Picking Perfect Holiday Presents
Gift-giving season is a time that’s special for many families and friends, and it’s the perfect opportunity to show the loved ones in your life just how much you appreciate them.
However, it isn’t always easy to pick out the perfect present, especially with so many options available. When you’re stuck in a gifting rut, turn to the professionals, like those at Macy’s, to help you choose just the right gifts for everyone on your list.
“The holidays are a celebratory time when loved ones can come together and show how much they appreciate having each other in their lives,” said Cassandra Jones, senior vice president of Macy’s Fashion. “I truly believe that the perfect gift can bring people together. To enhance that experience for our customers, we’ve created an unparalleled assortment of gift-giving items, from tech to beauty, so that each present is the perfect one.”
Find more gift ideas for the holiday season at macys.com/gifts.
If you’re struggling to find just the right idea for the lady on your list, don’t take a chance on any random beauty product. Instead, give the beauty lover in your life the gift of options with a Macy’s Beauty Box subscription. For $15 a month, she’ll receive five deluxe beauty samples selected by experts, plus a bonus sample and a $5 coupon to use in-store or online on her next beauty purchase.
Interactive technology helps get kids off the couch and provides them nearly endless entertainment. Give the children on your gift list the opportunity to dance their way to fun with a piano mat from FAO Schwarz. The 24 keys work just like a real piano, which allows for playing the included selections or creating your own works of musical art. Included with the mat are selections such as Beethoven’s “5th Symphony,” “Chopsticks,” “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” and more.
Help him revamp his style in one easy step with a Sprezza Box, which makes it simple to add something new and coordinated to his wardrobe. Available in four distinct boxes curated by experts, each contains five items, including accessories such as ties, pocket squares, socks, sunglasses, wallets and money clips. Each box evokes a specific look and feel. Just pick the right one to match your gift list so you can add something new to his style.
For the Home
The natural interior decorator on your list likely loves the unique touch of comforting pillows throughout living rooms and dens. Let him or her cuddle up to the cozy style of this decorative pillow from the Martha Stewart Collection, featuring a festive color palette and polar bear perfect for the holiday season. At 18 inches-by-18 inches, it’s the ideal size for curling up on the couch during a chilly day.
Searching for a gift for the natural entertainer in your life can be difficult if common items like wine glasses and electric bottle openers are already accounted for. An option like a bar cart from Hotel Collection can help make entertaining a breeze for that person on your list who enjoys hosting. With three shelves and wheels for easy transportation, it’s ideal for extravagant parties, small get-togethers or anything in-between.
For the Kitchen
Gourmet gift baskets from Di Bruno Bros. are sure to make an impression for home chefs who might need a little inspiration. Choose a curated basket filled with a wide variety of specialty foods and products hand-selected for top quality. Themes include options like this “Sriracha Foodie,” which comes packed with snacks, toppings and sauces infused with fiery Asian chili flavor in sweet jerky, pickles, gourmet salt, tortilla chips, horseradish sauce, mayonnaise, peachy jam and classic sriracha.
Color Tricks for A Fashion Treat
How about treating yourself to a few tricks of the fashion trade just by coloring your wardrobe world in a whole new way? You may be stuck in a black hole or blazing into red hot territory, but if you really want to make the most out of what you wear any time of the year, then use these tips to turn those scary old clothes into “bootiful” new treats.
–Orange is not the new black. Yes, there are some colors that may make you look bigger, and one of them is that Halloween favorite… orange. Just remember that before you and Charlie Brown get too excited about the Great Pumpkin costume. And forget about pink and all its bubblegum smacking friends. Ditto for lime green, yellow and, well…you get my drift…all those wonderful, spooky colors that seem to pop up this time of year. If you want to lose a few pounds, stick to your broomstick and insist on wearing black. It’s always figure flattering, no matter where you fly.
–Put it in neutral. Let’s face it: black, brown, navy and gray are the basics in most of our wardrobes, and these dark colors can be instantly slimming and sophisticated when worn from head to toe. But they can also get a little boring. To liven things up, consider mixing neutral colors in different textures to update separates – lacquered leathers and liquid velvets are two of this season’s biggest treats.
–Get dramatic with color. While wearing all black can be dramatic (especially at this bewitching time of year), consider stepping out of your comfort zone and going even bolder. Red, of course, is this fall’s favorite, and can be stunning in a long, flowing maxi dress (seen at Ralph Lauren). But so can a cobalt blue suit (a la Michael Kors). The darker jewel tones like burgundy, emerald and sapphire are always more figure friendly than acid brights.
–Layer up. Another way to use color to “trick” the eye is to layer lighter, brighter colors on top of darker separates. Wearing darker trousers, tees or sweaters under more colorful jackets and coats creates a slimming illusion that also translates into a versatile “uniform” kind of dressing. Choose a neutral palette of wardrobe basics and add pops of color with statement outerwear.
–Highlight your best assets. Color can obviously be used to your best advantage to flatter your body, no matter what shape it’s in. If you want to downplay the top half, wear darker colors in blouses or sweaters and lighten up on the bottom half; and vice versa to minimize large hips or thighs. And if you’re wearing a belt, make sure it’s in the same color family as your outfit, or you may find yourself cut right in two…a look only reserved for Halloween.
–Print it. Loud prints come by their name naturally. You can see those huge, tropical flowers coming two blocks away. And this year, there are lots of floral and animal prints, sizzling stripes and plaid patterns vying for our attention. For most of us, it’s best to pick a print that’s small in scale on a dark background for the most flattering results. Leave the huge orange and yellow tiger prints for Halloween.
–Channel Mother Nature. When in doubt about what colors “go” with other colors in your closet, just look outside. There is plenty of inspiration wherever you are…the undulating blues and greens of the ocean, the reds, golds and greens of autumn leaves and the pinks, reds and purples of early sunsets. There’s not a better teacher than Mother Nature herself when it comes to creating color combinations outdoors that you can treat yourself to everyday.
COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM
The Soft Side of Fall Fashion
With the arrival of fall, our homes are brimming over with scented candles and fuzzy blankets, and now our closets are ready for a dose of friendly comfort, too. Think “Hygge.” It’s the trendy Scandinavian word that’s perfect for describing the way we all want to dress when leaves start to fall and fires start crackling.
The Oxford Dictionary defines hygge (pronounced HUE gah) as “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).” And what better way to snuggle into a new season than to embrace the relaxed spirit of hygge?
Take a cue from Lands’ End, the Wisconsin-based retailer who recently launched “The Art of Cozy,” a new leisure collection that celebrates the hygge movement and features easy-to-wear clothes in the softest of fabrics.
“As lifestyles continue to evolve, so does fashion,” says Chieh Tsai, senior vice president of design for Lands’ End. “Today, women want to look stylish while being comfortable and have truly embraced a cozy, carefree approach to getting dressed each day,” she adds.
Here’s how you can get comfy and put some hygge into your own wardrobe this fall:
–Start at the top. The plush life begins with soft sweaters. The hottest fashion statements are the chunky turtlenecks, but cowl neck pull-overs, tunics and long cable-knit cardigans are all vying for attention. These knit tops can be the most versatile pieces in your wardrobe easily mixing with casual jeans, leggings and even tailored trousers for the office. Swap out a traditional blazer for a boucle drape front “waterfall” cardigan to bring a little hygge to your workplace.
–Invest in a fleece vest. The down “puffer” vest is still a fall favorite that warms up the coldest of days without the bulk of a coat. But this fall, the softer side to take is the soft quilted fleece vest. A little lighter, but much more comfortable, especially on those autumn days when chilly mornings turn into warmer afternoons. Fleece pullovers are other cozy options that can be layered under down vests when extra warmth is needed.
–Add a lightweight jacket. Yes, even outerwear has gone soft this fall. French terry hoodies and bomber jackets are cozy favorites for men; and for women, the latest pea coats feature brushed wool fabrics that have a velvety feel to them. In mint green, they’re a delicious treat for the lighter side of fall.
Sweater “coats” are other third-layer alternatives to heavy jackets – the longer the better this fall. In luxurious cashmere, these kimono-inspired knits will provide plenty of those special hygge moments from the minute you put them on.
–Pull on your pajama pants. But not just any pajama pants. This fall, the comfort factor extends to all kinds of easy-to-wear pants that are anything but sloppy. Meant-to-be-seen joggers, sweatpants, jeggings and of course, leggings, are all basic must-haves in the cozy hygge wardrobe.
–Dress to impress. You don’t have to worry about leaving the plush life behind at home, either. Slip into a merino wool cable knit sweater dress that you can rock day and night. Then wrap up in an oversized plaid blanket scarf for even more style out on the street. When you get to the office, light a pumpkin spice candle, relax and breathe in all the comfort of a new fall day.
(SET IMAGE) smo100317adAP.jpg (END IMAGE) (SET CAPTION) Embrace comfort clothes this fall in the spirit of hygge with the “Art of Cozy” collection from Lands’ End. www.landsend.com. (END CAPTION)
To find out more about Sharon Mosley, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT CREATORS 2017
7 Ways to Help Hurricane Victims
Photos courtesy of Getty Images
Natural disasters come in multiple forms and can quickly devastate many lives in a matter of moments. While they all can cause nightmares for those affected, few are as powerful and destructive as hurricanes.
That’s why, when hurricanes make landfall and wreak havoc, help is immediately needed and accepted by the people and communities impacted the most. Here are a few ways you can make a positive impact for those affected by natural disasters, specifically hurricanes:
Start a Fundraiser
One of the most potentially impactful ways to lend a hand after a natural disaster is to start a community fundraiser. This can be as simple as an online account accepting donations for a group of people and sending a large sum to a relief organization, or as thought-out as a large-scale event, like a raffle or dinner, accepting donations for entry.
Money is typically the resource relief organizations can use the most during natural disasters, and it can also be the easiest way for people to lend aid. There are typically many trustworthy organizations available to donate to during times of need.
Promote Fundraising Efforts
After you’ve made a donation yourself, spread the word to others whether it’s via word of mouth, social media or other forms of communication. Let friends and family know how they can join the cause.
While it isn’t viable for everyone, some people closer to the affected region can directly help those in need with physical help at the place it’s most needed. Whether it’s passing out supplies, serving food to those displaced or other means of lending a hand, volunteers are a valuable resource following natural disasters.
Another option for people looking to help who are closer to the devastation is to offer shelter, especially if they have family members or friends who have been affected. Assisting at places sheltering the displaced is another way to provide help, if offering space in your home is not an option.
Injuries can be unavoidable when hurricanes and other disasters strike. One way to help those hospitalized or otherwise injured is to donate blood, possibly saving lives in the process.
In the immediate aftermath of storms and natural disasters, the news cycle is dominated by stories of triumph and despair, and by ways people can help. However, the storm is eventually overshadowed by other, more recent news. One major way people can help after a hurricane is by continuing their support long after the storm has passed, as those affected will need assistance, supplies and donations for much longer than just a couple of weeks after the incident. As time passes, it can be helpful to continue donating money and supplies, committing to helping physically rebuild structures and promoting fundraising efforts.
Find more ways to help those in need at eLivingToday.com.
Staying Safe Through a Hurricane
While the immense power of hurricanes and tropical storms can greatly affect the lives of many in an instant, there are ways to increase your safety before, during and after the storm. These tips from the American Red Cross can help protect yourself and your family.
* Put together an emergency kit, including basic but crucial items such as: water, food, a first aid kit, cell phones with chargers, contact information for family and friends, flashlights, extra batteries, medications, radios, copies of key personal documents, extra cash and maps.
* Working with your family, create an evacuation plan for your home. This includes discussing how to prepare and respond to emergencies, identifying the responsibilities of each person in the home and practicing the plan.
* As a storm is approaching, stay tuned to local radio or TV stations for the latest updates.
* Be prepared to evacuate quickly, and ensure that your emergency kit and other necessities are ready.
* Stay inside.
* If power is lost, use flashlights in the dark rather than candles.
* If possible, keep radio or TV stations tuned in for any new or developing information.
* Because waters could be contaminated with sewage or contain other dangerous substances, avoid contact with floodwater.
* If instructed to do so by local authorities, shut off the power and water mains.
* If you must be outdoors, don’t walk, swim or drive through floodwater. Don’t walk on beaches or riverbanks, and don’t allow children to play in or near floodwater.
* Stay out of areas subject to flooding, such as underpasses, dips and low spots.
* If you must drive and are caught on a flooded road with rising waters, get out of the car and move to higher ground.
* Communicate with family and friends to let them know you’re safe.
* If you are evacuated, don’t return until authorities confirm it is safe to do so.
* Continue listening to radio or TV stations for new or developing information.
* Be prepared for continued rainfall and additional flooding.
* Don’t use water that could be contaminated.
* If possible, help friends, family and neighbors who require assistance, especially the elderly, people without transportation, large families and people with disabilities.
* When returning home, stay away from buildings that have water around them.
* Stay away from dangling power lines and report them to power companies.
* For insurance purposes, take pictures of home and item damage.
* When cleaning your home, wear protective clothing like rubber gloves and boots, and be cautious.
* Inquire with professionals to check for roof damage and other more technical tasks.
Best Bets for Back to School
Every family needs the right items on hand to ensure students are geared up to succeed in the classroom and on the playing field. These supplies and handy tools are designed to make back-to-school season easy as 1-2-3 for kids and parents alike.
A sticky solution
Art projects abound when a new school year begins and the perfect paper crafts require a secure bond that withstands transportation from school to home. An Elmer’s Re-Stick Glue Stick lets little hands fine-tune placement of different pieces for up to five minutes before a permanent bond forms. The sticks apply smoothly and dry clear for a mess-free appearance that is ideal for younger learners, as well as making poster presentations, crafts and more. See what ideas will stick for you at elmers.com.
Good hydration is important for overall health and keeping a water bottle by your side is one way to help ensure you’re keeping your intake steady throughout the day. The Contigo AUTOSPOUT Chug Water Bottle enables simple sipping on the go with its patented technology and high flow for quick, one-handed drinking. The vacuum-insulated stainless steel keeps beverages refreshingly cold for up to 24 hours, and a protective spout prevents leaks and helps keep out dirt and germs. Find more information at gocontigo.com.
From creating spaces at home that help organize school paperwork to identifying personal items like laptops or calculators, an electric labeler makes short work of the job. The DYMO MobileLabeler offers Bluetooth connectivity for fast and easy setup, along with a voice-to-text feature and spellcheck to help save time. A free app lets you create the label via a smartphone using a wide variety of colors and font libraries then print the size you need from 1/4 inch-1 inch wide. Learn more at dymo.com.
Organize with color
Keeping track of schedules, homework and other activities can be an exhausting chore, but a color-coded dry-erase board is one way to keep everything straight. A highly visible, low-odor ink like the one used in the EXPO Dry Erase Markers with Ink Indicator makes getting organized fun, plus the easy-to-see ink levels ensures you’ll never unknowingly run dry. The versatile chisel tip marks broad, medium and fine lines, and six bold and bright colors let you add a little creative flair to your efforts to bring order to the chaos. Check out these and other dry-erase tools at expomarkers.com.
A cool way to refuel
A rigorous morning of academics calls for an energizing and nutritious lunch to power through the end of the school day. Rubbermaid BRILLIANCE Lunch containers are leak-proof with airtight latches and adjustable insert trays and dividers to create custom compartments inside. The ultra-durable material keeps the container stain-free and odor-free. They’re also BPA-free and safe for the dishwasher, microwave and freezer. Find this and other lunch solutions at rubbermaid.com.
Artwork for the senses
Nothing sparks creativity like engaging all the senses, and an array of bold scents and vivid colors is the perfect combination for some inspired artwork. Mr. Sketch Scented Crayons come in a package of 12 and feature a twist design that means they never need sharpening. A hard plastic body reduces crayon breakage, making these instruments ideal for children as young as 3 years of age. Explore more crayons and tools to encourage creativity this school year at mrsketch.com.
A bright idea
Defining important text or keeping track of key calendar dates is easier with Sharpie Clear View Highlighters that feature a see-through tip that allows for precise highlighting. The versatile blade-style tip draws thick lines for highlighting or thin, defined lines for underlining, while specially formulated ink technology resists smudging of many pen and marker inks. Choose among four bright colors to make your mark and find additional answers to your highlighting needs at sharpie.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (children at school)
Lost in Transition
BY: SHARON MOSLEY
Now that you’ve sweated through most of the summer, it’s time to start thinking about the new fall fashion season ahead. I know that for many of us there’s still plenty of steamy days to come, but it doesn’t hurt to start at least doing a little planning to refresh those tired summer wardrobes. After all, the new fall collections will be hitting the stores and online as you read this!
So take some time out now to plot your shopping strategy … even if it’s just shopping in your own closet!
Step One: Collect magazines. August is the month when you will see those giant “books” of fashion photography beaming up at you in the checkout aisle. Buy at least one or two or three. These will give you great ideas to get inspired. Rip the pages out and start your own “pinterest” collection. No, you may not buy the $2000 leather jacket, but you may find one that you love for $200.
Step Two: Think, think and think some more. Yes, it really does pay off to ask yourself a few questions about your wardrobe every now and then, especially at the beginning of a new season … and especially if your life has changed any in the past year. Think about what’s coming up in your future. Any job changes? Any special events? Travel plans? (Or that dreaded high school reunion?)
Step Three: Make a list. It sounds simple, but it works. An organized approach to shopping is one of the best ways to insure that you stay focused. But then, I also believe in the “I love it. I have to have it” theory too.
Step Four: Shop your closet. After you browse the magazines and make your lists, then take a look at your own closet and see what you already have. I often catch myself buying the same things over and over again (black pants anyone?), only to find several pairs in my closet that would have been just fine.
Step Five: Make your accessories count. Take inventory of what handbags, shoes, jewelry, scarves, etc. you already have. What condition are they in? What did you “wear to death” last year. What needs replacing or updating? Accessories are one of the easiest and often inexpensive ways to instantly update your wardrobe.
Step Six: Replacing the inevitable. Some of us like to hang on to our possessions until the last thread is worn out. But a new season is the perfect time to consider when that cherished pair of designer heels from 1999 that’s showing some wear and tear should be forever banned from our closet.
Step Seven: Call in reinforcements. Enlist some help. If you have a friend whose personal style you admire, this is a good time to ask for his or her help. Invite them over and make it a party for two. Scope out your closet and ask for advice. With a glass of wine or two, you will probably get some good feedback.
Step Eight: Experiment with color. This is another easy way to get the season’s newest look. Zero in on the “color” of the moment. Check out the red palette for fall. Bright “Grenadine” red leads the line-up, followed by burgundy “Tawny Port,” rusty “Autumn Maple,” and a rosy pink “Ballet Slipper,” according to Pantone, Inc., the color authority who predicts the fashion color trends every season.
Step Nine: Stay in the present moment. We all have clothes that we hang onto forever … the prom dress from 1979, the bridesmaid dress from 1989, the cocktail dress from 1999 … but if these clothes are not working for you now, then consider giving them to charity. I love “vintage” clothes and accessories, but sometimes we should admit the vintage in our closet has seen better days and may find a new life at a costume party!
Step Ten: Be true to yourself. Whether you feel like you need to replace your whole wardrobe or you just want to buy a few new things, remember that ultimately you will be the one wearing your clothes. It’s always exciting to discover a stylish new treasure. Wear things you love, and every new season will be a chance to explore a new you!
To find out more about Sharon Mosley, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM
Made in the Shade
BY: SHARON MOSLEY
Audrey Hepburn knew it. John Lennon knew it. And Rihanna knows it. Sunglasses can give you a whole new outlook on life. They can change your image instantly. And more importantly, they are must-have eye protection. In other words, sunglasses are possibly the most necessary accessory you can wear…so why not make sure they’re stylish, too? Here are some tips and trends for finding the most flattering sunnies this summer:
–First, look in the mirror. If you’ve worn the same Wayfarers for 20 years, it may be time to see life in a whole new way. Make time to check out updated frames and lenses at your local optician or sunglass boutique. If you don’t have a clue about what shapes of glasses look best on you, get some professional help, especially if you wear prescription glasses and you need to get the most out of the money you spend since these sunglasses are more of an investment.
–The most flattering shaped sunglasses will usually be the opposite shape of your face. However, with the dozens of choices available now, nothing beats trying on the glasses in front of a mirror. While many of us have a “wardrobe” of sunglasses to match our every fashion mood, sunglasses can be expensive, so it’s best to choose wisely. (And then try not lose them!)
–If you have an oval face, then you’ve truly got it made in the shade! Oval shapes can carry off just about any style of glasses. Just make sure your glasses are as wide as the widest part of your face. Proportion is important when you try on sunglasses. Aviators are always a good bet for this face shape. This year, the colorful tinted mirrored aviators are the trendiest way to wear this classic shape.
–For longer, oblong-shaped faces, check out glasses that have more of an oval shape. Strong, horizontal brow bars are also good bets to balance out oblong faces. Thicker temple frames can also add extra width and detract from large noses. Trendy glasses this year include many frames embellished with decorative details like crystals and studs.
–Round faces are complemented with more angular styles of sunglasses. Oversized rectangular frames are one way to balance fuller faces. The butterfly cat-eye is one of the latest styles that flatter rounder faces.
–Heart-shaped faces benefit from eyewear frames that are squared off in strong frames that boast darker colors and finishes like tortoise or black. Strongly defined brow bars may also help to balance the upper part of this shape of face. Rimless round frames which is one of this year’s biggest trends in eyewear is another flattering shape that compliments the heart-shaped face.
–If you have a square face, then sunglasses in more curvaceous shapes are generally preferable. The horizontal space-age sunglasses that are trending now like the colorful ones Rihanna sports for Dior in its ad campaign are perfect for this shape of face.
–With so many options in colors and styles of eyewear, choosing the sunglasses that are right for you may be overwhelming. Stick to colors that reflect the colors in the clothes that you wear. Another tip: choose glasses with frames that provide contrast to your normal skin tone. Also, consider the color of your hair — dark hair, dark frames; light skin, lighter frames.
Sunglasses can be one of your best fashion statements, year in and year out. But sun protection for your eyes is even more critical. Make sure the glasses you buy are polarized and block the maximum amount of UV rays. Then pick the most flattering pair of shades for you. It’s easy to change your view of the world and how the world views you — one pair of sunglasses at a time.
COPYRIGHT 2017 CREATORS.COM
Mind, Body and Summer
By: SHARON MOSLEY
There’s no time like summer to make us sweat … sweat the small stuff, like what to wear when we’d rather just strip down and hibernate indoors for a few months. But the hottest months may be the best time to focus on what really matters — finding the clothes that fit and flatter our bodies no matter what time of the year. Here are a few tips for making the most of summer and the big reveal.
–First, make a list of your assets. Even if it’s a mental list that you have filed away over the years, most of us know what works and what doesn’t when we take a twirl in front of that dressing room mirror. In warmer months when the layers get peeled away, it’s even more important to play up the positives. Great legs? Take the short cut. Heavy arms? Try a blouson-sleeve tunic. Need an updated swimsuit cover-up? Wrap up in a silky kimono. Wanna wear a dress? An A-line silhouette is a good bet for a variety of shapes and sizes.
–Then get down to the essentials. That doesn’t necessarily mean that a tank top and capris needs to be your official uniform of the summer, but summer wardrobes do tend to give us much more freedom to make the most of slimming down ourselves and our closets. Instead of baggy, tent-like tops, choose more form-fitting designs with built-in stretch that gently define the waist; steer clear of billowing wide-leg pants that just make you look even wider. You can still keep your cool and loosen up in the summer, but choose clothes that fit and don’t swallow you whole.
–Lighten up. The fabrics we wear in summer are critical. Natural fabrics like cotton and linen have long been fashion favorites; but man-made blends are making strides. Jersey is one of my all-time summer favorites because it doesn’t wrinkle. Color is another way to keep cool, too. Ditch the all black routine for now, and experiment with brighter hues and eye-catching prints and patterns.
–Skip the frou-frou. Sticky weather is not the best time to just keep piling it on. All those excessive embellishments like sequins, embroidery, tassels and ruffles that might be the stars of a holiday party may not be at their best in the heat and humidity. They will just weigh you down more. Ditto for wooly scarves and heavy metal jewelry. Save these over-the-top extras for more festive occasions coming up this fall.
–Acknowledge the years. If you are still trying to squeeze into that bikini from high school and 10 years later you still find yourself stuffing it into your beach bag, you definitely need a reality check. Or if you’ve gone through a major life change like pregnancy or illness that affects your clothing size, then it’s the perfect time to reevaluate your wardrobe, period. Don’t be afraid to reinvent your whole outlook on style. After all, a vacation may be just the thing you and your closet deserve.
Wedding Planning 101
First comes the proposal then comes the wedding planning. There are dozens of decisions that need to be made before it’s time to walk down the aisle, which can be overwhelming for brides and grooms.
To help make it less stressful, these tips from Macy’s can help couples through the entire wedding-planning process, from on-trend apparel and accessories for the entire wedding party to all the essentials to create a perfect registry.
Dressing the Ladies
When it comes to bridesmaid dresses, the mix-and-match approach is trending in popularity. Start by deciding on a color palette, such as lilac, champagne and petal pink. Then have each bridesmaid choose her favorite style within that range of hues. Bring it all together by choosing a uniform look for makeup, shoes and accessories.
There is no better time to thank the ladies than the morning of the big day. A few thoughtful gifts can go a long way, such as matching robes, tumblers to stay hydrated throughout the day and cosmetic cases to stow makeup essentials.
Dressing the Gents
Similar to bridesmaid dresses, groomsmen attire can be dependent on the venue and overall event aesthetic. While a suit can fit the bill for a country club wedding, a city affair may call for the sleek finishes of a tux. Tuxedo accessories, such as cuff links or bow ties, make great groomsmen gifts and are classic pieces they can use time and time again.
Creating the Perfect Registry
When building a registry, it’s never too early to start. People want to give gifts as soon as they know a couple is engaged. Start by taking inventory of what you already have, what you need and what you want to upgrade. It’s also recommended to update the registry regularly so there are enough gifts to choose from, especially if there is an engagement party and bridal shower coming up. To get started, some popular registry items include stand mixers, craft beer glasses, Dutch ovens, bath towels and vacuums. For extra guidance, couples can speak to advisors who can help with the full registry building process at Macy’s stores.
For more wedding ideas and inspiration, and to find the right attire and gifts for your wedding planning, visit macys.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images #13827
Surfing For Beauty Bargains
By: SHARON MOSLEY
The heat wave may be on, but there are lots of ways to keep your cool and some of your extra cash, too. Beauty bargains abound. Dive into these deals now and don’t sweat all those wonderful moments in the sun. Soak them up with these tips.
–Start with sunscreen. Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays may be the best thing you do — not only in the summer but all year long. Look for products that combine skincare with sun protection. Check out the new line of bronzers, balms and sunscreens from the apparel company Pacifica, debuting at Target. Founder Brook Harvey Taylor has created a collection of vegan mineral products loaded with probiotics, caffeine and antioxidants with a 50 SPF.
–Moisturize with makeup. Summer may mean more vacation time, but most of us may not want to take a total break from wearing makeup. Tinted moisturizer offers the best of both worlds, and if you can find one with sunscreen, it’s even better. Try the e.l.f. version at Walmart for $3.
–Cool down fast. You don’t have to visit a professional to get quick results with hydrating masks that soothe sun-kissed skin with moisture-infused ingredients. Just pat on a sheet mask like Dr. Jart’s Vital Hydro Solution for a mini facial that refreshes parched skin within minutes. Another possibility: Spritz on Neutrogena’s Fresh Cooling Body Mist with SPF 70.
–Get a glow on. Even if you can’t manage a week at the beach, you can still fake a little of that bronzy glow. (And no, it’s not orange). A personal favorite — and one of the best ways to get your glow on gradually is with Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer lotion for $9, found at many drugstores.
–Don’t forget your lips! One of the most sensitive areas of our faces, our lips can easily burn when exposed to hours of sun. Some of us may learn this the hard way. Take time to lick the problem before it becomes painful. Fresh has plenty of colorful options in its Sugar Lip Treatment collection that includes SPF 15 sunscreen. Fuchsia is the latest shade in “Candy,” $24 at fresh.com.
–Nail it. Summer is the perfect time to get creative with manicures. Break out of your everyday pinks and experiment with artistic designs that are available with DIY instructions like Sally Hansen’s “I Heart Nail Art” kits.
–Open your eyes with color. Nobody wants to smear their eye lids with goopy shadow during the hot summer months. Instead, just dab on a tiny amount of blue or green glaze (or better yet, blend them together) for a sheer wash of shimmering ocean hues. Clinique’s collection of Lid Pops in Aqua will give you an instant wave of the deep blue sea on your eyes.
–Texturize hair. Get that messy “undone” beachy hair look without ever stepping foot on the sand Just spray on a volumizing finishing product like Pantene’s Texturizing Non-Aerosol Hairspray for loose curls or messy braids that shines all day and all night long.
Dad’s Day, Dad’s Way
Gift ideas sure to bring a smile
Finding the perfect gift for dear ol’ dad may be easier than you think. Show that you’ve paid attention all these years and know what it takes to make him smile. From gifts that make practical tasks easier to accessories for his favorite pleasure pursuits, these ideas take the stress out of showing your dad how much he means. Add a simple “thank you” and a big hug, and he’s sure to feel the love this Father’s Day.
Anywhere Garage Door Control
If your dad has ever driven away from home, wondered if the garage door is closed then turned around to check, give him the gift of peace of mind. Let dad use his smartphone with the Chamberlain MyQ Garage universal controller and free app to confirm the garage door is closed, open or close it remotely and even receive activity alerts. The controller works with most openers manufactured after 1993, installs in minutes and is available online at The Home Depot, Lowe’s and online at myqsmartgarage.com.
Father’s Day T-Bone Gift Package
Impress dad this year with the meal of his dreams from Omaha Steaks. Tender filet on one side, robust strip on the other, dad will love sinking his teeth into this 30-ounce T-bone. Plus, with gourmet jumbo franks, eight ground beef sliders, melt-in-your-mouth potatoes au gratin and rich New York cheesecake for dessert, this combo has something for everyone in the family. Find more delicious meals for dad at omahasteaks.com.
Outdoor Cleaning Made Easy
Give dad the power to quickly and easily tackle any outdoor cleaning task with a pressure washer that’s durable enough to pass a military-grade drop test while offering the convenience of electric power. From spraying down the grill after a meal to keeping his car and garage looking pristine, the compact Briggs & Stratton S2000 electric pressure washer with an onboard detergent tank is just the tool for the job. Visit briggsandstratton.com to learn more about the full line of outdoor cleaning products or purchase at amazon.com.
Gear Up for a Good Time
Whether it’s the thrill of the catch or the peaceful solitude that draws him, fishing is a pastime many dads enjoy. A true fisherman can never have too much fishing gear, so it’s hard to go wrong. If you’re uncertain about the specifications of items like rods and reels, focus on accessories instead. An assortment of lures, a new tackle box or a GPS device created specifically for fishing are all ideas sure to earn your dad’s appreciation.
Get the Job Done
If one of dad’s favorite places to spend time is the garage, a new set of tools might be just what he’s looking for to finish up his project list. When a little home maintenance is required, helpful items – as simple as hammers, screwdrivers and tape measurers or more job-specific items like ladders, saws and power tools – can really come in handy. Or, if he’s already got the tools he needs, consider a tool chest or work bench for optimal garage organization.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
10 Tips to Make Outdoor Parties Unforgettable
Entertaining is one thing, but dazzling your guests with an outdoor party sensation is another. Summer can be the best time of year for outdoor parties.
From twinkling lights to patterned tablecloths, every detail counts when it comes to impressing family and friends.
It may feel like a lot of pressure to live up to expectations, but your party can be both simple and elegant with a few easy tips.
Early is never early enough when it comes to planning a rock-star summer gathering.
Check to see if you have enough utensils, make sure everything is in place and that there is enough food for your guests. Prepare weeks in advance, if possible, to make sure you have all the materials necessary to throw your dream outdoor party.
Spice up the invitations
The perfect invitations can do three things. First is tell the basics: what, when and where. They can also tell guests what to bring along with them. Of course, invitations should also be appealing to the eye. This is your time to get a little creative and catch guests’ attention before the big event.
Show your style
You want your guests to be as comfortable as possible. Make sure to dress tables and chairs with cushions and tablecloths. Mix it up and show off some of your personal flair with bright colors or fancy patterns. It’s easy to celebrate summer with styles that bring summer vibes to life.
Light up the party
Brighten up the big day or night with some candles, lanterns or sparkling lights. In case of wind or weather, try to purchase covered candles to increase the chances the flame will stay lit. Make sure everyone can see the hard work you have put into the party.
Less mess meals
No one likes messy meals, especially at a summer party. Put together a menu that isn’t stressful on the cook or stressful on your guests to eat. Dropping sauce on a white summer top is a party no-no.
Rain, rain, go away
Always prepare for the worst. If clouds roll in on party day, make sure you’re ready. You can simply move the party indoors at the drop of a hat. Tents can also help keep the party going outdoors in case of precipitation.
Brighten it up
It’s finally summer and that usually means flowers everywhere. Pick out an arrangement and make it the focal point of each table. The bright colors can draw your guests in and make them want to appreciate the beautiful nature around them.
Make your own games
Give the kids something to do and make it fun. While the adults visit, the little ones need something to keep themselves busy. Whether it’s bubbles or water play in the heat, something to mix it up can help keep them occupied.
Jam it out
Keep the music low and cool. There is no need to blast your speakers across the entire yard. Play your favorite jams, but nothing too crazy. The music can really set the mood of the entire party and make or break the atmosphere.
Cool it down
The summer heat is blazing and sometimes being outside can be miserable. Make sure your guests stay comfortable, even in the heat. Lay out handheld fans, lots of water and even some towels. Your guests will want to stay hydrated so they can
Find more summer party tips at eLivingToday.com.
8 Ways to Optimize Your Sleep
While a healthy lifestyle requires a balanced diet and exercise, sleep is another pillar of overall wellness that is both essential to your health and success, and often overlooked.
By simply making small changes to your daily routine you can improve your quality of sleep. Follow these tips from Dr. Sujay Kansagra, Mattress Firm’s sleep health consultant and director of Duke University’s Pediatric Neurology Sleep Medicine Program, and get on your way to better rest and a healthier life.
1. Manage your sleep time. Rather than trying to accomplish everything on your to-do list at the expense of sleep, reverse your approach. As the average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep each night, make sure to set aside the time needed for a full night of rest.
2. Stay on schedule. Try to keep your bedtime and wake time consistent on both weekdays and weekends. With time, your brain and body will acclimate to these set times, but until then, rely on an alarm – not only to wake in the morning, but to keep you from staying up too late at night, too.
3. Find a routine. A routine performed 20-30 minutes prior to bed every night can subconsciously ease your brain into sleep. Unwinding with a book, taking a warm bath or meditating are all ways to slow your mind and transition toward peaceful rest.
4. Brighten up the morning. Getting plenty of bright light in the morning helps keep your sleep timing on track, particularly if you wake up early. Make opening the drapes and blinds your first task each morning.
5. Ditch the clock. Fixating on the time can create stress and keep you up at night. Instead, set your alarm, turn your clock around and forget about the time.
6. Get moving. Research shows that exercise can act as a natural sleep remedy, often leading to a more sound slumber. However, if you exercise late and have difficulty falling asleep, consider moving your workout earlier in the day. The increase in body temperature from exercise tends to be prolonged, sometimes making it hard to fall asleep.
7. Kick the caffeine habit. Morning caffeine can linger in your system until it’s time to sleep. Coffee, tea, dark sodas and dark chocolate are the main offenders for most people.
8. Pay back debt. If you are chronically deprived of sleep, allow your body extra sleep time to make up for the loss. In these cases, even 8-9 hours each night may not be enough. Allow your body to catch up then commit to more consistent sleep patterns in the future.
Find more resources to help improve your sleep, including tips on how to purchase a new mattress, at DailyDoze.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Source: Mattress Firm