10 Unique, Meaningful Birthday Gifts

10 Birthday Gifts That Mean So Much More Than A Basic Lavender Scent Candle Or Target Mug

Unique and uncommon gift ideas for that special someone.

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Okay so here's the deal. My mom and brother share a birthday on June 22nd. I can't tell you how many times I've heard my mom say that my brother was "the best birthday gift I could ever ask for." Every year when June hits, I brainstorm birthday gift ideas that will top the year's past. I know what you may be thinking...no, I am NOT here to find birthday presents that top my brother being born on my mom's birthday. I have come up with heartfelt and unique birthday gifts that are easily accessible and will definitely put a smile on someone's face. Oh, and did I mention my dad's birthday is also in June? C'mon people, we don't have much time!

When I say heartfelt and unique birthday gifts, I don't mean those construction paper coupons we all use to make when we were little, like..."one free back rub," or "a non-redeemable manicure at the Gabrielle nail spa." I am talking about those uncommon and meaningful gifts that will definitely have them reaching for the tissues.

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15 Stores That Have Free Gifts For You On Your Birthday, Yes, Even In Your 20s

Is it worth all of the free stuff? YES!
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Do yourself a favor and go sign up for all of these rewards programs below. I know...you are thinking about all the emails you are going to receive..but is it worth all of the free stuff? YES!


1. Auntie Anne's

Sign up for pretzel perk (really easy), and you get a free pretzel on your birthday. Who doesn't love Auntie Anne's? Perfect snack while you are on your birthday shopping spree! Don't get me started on those cinnamon sugar covered pretzels!

2. Baskin Robbins

Go in and tell them it is your birthday, and you will receive a Free Ice Cream. Their Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is THE best, but its impossible to order wrong at Baskin Robbins.

3. Cracker Barrel

Go in and tell them it is your birthday, and you will receive a Free Dessert. Look around in the store, play some chess just like old times, and it would be such a great, down to earth place to celebrate!

4. Kendra Scott

1/2 off on one item during your birthday month. All you need is your ID, and they will discount your item!

5. IHOP

Free meal on your birthday! Pancakes here I come!

6. Krispy Kreme

Sign up for eclub, receive a free donut :) Easy enough! I mean who doesn't want to bite into that a warm, sweet, sticky donut?

7. Panera

Sign up for (free) Panera Rewards, and receive free dessert. Oh, that is after your mac and cheese...ofcourse.


8. P.F Changs

Create an account = Free Appetizer or Dessert during your birthday month (THANK YOU FOR NOT LIMITING IT TO THE ONE DAY)

9. Sephora

Register with Sephora and they will give you a free gift on your birthday.

10. Steak n' Shake

Sign up for E Club for a free menu item on your birthday.

11. Starbucks

Getting tired running around to recieve your free items? Stop by Starbucks with your reward (app) to get a free drink!

12. Columbia Sportswear

Get that jacket you've been waiting for to go on sale, because you receive a 20% off coupon if you sign up for their rewards club.

13. ULTA Beauty

Get a free gift once you sign up for their (free) rewards. While you are in there, might want to ask for a free makeover?

14. Einstein Bros Bagels

Get your free birthday breakfast on them if you join their EClub (Again very easy)

15. DSW

Recieve a $5 Gift Certificate if you join their rewards, which is super easy because they just send you emails which most of the time is coupons.

Cover Image Credit: breleee • Instagram

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I Took On The 'Windy City' With The Lakefront 10 Mile Run

Spring training is in session with getting a personal best on the first run of my racing season.

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As an avid long-distance runner in Chicago, this is my second time running in the Lakefront 10 Mile Run in Lincoln Park on April 13. I love to dedicate this race as the first race of the racing season. The racing season to me happens in the spring, summer, and fall. Winter is too chilly to race, which brings me to the topic of training during winter. It really is dreadful having to deal with the cold, wind, and snow and running on the indoor track to get through my training. However, there is nothing but a feeling of glory when running for this race, and realizing how the training during the winter has paid off. I will begin the story with how I trained, and then describing race day, and reflecting on my next steps.

To start off, I started training in January about 4-5 days a week. I would do a variety of workouts. I would have four types of workouts: speed days, long-distance, weights, and recovery. For speed days, I would run on an indoor track and do a few interval repeats or short bursts of speeds of 800 meters, 400 meters, and 1600 meters. For the long-distance training, I started off by running 5 miles. I would increase the distance during the month. For weights, I would bench press or do some machines in the gym. The last core workout would be a recovery day which I will run 3 miles usually at an easy pace so I won't be overworking myself.

I would repeat this training process during February while increasing my workout lengths, and I started to see some progression. By March, it started getting warmer and I started to move outside and doing most of my workouts there. I increased to working out 5-6 days out of the week, and by the end of March which was spring break, I peeked in my training. My long-distance consisted of 8-12 miles, my intervals were the same distance but faster, and I added more weights to my workout. During my peak of training, I did a 10-mile time trial on the lakefront path to see where I was at with my race since it was coming up in two weeks. After spring break, I started to decrease my workouts so I would be prepared and would not injure myself. I still ran but held back, I did between 7-9 miles for each distance workout, and the week of the race I made sure to carbo-load on spaghetti, get a good nights sleep and have my racing gear ready.

During race morning, I was up at 7 a.m. and the race started at 9 a.m. I arrived at the race at 8:20 a.m., warmed up, and went to the starting line 10 minutes before the gun went off. As soon as the gun went off, herds of runners took off, and I was immediately on race mode. I made sure to hold back some energy for the second half of the race, but I wanted to go out on a good start. By miles three and four, I started to do some burst of speed so I won't make sure I slowed down. While running, I got to see breathtaking views of the city skyline and the lake. When I got to mile five which was the halfway point, I started to make my move, I started to speed up since I knew I would slow down during the race. I stuck with a pack, and pass people along the way. By mile eight, I was getting tired and held back my speed for that mile since I knew the big hill known as Cricket Hill was right before the grand finish of running a lap on a track. Once I got to the hill I sprinted up and went down, and as soon as I got to the track on mile nine I was ready to finish and sprinted to the finish line. I got a time of 1:18:56, I beat my time in the previous year of 1:22.50.

This race serves as my first race in preparation for the Chicago Marathon I will be running in October. From this race, I have learned that my winter training has paid off, and I am on the right foot for improving myself as a runner. My next race I will be running is the Rock'n'Roll half marathon in July, followed by the Chicago Marathon.

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