By Sharon Mosley
Get ready for the big study “haul” …and get ready to go search for the perfect backpack as heading back to school gets closer and closer. Backpacks are at the top of the shopping list for most kids, because after all, it travels everywhere they do, holds everything they need during the school day and gives them a great chance to express their own personality.
Yes, there’s a backpack for everyone, according to Audrey McClelland, a mom of five kids from kindergarten through junior high. McClelland has partnered with Lands’ End to help parents and kids pick out the best backpacks for the coming school season. She breaks it down into three easy steps:
–Get the best fit. First, McClelland suggests starting with fit and comfort. “Measure your child’s height so you can find the best fitting backpack,” she says. “Next, look at the straps and make sure they are adjustable, so you can get a proper, back-friendly fit. Don’t forget to look for features that make the backpack comfortable and fit properly such as padded back support and straps.”
–Look for storage. There are plenty of backpacks available with lots of storage, too. Look for bags with mesh pockets, zippered compartments, loops for clipping on lunch boxes or other accessories. Reflective accents also help kids visible in low light.
“Today’s backpacks tote more then just books and pencils,” says the mom of five. “My kids carry along a variety of sports equipment, water bottles and even tech supplies such as a laptop and smartphones.
“One great tip that I have,” adds McClelland, “is sometimes I pack an additional Cinch Sack for my boys, so they can grab only their sports gear from their backpacks.”
–Have fun with fashion. And finally, let’s face it — backpacks can be a fashion statement. Let your kids add their own personality to the backpack that they will carry with them every day of a new school year.
“I know it’s important to get the right fit and storage features,” says McClelland, “but shopping for back to school style is my favorite thing to do. There are so many great backpack looks this year.”
Bold prints lead the pack, from bright galaxy designs to ombre to florals, geometrics and even maps of the world, emojis and glow-in-the-dark options. McClelland’s own kids favor tie dye and camo. “My kids also love to make their backpacks their own by monogramming them and adding fun embroideries,” she says.
Don’t forget to celebrate National Backpack Day on August 7, 2018. Backpacks and coordinating lunch boxes will be 50 percent off and include free shipping at Lands’ End.
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5 Ways to Squash Back-to-School Stress
Heading back to school is exciting for both kids and parents, but with all the thrill and anticipation, there can be quite a bit of stress, too. As a parent, you can approach the impending school year with a positive attitude and these tricks can help minimize stress and give your kids extra confidence when heading into the classroom.
Lifestyle expert and mother of two Jeannette Kaplun recommends these tips:
Start adjusting bedtimes before school starts. It’s common for bedtime rules to be broken in the summer. However, an abrupt transition to early mornings can lead to stress and irritability. The National Sleep Foundation recommends implementing earlier bedtimes two weeks before school starts and setting the alarm a bit earlier each morning for a smooth transition to the first day of school.
Curb the summer slide. Screen time isn’t just for passing time; leverage technology to keep the reading skills your kids learned in the classroom sharp all summer long. A device like the Fire Kids Edition tablet from Amazon is built from the ground up for kids with a two-year worry-free guarantee, a kid-proof case and a one-year subscription to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, giving kids access to 15,000 kid-friendly books, videos, educational apps and games. Parental controls like Learn First encourage learning before playtime and allow you to set screen time limits to help get kids back into a routine for the school year. Additionally, STEM toys and games can keep math and science top of mind during the summer months and help kids excel during the school year.
Dress for success. There’s a reason grownups tend to dress up for special events – when you look good, you feel good. Give your kids that same boost by helping them choose a special outfit for the first day of school that he or she feels comfortable and confident wearing. Shopping for clothes is an opportunity for your child to express individuality, so have fun with it. For added stress relief, lay out the complete ensemble the night before and have your child try it on to head off any concerns. If the routine works, try making it part of your nightly routine for stress-free mornings throughout the school year.
Simplify the shopping experience. Every back-to-school season comes with classroom supply lists and new wardrobe needs. A one-stop shop retailer like Amazon lets you complete your shopping on your own schedule, and its back-to-school store offers deals and a wide selection, making it easy to find everything from must-have items like binders, backpacks and shoes to fun gear such as glitter glue, donut erasers and emoji stickers that allow kids to express their personalities.
“Back-to-school shopping doesn’t have to cause anxiety,” Kaplun said. “By shopping online at Amazon from your phone, tablet or computer, you can buy everything you need without having to find a parking spot, tracking down a sales associate to help you find your child’s size or standing in line to pay, saving you precious time. Plus, Prime members receive unlimited, free two-day shipping on more than 100 million items all-year long.”
Share the excitement. It’s perfectly normal for parents and kids to feel anxious about the new school year. Instead of revealing your own apprehension, share your favorite memories from your time in your child’s upcoming grade. Ask your kids what they’re most excited for and what they’re a little nervous about and come up with solutions together.
Get a jump start on your stress-free transition back to school with more tips and resources at amazon.com/backtoschool.
Sponsored ContentPhoto courtesy of Getty Images
5 Ways to Step Up Date Night Without Breaking the Bank
Most relationship experts agree that making time for date night is important, whether it’s the early days of a blossoming romance or decades into a comfortable marriage. Spending that valuable time together doesn’t have to be expensive as long as you take the time to make it special.
Plan your next date with these ideas for low-cost experiences with the one you love:
Share time outdoors. Except in the most extreme conditions, there’s always something to do outside and most of those activities are either free or relatively inexpensive. Whether it’s taking a stroll hand-in-hand or planning a picnic at a scenic location, the exercise and fresh air can be good for your body and mind, for both you and your beloved.
Dine on a dime. Although the days of a nickel burger are long gone, there are ways to curb your spending when you eat out. For example, many restaurants offer menus with smaller portions as well as promotional nights with discounts geared toward certain audiences. Some restaurants even offer daily discounts, as high as 10 percent off your total bill for AARP members. If you are not a member, it’s simple to sign up online. Membership is just $16 a year, so it can practically pay for itself with the use of just one of the dining offers.
Simply stay in. When you’re conflicted between going out on a date or settling for a night on the couch, it’s possible to have both. Order takeout from a favorite spot and bring it to the comfort of your home for the best of both worlds. It allows you to avoid kitchen cleanup and simply commit to enjoying one another’s company without interruption.
Master the movie schedule. Prime time at the theater can be pricey, but if your calendar is flexible, you can catch a show earlier in the day for a steep discount. Some theaters also offer special discounts for ordering tickets online. An added bonus: taking in an early movie with a snack may help save money on dinner later.
Enjoy special engagements. Whether it’s a local sporting event or a musical performance by a group visiting your town, sharing a pastime that you’re passionate about is a good way to share a piece of your life and interests to help establish a deeper connection with a loved one. Conversely, if it’s a new experience for you both, it may establish a newfound bond that you can explore together over time. Don’t let ticket prices dissuade you. Take advantage of offers that may be available to you, special showings or even a ticket discount with your AARP membership.
Explore more tips and ideas to make the most of your relationships and everyday life, too, at AARPAdvantages.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
A Fit, Fun Summer
Make smart fitness choices with post-workout recovery and hydration
During warm-weather months, fitness enthusiasts often take their exercise routines to the great outdoors. The spike in summer temperatures can make those tough workouts even more challenging.
Even after your workout is complete, your body does not stop – after a tough sweat session in the summer heat, you need to replenish what you lost to rebuild and refuel muscles. A tall glass of chocolate milk may not be the first thing you think to reach for after a long run, but recovering from each intense workout with the nutrients in low-fat chocolate milk allows you to get the most out of your fitness routine.
Before gearing up for your summer workout routine, make sure you are taking care of your body with these tips.
Be Mindful of High Temperatures
High temperatures don’t have to get in the way of your workout plan, but it’s important to consider the heat index and time of day when exercising. Temperatures typically peak during the middle of the day, so aim to work out in the morning or once the sun starts to set.
The body loses a lot of important nutrients through sweat. Learn your sweat rate by weighing yourself with minimal clothing before and after one hour of sweaty exercise. One pound of sweat loss equals 16 ounces of fluid loss. This can guide your fluid intake during your next workout.
Replenish What You Lose in Sweat
After putting in real work this summer, your body needs real recovery. Recovery after strenuous exercise can make a difference in how well you can perform during your next workout. For example, low-fat chocolate milk helps replenish fluids and electrolytes lost in sweat. In fact, drinking low-fat or fat-free milk after exercise could restore hydration better than other popular post-exercise beverages, including water or sports drinks, according to a study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” Plus, chocolate milk has a 3-to-1 carb-to-protein ratio scientifically shown to refuel and rebuild muscles quickly.
Shield Yourself from the Sun’s Rays
Just because your fitness routine includes strenuous laps in a pool or a run through shady trails doesn’t mean you are protected from the sun. Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to your face, neck, ears and body before exercising outdoors. If you’re going back out for another round of laps in the pool or around the track, reapply sunscreen 20-30 minutes before getting back to work.
While summer weather provides many opportunities for fresh air and fitness, it’s important to remember these tips and more for healthy hydration. Find more information at builtwithchocolatemilk.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
A Deserved Day for Dad
6 gracious Father’s Day gift ideas
Whether dad wants to spend his day on the patio, in the garage, on the couch or at a ballgame, Father’s Day is the perfect opportunity to celebrate everything that makes him special to you and your family.
Since each dad is a little different, it’s sometimes tough finding just the right gift to put a smile on his face. Whether he’s into a grilled meal, a clean deck or a quality shave, these products are ideal for all types of fathers.
Find more gift ideas to put this dad’s day on his highlight reel at eLivingToday.com.
Grilling Favorites for Father’s Day
Celebrate dad by gathering the family for a cookout to remember featuring Omaha Steaks. This year’s Father’s Day package includes two buttery-rich ribeyes; two tender, juicy filet mignons; four 1/4-pound burgers; Omaha Steaks signature steak seasoning blend; a pound of steakhouse fries and four caramel apple tartlets for dessert. Find more dad-pleasing steaks and easy-to-prepare side dishes at omahasteaks.com.
Bring the Barbershop to Dad
Instead of dad having to head out the door for his next quality shave, you can bring the barbershop to him with KC Shave Co, which allows members to experience an enjoyable shave every day. For Father’s Day, pamper your dad with a relaxing shave with services that include timely delivery coupled with all-natural products, leaving skin fresh and without irritation. Find more gift ideas for dad at kcshaveco.com.
Perfect for His Projects
For the father who always seems to have a project in motion, you can make his day (and every day) a little easier with a Briggs & Stratton S1800 electric pressure washer. Featuring a turbo nozzle with the ability to blast away grime 40 percent faster than a standard spray tip, he can clean a wide range of surfaces from patios, decks and sidewalks to siding, windows, screens and tables. Find more cleaning solutions and a limited-time discount code for the power washer at Briggsandstratton.com/OutdoorCleaning.
A Guy and His Garage
Many dads can never seem to have enough tools. This package, the 111-piece Husky Mechanics Tool Set, gives him just about everything he needs to work on his car and tackle household projects. It offers two ratchets, 70 sockets, 22 bits and 14 hex keys. The case makes it perfect for storing in the shed, tossing it in the back of the truck or tucking away in a closet. Find more information and tools for dad at homedepot.com/husky.
Apparel for the Active Dad
Inspired by modern athletic gear, Mizzen+Main’s dress shirts use a unique fabric blend to wick away moisture, eliminating sweat from showing through the shirt. Ideal for dad to look and feel his best, the shirts feature four-way stretch for a custom fit and do not require dry cleaning – simply machine wash and hang dry. Offering moisture-wicking, wrinkle-free fabrics, they’re designed to blend class and comfort for active dads. Visit mizzenandmain.com for more.
For the Music Man
Help dad listen to his favorite tunes on Father’s Day with Samsung’s Shape Wireless Audio-Multiroom Speakers, which allow music lovers to listen throughout their home with an easy plug-and-play design. The speaker’s design is versatile and can be used alone as a speaker or combined with other Shape speakers to create a multiroom ecosystem. A free app, Samsung Multiroom, enables listeners to seamlessly stream music via WiFi or Bluetooth from a variety of music sources. For more tech solutions, visit Samsung.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Children hugging dad)
Ignite Ambition – How women can inspire other women
Having “it all” is a concept women have discussed and aspired to attain for nearly 40 years. Still, the conversation continues because no one has determined what having it all actually means.
A first-of-its-kind social experiment dug deeper into the choices women make in life and uncovered that female relationships often play a significant role. In collaboration with Dr. Emily Balcetis, Associate Professor of Psychology at New York University, Lean Cuisine asked women to define their “ideal life,” as part of the ItAll social experiment.
The experience explored how women answered questions alone versus in the presence of other women in their lives. The results showed that women help each other set a higher bar for themselves. In fact, 89 percent of women set more ambitious goals in the presence of other women.
Despite societal stereotypes that suggest female relationships encourage anxiety, pressure and judgment, this experiment determined that women have a positive impact on other women as an engine for ambition.
“We rarely talk about the positive power of female relationships that we saw firsthand in the ItAll experiment,” Balcetis said. “Women can encourage each other to shoot for more where it matters most, rather than working to accomplish something less fulfilling only because society says they should. Women have a truly unique way of inspiring each other to reach their own greatest potential.”
Balcetis offers these tips, which were observed during the ItAll social experiment, to support women aspiring to be the best versions of themselves:
Be a Role Model
Allowing a woman to observe and model your performance, whether in your personal or professional life, is an opportunity to give someone the courage and confidence to excel in her own right. A role model can set standards for an aspiring woman to work toward, while proving that certain goals are, in fact, attainable.
Take stock of the women in your life, including family, friends and social and professional acquaintances. Consider where you may be able to lend support or nudge someone into higher aspirations. It might mean encouraging someone to set or achieve a certain goal, or it may mean challenging someone to take a leap, like applying for a challenging new position.
For example, the ItAll experiment first surveyed female participants individually then allowed them to express their aspirations in the presence of familiar, influential women in their lives. Life choices became less conservative when others were involved. For example, participants declared a desire for higher salaries, chose to work more hours, wanted to spend more time with friends and be more involved with children.
Start a Conversation
It’s been said that variety is the spice of life, and no place is that truer than among women working to define their own ambitions. Engage with women from different backgrounds and start important conversations that may open your eyes to unique experiences or viewpoints you hadn’t previously considered. Arming yourself with that kind of knowledge can help make your own path clearer and encourage others to be a positive force for change.
Learn more about the social experiment and discover ideas to spur ambition for your own life at youtube.com/leancuisine.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (women talking)
Address the Dress
BY SHARON MOSLEY
Sometimes it only takes one dress — but just the right one — to make the occasion. And spring is full of those special occasions, from graduations to weddings to fundraisers. Having one go-to dress is always a good idea. Here are some of the best ways to dress the part this year so that when those invitations arrive, you’ll be ready — because you never want to wait till the last minute to find the perfect thing to wear to that big event.
–Address color. It’s the fastest way to update your dress wardrobe this year. Though those little black dresses are always in style and always great to have hanging out in your closet, you never want to underestimate the power of color. This spring and summer, that color may be the brightest yellow or the palest lilac. Pick your palette, but do consider wearing a new hue to the party. You’ll feel like a whole new you.
–Address hemlines. There’s a dress length for everyone this season, from short minis to long maxis. Of course, the occasion may determine what hemline you choose; a micro miniskirt might not be the most appropriate way to impress your boyfriend’s parents at his college graduation. But you’ll also want to consider what style of dress is most flattering to your own body shape. If a floor-sweeping maxi overwhelms your petite frame, then consider sticking to more of a ruffled tea dress with a midi hemline or a body-conscious fringed shift dress that hits right below the knees.
–Address prints. The flower power is fierce this year — and these are not just any itsy-bitsy-ditsy floral prints. The new floral prints are statement-making prints reminiscent of artistic designs mixed and matched in a fresh way, giving them a modern twist. Daisies are one of the most popular fashion bloomers this spring, but polka dots are also vying for attention. Look for prints in vintage-inspired silhouettes, such as fit-and-flare ’50s dresses or ’90s slip dresses.
–Address shine. If you really want to step up your dress game, then you’ll love the new way to sparkle in a dress. Sequins are shimmering for day and night. There’s a little disco diva that’s dancing into fashion this year, and it’s time to have some fun. In gold, silver or even pastels, sequins shine. The newest way to do a cool party look: a denim jacket over a sequin slip dress. So don’t be afraid to glimmer and glow as that stylish wedding guest. Just be careful not to outshine the bride.
–Address the non-dress. Yes, if you’re not a dress person — and some of us just aren’t — there are plenty of other options for special occasions. The jumpsuit is a great alternative and a major trend this year. The trouser suit is another way to up the glam factor; in white, it’s a warm-weather winner. And a flowing pleated skirt or silky palazzo pants paired with an elegant blouse are always appropriate. The best way to address the dress — during any time of the year — is to wear what you feel the most comfortable in. That’s always the way to dress for success.
Gifts for Every Mom
From every skinned-up knee when you were small to nearly every celebration throughout life, she is always there. Mothers are consistently there cheering you on and supporting you. Mothers are strong, fearless and kind, and Mother’s Day is your day to give back to them for all they’ve done and show them how much those moments mean to you.
This year, make her day special by choosing a gift that is not only functional but also charming. Use this gift guide to help find a Mother’s Day gift she can love and cherish for years to come.
Find more gift ideas perfect for any type of mom at eLivingToday.com.
For Her Thrilling Side
Celebrate Mother’s Day with the No. 1 New York Times’ best-seller, “The Woman In The Window” by A.J. Finn, hailed as the next “The Girl on the Train.” With more than 1 million copies sold worldwide, readers can enjoy this twisty, powerful novel of psychological suspense that is soon to be a major motion picture from Fox 2000. Anna Fox is a recluse, unable to venture outside her New York City home. She spends her days drinking wine, watching old movies and spying on her neighbors. When she sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble and she finds out that things are never really what they seem. Learn more at harpercollins.com.
Something Soft for Her
Give mom a warm and snuggly gift she can use all day, every day. No matter if she is watching her favorite shows or tucked in for a nice weekend nap, a soft and luscious blanket is the perfect companion. With various styles and sizes available, there’s almost certain to be an option perfect to fit your mom’s lifestyle.
Add to Her Style
Nearly every woman needs a good, solid purse to hold all her belongings and show off her personality, too. From makeup to money, the kids’ snacks and her keys, a stylish purse can hold it all while also allowing her to express herself. For Mother’s Day, give her something that not only helps her day after day but gives her the satisfaction of style.
For Her Inner Chef
For every mom that loves to cook, and every mom who doesn’t, a pressure cooker can be the perfect gift. Throw your favorite ingredients, like spicy chicken or savory pork, into the pressure cooker and let it work its magic. Set the timer to the correct time, give it a few stirs throughout and you’re done. She can get creative with what to make and have dinner on the table quickly with minimal prep time.
For Her to Relax
Almost nothing beats the few minutes moms get to relax during the day. This Mother’s Day, give your mom something that can help her find her inner-Zen like a diffuser, which can help her escape to her own oasis. With quiet, portable options that feature adjustable lighting, this gift can leave a fresh garden mist in any room.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
(Mom and daughter, Blankets, Purse, Pressure cooker, Air diffuser)
3 Keys to Becoming an Elite Athlete
When it comes to becoming an elite athlete, there are differing opinions on what it takes to win gold.
Sports analysts and commentators often reference sprint times, body weight, height or age as differentiating factors, but Dr. Steven Stein, CEO of Multi-Health Systems and emotional intelligence expert, has a different idea.
Emotional intelligence is a set of emotional and social skills that influence the way people perceive and express themselves, develop and maintain social relationships, cope with challenges and use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way.
Using The Emotional Quotient Inventory 2.0 model to test emotional intelligence, Multi-Health Systems found athletes around the world often score high in self-regard: the ability to know their strengths and weaknesses; self-actualization: doing what they love and continually trying to improve; and flexibility: their ability to learn, change and take direction.
Self-regard is the ability of an athlete to know his or her strengths and weaknesses. For elite athletes, it can also translate into confidence.
“Confidence, as part of self-regard, can be a key differentiator among medal winners,” Stein said. “At the highest level of many sports you have a number of athletes with near-equal skills and talent. Often, having the right mental toughness can make that millisecond or single point difference among judges.”
Self-actualization reflects comfort with who you are and what you are doing. For example, competition at the international level takes years of preparation and practice, and may require personal, social and familial sacrifices.
“Self-actualization allows an athlete to continue to learn and improve, as many athletes start out with a vision that helps define their passion,” Stein said. “For example, you frequently hear stories of athletes who come from challenging childhoods – deaths of parents, early injuries or difficulties with school – who commit fully to their sports, find success and go on to become role models for others in both athletics and overcoming adversity.”
Flexibility is a person’s ability to change and take direction, and for an elite athlete, it means learning from a bad performance instead of getting frustrated. It is one of the better predictors of the ability to be coached and succeed, and Multi-Health Systems found that it is especially important in both professional and amateur athletes.
“Sometimes, high-level draft picks in various sports who have difficulty taking instruction don’t make it as professional players,” Stein said. “Great athletes are often great learners, and when athletes think they already know what’s best or don’t listen to coaching, it can derail their performance.”
Learn more about emotional intelligence and the role the mental side plays in becoming an elite athlete at mhs.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Doubling Up on Denim
BY: SHARON MOSLEY
If dreary weather has you singing the blues, then change your tune and double up on denim.
A basic in many wardrobes, denim promises to make a fashion comeback this spring and summer. Wearing denim from head to toe is just one of the ways to rock a new look this year. Express your inner “jean-ius” with these denim style trends:
–Do the Canadian Tuxedo. Quick translation: wearing a jean jacket with jeans. Levi Strauss is credited with coming up with the “Canadian Tuxedo,” when it designed a denim tuxedo jacket for Bing Crosby, who was barred from a Vancouver hotel in 1951 for donning head-to-toe denim. Through the years, the double denim has received mixed reviews, but this year, designers and celebrities alike are embracing the trend once again. So, get out those denim jackets, pull on your favorite jeans and head out the door. Check out the Universal Thread collection at Target for inspiration of casual trucker jackets and distressed jeans. Or do double denim for work with Tom Ford’s sleek inky denim tailored jacket and boyfriend jeans.
–Get down to business. Tailored denim is receiving rave reviews this year, too. And the darker indigo washes are working hard to give denim a professional edge that can easily be worn to the office in suit-like separates. Think tailored, fitted jackets paired with high-waisted, straight-leg jeans or structured skirts. The shirt-dress is another classic for dressier occasions.
–Do the mom and pop thing. Another trend coming on strong, believe it or not, is the return of the mom jean and the dad jean. Rumors have been floating around for a few seasons that these relaxed looks are resurfacing, but now it’s official. When these jeans start hitting the fashion street scene, then the trend goes mainstream. Just take a peek at Levi’s website. Inspired by vintage high-waist jeans with relaxed waists and straight legs, these classics are back once again. Ditto for high-waisted Bermuda shorts. Expect to see them at a music festival near you.
–Get grungy. Remember the ’90s? Denim was washed with acid, flared and cropped, ripped and distressed. This season, grunge grows up…but not too much. The vintage flavor still lingers with flannel shirts and Doc Martens adding even more authenticity. With summer approaching, the fringed cut-off Daisy Dukes will be kicking up some fun. Ditto for miniskirts. Watch super-washed faded denim to be a warm-weather fashion favorite. (paige.com)
–Do get colorful. White jeans aren’t the only go-to option for spring and summer days anymore. There’s a rainbow of colors in denim collections this year. From candy-colored pastels to bolder, sunset hues, there’s no excuse for sticking to the “usual” jeans you’ve worn for years. Blast out of the blue zone and double up on a juicy color like the dark lemon jean jacket and matching jeans. (cottoncitizen.com)
–Do pay attention to the details. Get out of a blue jean “rut” and have some fun with your denim wardrobe. It’s easy to buy the same jeans over and over, year after year. This year, look for trendy extras to add a special touch to denim: bedazzled with crystals and beads; lace-trimmed hems or patchworked pieces. Side slits and frayed seams are other ways to dress up jeans. Double up on the details and you’ll double your summer fun.
BY: SHARON MOSLEY
When you wake up on March 20 and think “first day of spring,” then get up, put your tiara on and start celebrating…then think about what you’re going to wear! (Well, have your coffee first!) Here are a few ways to put some spring in your fashion step.
–Get organized. Spring cleaning is an annual rite in many homes, when the windows are thrown open and the fresh air blows away the winter blahs. And it’s a great time to think about cleaning out the closets, too. Even though you would rather be enjoying a cocktail on the beach, you can still put in a few minutes to rethink your wardrobe. If you haven’t worn that long wool coat in years, chances are you’re not going to wear it next fall. Give those oldies but goodies you rarely wear anymore away. If you do this every time the seasons change, you’ll stay ahead of the style game and you won’t find yourself totally overwhelmed.
–Then assess the situation. If you’re bored with your clothes and you find yourself in a fashion rut, then take a break and do a little reflection — meditate on what is missing from your closet. Do you need more dresses for special occasions? A comfortable outfit for work? Or a pair of killer heels? If you need help, peruse the blogosphere, scour retail sites on the internet or download a few style magazines. You’ll get plenty of inspiration right at the tips of your fingers.
–Make the transition. While the calendar may say spring has officially sprung, we all know that Mother Nature has a mind of her own. In other words, a blizzard may blow in at any minute after we’ve made the big closet switch from one season to another. That’s when layering comes in handy and we grab the boots again. The tank tops may not work on their own, but layered underneath sweaters and vests, they provide extra warmth. The latest anoraks, one of spring’s biggest outerwear trends, is another way to add a stylish layer to chase away the chills.
–Update with a surprise. After all, it’s a new season, and most of us are a little tired of the heavy coats and furry scarves we’ve been wrapped up in for the last few months. Concentrate on uncovering the tiara-wearing diva inside. Celebrate with eye-catching accessories, embellished sandals or a dress in a bold print. Bright colors are another way to update a drab winter wardrobe and take a spring break. Add a luscious lavender top, a turquoise blue bucket bag or a juicy orange trench coat.
–Go shopping. Think ahead to the spring and summer months. Do you plan on attending a wedding or graduation soon? Or do you need new beachwear for your summer travel wardrobe? Pick a trend that will fill in the missing blanks to the closet that you’ve just cleaned out, and see your attitude get a whole new lease on your fashion life. You may just need to replace those white jeans that aren’t so white anymore or that puffy coat that’s not so fluffy anymore…and you may find them on sale right now…now that’s a real spring fashion break.
Move More for a Healthy Heart
While heart health and how to prevent heart disease are important topics, many people in the United States – African Americans, in particular – remain at risk.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African Americans ages 18-49 are almost twice as likely as Caucasians to die from heart disease. Additionally, about 33 percent of African Americans ages 35-49 and 61 percent ages 50-64 have high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease.
However, there are many ways for you to lower your risk for heart disease, and one of the most important is by becoming physically active. National guidelines recommend at least 2 hours, 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week for adults, like brisk walking where your blood gets pumping and you are a little breathless. If you find yourself short of time, you can incorporate physical activity in small chunks, such as three 10-minute intervals per day, and still achieve some heart health benefits.
How Moving More Helps
When done regularly, physical activity can give your entire body – not just your heart – a boost. Getting your heart rate up and breaking a sweat can:
* Strengthen heart muscles
* Improve blood flow
* Lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels
* Help control weight
Ways to Become More Active Every Day
In addition to working toward at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week, it’s important to avoid being sedentary, when possible. You can do that by making choices that build activity in your day. Some examples include:
* Taking the stairs
* Printing at the printer farthest from your desk at work.
* Getting off the bus one stop early
* Parking in the farthest space from the door
* Walking around while you are on the phone or having walking meetings
* Being active with your children, including playing outdoors
* Planning a vacation that includes physical activities
* Playing basketball or taking a yoga class with friends instead of meeting up for drinks or a meal
* Putting on some music and dancing
Check with Your Doctor
Certain physical activities are safe for most people. However, if you have a chronic health condition such as heart disease, arthritis or diabetes, talk with your doctor about the type and amount of physical activity that is right for your health.
Incorporating regular physical activity into your life can help your health in many ways, but it can be especially helpful for your heart. Find more heart-healthy facts and tips from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at nhlbi.nih.gov.
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Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Fashion Trends For 2018
By: SHARON MOSLEY
Goodbye, millennial pink. Hello to a new passion for purple. It’s a new year and time to celebrate new fashion trends. Get ready to let a few feathers fly, belt on some fanny packs and see a rainbow or two.
Here’s a rundown on the newest ways to welcome in the new year in style:
Start with dark denim. Winter is the perfect time to transition into the darker side of the fashion moon with inky blue washes that dress up denim duds from head to toe. Do darker denim in tailored jackets, jeans, skirts and even accessories. Put a pair of dark denim pumps at the top of your “to-buy” list.
Let purple reign. After a year of red, lavender is letting loose…from pale lilacs to deep aubergines. And if you want to experience a little more glow, get your purples on with a metallic shine…another pair of purple pumps, please.
Make a rainbow connection. “Ultra violet” may be the “official” color of 2018, but purples are not the only colors beckoning … think of the colors of a rainbow and think of stripes. Rainbow stripes will be turning up in everything from dresses to tops to coats to handbags and shoes.
Invest in plastics. From rubber jackets to transparent boots and bags, plastic is squeaking onto the fashion scene in futuristic designs that give new meaning to high tech style. What to put on your spring shopping list? A giant plastic bangle or some space-age sneakers.
Sparkle all day. Think sequins are just for evening soirees? Not this year. Daytime embellishments are all the rage. Shiny metallics were the stars of this past holiday season. Watch for fringe and feathers to be stars of 2018, too. Luxurious extras are here to stay…day in and night out. And don’t be surprised if you see a satin track suit show up at a cocktail party near you!
Suit up. The pantsuit nation continues to unite women who are embracing matching suits in head-to-toe monochromatic color-blocking. Whether you prefer saturated brights or chic all white, skirt suit or pantsuit, a new suit needs to be on your shopping list in the coming year.
Stay in the trenches. When the winter freeze thaws, it’ll be time to bring on one of spring’s favorite coats…the trench coat. But this year, the trench coat is reimagined in beautiful fabrics like taffeta and dressed up with sheer sleeves and fringed hems. These new trench coats stand alone as style statements.
Prove it with prints. Just like denim, spring’s traditional florals get the darker treatment with an edgier vibe worthy of wallpaper botanicals. Plaids lighten up in checks and tartans. And whimsical graphic prints take fashion to a whole new level of fun. And after all, isn’t that the best way to dress in for a whole new year?