Friday, October 30, 2009

How to Recycle a BridesMaid Dress

No matter how fun it is to be a bridesmaid, there is always one major downfall: the dress. This hideous dress that someone else has picked out for you, that you don't plan to ever wear again. Might as well burn your money... or not.

Before you give up all hope, here are some ideas:

Use it for a Halloween Costume. If you don’t have any sewing skills, save it for use in your next Halloween costume. Be a tacky Beauty Queen. Just at a tiara sash and some heavy makeup. Miss Finland's evening gown for the Miss Universe pageant sure looks like a bridesmaid dress that I have been forced to wear.

Remove gaudy elements from the dress. If the dress has big bows or bustles or ruffles, remove those elements from the dress, leaving behind a simple dress. Most of these elements are additions and can be removed without damaging the dress. Once you remove these elements, you will be amazed at the difference.

Shorten the dress. If it is a dress that you really like, but don’t have need for a full length dress, you can shorten it into a tea-length dress to wear on dates, and to weddings. This is done by cutting off excess fabric and hemming the dress. If you don't know how to do this, bring it to your tailor. It will cost less than $15. A drop in the bucket compared to the original cost.

Remove the skirt from the dress. Even if the style of dress is not something you will wear again, it may have a skirt that you would be glad to wear again and again. Cut the skirt of the waist away from the bodice, and remove the zipper. Replace the zipper with a skirt zipper and add a waistband. Then you can wear it with any top you own. Again, if you don't know how to do this, bring it to your tailor and give him/her your directions. This should cost in the $25 ball park.

Use it for scrap fabric.
If the dress is completely hideous and unalterable, save the fabric. You can use it to make beautiful throw pillows, lampshade covers, a runner for your couch, or even a table cloth for a small table. Bright pink looked terrible on you, but it sure makes a good throw pillow!

Donate it. A gaudy train wreck to you, might be the ultimate prom dress for a highschool student. Give it to a younger sister, cousin, consignment shop, or local Good Will.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Haircuts that Flatter your Face Shape

Have you ever noticed that a haircut can totally change your entire look? It's not magic! Some haircuts just look best on certain face shapes. So before your next visit to the hairdresser, read this before you make your request.

If you Have an Oval Face Shape

If you look at most models and actresses, you'll notice that their faces tend to be oval. Oval faces look good in pretty much any hairstyle, especially styles that show off that perfect shape. Don't get bangs, and don't wear your hair in your face. For everyone else, hairstyles may be used to create the impression of having a "perfect" oval face. But you can also use your hairstyle to play up your best features regardless of your face shape.

Hair Cuts for Round Faces

There are two ways to address hairstyles for a round face. One way is to accentuate the roundness even further, with a bowl-shaped haircut, which can be very beautiful on the right woman. There's something widely appealing about transforming an unusual characteristic into a real feature, and playing up a round face is one way to be very much your own person, stylistically speaking. But if you don't want your face to look as round, choose a hair style that lengthens the look of your face. Have the top layered for fullness and height, and thinned out below the cheekbones to give the illusion of a narrower chin line. Go with medium to long hair. If you don't mind the extra time, running your hair through a straightening iron can be an extra sleek & sophisticated look.

Rectangular Face Hair Styles

A long, narrow face can be rounded a bit by hair that's kept short to medium in length, with wispy bangs. Fuller sides from the forehead to the middle of the cheekbones widen the face, and layers add fullness and volume to the hair. Long hair and center parts accentuate rectangular face shapes, making them appear longer.

Flattering Hairstyles for Heart Shaped Faces

You can have a lot of fun with new hair styles. The key here is to get a style with more fullness lower on the face, around the chin, and less fullness at the forehead. Sweep your hair back to show off your fabulous cheekbones. Short hair doesn't work as well on a heart shaped face, because it puts the emphasis at the top of your head. Keep your hair at least chin length, and light and wispy around the forehead.

Hair Lengths for Triangular Faces

If your chin or jaw is wider and your forehead narrower, add weight to the top of your head with layers that create fullness, thinning as it approaches the jaw. The shag was made for the triangular face! Short hair looks nice on a triangular face. Long hair doesn't work as well, but if you're attached to your hair and can't bear cutting it, try styles that pull your hair back as it falls below your cheekbones.

Elongate a Square with the right Hair

The square face can be elongated somewhat by added height on the top of the head. Layers on the crown and parting your hair off center help to reduce a square look. Wispy bangs and temples soften the squareness too, and may add roundness. Wavy hair adds to the softening effect; straight lines, straight bangs and straight or flat hair are to be avoided. Short or medium hair looks nice. Don't let any haircut end at your jawline.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

5 Healthy Snacks to Keep Handy


As long as you don't saturate it in butter and/or salt (a.k.a. movie theatre popcorn) this is a very healthy snack.

It's very high in fiber and low in calories. The best kind to eat is the air popped but if you're going to pop it on the stove make sure you use oils with monosaturated fats like canola or olive oil.

Be careful with microwave popcorn. Check the labels for sodium and fat content because it varies from brand to brand.

Almonds and Other Nuts

You've heard the old phrase "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Well now people are saying the same thing about a handful of nuts.

The biggest weapon contained in nuts is the mono saturated fat. This kind of fat is actually good for you and can even help clear your arteries.

Nuts help fill you up and are also high in Vitamin E, fiber and magnesium.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps fight diseases such as cancer, asthma, osteoporosis and a host of other inflammations.

.....Sunflower Seeds Will Also Work

Sunflower seeds are like a cousin to the nut and contain a lot of the same good characteristics.

If you choose to eat these, be sure to choose the ones with low or no salt. Many people like to lick the salt from the shell and that's when a healthy snack turns into a not-so-healthy snack.

The salted shells are fine in moderation but just be sure to limit your consumption.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a delicious member of the legume family. It has a lot of the same good qualities as regular nuts, and is great because it will fill you up quickly.

If you ever want to hold yourself over to the next meal just eat a couple of teaspoons of peanut butter. That's 190 calories right there and you get a load of protein.

You can also add it to your fruit, crackers, or even a smoothie. It makes a great healthy snack.

Watch your consumption of it, however. Despite the protein, peanut butter is considered a high-calorie food. So be sure you don't overdo it.

Beef Jerky

Who knew? Beef jerky is actually a very healthy snack contrary to popular belief. On average one ounce of jerky contains about 70-80 calories, 12 grams of protein and around 1 gram of fat.

Just remember to buy your jerky at a health food store. The kind you see in regular grocery stores are generally high in sodium.

Low Fat Yogurt

An 8-ounce cup of yogurt generally contains 2-3 grams of fat and around 150 calories. This is a much better snack food option than something like ice cream.

A recent study showed people that consumed three servings of light yogurt daily as part of a reduced-calorie diet lost about 20 percent more weight than those who only cut calories.

Some recipes will even call for low fat yogurt to replace sour cream.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Choosing Colors that Flatter your Complexion

Have you ever noticed that some colors just look fabulous on you... while others... not so much? There is a method to this madness.

First things first, figure out the season that matches your skin tone:

"Winter": Winter complexions have blue or pink undertones. Skin can be pale white, yellowish-olive, or dark. Winter people are generally brunettes, with deeply colored eyes. Many Asians and African Americans fall into this category.

Summer complexions, like winter complexions, have blue or pink undertones. Skin is pale and pink. Summers are often natural blonds or brunettes with pale eyes.

"Autumn": Autumn complexions have golden undertones. Many redheads and brunettes with golden brown eyes fall into this category.

"Spring": Spring complexions have golden undertones and are usually creamy white or peach. Spring people generally have straw-colored or strawberry red hair, freckles, rosy cheeks, and blue or green eyes.

What looks best on you:

Winter: Those with the winter color profile have a lot of depth to their coloring and a lot of contrast between their hair color, eye color and skin tone. Winters should wear hues that are sharp, stark and clear. You will look best in intense, rich colors, like black, navy blue, red, and hot pink. These powerful shades will compliment your coloring. For lighter colors, wear bright white or icy pastels, such as like cool blues, pinks and yellows. Avoid dressing in earthy tones and subdued colors like beige, orange and gold. They will make you look faded and ashen.

Summer: Summers have a low level of contrast between their hair, eye color and skin tone. For you to look your best, choose soft neutrals and pastels, as well as muted colors with cool undertones. Powder blue, dusty pink, mauve, lavender, plum, and pale yellow are all great color choices. Avoid intense, vivid hues because they will look harsh and drown you out. Nor should you wear earth tones. Stay away from black and orange.

Autumn: You have a lot of depth to your coloring and skin tone. Rich golden, spicy and earthy colors will accent your complexion. Therefore, look for a warm undertone when selecting a color. You can wear both muted and rich warm colors that are seen in autumn leaves and spice colors, such as camel, beige, olive, orange, gold, and dark brown. You will also look great in a rich warm gray. Stay away from clear, bright colors and black and white, which will make your look tired and faded. Also steer clear of pastels and blue tones, which will look cold against your complexion and give you a pale appearance.

Spring: Springs can wear very pale, soft colors, such as peach, camel, golden yellow, golden brown, and aqua. You will also look fabulous in ivory, bright greens, true reds, clear blues and coral. Your colors may be particularly hard to find because they can never be too muted or too dark. Avoid black and white, which are too contrasting for you. Also stay away from dark, dull colors.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

10 Tips to Stay Fit at your Office Job

You are sitting at a desk for more than 8 hours a day. By the time you make it through your treacherous commute, you barely can fathom making dinner, never mind getting your butt to the gym.

Don't let your office job affect your physique, here is how:

1. Bring your own lunch. Eating out is a tough battle to stay in healthy boundaries. If you bring your own lunch you know exactly what is in it, and you can control your portions. If you do decide to eat out, you might want to read my post on how to stay healthy while eating at a restaurant.

2. Park your car at the far end of the parking lot. You get to work and you circle around for the closest spot. Instead, head to the farthest spot and just force yourself to walk it. It gets the blood running and your adrenaline pumping.

3. Take the stairs, not the elevator. Little things like this make a big difference. It might be annoying at first, but you will really feel it in your legs and butt.

4. Take a walk at lunch. Why not? Change of scenery and it's not like you are going to jog. Just take a stroll around the building or around the block.

5. Avoid the Candy Jar. Candy jars are bad. Just one here and there, ends up to being half a dozen. Check out my post on how many calories in Halloween candy. That will make you really want to think twice.

6. Bring your own snacks. If you bring your own snacks, it's a lot easier to stay away from the candy jar.

7. Have a snack before you hit the road. I don't know about you, but those hours between 3pm and dinner are the hardest for me. I usually have a snack around 4pm. It prevents me from a ravenous binge at dinnertime.

8. Avoid vending machines. It's rare that you will find something healthy in a vending machine. If there is, it's surrounded by doritos, oreos, and all your other favorites. I don't know about you, but I just don't have the will power to go for the trail mix.

9. Drink water during the day. It's good for you, and it keeps you hydrated.

10. Eat Breakfast. This will boost your energy in the AM and get your metabolism going. There are many other benefits of eating breakfast that you can read about in my previous post, The Importance of Eating Breakfast.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mouth Wash to Prevent from Getting the Swine Flu

Not only does rinsing your mouth out give you a bright smile and great breath, but also helps to prevent catching the flu. According to the Center for Disease Control, frequent daily use of mouthwash containing chlorhexidine (check the back label) and similar compounds could stave off swine flu. The flu bacteria frequently enters through and grows inside the mouth.

Chlorhexidine is a chemical antiseptic. It is often used as an active ingredient in mouthwash designed to reduce dental plaque and oral bacteria. Chlorhexidine can thus be used to improve bad breath and kill bacterias that grows inside your mouth.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Are knee high boots appropriate for the office?

Yes. Yes. Yes. Knee high boots are fabulous and can be worn to work, no matter how "stuffy" or "buttoned up" your office is.

Here is how to wear your knee high boots in an office appropriate manner:

For the bottoms: You can pair your knee high boots with a knee length pencil skirt or A-line skirt. You can also pair them with capris. The capris should hit at about the middle of the boot so you can't see your legs, just the length of the boot itself.

On the top:
Wear a blazer, turtleneck, pullover sweater, or button down top.

As long as you steer clear of mini skirts and cleavage bearing tops, knee high boots are a great option to keep your legs warm on the cold winter days.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

What is Trans Fat?

I have always wondered what the hype was all about...

What are trans fats? Trans fats (or trans fatty acids) are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. Another name for trans fats is “partially hydrogenated oils."

Why do some companies use trans fats? Companies like using trans fats in their foods because they’re easy to use, inexpensive to produce and last a long time. Trans fats give foods a desirable taste and texture. Many restaurants and fast-food outlets use trans fats to deep-fry foods because oils with trans fats can be used many times in commercial fryers.

How do trans fats affect my health? Trans fats raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Eating trans fats increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. It’s also associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Why did trans fats become so popular if they have such bad health effects? Before 1990, very little was known about how trans fat can harm your health. In the 1990s, research began identifying the adverse health effects of trans fats.

What foods contain trans fats? Trans fats can be found in many foods – but especially in fried foods like French fries and doughnuts, and baked goods including pastries, pie crusts, biscuits, pizza dough, cookies, crackers, and stick margarines and shortenings. You can determine the amount of trans fats in a particular packaged food by looking at the Nutrition Facts label. You can also spot trans fats by reading ingredient lists and looking for the ingredients referred to as “partially hydrogenated oils.”

Are there any naturally occurring trans fats? Small amounts of trans fats occur naturally in some meat and dairy products, including beef, lamb and butterfat. It isn’t clear; though, whether these naturally occurring trans fats have the same bad effects on cholesterol levels as trans fats that have been industrially manufactured.

How much trans fat can I eat a day? The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of trans fats you eat to less than 1 percent of your total daily calories. That means if you need 2,000 calories a day, no more than 20 of those calories should come from trans fats. That’s less than 2 grams of trans fats a day. Given the amount of naturally occurring trans fats you probably eat every day, this leaves virtually no room at all for industrially manufactured trans fats.

Source of information:

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Choosing a Dress for your Body Type

The key to looking great in a dress is to finding one that flatters your body type. Here are some tips and tricks to look your best:

Full hips and thighs
For pair-shaped women with full hips and thighs, the dress should shouldn't be shorter than an inch or two above the knee. Select a dress with an A-line skirt but not something too full. A short, fuller dress will look like a tu-tu.

To draw the attention away from your lower body, select a dress with a plunging V-neck, halter top or embellished neckline.

Thick waist
If you are apple-shaped with a thick middle, you need to elongate the look your torso and draw the attention away from your waist. Select a dress with an empire waist or drop waist to re-define your waist line.

Avoid thick belts cinched around your waist and instead choose a chain or sash belt slung low on your hips.

Heavy arms
Sleeveless and cap sleeve dresses aren't for you. Instead, select billowy, bell sleeves that are 3/4 or even full-length to hide flabby arms.

Small Upper Body
If you weren't endowed with ample upper body, avoid deep plunging necklines. Instead select dresses with a scoop or bandeau neck with sequins or other adornments to add a little dimension up top.

Layered necklaces are very popular right now and they can add some dimension to depth to your bust.

Larger Upper Body
Dresses with halter tops and deep V's are very attractive for women who want to accentuate their assets. Select fabrics that skim your body rather than add bulk, which can make your breasts look too big.

To draw some attention away from your bust and balance out a smaller lower body, choose a dress with an A-line skirt that falls one or two inches above your knees.

Plus size
Don't pack on layers of baggy clothes to try to cover-up your body. Contrary to what you may believe, baggy dresses will just make you look bigger. Select fabrics that don't cling to your body, but drape nicely.

A wrap dress is particularly flattering to full-figured women. Don't avoid color and prints. The colorful collection of plus-sized dresses at offers a variety of different types of dresses for full figured women, including bold prints and sexy styles.

Too thin
Sweater or knit dresses are terrific options for thin women. Add layers to your dress, such as a cardigan or fitted jacket to add some bulk. If you have extremely thin legs, avoid mini-skirts and choose longer, flowing dresses instead.

Thin women can add a thick belt to give their waist more definition. Bubble dresses are very trendy right now and can also give the appearance of a larger lower body.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Healthy Tips for Eating Out

It's tough to stay on your diet when you don't know what a restaurant is putting in your food. Here are some tips for staying healthy when you are eating out.

Make careful menu selections pay attention to the descriptions on the menu. Dishes labeled deep-fried, pan-fried, basted, batter-dipped, breaded, creamy, crispy, scalloped, Alfredo, au gratin or in cream sauce are usually high in calories, unhealthy fats or sodium. Order items with more vegetables and choose leaner meats.

Avoid buffets – even seemingly healthy ones like salad bars. You'll likely overeat to get your money's worth. If you do choose buffet dining, opt for fresh fruits, salads with olive oil & vinegar or low-fat dressings, broiled entrees and steamed vegetables. Resist the temptation to go for seconds, or wait at least 20 minutes after eating to make sure you're really still hungry before going back for more.

“Undress” your food. When choosing items, be aware of calorie- and fat-packed salad dressings, spreads, cheese, sour cream, etc. For example, ask for a grilled chicken sandwich without the mayonnaise. You can ask for a packet of ketchup or mustard and add it yourself, controlling how much you put on your sandwich.

Drink water with your meal. Soda is a huge source of hidden calories. One can of soda is about 100 - 120 calories. Try adding a little lemon to your water or ordering unsweetened iced tea.

Watch your salt. Restaurant food tends to be very high in sodium, a major contributor to high blood pressure. Don’t add insult to injury by adding more salt.

Watch portion size. Choose a smaller portion size, order a side salad instead of fries. At a typical restaurant, a single serving provides enough for two meals. Take half home or divide the portion with a dining partner. Sharing might make dessert (or something else indulgent) more of an option.

Don't be afraid to special order. Many menu items would be healthy if it weren't for the way they were prepared. Ask for your vegetables and main dishes to be served without the sauces. Ask for olive oil and vinegar for your salads or order the dressing "on the side" and spoon only a small amount on at a time. If your food is fried or cooked in oil or butter, ask to have it broiled or steamed.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Foods for Healthy Skin

I guess you are what you eat, and there is no way around that. If you maintain a balanced diet, not only will you have a slamming body, but also healthy looking skin. Here's what experts told WebMD are the most important in your diet for healthy looking skin:

Low-Fat Dairy Products. One the most important components of skin health is vitamin A. One of the best places to get it is low-fat dairy products. In fact, experts say that the health of our skin cells is dependent on dietary vitamin A.

Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and plums. The common link between these four foods is their high antioxidant content. In a study recently published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, these four fruits weighed in with the highest "total antioxidant capacity" of any food. The benefits of these foods for healthy skin are plentiful.

Salmon, Walnuts, Canola Oil, and Flax Seed. These seemingly unrelated foods all deliver essential fatty acids, and thus are key foods for healthy skin.

Healthy Oils. These contain more than essential fatty acids. Eating good-quality oils helps keep skin lubricated and keeps it looking and feeling healthier overall.

Whole-wheat bread, muffins, and cereals; turkey, tuna and brazil nuts. The mineral selenium connects all these foods for healthy skin. Experts say selenium plays a key role in the health of skin cells. Some studies show that even skin damaged by the sun may suffer fewer consequences if selenium levels are high.

Green Tea. Green Tea has anti-inflammatory properties, and it's protective to the cell membrane. It may even help prevent or reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Water. While the exact amount you should drink each day varies, no one disputes the role good hydration plays in keeping skin looking healthy and even young. In addition to keeping cells hydrated, water helps cells move nutrients in and toxins out, which automatically leaves skin looking better.

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