tacori.  The jeweler should make you comfortable, and the sales staff is helpful enough to suggest rings that would match what you like without being too pushy.  Giving her a ring is a sign that you will love her forever.  The circular shape of the ring is a symbol of eternity – no beginning and no end.  The hole in the center of the ring signifies a door – a gateway where you are venturing into the unknown.

That is why you must be sure she is the one you want to spend the rest of your life with.

But how will you know she is The One?

She is The One if…


One of the crucial indicators that she is the one for you is when you truly accept each other.  Her little quirks don’t irritate you a bit and you love her enough not to control her in the same way that she does not control you.


Sure, she never forgets your birthday or even your old folk’s wedding anniversary, and you never fail to show up at her doorstep with cake and roses for every single milestone in your relationship (like your first month together ).  But what about when she is at her insecure worst? Women tend to be soft and vulnerable and would love a heart to heart, honest to goodness talk about her, you or both you and her as a couple.  Most guys tend to back out, get scared and leave the relationship, but if you care for her enough to protect, cherish and re-assure her, she must be the one.


Being together is not a bed of roses.  In the beginning, you only see her sweet side, until you suddenly have simple misunderstandings, like her getting mad at you for failing to remember the day (and hour!) you first texted her. However, the gravity of your conflict or argument would not deter you or her from fixing things up.  Two people who are right for each other are sensitive to each other’s needs.  Although there would be conflicts, they would solve the conflict together.


Life for you as a couple can be incredibly exciting and comfortable at the same time.  You truly understand each other, because you operate on the same wavelength.  You can talk and hold meaningful, lengthy conversations where each takes a turn speaking as the other listens.

Communication is the key.  If you cannot communicate about the simplest of things, you might not be able to build a good relationship arrangement together.


In choosing the right one, you must look for character, not simple looks or personality.  You have similar interests, ambitions, and goals for the future.  The more you share each other’s aspirations and dreams, the better the chances of staying solidly together.


One of the signs of a good relationship is the emotional growth you have experienced from being in a relationship. You give each other self-confidence, and your relationship generates something new – a new experience, a new understanding, a new solution – with each encounter. 

Your commitment to each other, like the ring symbolizes, is forever. 
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