Publish Your Own Books for Photos, Family Recipes, Travel Logs, and More!

The ability to publish your own professional-looking hardcover or softcover books these days is incredible!

It doesn’t just have to be a photo book anymore. It could be a family recipe book, a custom children’s book, a personal travel log, a book of poems, a personal memoir…. anything! And these

Anyone can use a number of publishing websites to design beautiful custom books. The most affordable options are Costco, Shutterfly, Walgreens, or CVS.

If you want to get a little fancier (which will be very tempting once you see how lovely these books are), your options include:

  1. Blurb

An advanced publishing platform for anyone to publish books and magazines (and even sell them online)

blurb photo book
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2. MyPublisher

The publisher with the most customization options, for those who love to spend hours figuring out the perfect layout and design

mypublisher photo book
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3. Mixbook

A relatively new publishing site that allows you to throw together an elegant photo book quickly without having to make a lot of design decisions

mixbook photo book
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4. Kolo

Kolo, the makers of perhaps the nicest physical photo albums you can find, offers these lovely custom options for publishing your own books online

kolo photo book
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Modern Hipster Photo Magnets To Show Off on Your Fridge

Tons of websites these days (Shutterfly, Tinyprints, Walgreens, Zazzle, and Snapfish) will allow you to easily create custom photo magnets that make a charming, personalized gift. You can use the black and white option on your phone or an Instagram style photo for any kind of effect you want.

My favorite is the 2×2 magnet option which allows you to select 4 pictures displayed in an artistic way for a very memorable and personalized gift! Try a set with 4 photos representing each member of a family, 4 favorite travel destinations, or 4 of your favorite moments like a photo booth photo strip!


pizza instagram

Surprise Date Night Jars Keep Things Fun and Lively When You Want Quality Time

Here’s a cute last minute anniversary gift idea: A date night jar gives you a bunch of ideas for fun things to do when you are looking for an activity any day of the week. The items in the jar could be a secret (in sealed envelopes) or visible if you want to be able to sift through ideas and decide what to do.

Surprise Gifts in the Date Night Jar

  • Gift card to a nice restaurant (for an anniversary gift, perhaps)
  • Groupon for a fun class such as cooking, bartending, skydiving, riding a motorcycle
  • Tickets to a sporting event
  • Tickets to a concert
  • Rent a convertible or luxury car for the weekend
  • Gift card to the movie theater
  • Visa gift card for a day of shopping
  • Tickets to a Broadway show
  • Gift certificate for a spa day
  • Hotel stay for a weekend getaway
Date Night Jar: Restaurant gift card

Things to Do At Home

  • Host a game night
  • Make homemade pizza or tacos
  • New TV series marathon – Go on Hulu or Netflix and start watching Season 1 of a TV series
  • Bake cookies or brownies
  • Plan a vacation
  • Relax on the couch and watch Youtube clips
  • Relax on the couch and read
  • Online shopping
Date Night Jar: Things to Do at Home
Date Night Jar: Gelato Making Class from Groupon!
Date Night Jar: Weekend Road Trip

Exciting Homemade Dinners That Show You Really Care

There’s no better way to make an anniversary dinner at home a little more exciting than by introducing some friendly competition. Here are some fun ideas that could also work for last minute date nights or for weekend dinners at home with the kids:

  • Steak cook-off
  • Chili cook-off
  • Iron Chef challenge – pick a secret ingredient, and each person has to create a dish from it
  • Homemade pizza competition
  • Ethnic food – pick a cuisine, and each person has to create a unique dish
  • Bake-off
  • Pot pie challenge


pizza instagram

An Anniversary Time Capsule to Open in 5 or 10 Years


There are so many creative ways you can use time capsules as last minute anniversary gifts!

  • Start a capsule and add 1 item to it every year (credit: an episode of the Cosby Show)
  • Create a capsule that you don’t open again for 10 years, or on your 10th or 20th anniversary
  • Create a capsule of items that your kids can open 10 years from now

Time capsules can be as simple as finding a box you already have and filling it with meaningful items at the last minute. If you want to get fancier, you can buy an inexpensive bullet thermos that looks like a futuristic time capsule! For some reason, its really hard to just buy a tubular container that is meant to be a time capsule, so you have to improvise!

So what do you put in this time capsule?

  • Photos
  • Wedding photos or memorabilia
  • Things that remind you of special experiences, like concert tickets, ticket stubs from your travels and vacations, receipts from anniversary meals, etc
  • Front page of today’s newspaper
  • Time Capsule book, a shortcut method of capturing what your life is like today (what your typical day is like, what important decisions you’ve made lately, your hopes and fears, your advice for your future self, your favorite music and food at the moment, who you are spending your time with, what fun trips you’ve done lately)

Digitize Old Photos to Show You Care About Family Memories

Does your partner have a bunch of old photos in a box or album somewhere that could be digitized? Even better, does your partner have old family photos that he or she would love to have in digital form? This is a great anniversary gift idea because it’s personal and thoughtful to make the effort to preserve his or her family’s special memories.

You can easily bring old photos to various places like CVS or Costco and have them digitized. Not only will your partner love knowing that they are safely stored forever in digital form; you can also have the best old photos printed onto an album via Costco, Shutterfly, or any other online photo service.


Photos on Wood: A Modern Take on Photos You’ll Keep in Your Home Forever

Technology is great for last minute gifts! A photo printed on wood is a charming, personalized anniversary gift idea that takes very little work but looks amazing as a finished product!

There are a ton of services online these days that allow you to upload any photo you have saved, including any photo from Instagram or Facebook, and have it printed on a piece of wood for a great vintage look.

I had a friend’s personal artwork printed on wood, and she loved it.

For an anniversary gift, you could have a wedding photo or family photo enlarged and printed on wood. It’s a gift that will last forever and look fantastic in your home!

Check out some of these services:

Prints on Wood

Photo Barn

Wood Snap


Engraved Anniversary Rings to Make You Feel Loved and Appreciated

If you’re looking for a custom piece of jewelry for a last minute anniversary gift idea, how about an engraved anniversary ring?

There are plenty of affordable rings for both men and women that you can easily order with a special engraving on the outside or the inside of the ring. The best part is that you can also get fast shipping on many of these rings in case you need a last minute gift!

What to engrave on your anniversary ring?

  • “10 years” or “20 years” – whatever the anniversary year is
  • Wedding date
  • Your initials
  • Your kids’ initials
  • Nicknames
  • Phrase in another language
  • Phrase from favorite song
  • “Forever” or “Always” or “Best friend”
  • “Happily ever after”
  • Religious quote