Workplace Tips and Strategies for New Parents
While having or adopting a child can be a rewarding and exciting time for new parents, many working moms and dads will tell you navigating the complex maze of employee benefits can be confusing. Between short-term disability insurance, Family Medical Leave, vacation, paid time off and state and municipal paid leave laws, the process can be anxiety-inducing.
To help alleviate stress, employee benefits company Unum recently conducted research among new parents who had a child or adopted in the previous five years. The findings pointed to a need for more communication between the new parents and their workplace human resources and management teams, both before and after leave.
Communicate early and develop a leave plan
Nearly half (49%) of new moms and more than a third (36%) of new dads surveyed did not meet with their manager or human resources department to discuss their leave benefits. Of those who did, 40% spent 30 minutes or less doing so.
“Most employers offer standard benefits for new parents including disability insurance (for birth moms) and Family Medical Leave, and we’re finding more companies are adding additional perks like company-paid leave, flexible schedules and college savings accounts,” said Angel Bennett, a director in the Leave Management Center at Unum. “It’s important for expectant parents to meet with their managers and human resources to inform them, discuss available benefits and develop their leave plans well before the baby’s arrival.”
Nearly half (47%) of new birth moms said breastfeeding is one of their biggest challenges upon returning to the workplace. Mothers who plan on breastfeeding should discuss their options with human resources. Some companies offer lactation rooms, milk storage options and breast milk shipping services.
Things to discuss and consider after the baby arrives
Perhaps unsurprisingly, 48% of new parents are more tired, 35% are more stressed and 30% are more stressed about finances. However, some employers offer benefits that can help.
According to the Unum research, 60% of new mothers and 40% of new fathers struggled with depression or anxiety following the birth or adoption of their children. Many companies offer an employee assistance program, which can include a fixed number of counseling sessions or tele-behavioral health options, to help with life challenges.
Personal finance expert Laura Adams also suggests an open dialogue with your employer about financial protection benefits to help reduce anxiety during this potentially challenging time.
“Ensure your income is protected by reviewing your long-term disability insurance policy and that your family is taken care of with a life insurance policy,” Adams said. “Also be sure to add the new child to your health care policy and, if available, consider signing up or increasing the amount you put into a flexible spending account.”
To help new parents navigate these processes, “Bringing Up Baby: A Guide to Workplace Parental Leave Resources” contains basic tips, timing and conversation starters to engage with managers and human resources representatives. This guide, along with other employee and employer resources including a mental health report and caregiving report, can be found at unum.com/workwell.
Memorable Family Moments
Educational activities ideal for making memories together
Educational activities and plans that allow kids to flex their brain muscles in fun and creative ways can be ideal ways to spend family time that makes lasting memories.
While children typically gain invaluable knowledge and experience in the classroom, purposeful activities done outside of that setting can help encourage kids to keep learning and make family moments more enjoyable for everyone involved.
From planning trips that celebrate animals and the great outdoors to rainy day activities at home that inspire creative expression, these ideas can produce some family moments worth remembering.
1. Go on a scavenger hunt. From native species of plants, animals and insects to neighborhood landmarks, there are plenty of interesting things that can be found right in your own backyard. Organize a scavenger hunt and work together in teams of family members to search for each item on the list, then do more research on the things you found once you return home. For a real challenge, expand your hunt to the city limits of your hometown and make a day trip of the adventure.
2. Hang out with wildlife. Learn about different species of animals, how to help protect them and the importance of eco-friendly everyday practices by visiting a destination like an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)-accredited zoo or aquarium. You can explore the challenges facing endangered species, discover how community programs are spurring positive change for conservation and learn more at aza.org. After learning about animals that need help, you can visit zebrapen.com/aza for fun kids games, coloring pages and other activities that encourage creativity. Many animal sanctuaries and wildlife recovery centers also have endangered species and offer educational information about them.
3. Visit a national park. Many park ranger programs provide opportunities to interact with the animals that live in the area, as well as information about any endangered animals and how you can help with conservation efforts. While in the park, you can also enjoy a nature hike, have a picnic lunch and view the different species of plants in the region.
4. Enjoy an arts and crafts day. Spending time doing an art project is a hands-on way to help introduce kids to new ideas and ways of learning. Engage the entire family by creating crafts with different subjects of interest. This can help create conversations and opportunities to further explore what your children are interested in.
5. Organize a game day. A play day can be just as fun as it is educational. Choose from a variety of games that can allow players to get extra creative. Options like Pictionary or charades tap into different types of creative skills, which can keep everyone engaged while they’re learning to express themselves effectively in new ways.
Capture Moments That Matter
Make your family’s learning adventures more memorable by encouraging kids to capture their experiences on paper. The practice of communicating on paper can help lock in memories, plus it’s a clever way for kids to practice practical skills in an engaging and productive way.
Adjust these ideas as needed to match the ability level of each child so the whole family can participate.
1. Write about experiences in a journal or diary. For older kids, encourage them to use words to describe their adventures. Ask younger kids to draw a scene or image that captured their attention or excited them the most.
2. Design a diorama about your family’s adventures to display in your home to show extended family and friends. Make it a conversation piece by asking kids to think about an endangered species and depict its living environment. Available in standard, glitter, neon, metallic and pastel colors, tools like Zebra Doodler’z® allow little designers to explore the nearly endless possibilities for color coding, sketching, journaling and embellishing.
3. Take photos to share with friends and family both online and in-person. Get creative with your photo-taking by encouraging kids to think about the story they’ll tell through the images. It might be a series of selfies tackling exciting new activities or documenting a sibling’s first experience at the petting zoo. Another way to capture photographic memories is a photo treasure hunt, where kids have a list of items to search for and photograph during each outing.
4. Create a family calendar to plan your summer activities together. Anticipating upcoming adventures is part of the fun. Let kids help you keep track of what’s coming up and build excitement with a personalized calendar. Make it a work of art by asking kids to draw icons or small images that depict upcoming activities with an option like Zebra’s Sarasa® Fineliner Pens, which are available in 12 vibrant colors.
5. Share experiences on social media. Let friends and family in on the fun by sharing your photos, drawings, dioramas and other creations online. Seeing the positive interaction and praise-filled comments from loved ones can help reinforce the value of creative expression to impressionable young minds.
6. Create scrapbooks to help remember family moments. Keep the pace of life from fading those precious memories by assembling scrapbooks to commemorate family adventures. Make the scrapbook a family affair with everyone contributing their own creations.
Find more ideas for capturing and sharing experiences at zebrapen.com.
To Dad, With Love Gift ideas for a fantastic Father’s Day
Dads can be notorious as the hardest family members to shop for, but come Father’s Day, there’s little doubt you’ll need a gift that shows dad just how much he means.
Truth be told, your company is probably all dad really needs, but you can help deliver a little something he wants with these diverse ideas for all different kinds of dads. Remember, the secret to great gifting is giving something that shows you know and care about his personal interests.
Find more ideas for all your gifting occasions at eLivingToday.com.
A Sizzling Gift
Gift dad everything he needs to throw an impressive cookout any time he wants with the Father’s Day Gift Package from Omaha Steaks. He’ll be set for summer barbecues with steaks and more on-hand, including two tender filet mignons; two rich and indulgent ribeyes; four robust, juicy burgers and more. The package also includes German Chocolate Cake for a sweet way to end a backyard meal. Find more information and gift packages for dad at omahasteaks.com.
Keep Him Connected
For the dad who’s always tuned in, there’s a way to provide him with entertainment and connectivity while protecting his hearing all at once. Whether he’s using a power saw or mowing the day away, dad can stream his favorite music with the 3M WorkTunes Connect Hearing Protector with Bluetooth wireless technology to make his day both enjoyable and comfortable. With built-in features like high-fidelity audio, comfortable ear cushions and a low-pressure headband, he can even make and take phone calls without missing a beat. Find more information at 3M.com/WorkTunes. Content courtesy of 3M
Subscribe to Style
Keep dad in style with all the latest looks with a clothing subscription. You can choose from services that coordinate complete outfits, options for accessories only or providers that select a handful of garments for each shipment. It’s a simple solution for a dad who takes pride in his appearance but never has time to shop or dislikes the shopping experience itself. Pricing varies quite a bit; in some cases dad will need to pay a styling fee while with other services he’ll pay only for the items he keeps.
A Cut Above
Practical tools can be the perfect gift, and a pocket knife is such a useful choice that it’s hard to go wrong. For a more sentimental approach, consider a knife with a laser-cut personal message, or go ultra-functional with a multi-tool design. Keep in mind that lesser quality blades may require more frequent sharpening, but they’ll generally do the job just as well as pricier models. Also be conscious of the weight and features like safety catches that may affect comfort and usability.
Game for Golf
An avid golfer never tires of golfing gear, so it’s usually a safe bet for gifting. If you’re knowledgeable enough about his preferences, you can always add a new club to his collection. However, there are plenty of other useful gifts a golfer can appreciate, from a sleeve of quality balls to a book about a legendary player. A new set of gloves can improve his grip (and his game) while a new hat or shirt can give him something he can sport on the course.
Photos of family courtesy of Getty Images
Mindful Tips from Mandy Moore for a Well-Balanced, Lively Summer
With plans of trips and relaxation on the horizon, it can be easy to give your wellness routine a vacation, too. Before you jet set off on your next adventure, take a moment to be consciously aware of how your mind and body may react to an overly active and jam-packed summer schedule.
“As someone with a busy lifestyle, having an intentional, balanced wellness routine helps me be my best self for my job, my friends and my family,” said actress and wellness advocate Mandy Moore.
Partnering with Nature’s Way to celebrate its 50th birthday, Moore shares a passion for paving a better way to wellness. While no single trick or technique guarantees well-rounded health, it’s really about establishing habits that work best for you and your lifestyle. Your routine may often change daily depending where you are on your wellness journey, but Moore shares thoughtful considerations to always keep in mind:
1. Start from Within. It’s important to understand the connection between your mind and body.
“I recognize it takes time, trust and baby steps, but the outcome is incredibly rewarding,” Moore said. “I’m a strong believer in the power of therapy and find my most important work is done during the moments when I feel like I’m operating at 100 percent.”
She also recommends downloading a meditation app, calling a friend or writing in a journal to help balance a hectic summer schedule.
2. Seek New Ways to Nourish Your Body. Wellness goes beyond simply what you put on your plate. Listening to your body can help you go the extra mile, especially when you’re traveling, which is why Moore takes Alive! Women’s Energy from Nature’s Way, packed with 16 different health-benefiting vitamins and minerals.
Drinking water-based beverages is a big piece of her wellness routine, as well. She loves relaxing with tea sourced from around the globe and drinking water with liquid chlorophyll for an internal refresher.
3. Breathe in the Sights, Scents and Sounds of Nature. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s important to take time to breathe; to take in nature’s true beauty. Watch a sunset, walk through a park or get away from the city lights so you can really see the stars shine. Be more proactive this summer and immerse yourself in environments that truly allow you to feel renewed.
Moore loves to go hiking and walks her dogs, Jackson and Joni, each day.
“There’s something that’s innately healing about feeling connected to the ground – feeling grounded, literally, to the world around you,” Moore said.
4. Unplug to Recharge. Even if your schedule constantly keeps you on the go, it’s important for your mental health and well-being to take time to unplug and find different ways to clear your mind.
“Take moments to step away from the computer, tablet or phone – put it in the other room, let it charge and do something else constructive for your brain,” Moore said. “Pick up a book, put on an album, call a friend, light a candle and decompress. I’m a big proponent of smell; sense therapy is really helpful for me. One of the first things I do when I get home is light a candle.”
For more ways to take care of your body and mind this summer, visit 50.naturesway.com
PHOTO CAPTION: Mandy Moore
Hats Off to Summer!
By Sharon Mosley
Pull the wool beanies over your head and top off a new summer season with a hat attack. From huge straw floppy hats to jaunty Panamas to oversized bucket hats, there’s a hat for everyone under the sun — even if you prefer a mysterious veil or two. Hats are one of the hottest accessories this year, offering lots of sun protection and huge style as well. Here are five of the biggest trends:
— Make a bucket list. It may have a little bit of a “reputation,” ever since Gilligan wore his version of the slouchy sailor bucket hat on the infamous “Gilligan’s Island” TV show. And then there was the “Caddyshack” hat … Well, you get the picture. This summer, the bucket hat is cool once again and hitting the fashion runways in colorful crocheted looks at Marc Jacobs, colorful brights at Sportmax and exaggerated “Handmaid’s Tale” interpretations at Louis Vuitton.
— Widen your outlook. These hats are beach-ready, with large brims that allow for maximum sun protection. Patterned floppy wide brims are also alternatives with even more possibilities for shade. These flattering chapeaus are also head-turners at special summer occasions such as garden parties and weddings. Just be sure not to wear them to seated events like graduations … The people behind you may not appreciate your high style!
— Think cool-girl Victorian. The boater hats with their flat oval crowns and flat brims with ribbon bands are the height of attitude this summer. Originally worn by men when out boating in the Victorian era, these hats turn up this year in metallics, some even with veils. The Panama hat, similar to the shape to a fedora with a creased crown, is another hat favorite in summery straws. While these hats may not offer as much sun protection as wider-brimmed millinery, they are jaunty companions to summer’s cool-girl casual outfits.
— Thank Dad. If you’re more of a baseball cap girl who loves to throw her hair up in a ponytail every day, then the athletic-style hats may be for you. But more and more women are opting for the dressed-down ease of a ball cap, trucker or “dad” cap as some in the fashion industry have dubbed it. And when Chanel shows off a straw visor in its spring/summer show, you can look for a major comeback for this trend.
— Behind the veil. If you want to add some drama to your summer wardrobe, you may be up for wearing a hat with a veil — one of the newest trends to hit the runways, if not the beaches quite yet. More at home at the Kentucky Derby or a formal cocktail party, these hats inject a bit of romance into the fashion scene with netting, feathers, flowers and maybe a sprinkling of sparkling jewels. And for even more mystery, check out the “beekeeper” hat looks with even more netting. Watch for these erotic hats to make a big entrance for holiday parties.
COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM
Jump-Start to Summer: Dress Memorably for Memorial Day
By Sharon Mosley
After months of wet weather, it’s time to channel sunny thoughts into our wardrobes and warm them up with fun fashion that will carry you through the next months in sizzling style. Here are a few items to add to your shopping list before Memorial Day rolls around:
— Strappy sandals. Get those pedicures booked now, slide into some cool sandals and get some sand between your toes. Ankle-wrap gladiator styles are one way to go, and sporty, athletic Teva styles are another. If you’ve got heavy-duty hiking to do, the chunky “dad sneakers” are still hitting the streets, but when it comes to beating the heat, airy barely-there sandals are a better choice.
— High-waisted shorts. A little on the boxy side, the shorts this year are cinched in and topped off with tucked tops, often belted and a little on the longer side, even Bermuda-style. The distressed denim look is still going strong for laid-back beach days, but dressed-up shorts are perfect for seeing the sights on vacation. There are lots of styles to choose from this year, so stock up now if you want a change of scenery from your everyday jeans.
— Wide-leg pants. Put away the tight, skinny leggings for summer and breathe again in roomy wide-leg pants that give you a cool change of pace for hot days. Team them with silky blouses and jackets for the office and with T-shirts or swim tops for casual days.
— A tie-dye top. Stripes normally top the summer style list when it comes to that all-important basic T-shirt. But this time around, why not go for a little boho glamour and top off those shorts and easy pants with a tie-dye look? It’ll be a hit at backyard barbecues and poolside cocktail parties.
— A one-shoulder top. After years of designers giving us the cold shoulder, the latest interpretation of this popular fashion trend is the one-shoulder look. Even swimwear gets in on the trend. For something just a little different, the one-shoulder style is summer’s newest dress-up statement top.
— A floral dress. Another fresh way to usher in summer is the long, flowing floral printed dresses that are picnicking in the park, going to weddings and even showing up at the office, peeking out from under a sporty jacket. From tropical fauna to dainty daisies, the floral dress is a summer staple that easily doubles as an effortless day-to-night alternative.
— A maxi skirt. Here’s another breezy option for the bottom half of your summer wardrobe. This may be one of my favorite “pull-on” pieces for maximum ease. In light fabrics, they pair easily with strappy sandals and can be dressed up or down. They also work great as swimwear cover-ups if you need a quick transition from the beach to bistro.
— Next week: Summer’s hottest accessories.
COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM
Ring in Spring With Earrings
By Sharon Mosley
What’s the one accessory that can transform your face and may just be the perfect gift for Mom? Earrings! Did you know that large earrings make a nose look smaller? Or that silver hoops cool down a ruddy complexion? Or that a pair of gold button earrings warm up pale skin tones?
“There are few accessories that can have as much effect on the face as a pair of earrings,” says health and beauty expert Deborah Chase, author of “Terms of Adornment: The Ultimate Guide to Accessories.” “Round or square, plain or fancy, earrings bring light, color and movement to the face. They are the perfect finish to a look, adding balance, polish and personality.”
The only problem with earrings, according to Chase, is choosing which ones to wear — or if you’re buying a gift for your Mom, which ones she might like. For clues, just check out her jewelry box. “Some styles, like small diamonds, are appropriate with everything from bathing suits to ball gowns.”
“Unlike shoes, bags and hats, earrings never go out of fashion,” adds Chase. She suggests creating a wardrobe of earrings starting with universal styles such as pearls, diamond studs and small hoops in gold or silver.
“As you try on different styles and sizes, you will develop an eye for those that are the most flattering to your face,” she says. “Look for these styles in a range of materials including ivory, amber, coral, gemstones, Bakelite and pearls for an earring collection that you will enjoy for a lifetime.”
And this season, jewelry designers are giving us plenty of different styles to add to our accessory stash — from huge hoops to shoulder-grazing tassel earrings. This year, designers are mixing metals and gemstones — light and dark — black diamonds, oxidized silver and onyx with gold.
Here are Chase’s 10 tips for choosing the best style of earrings:
— Slender, petite women need airy shapes.
— Larger earrings make the nose look smaller.
— Dome earrings de-emphasize a prominent nose.
— Pearls, turquoise, rubies, coral and garnets are flattering on brunettes.
— Emeralds, jade, sapphire, amethyst, silver, platinum and pale gold look especially good on redheads.
— Multicolored earrings brighten the complexion.
— The red glow of rubies and garnets and the fire of diamonds are flattering to all complexions.
— If your face is round, choose oval, asymmetrical or angular shapes rather than round earrings.
— Long faces benefit from broad-shaped earrings.
— Avoid drop earrings if you have a long face or a short neck.
COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM
PHOTO CAPTION:Unique earrings make the perfect statement gift for Mother’s Day. Tassel and beaded earrings by Laniyah at Bauble Bar.
Making the Transition: Easy Ways to Warm Up Your Wardrobe
By Sharon Mosley
After an icy winter and rainy spring, we’re all ready to pop out of our parkas and into tank tops and tankinis. But before we bare our fashion souls, there may be a few chilly days left to remind us that summer isn’t quite here yet. Here are a few quick and easy ways to make the transition between spring and summer while you’re dreaming of beach days to come.
— Freeze the furs. Put away the fluffy furs and lighten up on heavy outerwear. Instead, rely on the always-classic trench to take you through spring showers in style. A camel-colored trench coat in a three-quarter length is the perfect transitional companion for everything in your wardrobe, from sleeveless dresses to T-shirts and jeans.
— It’s all about “Me!” Take a cue from Taylor Swift’s new song and its colorful video filled with pastel Easter eggs, butterflies, hearts and rainbows. Add some joy to your own closet with a refreshing spring palette of pinks, yellows and blues. Even just slipping a new pair of pale pink beribboned mules on your feet will make you want to sing and dance.
— Ease into white. White is the all-time classic neutralizer for spring and summer wardrobes. A white pair of wide-leg pants or skinny jeans mixes and matches with winter staples such as black turtlenecks as well as the season’s latest candy-colored blazers. Put white basics at the top of your list to lighten up everything in this transitional season. You’ll wear them right into summer.
— Don’t forget sweaters. Lightweight cardigans and sweater vests are lifesavers in cool weather, layered over off-the-shoulder tops or short-sleeves. They can also do double duty when wrapped around bare shoulders or tied around the waist. Knit ponchos and long wrap scarves also make great chill-chasers.
— Go the shorter route. Long flowing trousers and maxi skirts may easily transition from the office to the beach, but shorter, cropped pants can fast-track a warm-weather look, too. Ankle-length pants look great with a pair of winter shooties or flat boots. Culottes are another way to get a leg up on the new season ahead.
— Get it in print. There’s nothing more like a breath of fresh air than giving your neutral winter basics a touch of hothouse florals, tropical palms or watercolor graphics. Whether you add a splashy blouse to your year-round suit or an artsy tunic top to your leggings, larger-than-life patterns wake up an everyday outfit and get you ready for warm weather.
— Step into the light. The black and dark blues we’ve been hiding behind all winter may be easily brightened up with lighter whites, creams and sandy hues. Switch up your denim and transition into lighter washes. Dress up with longer jackets and wear your socks with sandals or dress down with sporty white sneakers. Then, in a month or two, hopefully, it will be time to break out the flip-flops. Then you’ll know summer has arrived!
COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM
Gifts With Style
By Sharon Mosley
It’s time to think about gifts for Mother’s Day — and for other spring and summer occasions, such as graduations and weddings. So why not give something unexpected? How about giving that incredible Mom, special graduate or bride and groom the gift of your time? Set aside a few hours for a closet update, a shopping trip or a beauty makeover. Here are a few of my favorite ways to show people that they’re special:
— Give a closet update. Most of us would welcome a little help when it comes to cleaning out our closets. But do we really want to impose that thankless decluttering job on our nearest relatives? No, we’d never ask. But if someone gave us the “gift” of clearing away our fashion cobwebs … Wow! We would really appreciate that, now wouldn’t we? And besides, when you devote an afternoon to going through all those old clothes and shoes, you never know what you may find. Besides finding some of my grandmother’s cherished jewelry tucked away in an old handbag, my mother and I spent hours sharing old memories and lots of family stories. And of course, she really appreciated the fact that at the end of the day, I packed up all the clothes she no longer needed and took them away to Goodwill. Now, that’s a gift anyone would love!
— Treat the new mom. Baby showers are always appreciated by new moms. But treating them to the gift of your time can be even more special than receiving a bundle of blankets and diapers. Arrange for a babysitter and take Mom out for a spa day. What better way to relax than an outdoor massage? Or indulge in brunch or teatime at a girly place where you can eat and shop at the same time. A change of “venue” can be a beautiful blessing for a frazzled mom who gets to dress up and take a break for a few hours.
— Take the graduate shopping. Whether they’re graduating from high school or college, this is an exciting time for them. Rather than just writing them a check or giving them a gift card, why not make your gift even more special by setting aside some time for a shopping trip? Graduates always have a list of “must-haves” in mind — for a new campus or a new workplace. So pick a time that you can leisurely shop together and possibly have coffee or brunch. You don’t have to turn your shopping trip into a mad marathon. Instead, have fun and make it a bonding experience. They’ll remember it for years to come!
— Say yes to the dress. Shopping for bridal gowns and honeymoon wardrobes may draw sighs from most of us, who aren’t actually participating in the wedding ceremony itself. But that’s why there are aunts and uncles and “special friends” who fill in the sartorial gaps, so to speak! One of my most cherished memories is taking a friend’s daughter shopping for a cocktail dress to wear to her sister’s wedding and reception. We spent most of the day laughing in the dressing rooms of more than a few stores. And I am — I think — looking forward to the day of shopping with my own daughter for her wedding dress. I hope a few of our own special friends will want to be part of the experience!
COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM
Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Other Swimwear Trends
By Sharon Mosley
If you’re tired of the same old black swimsuit you’ve been wearing for years, it’s time to color your water world with rainbow stripes and follow the yellow brick road to fun in the sun. Swimwear trends this year are anything but boring. Whether you choose a retro one-piece or a slinky bikini, there’s a swimsuit for everyone. Here are the trends making a splash for the season ahead:
— Make the rainbow connection. One of the hottest trends in swimwear is saturated color — in rainbow stripes that are meant to be seen. These multicolored suits are showing up in every shape and size. Look for juicy stripes in every color of the rainbow in primary hues, graphic watercolors and geometric graphics.
— Cut it out. Another cool trend in the swimwear department: designs that feature graphic skin-baring patterns. One-pieces such as keyhole tankinis are the perfect way to show off these unique cut-out suits — which may be more apropos for lounging by the pool than doing laps at the gym.
— Statement shoulders. The off-the-shoulder tops on both one-pieces and two-pieces have taken on more feminine details for this spring and summer. The one-shoulder look makes a big statement, especially in ruffled styles with wide straps. These suits are perfect companions for beach-to-dinner dressing. Team one with a long sheer skirt, shorts or a breezy pair of palazzo pants.
— Belting it out. In many stylish swimwear collections this year, the focus is on the waist. Wide belts and wide bands can add a decorative touch to solid maillots or bottoms. Be sure to try these suits on before you buy, as some of us may not want to bring more attention to our midriff area.
— Get a leg up. Just like jeans, swimwear goes high-rise this season. High-cut legs, high waists and even high necks are often showing up in retro-inspired suits. Remember boy shorts? Hot pants? They’re back and turning up at the beach and on the concert stage.
— Tie one on. Swimwear and coverups are dressed up this summer with lots of details such as laces, ties and ruching on the sides. Check out the crocheted suits, too. The ultimate example of “tying one on” is the famous string bikini. Wear at your own risk.
— Surf’s up! Swimwear with sleeves is becoming more prevalent, especially as sun protection becomes more important than ever. Ditto for tee rash guards, mini swim skirts, board shorts, tunic dresses and, yes, sun hats — all in fabrics infused with SPF for sun protection in and out of the water.
— Mix and match. Don’t forget: One of the best ways to have more fun with your swim wardrobe this season is to mix and match tops and bottoms, beach wardrobes and swim wardrobes. Don’t be afraid to mix florals with animal prints, stripes with geometrics, velvets with metallics, pastels with brights. With more and more sizes available in swim collections, there are more and more ways to splash into the season ahead and find your perfect swimsuit at the end of the rainbow.
COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM
Create a Sweet Easter Treat
This Easter, satisfy guests of all ages with festive cupcakes modeled after the Easter bunny.
For more Easter recipes, visit Culinary.net.
Bunny Butt Cupcakes
Recipe courtesy of Amanda Rettke of “I am baker”
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
1 2-layer size white cake mix
1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons, McCormick Pure Lemon Extract, divided
1 tablespoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
2 sticks butter, softened
16 ounces confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons milk
10 drops McCormick Green Food Color
1-2 drops McCormick Red Food Color
12 large marshmallows, halved crosswise
3 tablespoons white nonpareil sprinkles
Prepare cake mix as directed on package, adding 1 tablespoon lemon extract and vanilla. Spoon 3 tablespoons batter into 24 paper-lined muffin cups. Bake as directed on package for cupcakes. Cool cupcakes on wire rack.
To make bunny feet: In medium, microwave-safe bowl, microwave white chocolate chips on high 30 seconds. Stir until completely melted and smooth. Spoon into pastry bag or re-sealable plastic bag. Snip small corner from bag. Pipe 24 pairs of bunny feet onto parchment or wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Use toothpick to smooth out bumps or rough edges, and gently tap cookie sheet on counter to help settle. Allow to harden 2 minutes in freezer or 15 minutes in refrigerator.
To make frosting: In large bowl, beat butter and remaining lemon extract until light and fluffy. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating well after each addition and scraping sides and bottom of bowl frequently. Add milk; beat until light and fluffy. Remove half the frosting and place in medium bowl. Add green food color; mix until evenly blended. Spoon into pastry bag fitted with grass decorating tip. Set aside. Remove half the remaining frosting into small bowl. Add red food color; mix until light pink. Spoon into another pastry bag.
Using pink frosting, pipe three toes and padding on each bunny foot. Once frosting has set (about 1 hour) gently press down on pink frosting to create smoother look.
To assemble cupcakes: Pipe green frosting onto each cupcake in series of short motions to create individual grass spots. Cover top of each cupcake completely.
To make bunny butts: Place cut sides of marshmallow halves onto each frosted cupcake, leaving room for bunny feet. Shape remaining white frosting into dime-sized balls then roll with white sprinkles to cover. Pipe small drop of remaining pink or white frosting onto top of each marshmallow. Press bunny tail on top.
Place both bunny feet against base of marshmallow with toes facing down.
On Safari: Spring Fashion Adventures
By Sharon Mosley
Get ready to take a fashion adventure into the urban jungle and celebrate the wild child in all of us. Safari chic has been inspiring fashion designers for years. Ralph Lauren created a whole lifestyle out of the aesthetic in his advertising campaigns of the ’80s. Meryl Streep glamorized the iconic style in the epic award-winning film “Out of Africa,” and then there was “Jurassic Park.”
This spring, the safari classics have once again been updated with sophisticated elements of utilitarian menswear, military staples and a fresh neutral color palette for a modern wardrobe. Here are five ways you can add some exciting touches to your closet without ever leaving home:
— The Safari Jacket. If you only buy one thing this spring, this is the piece you’ll want. The new safari jackets are belted, sleeker in silhouette and have giant patch pockets. This season, they even come in buttery leathers. More casual versions evoke a comfortable anorak style. And of course, these jackets, whether in polished cotton or lightweight leather, make great transitional outerwear: team one with a floaty floral dress for weekend wear or dress it up with matching trousers for the office.
— The Safari Fashion Colors. Another way to add instant cred to your safari-inspired wardrobe is with a neutral color palette. And these aren’t just any black or navy neutrals. Instead, stick to olive greens, sandy browns and, of course, the most classic khaki. This year, rusty paprika reds and golden turmeric give traditional neutrals a zesty flavor. Layer all these earthy hues together to give your outfits even more personality.
— The Safari Pants. From cropped cargos and jodhpurs to button-front wide-legs to creamy denim jeans to midi-length culottes, pants go on safari this spring in a wide variety of styles. And don’t forget shorts! Jumpsuits are another option; mix them with cargo jackets or wear them on their own. If you want a change from your tried-and-true blue jeans, try a new pair of khaki pants or olive shorts.
— The Safari Shirtdress. If you’re looking for an oldie-but-goodie, the shirtdress is a familiar style that can easily be accessorized and layered with jackets, vests, tees and sweaters for year-round wear. Long flowing skirts in cool linen are also warm-weather favorites and versatile backdrops for your favorite safari toppers.
— The Safari Accessories. This may be the easiest way to give your wardrobe a walk on the wild side. Animal prints are all over the place now — in shirts, scarves, handbags, jewelry and shoes. Chunky gold bracelets and earrings are perfect foils for earthy colors. Oversized belt bags and leather and linen tote bags are other ways to carry off a little of the safari vibe.
Now you can start planning that trip to Africa! You have your packing list.
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PHOTO CAPTION: Add to your spring wardrobe a sleek safari jacket in creamy white for a classic piece that will last years. This one’s from Acne Studios. www.acnestudios.com.
Simple Holiday Hams
Ideas for an easy Easter menu
Whether you’re new to hosting or simply looking for ideas to make Easter entertaining easier than ever, there are plenty of ways to save time and stress in the kitchen.
Go with what you know. Trying out new recipes is fun, but it can also add stress when they don’t turn out like you expected. Stick to tried and true dishes you can prepare and serve with confidence and save the experimenting for another time.
Take shortcuts. At the center of many Easter feasts is a ham that has been expertly cured and cooked to perfection. Even so, starting with a full-cooked ham is a shortcut that no one is likely to notice, especially if you heat it properly. For exceptional quality and a variety of flavor profile options to choose from, turn to America’s Original Butcher, Omaha Steaks. The meats are fully cooked then frozen before being delivered to your door for maximum convenience.
Work ahead. Plan your menu to incorporate items you can make ahead of time so you’re under less pressure the day of your dinner. Even handling the prep work like slicing veggies the night before can buy back precious minutes, that way when guests begin arriving, you can step out of the kitchen and enjoy the day right along with them.
Find more ideas to make hosting this year’s Easter meal easy at OmahaSteaks.com/buy/meals/easter.