Tying in Crop Tops with Your Winter Wardrobe

Woman in crop top

While crop tops are usually extremely popular during the summer months, most people tend to put them away for the year once winter rolls around. However, with some careful styling, there is no reason at all why you cannot incorporate … Continue reading

Try Deep Cleansing Breaths for Better Sleep

Woman sleeping

Quality sleep is so important for a healthy mind and body, but everything from stress to bright screens often prevent this from happening. For those that find it difficult encouraging their body into a relaxed state each night, these cleansing … Continue reading

Your Hands Can Tell a Tale

Beautiful hands

Your hands, as well as your nails, can reveal so much about you, from giving away your age to showing tell-tale signs of various health issues. In addition to knowing how to take care of your hands, you should also be aware of the many different stories that they can tell.

Your Age
Studies have shown that the best way to accurately guess a person’s age is by looking at their hands, with factors such as veins and blemishes being a huge part of this. While these blemishes may have slowly built up over your lifetime, there are a number of ways in which you can eradicate them. The easiest is by putting together a skin care routine for your hands, and this does not need to be anything complicated. Simply use the same steps that you would on your face, from cleansing and exfoliating to toning and moisturizing, on your hands, as the skin here requires the same nourishment. Chemical peels are another option, which will be especially beneficial for those that have several age spots on their hands.

Trembling Hands
There are a number of different factors that can cause trembling hands, from too much caffeine to stress to particular medications, and if your trembling is only temporary, and can be attributed to one of these factors, then there is not too much to worry about. However, if you frequently experience unexplained tremors, this could indicate a neurological disorder, or even Parkinson’s, making it important to speak to a doctor about this as soon as possible.

Woman touching her fingers

Swollen Fingers
Just like with trembling hands, swollen fingers can be caused by several different factors, from PMS to mild dehydration, as well as from too much salt in the diet. However, if you feel as though there is another factor at play here, a visit to the doctor would be advised, as swollen fingers can also be a sign of rheumatoid arthritis or thyroid problems.

Fingernails
In addition to your hands themselves, your fingernails can also reveal plenty about you. Pale nail beds, meaning those that do not immediately turn pink again after you press down on them, can signal an iron deficiency, as there are not enough red blood cells circulating around your body, while dark streaks on your nails could indicate skin cancer. If your nails are discolored, this could be a sign of a fungal infection, as well as an early sign of diabetes, but multiple white lines or ridges are likely to be due to the fact that you have just recovered from an illness, as the nails stop growing when the body is seriously unwell.

Whether you like it or not, your hands are able to reveal plenty of information about you, and it is important that you listen to what they are saying. If you are experiencing any of the more serious problems mentioned above, it is advisable to speak to your doctor soon, as the state of your hands can often be a huge indicator of health issues within.

Rely on Your Instructor for These Yoga Poses

Woman doing yoga

Yoga has been linked with so many different health benefits, so it only makes sense that an increasing number of people are starting to give it a try. However, when it comes to the way in which yoga is promoted in the media, advanced poses are often highlighted, and these can be extremely dangerous for a yoga newbie to try to copy. Even if you already have some yoga experience behind you, make sure that you ask your instructor to assist you when trying these following poses for the first time.

Firefly Pose
The ninja-like appearance of the Firefly Pose makes it appeal to many, and while it may be an arm balance pose, it actually requires much more core strength than arm strength. The most difficult part of this pose is extending the legs fully, but being already accustomed to the Crow Pose can really help with this.

Dancer's Pose

Dancer’s Pose
The Dancer’s Pose is one that looks beautifully elegant, and not only stretches the chest, hips and shoulders, but also improves the balance. While this one may not look that technically difficult, the perfect amount of tension is needed between the arms and legs, in order to maintain your center of gravity, which is why success with this pose is much more likely when you have some assistance.

Handstand Scorpion Pose
There are a couple of variations to the Handstand Scorpion Pose, but all of them require you to balance on your hands rather than on your forearms, which is how the regular Scorpion Pose is carried out. Even if you have already accomplished the regular Scorpion Pose, rising up from your hands can really be quite challenging, but your instructor can help you to do this in a safe way.

Lotus Peacock Pose

Lotus Peacock Pose
The Lotus Peacock Pose is a combination of two other poses; the Basic Peacock Pose and the Seated Lotus. While the Lotus Pose requires a large amount of hip flexibility, the Peacock Pose depends on glute strength, and it is essential that you have fully mastered both of these poses individually before attempting the Lotus Peacock Pose.

Head to Foot Pose
Also known as Sirsa Padasana, the Head to Foot Pose is one of the most intense backbends that you will find in yoga, and unless you have the right amount of muscle strength in your back, as well as a flexible spine, you could end up causing your body quite a bit of damage. This pose requires a huge amount of mental focus and balance, making it wise to seek assistance when trying it out for the first time.

When it comes to practicing yoga, do not forget that yoga postures are only a small part of this. The foundations of yoga go much further, encompassing everything from ethical choices, such as non-violence, to breathing exercises and meditation, so if you want to make the most out of your yoga experience, be sure to spend some time on all of these other yoga aspects too.

Favorite Holiday Meals from Around the World

Christmas cookies

Festive food is a huge part of the holiday season, with Christmas dinner being a time-honored tradition all over the world. While this may be the case, the food that is eaten in different countries varies hugely, so for those wanting to add an international twist to their Christmas meal this year, these are some holiday meals from around the world that you can take some inspiration from.

Italy
When it comes to their Christmas dinner, Italy stands apart from the majority of European countries, because rather than feasting on roasted meat, they turn to the sea to put together their Feast of the Seven Fishes. Held on Christmas Eve, this tradition, which comes from Southern Italy, commemorates the wait for the birth of baby Jesus. As expected from its name, the feast features course after course of seafood, with everything from clams to oysters to scallops to many other types of fish.

Fiji
Fiji is known for its unique customs and traditions, and the Christmas meal here is no exception. A typical Christmas table in Fiji is usually bursting with color, as well as delicious aromas, with everything from fish in banana leaves, garlic stuffed chicken, and pork that has been slow cooked in an underground hot stone oven.

malouf

Israel
Turkey is a common feature in the Christmas dinners in Israel, but these birds are seasoned with a range of tantalizing spices, from nutmeg to cinnamon to pepper, before being stuffed with rice and almonds. Other popular dishes that often appear on the festive table are Qidreh, a lamb dish that has been cooked in a wood-fired oven, Malfouf, which is rice with ground lamb rolled in cabbage leaves, and sides of hummus, as well as Middle Eastern vegetables.

Peru
Christmas dinner in Peru is held on Christmas Eve, and just like in many other countries, roast turkey is the star of the feast. The Peruvian Christmas version usually sees the turkey stuffed with beef and peanuts, and then decorated with fresh cherries and pineapples. After the main meal, marzipan is often served up for dessert, alongside a steaming mug of thick hot chocolate.

Christmas dinner

Australia
When it comes to Christmas dinner, Australia tends to follow the British tradition turkey, but since it is summer rather than winter for them, roasting is not usually the cooking method of choice. Instead, Christmas barbecues are extremely common, and everything from turkey to ham to ribs is cooked up, with a cold Pavlova to follow for dessert.

Poland
A traditional Polish Christmas meal always features carp, and this freshwater fish used to be bought in advance and kept alive in buckets until Christmas Eve, to ensure maximum freshness. When it comes time for cooking, the carp is scaled and de-boned, before the flesh is salted and then gently fried in olive oil.

The traditions that you follow for your holiday meal are important, but this does not mean that you cannot mix it up a bit this year, borrowing a few elements from around the world. Whether this means adding a couple of Italian-inspired seafood dishes, or serving up some Peruvian marzipan and hot chocolate for dessert, there are many ways in which you can add some international flair to your Christmas dinner this year.

The Perfect Date Night Outfit

When deciding what to wear for date night, you have to take your destination into consideration. Whether you are heading to the movies, or for a romantic dinner, here are some ideas for the perfect date night outfit.

Woman having drinks at the bar

Dinner and Drinks
If you have a romantic evening planned with dinner and drinks, a classy, feminine outfit will always work well. A casual dress can be dressed up with a pair of strappy heels, while a more formal dress can be toned down with a pair of flats. Keep your color palette relatively simple, although if you are opting for a printed dress, vibrant colors may be better. Once you have narrowed down your outfit choices, make sure to test them out while you are seated as well as standing, as hem lengths and necklines can often look quite different in various positions.

Stylish woman

Movie Night
A date night at the cinema calls for a casual but stylish outfit, making tailored or skinny jeans the perfect choice. A sweater is also a good idea to keep you warm, but add some edge and personality to your look by picking quirky shoes and accessories.

Staying In
For those that will be spending date night at home together on the sofa, an outfit that is comfortable yet feminine is perfect. A flirty skirt paired with a cozy jumper and some flats is a fail-proof option, as is an easy dress with a cardigan and some wedged heels. By putting together a timeless but comfortable look, your outfit will have that effortless quality that is always desired when dressing for a date.

Woman wearing boots

An Active Date
Whether you will be spending the evening at a bowling alley or on an evening hike, active dates can be difficult to dress for, but you just need to have the right combination of functional and stylish. A classic pair of jeans will work for just about every activity, but make sure that they are not too tight and restricting. Comfortable shoes are also a must, but there is no reason why you cannot be more creative with the top, and accessories, that you choose. However, be sure to bring along a sturdy jacket, such as denim or leather, in case you need to cover up for your activity, as well as a bag that is large enough to carry any extras that you may need. Finally, do not forget about your hair, as an active date will require your hair to be pulled back and kept away from your face, so spend some time experimenting with styles that are more interesting than the standard ponytail.

As important as it is that you look good in your date night outfit, you also need to ensure that you are completely comfortable in it, as this will give you much more confidence. Make sure that you have worn each of the garments in your date night outfit before, so that you know exactly what they look and feel like before the big night.

Sparkle at Holiday Events

Woman at a holiday party

Whether you are dressing for an office holiday party or a glitzy charity event, it does not take much to add some festive cheer to your look. From metallic gold garments to glittering accessories, here are some ways in which you can add some sparkle to your outfit for your next holiday event.

Office Holiday Party
Office holiday parties are not usually that formal, meaning that if you want to add some sparkle to your look, you need to do this in a way that is not too over-the-top. With metallic gold being bang on trend for this season, this is a great color to opt for, and can be paired with so many other contrasting shades. While you will not likely want to opt for an entire outfit in metallic gold, a shimmering gold top, or even a top with just metallic gold detailing, can be paired with more conventional pants or a skirt, making this the ideal outfit for your office holiday party.

Meeting the Parents
The holiday season is often when new couples meet each other’s parents for the first time, and working out what to wear can definitely be nerve-wracking. This is another occasion in which your sparkle needs to be quite subtle and toned down, making festive accessories your best bet. From your handbag to your shoes to your jewelry, allow one or two aspects of your outfit to sparkle, but try to keep the rest of it relatively demure.

Woman wearing a sparkling gown

Charity Event
The majority of formal charity events will have a dress code that guests need to stick to, making it slightly easier to put together an outfit. A glittering cocktail dress is always a good choice, whether you opt for a full length or a shorter design. For those who want to go all out, a sparkly evening gown will definitely make you feel like the belle of the ball, but when wearing an evening gown that sparkles, you need to make sure that everything else that you wear is quite toned down. Rather than donning all of your favorite festive accessories, keep jewelry to a minimum, and choose some simple sandals rather than a more extravagant style.

Holiday Dinner
Holiday feasts are a big part of the festive season, and while your usual daytime look would likely suffice, it never hurts to jazz up your outfit a little. For those who want to keep their sparkle to their accessories, garments in traditional festive colors, from red to green to gold, will act as the perfect backdrop. Wearing separates should also be considered for a holiday dinner, as this means that you will be able to combine a variety of different textures and silhouettes. A sequinned skirt or an embellished top can really add some festive flair to your look, and can be paired with a slightly more simple garment to keep the outfit in the casual realm.

While you likely already have a few favorite go-to festive outfits, it never hurts to experiment with your style and mix things up a bit. Whether you are heading to a formal charity event or a festive office party, these ideas will ensure that you always have something fabulous to wear.

Warm Up With These Winter Cocktails

While ice cold drinks are always refreshing, there is nothing quite like the warming feeling that a hot winter cocktail brings. From the classic hot toddy to a warm rum punch, give some of these cocktails a try this holiday season.

Hot Toddy
Hot Toddy
A hot toddy is a classic winter cocktail in Ireland and Scotland, and typically features whisky, hot water, lemon, honey, and some herbs and spices. Often considered to be the antidote to the winter flu, this cocktail can be modified in many ways. Rather than using whisky, give rum or brandy a try, and play around with the herbs and spices that you include, from cinnamon to cloves. For those that enjoy fruity cocktails, add a few different fruit slices to the drink along with the lemon, opting for a colorful variety to make the cocktail even more visually appealing.

Mulled Wine
Mulled wine is another classic winter cocktail, and is an easy one to make at home. Simply heat some red wine and then mix this with sugar and spices, such as cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Top this off with some orange and lemon slices, and, if you are feeling adventurous, spike this with a hit of brandy as well.

Mulled Cider

Warm Cider and Rum Punch
A warm cider and rum punch is the perfect cocktail to make if you are having a festive gathering, as it is always a crowd pleaser. In a large pot, combine apple cider, apple and orange slices, cinnamon sticks and ginger, before cooking for about five minutes. Once removed from the heat, stir in the rum and then transfer this to a punch bowl, making sure to serve it all up while it is still warm.

Tequila Mint Hot Chocolate
Mint and chocolate make for a tantalizing combination, and spiking this with some tequila really adds some zing to this cocktail. Make the hot chocolate first, by mixing cocoa, sugar and salt with a melted chocolate and milk mixture, before gently whisking it together. Add some tequila, as well as some peppermint schnapps, before topping each cup with a dollop of whipped cream and a scattering of fresh mint leaves.

Winter Julep
Winter Julep
The Winter Julep is quite a new cocktail from Atlanta, and is not only deliciously warming, but can also be served up in a beautifully elegant manner. To begin with, brew some peppermint tea in fresh boiling water for four minutes, before removing the infuser. Add some bourbon and brown sugar syrup, which you can make in advance with dark brown sugar and boiling water, and then stir it well to ensure that it is all properly mixed together, before garnishing with a fresh sprig of mint.

Winter cocktails are the perfect way to warm up on a cold evening, and while you likely already have your favorite, these cocktails are each worth a try. From the luxuriously decadent tequila mint hot chocolate to the elegant Winter Julep, these cocktails are perfect for both an evening curled up by the fire, or for a night of entertaining friends.

Beating Holiday Stress

Many people would say that the holiday season brings with it just as much stress as it does joy, leaving them unable to really enjoy themselves. If you find yourself agreeing with this, read on for some great tips on how to beat that dreaded holiday stress.

woman with family
Don’t Over-Schedule
You may feel obliged to accept just about every invitation that comes your direction during the holiday season, but over-scheduling is pretty much a guaranteed way to bring on huge amounts of holiday stress. Learning how to say no may seem simple, but it is something that can sometimes take quite a bit of work. However, once you do say no, this will go a long way in reducing the amount of seasonal stress that you experience, as your calendar will not be packed with too many obligations, leaving you with plenty of time for yourself.

Think Before You Spend
The financial pressure that often comes with the holiday season is enough to cause stress to even the most laid back person, but it does not need to be this way. Before you begin spending for the holidays, set yourself a realistic budget that will not leave you dealing with excessive debts in the new year, and make sure that you stick to it. When it comes to gifts, do not forget that non-material presents can often be the most meaningful, from personalized poems to home videos.

Woman relaxing
Take a Break
When everything starts to seem slightly overwhelming, this is the time to step back and take a short break for 15 minutes or so. Heading outside for some fresh air will do you some good in multiple ways, from the sunlight stimulating the production of serotonin within the body, otherwise known as the feel good hormone, to the motion of walking having a tranquilizing effect on the brain. Once you return to the stressful situation, you will feel much more refreshed and better capable of dealing with it.

Don’t Abandon Healthy Habits
After striving all year to be as healthy as possible, the thought of overindulging during the holiday season can often be quite stressful, as you become fully aware of the guilt that you will soon be facing. To avoid over-eating when it comes to unhealthy snacks at holiday parties, have something healthy to eat before leaving the house, so that you will not be as hungry when you arrive. You can also make your own kitchen as healthy and supportive as possible, by doing everything from removing any sugar-filled treats, which you know you will be eating plenty of when out, to keeping your home alcohol-free and only drinking when you are out socializing, as excessive alcohol is definitely not good for your health.

The holiday season is supposed to be a joyful time, with peace and happiness being promoted. However, the only way that you can really enjoy all that the holidays truly stand for is by ensuring that you are as stress-free as possible, so keep these methods in mind whenever you start to feel overwhelmed.

How to Create a Holiday Wishlist

Holiday season

While you may no longer be writing a letter to Santa, a holiday wishlist is still a great way to let your friends and family know exactly what you want this year. For those who have never created a digital wishlist before, here are some great places to get started.

Pinterest
Pinterest is loved by many due to the way in which it is so easy to use, as well as being plenty of fun. When it comes to a holiday wishlist, Pinterest lays everything out in a beautiful visual format, meaning that your loved ones will be able to quickly skim through to view all of the items. You can add content to your wishlist from any website on the internet, and, once you are done, you can then share it with anybody that has an email address, even if they do not have their own Pinterest account.

Amazon Wish List
Amazon is one of the largest stores on the internet, meaning that you are likely to be able to find just about anything you could want on there. The site’s wish list feature is extremely popular and can be accessed by anyone that searches for your username. Once an item has been paid for, Amazon takes care of all of the delivery details and will ship it straight to your door, with this streamlined process being one of its main advantages. For those who want to create more than one wishlist, Amazon makes this easy, enabling you to control who has access to each list.

WishMindr
One of the top wishlist apps for smartphones, WishMindr has a pleasant interface that is easy to use, and allows you to save items from every website out there in a variety of different ways. When it comes to sharing your list, there are so many ways in which you can do this, from email to text message to social media, meaning that you will be able to share it with just about anyone.

Wishpot
Wishpot is one of the top wishlist websites out there, and, after signing up for an account, you will quickly understand why. In addition to being able to add items from any website, Wishpot also offers a ‘reserve’ feature, which means that once your friends and family have decided what they want to buy, they can easily reserve it until they are ready to make the purchase, and nobody else will be able to buy it in the meantime. Wishpot also monitors the pricing of your product across the internet, and will send you a notification if there are any price drops.

There are many different ways in which you can create a digital holiday wishlist, and the website or app that you choose should depend on the types of gifts that you are hoping to receive. While the Amazon wish list feature is the most convenient, this limits you to products sold by Amazon, whereas most other sites will allow you to add products from all over the internet, so do spend some time exploring your options before picking one.