For most people, the months after Christmas are spent patching financial holes created by present-buying, trip-taking and all those other unforeseen, expensive necessities that invariably seem to present themselves around the holiday season. This also happens to be the time of the year when I start longing for the first signs of spring and begin to tire of my winter “uniform” (jeans, boots, sweater and a scarf, literally everyday).
Although it’s not exactly balmy here in Denver yet, we’ve been lucky enough to have several over-60 degree days in the past couple of weeks, and stores have started to rid themselves of thick leggings and jackets in anticipation of brighter, lighter, more cheerful inventory. As much as I’d like to start investing in cute new spring styles, I simply can’t justify it (at least yet). Instead, to revive outfits I’d rather stick in storage and not revisit for the next 8 months, I’ve turned to accessories: headbands, jewelry and nail polish.
Inexpensive and widely available, accessories will easily transition into warmer seasons and will help to resuscitate dull winter clothes in the meantime. In particular, hair accessories are a great way to dress up old clothes and add interest around the face, instantly brightening up an outfit for a special occasion or night out. While hair accessories can be found anywhere from Target to TJ Maxx, I’ve found that some especially unique and beautiful pieces are available in abundance on Etsy.
Which are your favorites?
1. Dreams By The Sea: Gorgeous, delicate headbands, barrettes and more. Although primarily made as weddings accessories, several of the nature-themed accessories are low-key enough to work for year-round beautiful hairstyles.
2. Where The Moon Goes: Offering hand-beaded bracelets, necklaces, belts and headbands, this shop is full of gorgeous, colorful accessories that are sure to attract compliments with any outfit.
3. Academy J: With a vintage vibe, these headbands and clips are perfect to dress up or dress down and come in a variety of styles and colors. Affordably priced, these accessories are great statement pieces to pair with a range of everyday or special occasion outfits.
I’ve never been big on New Years resolutions. To me, they’ve always seemed like more of a ritual than a real commitment, promises to ourselves that we enthusiastically discuss with our coworkers the first week of January but can’t remember by the time summer rolls around. Still, it’s easy to be charmed by the spirit of optimism that comes with a fresh beginning, and so, yet again, I’ve made my list of resolutions; only this time, I decided to resolve to do things that I actually like.
Too many times, resolutions bring an extra burden of obligation to already stressed agendas, setting us up for failure before we even set foot in the gym, begin our new diet, or try to throw away our last pack of cigarettes. One of the few certainties of the coming year is that, like all years past, among joy, happiness and contentment, there will be unforeseen setbacks, mistakes and discouragement that will inevitably test our resilience and strength.
Everyday life tends towards a pattern of hectic, stressful repetition — so why not resolve to get back to the simple, doable things we love to do? And maybe in doing the things we love, we’ll finally find the energy to take the hard steps towards tackling the things we don’t.
- Read often & write more
- Cook some of the vegetables I’ve always been curious about in the produce section
- Use the knitting pattern my grandma gave me for Christmas to create a cozy new scarf
- Play with rescue animals at the shelter
- Check out some lives shows without really knowing the band’s music
- Get back into drawing & painting (it’s been since high school!)
- Take advantage of the weather this spring and bike where I need to go
- Become a connoisseur of wine (ie. learn to choose wines based on more than the bottle design)
- Adopt a kitten
What are your resolutions this year?
‘Tis the season–for finding the perfect gifts within budget, for surviving family get togethers and work parties, and for creating the perfect holiday outfit that exudes the festive season without being too red-and-green literal. In all senses (money-wise, socially-wise and time-wise), the month of December may seem like a stressful, dread-filled whirlwind. Add to that air travel (if you’re going somewhere) or pickup trips to the airport (if you’re not), and it’s easy to forget how fun, relaxing and rewarding the holiday season is supposed to be.
Here, we’ve compiled some of the most useful, appropriate and (hopefully) interesting infographics, charts and lists from all over the web to help you simplify, conquer and ultimately enjoy your holidays.
- For shopping. Still planning on ordering gifts? Check out this chart of the fastest delivery times by commonly used companies. Hint: Zappos is the fastest, shipping within one day on average!
- For the perfect holiday outfit. Refinery29 is a favorite place of mine to find great fashion inspiration. Check out these various lists to find out how to accessorize a party dress different ways for different occasions, how to make your own holiday accessories, and how to dress up your hair for a night out.
- For travel. From shipping your bags to getting the first flight out of the day, click here for must-know tips for holiday air travel.
- For family gatherings. Have differences of opinion with your family members that rise to a boil every holiday season? Arm yourself with these tools for diffusing conflict and learn to agree to disagree this year!
- For work parties. Not sure what’s appropriate for your particular occasion? Check out these guidelines and view a slideshow of suggested outfits. Added bonus: Impress your coworkers with your superior wine knowledge by taking a look at this handy infographic, which explains types of wines by style and taste.
Happy holidays, everyone!
I recently moved to Denver, Colorado, just in time to see the leaves change in all the beautiful parks around the city, taste various butternut squash soups at newly discovered restaurants, and take to the slopes for the beginning of ski season. And also, just in time for an already dry climate to reach an extreme that causes my sweaters to crackle with static and my skin to (literally) flake off if not moisturized. I’ve never had much of a dry skin/hair problem, but my new surroundings have left me scrambling for intense (but non-greasy) ways to keep my skin from cracking and my hair from being a frizzy, dry mess.
Here are some of the great standbys I’ve found–what are your favorites?
- Face. For a dry face that needs intense moisture without causing breakouts, I love Snowy Owl Cove’s Daily Sanctuary Face Cream. Using all natural ingredients such as aloe butter and raspberry seed oil, this rich cream leaves skin supple and smooth without any of the unwanted grease.
- Body. For a body moisturizer, I like something that absorbs quickly and leaves skin feeling supple, but dry to the touch. For this purpose, I like Burt’s Bees Soothingly Sensitive Aloe & Buttermilk Body Lotion. Creamy, but non-greasy, this 99% natural lotion leaves my skin moisturized with no irritation (even after shaving).
- Lips. Although I’m sure many of you are familiar with this product, I just thought I’d throw my endorsement for Smith’s Rosebud Strawberry Lip Balm out there. This product is hassle-free, smells good and lasts for months. Although it comes in many varieties, I like the strawberry best, as it smells good enough to eat and seems slightly thicker than the other ones. Bonus: Per the packaging, it can be used for everything from cracked cuticles to dry elbows!
- Hair. I recently got my hair cut for the first time in Denver. Admittedly, it had been since August, and my hair was basically a bird’s nest of split ends. The salon was using a product line called Unite, which I’d never heard of before, and when I left, I was amazed at how soft, shiny and manageable my hair was. While all the products of this brand seem excellent, I would especially recommend their 7 Seconds Condition Leave In Detangler. While somewhat pricey (it’s available on amazon.com for $19.95), in my opinion, it’s worth it for healthy, moisturized, non-greasy hair.
As hard as it is to believe, the holiday season is upon is, and it’s time to decorate, compile gifts for loved ones and cook up a storm of perfectly spiced treats. If you’re anything like me, you’re looking to save some money–and make something unique and meaningful–by creating things yourself this year.
From decor to gifts, the DIY trend has made it easy to get inspiration from the internet and whip together something truly delightful, creative and one-of-a-kind. Check out our list for links to some great ideas for do-it-yourself creations to help spread the holiday joy:
- Simple and beautiful holiday decorations to brighten your home: [http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/5-simply-beauti-162100]
- Do it yourself, on a budget! Decorations that cost under $15 to create: [http://iowagirleats.com/2011/11/19/diy-holiday-decor-for-less-than-15/]
- For beautiful, custom gifts, check out this DIY Christmas gift tag set: [http://www.houzz.com/photos/355898/Christmas-Gift-Tag-DIY-Kit-by-Vixyvixy–holiday-decorations-]
- Get the whole family involved! Holiday crafts that are kid-friendly: [http://spoonful.com/holidays]
- DIY gifts that look expensive, but can be created cheaply: [http://www.refinery29.com/3-easy-holiday-gift-diys-under-15]
- Loads of presents for men you can make on your own: [http://www.tipjunkie.com/homemade-gifts/home-made-christmas-gift-ideas/]
- Easy-to-make gifts kids will love: [http://www.classyclutter.net/2011/11/diy-kids-christmas-gift-ideas-totally.html]
- Watch these instructional videos to learn arts and crafts skills to help create beautiful, handmade presents: [http://www.thedailygreen.com/weird-weather/blogs/submit/diy-christmas-gifts]
- Short on time? Throw together these easy, no-bake holiday desserts: [http://www.myrecipes.com/holidays/desserts/no-bake-holiday-desserts-10000001682697/]
- Don’t eat meat or hosting someone who doesn’t? Try these delicious vegetarian dishes for the holidays: [http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/recipe_slideshows/vegetarian_holiday_main_dishes]
- Want to impress guests with lesser known food choices? Check out some of these recipes for off-the-beaten-track dishes: [http://www.mommyperks.com/vip/gift-guides-3/unique-holiday-recipes/]
- Have your children help out in the kitchen! Sample some of these kid-friendly recipes: [http://www.momtobedby8.com/2011/12/easy-holiday-recipes-kids.html]
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine and to come home complaining about everything from impossible clients at work to the stand-still afternoon commute. We all know in the big scheme of things (or even in the smaller scheme of things) that we’re incredibly lucky to have great friends, loving families, hot meals and warm beds. So what better time than Thanksgiving’s month to remember what we normally overlook and actively appreciate all the things that make our lives a pleasure to live? Check out some of the following suggestions for keeping yourself mindful of life’s aspects–big and small–that help you get out of the bed each morning.
- Write down what you’re thankful for. Create a gratitude journal (or help your child create one). For detailed instructions, visit: [http://letslassothemoon.com/2012/11/01/kids-gratitude-journal/]
- Volunteer. Giving back can be a great way to both learn to appreciate your own life’s quality and to help others. To find out where you can volunteer in your area, visit: [http://www.volunteermatch.org/]
- The small things matter. Do something nice, unexpected, kind and special for someone you love. Cook their favorite dinner. Buy them a completely pointless–but awesome–trinket/treat/fancy cheese/cool greeting card. Draw them a picture. Send a cheesy e-card.
- Don’t keep what you don’t use. They say you shouldn’t keep anything in your closet you haven’t worn for a year. Go through your clothes (or anything else) and donate the things you don’t need to those who do. Or have a friend who compliments a garment you only wear once every six months? Consider passing it on to someone who will really appreciate it.
- Give someone a break. Did you know that November is National Family Caregivers Month? If you know of anyone who devotes their life to others, consider giving them a night off. Take care of their responsibilities–or pay someone else to–and treat them to dinner, drinks, a movie, or even just some extra sleep.
- Leave someone a great tip. You never know how much a little extra month–that you likely won’t miss anyway–might make someone’s day.
- Be nice to your coworkers. Complain about your job but know deep down that it’s really not that bad (especially because it’s allowed you to meet some pretty cool people)? Bring breakfast to work. Help someone out with their workload. Ask how someone’s doing and really listen to their response.
- Be nice to yourself. Appreciating your life has a lot to do with showing other people gratitude–but it also has to do with taking care of yourself. Treat yourself to a manicure/pedicure. Go to bed early for a change. Enjoy a glass of wine after work. Meditate…and feel the pressure lifting off your shoulders when you let go of all the things you normally worry about and embrace thoughts of gratitude, peace and joy.
When it comes to skin health, there are many factors at play: genetics, diet and exercise, and hormone and stress levels being just some of them. Over the course of many years, however, one element that largely determines the wellness of your complexion may be your environment. Between pollutants, air quality and the resources available in your community, the place you choose to call home can play a surprisingly major role in health, especially affecting the appearance of aging and clarity of skin.
So where are the optimal places to pamper skin cells and renew your youthful glow? We’ve compiled a list of some of the most complexion-friendly locations–so even if you can’t pick up and move, maybe you’ll find a place to rejuvenate skin on your next vacation.
1. Oslo, Norway: A beautiful cosmopolitan city, Oslo is also known as “the world’s biggest village” due to its small-town approach towards impact on the environment and commitment to the community. With a simple public transportation system, large amount of bike users and widespread use of locally grown foods, this city is known for its pure air and healthy diet. The quality of air and food creates a perfect environment for slowing the aging of skin and staving off conditions such as acne and environmentally caused skin irritation.
2. Marienbad, Austria: Discovered in 1341 by a wandering traveler, the mountain town of Marienbad has become a favorite spot for tourists due to the curative carbon dioxide waters in its springs. Boasting eight different pools, each with unique mineral compositions, this small town is a perfect escape for soothing tired, irritated skin. Bathing in the springs and drinking from them is reportedly beneficial in battling numerous ailments including gout, diabetes, heart disease, and rheumatism.
3. Reykjavik, Iceland: Iceland is one of the least polluted countries in the world. With an overall low rate of disease, Reykjavik is a perfect place to rejuvenate skin through clean air and swimming in the pure, geothermal-heated waters enjoyed by locals year round. With large amounts of outdoor activity, as well as relatively low exposure to the sun per year, this is a place that promotes skin health.
4. Portland, Oregon, USA: With some of the lowest ozone and pollution levels in the US, Portland is a great place to avoid the free radicals that age skin and interrupt healing. An emphasis on physical activity and farm-to-table produce also makes this city a great place to get and stay healthy, supporting a luminous, youthful complexion.