Jean Therapy: Fall 2019 Denim Trends
By Sharon Mosley
Whether you’re going back to school or just want to update your work wardrobe, chances are you’re going to want to want to add something denim to your shopping list. And while you may need to replace some of your old favorites, the newest denim choices this fall are anything but basic. From relaxed carpenter jeans to fringed miniskirts to snakeskin prints, there is plenty of new jean therapy for everyone. Here are a few tips for boosting your denim mood right now.
When shopping for a new pair of jeans, it may be best to head to the store. Unless you have a brand you’ve recently worn and know your exact size, it may be difficult to order denim online. As there are so many different designs available now, a morning session of actually trying on jeans may be the best way to find a new favorite.
Don’t be afraid to size up. Not all brands are the same. The goal is to find the most flattering fit for your body type. Maximize your assets. There are jeans for adding curves, for boosting your butt, for slimming your stomach and more. Comfort is key. There’s nothing worse than a pair of jeans that bags in the back and bunches around the knees.
Take several pairs of shoes with you when you shop for jeans. The footwear you wear with a pair of cropped jeans may be different than what you wear with a pair of long boot-cut jeans. Various heel heights will give you a better idea of how the jeans will look in “real life.” If you’re a fan of boots, you’ll want a pair of jeans that easily tuck in.
Denim trends to
try on this fall:
— High-rise takes you to the top. Forget the name “Mom” jeans. These are the hottest jeans hopping into the jean pool right now. There are also lots of “mid-rise” styles. Find the ones that fit you best and that hit your waist in the right place. Then belt them and top off with shirts or tees that barely blouse up over the waist.
— Take the straight and narrow route. Skinny jeans have been around for several years now, and they are still one of the most popular looks in denim. But jeans that are a little looser while still slim from the hips down are taking over their tighter cousins. This is a flattering streamlined silhouette for both men and women.
— Add some flare. One of the best ways to really brighten up your style mood this fall is by wearing a new pair of wide-leg jeans. The flares that start getting wider from the knees to the ankles are showing up everywhere, from the clubs to the office. In lighter washes, they are more casual; in darker indigo, the flares are perfect for more dressed up occasions and even professional settings.
— Make some room for the boyfriend. The roomier look in jeans is definitely a welcome change from the skinny jeans. The slouchier cuffed boyfriend jean is a great date for weekends. Carpenter-style jeans with multiple pockets and loops are another version of this trend.
— Remember to stretch. This may be one of the best things of all about today’s denim. Gone are the days of scratchy jeans. Enter stretch denim. Cotton, polyester and spandex combine for extra comfort for all ages. Pull-on jeggings (jeans and leggings) are an option, too.
— Double up on denim. Wearing denim head to toe used to be a big fashion no-no. But designers have resurrected the “Canadian” tuxedo, and pairing denim jackets with jeans or denim skirts is once again the hip way to go. Thanks to Bing Crosby and friends, who were turned away from a Canadian hotel in 1951, the name stuck. Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake reintroduced the trend in 2001, and Jay Leno was also known to sport the denim-on-denim trend. Now you, too, can double up on denim and not make the “what not to wear” list.
— More denim trends. And the fashion news goes on: printed denim, coated denim, colored denim, patchwork details, embroidery, fringed hems, ombre effects, overalls, jumpsuits, side stripes and slit fronts. For whatever ails your wardrobe, get your jean therapy today.
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PHOTO CAPTION: The patchwork boyfriend jean and denim jacket are two of fall’s favorite denim trends. Shown: Pilcro jeans from Anthropologie.
Keep Your Cool for Back to School
By Sharon Mosley
When it comes to those first few days of starting back to school, there’s little time to think about what your kids are going to wear. Those early morning minutes are too precious to waste standing in front of their closets helping them decide if it’s going to be that pair of pink leggings today or the rock-star T-shirt or that holey pair of jeans — which you just bought yesterday but look like they’ve been rolled around in for the last 10 years.
So how do you get wardrobes organized for all those rushed fall days ahead? Here are a few tips to keep you AND your kids cool for school:
— First, do your back-to-school shopping in phases. Yes, I know that most of us just want to get it all over with and then sit back and relax. But as a parent of a daughter who loved hitting the malls (and the internet) every August — and still does, even though she’s in college now — I’ve learned a few things. After I had to confiscate the charge card once or twice, it sunk in. The back-to-school shopping spree would last well into October, when she saw (and wanted) what all the other kids were wearing. And then it was a “have-to-have that coat” in November. So we agreed to space out purchases rather than buy them all at the beginning of the school year. Those Ugg boots she wants now that she’s going to school in Colorado will have to wait!
— Do let your kids in on the shopping. Unless you have very young kids — though even they seem to have fashion opinions these days — it’s easy to sit down at the computer at midnight with your to-do list and order five pairs of khakis for Joey and five pairs of jeans for Chloe. But chances are your kids will have their own thoughts on what they want to wear, and it may not be what Mom thinks they should wear. Be open to letting them experiment with their clothing choices. Make them a part of the process, even if it’s just letting them choose their favorite color. Pick up one pair of their “must-have” jeans and see what happens. If they wear them every day, then you know you’ve got a winner. If they leave them on their closet floor, then it’s time to talk.
— Start with the basics. Make a list of “needs,” and then feel in with the “wants.” It’s easy to stock up on underwear, socks, etc. when you find a sale. And most kids need backpacks. This can also be a style statement. But durability is also key. There’s nothing worse than a strap breaking on the first day of school. So, buy accordingly. This is one thing you may not want to skimp on. Shoes are another important item on back-to-school shopping lists. If your kids want a pair of the latest and greatest sneakers, you may want to consider negotiating a financial deal where everybody wins and the yard gets cleaned up, too!
— Build from the bottom up. Most kids have favorite brands or styles of jeans and/or chinos. Girls of all ages love leggings and yoga pants. So take a cue from what your kids like to wear every day and build from there. The bottoms may play an important part in their back-to-school wardrobes, but normally, their own fashion personality comes into play with what they choose to wear on top.
— Don’t be afraid to mix and match colors. An all-navy wardrobe is a boring wardrobe. And yes, if your kids wear uniforms, then you can still buy a few new fall outfits for the weekend. Most kids have a favorite color or colors. And let’s face it, there are hundreds to choose from … just look at the racks of T-shirts at your local retailers.
Find a few color combinations that your kids like and let them pick out leggings, dresses, graphic tees and printed shirts. Layering pieces that mix and match with hoodies and cardigans offer even more versatility. Coordinating colors are a smart option for extending the life of back-to-school wardrobes and giving kids an opportunity to put their own personal stamp on making the style grade this fall.
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PHOTO CAPTION: Make back-to-school shopping fun by letting kids participate in the process. Colorful separates and accessories at Target.
Grade-A Fashion Essentials: Back-to-School Trends 2019
By Sharon Mosley
With school starting in only a few weeks, it’s time to start planning that A-plus wardrobe that will give you a head start in making top style grades. There are basic essentials for all ages this fall that make rolling out of bed every morning and getting dressed as easy as ABC. Here’s the short list of the top trends:
— Jeans. This is where you start. Find a pair or two from your favorite brands with a comfortable fit and go from there. Ripped denim is still a popular trend with the younger crowd, but colored denim is also making news in earthy greens, reds and oranges. High-rise “mom” jeans are also a cool choice.
— Cargos and joggers. Jeans aren’t the only choice for back-to-school. Cargo pants (shorts if the school dress code allows them) and sporty joggers are also options. Camo prints are big. The athleisure trend is still going strong, too, especially in the elementary grades, when comfort is key on the playground; try leggings and sweatpants.
— Cropped jackets. A jean jacket is another back-to-school basic that’s a versatile layering piece for all ages. Don’t be afraid of teaming denim jackets with jeans and denim skirts. The denim-on-denim trend is an easy way to dress for every day. Shorter jackets update this look, teamed with T-shirts and even dresses.
— Graphic T-shirts and hoodies. More ageless basics for back-to-school, T-shirts and hoodies emblazoned with graphic designs are ways to stretch a wardrobe when paired with jeans and joggers. This fall, the newest basics are printed with colorful ombre stripes, graphic logos, color blocking, tie-dye and florals. Play with color, mix patterns and layer, layer, layer.
— The shiny stuff. How about a new T-shirt sparkling with sequins? Or a metallic backpack? Or a brocade pair of sneakers? It’s all about shimmer and shine — and yes, even at school. Students can add a touch of whimsy to their basics by just adding some glitter to their wardrobe.
— Utility vests. This is another genderless basic that pumps up the cool factor when layered over graphic T-shirts and jeans or even floral dresses. When the weather gets cooler, puffer vests will be making a comeback. In bright colors, these vests are a great alternative to heavy coats.
— Plaid flannel shirts. You can buy these new, or you can scope out your local vintage market. Flannel shirts give back-to-school wardrobes a shot of retro cool, especially in oversize “grandpa” silhouettes that easily morph into versatile layering pieces that can be tied at the waist, around the neck or worn by themselves, buttoned or not.
— Floral dresses. From floral babydoll silhouettes to long maxis, flowers are the print of the season. In dark colors for fall, the florals are blooming in breezy dresses that are dressed down with sneakers and boots and then topped off with cropped jackets or vests. For a totally different spin on the tried-and-true denim back-to-school outfits, try something different by wearing one of the new floral dresses.
— Fun footwear. Picking out a new pair of shoes for a new school year may be one of the best parts of shopping for back-to-school essentials. This fall, slip-on sneakers make the top grade in a host of colors and styles. Think bright neon colors and shining metallics. Lace-up booties update last year’s favorite cowboy boots. And utility combat boots are still marching around campus for guys and girls who are really serious about making those A-plus style grades.
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Leading the Pack: Backpack Trends Fall 2019
By Sharon Mosley
From mini backpacks to high-tech bags, there’s a backpack for everyone this school year. And now’s the time to shop for just the right carryall to make that study “haul” not only a fashion statement but a functional one as well. Here are some of my favorites for all ages from the lineup of backpacks available this year.
— For the preschool set — Yes, preschoolers are toting their own backpacks now. Many retailers are offering small “mini” backpacks that hold lunch bags, water bottles and more. Young kids love whimsical graphic designs in bright, bold colors and glow-in-the-dark options. Fit and comfort are important for this group, so look for adjustable straps. Check out all the possibilities at Pottery Barn Kids.
— For the elementary kids — Backpacks are a great way for this age to express their fashion personalities. So, parents, make sure your child gets to participate in the back-to-school shopping experience. There are plenty of fun themes out there, from space-age galaxies to superheroes to flower power to 3D glitter and glow looks. Monogramming is also available for even more personalization.
— For high schoolers — The older crowd always has an opinion on what brand they are going to tote around for the school year. Fjallraven Kanken, a label developed by Swedish doctors, is a hit at Urban Outfitters. North Face offers classic bags with a lifetime guarantee. Other options include Off the Wall backpacks at Vans (the Old Skool black-and-white checkerboard is a big seller) and the always classic JanSport in new iridescent holographic colors such as mocha gold. Corduroy backpacks are hot at American Eagle Outfitters. And if you love the iconic Hello Kitty, you’ll love the 45th anniversary collection of backpacks at Herschel.
— For college students — It’s all about high-tech for this group. Functionality is key when you’re lugging your laptop, your phone, headphones, thermos bottle, clothes and maybe even a bike helmet around with you all day. And of course, you’re going to want to charge all those devices with built-in USB ports. Waterproofing is critical, too, as are anti-theft hidden zippers. Check out the fully loaded tech backpacks and crossbody chest bags at GizModern. Want Bluetooth speakers with a solar-powered battery? The Lifepack backpack is a little pricey at $179. There’s also the fashionable Vandra by Casten Design at $109. Both can be found on Amazon.
No matter what backpack you or your kids choose for back-to-school, first think about what the bag will be used for and then buy accordingly. Make sure that the straps are padded and adjustable, the size is appropriate and you’re not overloading the backpack, which can cause back and posture problems. If you do have a heavy load to carry, consider a rolling backpack. The National Safety Council’s website has more tips on lightening your backpack load.
PHOTO CAPTION: Backpacks go back to school in style this fall in a myriad of styles, sizes and colors. Colorful designs lead the pack at Lands’ End.
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Ease Kids Back into School with Confidence
There’s nothing like a major milestone in a child’s life to test a parent’s confidence. Big changes like a new school or classroom can be trying for kids and adults alike, but tackling the transition a little at a time can make it easier on everyone.
Most parents agree that being confident is important, but only about 1 in 3 parents feels confident on a typical day, according to KinderCare’s Parent Confidence Report. However, experts say your own feelings can impact youngsters.
Whether your child is making a big change like stepping up from pre-K into kindergarten or entering a new grade in the same building, there’s likely to be some trepidation. However, each child is different, which means reactions to change can vary.
Some kids show up ready and raring to go, eager to explore and meet new friends, while others can be a little clingy, tearful or even refuse to look at the teacher or take a step through the door.
If you think your child might have trouble making the transition, consider these strategies from the experts at KinderCare to help ease both of you into a more comfortable place and build confidence for a successful school year.
1.Set up classroom visits before school starts. Sometimes fear comes from the unknown. By visiting ahead of time and seeing firsthand, your child can become familiar with the layout of the classroom, meet the teachers and know what to expect, which can help alleviate some of the anxiety and jitters.
2.Talk with your child’s teacher about the transition. Your child’s teacher should be your partner, so be open and honest from the start. Talk about how your child handles change, what causes stress or what behaviors the teacher might expect. Don’t be afraid to call and ask for updates on your child to see how things are going. Set up regular check-ins over the next few weeks to talk about any additional support your child may need.
3. Avoid sneaking away from your child at drop-off. Talk about what will happen ahead of time and create a consistent and predictable drop-off ritual, such as two high-fives, a hug and a wave from the window, to ensure your child feels secure and safe. Continue this routine every day to help your child get used to the classroom environment and make sure the process is a quick, happy one. While you’re typically welcome in most classrooms, lingering too long can make it harder on your child once you do leave.
4. Be enthusiastic. Just like laughter, excitement is contagious. Rather than focus on nerves or uncertainty, share your own memories from school including how you felt at the beginning of a new school year and the excitement of learning and meeting new friends, which can help your child get hyped up, too.
5.Set up a work station at home. Creating a designated space at home for your little learner to do homework, read, write, draw and complete art projects can help set him or her up to develop good study habits. Stock this station with colored paper, crayons and markers, pencils, glue sticks, scissors, books, stickers and other necessary tools, and leave room for stowing a backpack. Encourage your child to spend time working on educational endeavors in the space each night.
View the full Parent Confidence Report and find more advice to help ease your child’s way into the school year at KinderCare.com.
Sweating Out the Work Week
By Sharon Mosley
When it’s time to shake off the sand from your flip-flops and get back to the office, take a few sips of iced coffee and relax with these styling tips. And remember there are still plenty of sunny beach days left in the summer months ahead. Here’s a day-by-day guide to cool off your workweek.
— Monday — Start a “back from vacation” week with a new warm-weather outfit. Consider adding shorts to your professional wardrobe. Bike shorts were a runway hit for spring, with celebrities embracing the trend in droves. But even if you’re not sure your boardroom is ready for the skinny short look, you can still team a pair of longer, knee-length tailored shorts with a silk tank top and blazer. In black, the combo looks chic and office-appropriate.
— Tuesday — Ease into the workweek with a breezy dress. One-piece dressing is key in the summer. Leave the jacket at home and slip into a cool cotton dress. Plaid may be a traditional fall pattern, but this summer, candy-colored patterns are cropping up in sleeveless shifts and maxi dresses. Pearls are perfect for these pastel dresses. And if the AC is too chilly at the office, toss a cashmere cardigan over the dress.
— Wednesday — Brighten up the midweek blues by trying out new accessories in mellow yellow, fiery red or sky-blue turquoise. Circle handbags will lighten your workload. There are even lots of summer boots to wear to work in bright colors. Think hot pink! Add these pops of color to freshen up those classic black-and-white pieces you already have in your work wardrobe.
— Thursday — Beat the heat in skirts with slits (not too high) that team with all kinds of summer tops and jackets. Team a ruffled floral skirt with colorful blazers and T-shirts for the office. Skorts (skirts with shorts attached underneath) and longer culottes are other ways to stay cool at work. Dress them up for work and pack them later for a versatile travel wardrobe.
— Friday — Make it a casual day and get your blue denim out. Dark denim “suits” are now de rigueur in many workplaces, so take advantage of wearing your “double” denim outfits when you can. Otherwise, if more “creative” fashion is encouraged, then mix and match your jeans with other summery trends such as floaty hippie blouses, peasant tops, kimonos and babydoll dresses. Or skip jeans altogether and don another trend, the loose caftan, dressed up with a belt.
— Weekend — Start making plans for your next summer getaway!
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PHOTO CAPTION: One-piece dressing is one of the coolest ways to dress for the office this summer. Silk crepe de chine midi wrap dress from Diane Von Furstenberg.
Spruce Up for Summer
Make your backyard the perfect outdoor space
To make the transition to summer season effortless, there may be some backyard upgrades and prep to be done to ensure your outdoor space is in tip-top shape. From your pool and patio to the grill, these tips can help get your backyard summer-ready.
Overhaul the Patio
Patios and decks are often considered the hub of the backyard, so consider sprucing yours up by power-washing the stone to remove any winter buildup or use stain for a complete refresh. Adding a pergola or umbrellas can help protect you from the elements and, for added comfort, consider installing an outdoor ceiling fan for humid days and a fire pit or patio heater for cooler nights.
Upgrade Outdoor Furniture
To ensure your backyard furniture lasts, invest in materials such as teak wood, redwood, cedar or stainless steel, which are typically durable and low-maintenance. If you want to add a personal touch, consider colorful cushions, throw pillows or an area rug made of weatherproof fabric.
Smarten Up Your Pool and Backyard
With smart homes on the rise, today’s tech-savvy homeowners are not only looking to automate appliances and gadgets inside the home, but now want smart controls in their outdoor spaces, as well. For example, Hayward’s OmniHub smart pool control offers pool owners the convenience and customization of complete pool, spa and backyard lighting automation from smart devices.
Prep Your Grill
Get ahead of barbecue season by building in ample time to prep your grill. Scrub or season your grill grates to avoid rust, stock up on charcoal and wood chips, check gas grills for leaks and fill up your propane tank. For safety, make sure your grill is at least 10 feet away from your home, outdoor structures and any trees or bushes.
Convert Your Pool to Salt Water
For the ultimate in pool luxury, consider switching your traditional chlorine pool to salt water. It’s a surprisingly simple project that can transform your pool experience. Salt pools offer owners soft, clean and clear water that won’t irritate eyes, dry out skin and hair, give off harsh odors or cause bathing suits to fade. Designed to be a convenient alternative to conventional chlorine, Hayward’s AquaRite system gently dissolves salt into the perfect amount of chlorine to sanitize your pool without harsh chemicals while creating velvety-smooth water.
Keep the Bugs at Bay
Mosquitos and other bugs can put a damper on outdoor entertaining, so be sure to stock up on repellents to ensure a bug-free backyard. Keep citronella or eucalyptus candles and torches on hand to maintain a pest-free space.
Whether you’re planning a family barbecue or pool party, or just want a space that offers the ultimate in tranquility, visit hayward.com for more tips to help jumpstart your home improvement project.
Beauty and the Summer Beat
By Sharon Mosley
When summer turns up the heat, it’s time to chill a little in the beauty department. Get out of the office, unplug the electronics and take a break from the heavy-duty makeup. Lighten up. Whether you’re heading to the beach, strolling through big-city museums or just doing a little people watching at a local cafe, here are a few ways to survive summer in style.
— Waterproof everything. Of course, the heat is on, and the sweat (or perspiration, if you’re a little sensitive) will definitely get to you at some point — unless you insist on sitting in front of an air conditioner all day long. And who wants to do that? It’s summer. Go ahead, get out there and sweat. The latest sunscreens and tanning lotions are all about helping you achieve that “non-sticky” look while protecting your skin from harmful UV rays. Spray-on mists will keep you cool and dry. Check out Banana Boat’s Sun Comfort Clear Ultra Mist. And don’t forget to hydrate, especially your face. Try Neutrogena’s new Hydro Boost Water Gel. (Products available at mass retailers and drugstores.)
— Go for the bronzer. And skip the tanning bed, even if it’s only for a one-nighter. New wash-off formulas will give you a healthy glow at the last minute, such as St. Tropez One Night Only. For a more subtle “little by little” tan, use a product like Jergens Natural Glow lotion — one of my personal favorites. But here’s a suggestion: Always experiment with any self-tanner to know exactly how it reacts on your skin — and to those new white shorts you just bought.
— Pump up the volume. When the heat is on, hair can suffer. You can always rely on the ponytail trick if you have long hair, but when you need some “pouf,” don’t be afraid to grab some help from the beauty experts. A new product to try: Garnier Fructis’ Full Plush Root Amp root-lifting spray mousse. Forget the sticky beach hair that feels like it has sand in it. Not a good thing.
— Lighten up on the makeup. Whew, when summer rolls around, it’s a pleasure to wipe away the heavy pancake-like makeup and enjoy bare skin. Just apply a little sunscreen, right? Well, most of us have to rely on a little more than that — at least, get a great concealer. A little dab under the eyes and wherever else you may need it is definitely better than giving up all makeup for the summer. Tinted moisturizers work well, too. And of course, if you’re at the office, a more polished, professional look is critical. A swipe of a sandy swish of eyeshadow or a tinted lip gloss may be all you need.
— Experiment with nail polishes. Summer is the perfect time to get a little edgy with your colors. The pale icy hues look great when contrasted with darker skin tones. Matte formulas will give you even more of a trendy look. Try Peach Side Babe by Essie or Eclectic mint green by Revlon. Or try a new nail art technique. Check out Madeline Poole’s book, “Nails, Nails, Nails!” for lots of creative DIY nail art projects.
— Find a new fragrance. The warm season ahead calls for a lighter fragrance. Most of us have favorite perfumes that we wear all year. But those musky scents we wore last fall may not feel quite right for summer. So when you’re browsing through your summer magazine reading, rip out a few pages with samples of the newest fragrance launches. Then shop the fragrance counter of your favorite store or boutique and gather a few more samples. You’ll more than likely find a new scent that you and those sea breezes will love.
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PHOTO CAPTION: Lighten up for summer with a new ocean-inspired scent.
Distillery General Eau De Parfum in Sea Salt at Anthropologie
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.
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