Cleaning and Organizing Tips to Help You Achieve Your New Year’s Goals

Resolving to be tidier and more organized is extremely common at the start of the year, but the trouble begins when it comes time to begin putting this resolution into action. For those who want to ensure that they stick to their New Year’s goals this year, here are some top tips to help you out.

Woman looking in closet
Know How to De-Clutter
The first step to staying organized is knowing how to de-clutter, especially at the start of the year after your house has been filled with a mountain of new items over the festive season. Regular purging is an absolute must, meaning that you should go from room to room and pick out items to donate to charity, as well as items to bin. To make this slightly easier, come up with a few small rewards for yourself for each bag of items that you donate or throw out, whether this be a tasty treat or a pamper session at the spa.

A Weekly Cleaning Schedule
While a weekly cleaning schedule may seem boring, this is the only way to really ensure that you stay on top of keeping your home in order. Designate the cleaning of particular rooms to specific nights, and also allocate fifteen minutes or so every evening to just tidy up in general around the house.

Woman organizing closet
Be Realistic
Unless you are naturally an extremely organized person, trying to encourage organization within your home can often seem quite daunting, which is why it is important to be realistic so that you set yourself up for success as much as possible. Rather than setting yourself one huge organization goal, split this up into smaller goals, such as de-cluttering one room of your house each month, or cleaning out one drawer or shelf a day.

One Job at a Time
Even if your goal is to de-clutter your bedroom, while organizing your kitchen, in the month of January, these two tasks should not be carried out at the same time. It is easy to find yourself pulled in many directions, but this will only leave you with half-finished tasks and even more disorganization than when you began. To avoid this, stick to one job at a time, and only move on to the next once the first one has been fully completed.

Accountability
One of the problems that many have with sticking to New Year’s resolutions is that there is no one enforcing them and making sure that they are carried out. Since resolutions that you make to yourself are easy to ignore as the year progresses, find a friend, or even a group of friends, that share your organization goals, and hold each other accountable to this. This means that you not only have someone to support, encourage and help you, but celebrating your rewards together will also feel like even more of an accomplishment.

It can sometimes be too easy to give up on New Year’s resolutions, but these tips will help make staying organized feel slightly more doable. From setting yourself mini, easily-achievable goals, to leaning on your friends for support and encouragement, after a couple of months of committing yourself to be more organized, you will find that this slowly becomes much easier, and will soon turn into a natural habit.

Understanding Healthy Sleep Patterns

While it was once believed that the body was in quite a passive state during sleep, studies have now shown that the brain actually experiences specific patterns of activity during different periods of sleep, and is often more active at this time than it is while the body is awake. This all shows exactly how important sleep is when it comes to maintaining good health, and if you want to improve this area of your life, then it is vital that you first understand the basics behind healthy sleep patterns.

5 Stages of Sleep
The Five Stages of Sleep
There are usually five specific stages to sleep, with the first being a light sleep from which you can drift in and out of easily. The second stage is when eye movements stop, with muscle contractions often occurring, before the slow brain waves of stage three start. Once stage four is reached, there is no more eye movement or muscle activity, and it is usually much more difficult to wake a person that is in this stage of sleep. The final sleep stage is the REM stage, which is when breathing becomes irregular, the eyes jerk around, and heart rate increases. It usually takes between 90-120 minutes for an entire sleep cycle to be completed, at which stage it all just begins again.

Factors that Suppress REM Sleep
The REM stage of sleep is extremely important to the body, but there are many lifestyle factors that can suppress this, therefore preventing the body from following normal sleep patterns the next night. Antidepressants usually do this, as does smoking, which causes the smoker to wake up every three to four hours due to nicotine withdrawal. Alcohol does the same, because while it may help you to initially fall asleep, it robs the body of all of the more restorative stages of sleep.

Woman sleeping
How Much Sleep is Healthy?
While there is plenty of debate surrounding the topic of exactly how much sleep is needed by the body, general consensus points to around seven to eight hours of sleep each night. However, sleep patterns can still vary greatly depending on everything from age to environmental conditions, so you need to take this into account too.

Healthy Sleep Habits
The best way to ensure that your body is receiving the amount and quality of sleep that it needs is to set yourself a few healthy sleep habits to follow. To begin with, you need to keep a consistent sleep schedule, meaning that you sleep at the same time on the weekends as you do on weekdays. Specific bedtime rituals will help with this, but, if you do not fall asleep within the first 20 minutes, you should get out of bed and not return until you are actually sleepy. Avoiding large meals, alcohol and caffeine before bedtime will help your body to adjust to healthy sleep patterns, as will regular exercise and a balanced diet throughout the day.

There are many ways in which you can encourage your body to settle back in to healthy sleep patterns, but it does take some dedication on your part in order to do this properly. Sleep plays such an important role in the way in which the body functions, so be sure to take this part of your life seriously, and do what needs to be done in order to give your body the sleep that it needs.

Advice From Exercise Icons

There is so much fitness advice floating around out there, but, if you want to make some real progress, you need to pick the right people to take this advice from. These exercise icons, from Jane Fonda to Richard Simmons, all have a great track record behind them when it comes to fitness, so take a look at some of their most useful words of wisom.

Woman working out
Jane Fonda
With 22 different workout videos produced, all of which have sold over 17 million copies, Jane Fonda is, without a doubt, legendary when it comes to exercising. In terms of fitness advice, Fonda has plenty to offer, with one of her top tips being that one needs to work out at least three times a week, on alternative days, for at least 30 minutes at a time, at least if you want your exercise to be effective. Your workout should also contain three different types of exercises, including stretching, resistance and aerobic exercises, the latter of which is the only type of activity that is able to remove the marbled fat that lies deep within muscles.

Richard Simmons
Richard Simmons rose to fame in the 80’s, and while many expected him to fall into obscurity as the years progressed, Simmons is still making frequent appearances on television, and is an extremely successful fitness instructor. When it comes to his top piece of advice, Simmons stresses the huge importance that he places on setting rules for every part of his life, from eating to exercising. Simmons believes that not only is it important to workout every single day, but you must also always follow clean eating habits, and ensure that these rules are sacred to you.

Woman taking exercise class
Denise Austin
Dubbed as “America’s Favorite Fitness Expert”, Denise Austin is full of advice when it comes to exercising and keeping healthy. Austin believes that it is extremely important to keep your workouts fun and enjoyable, which is why you should frequently mix them up, seeking out new classes, techniques and routines whenever you can. Austin also places huge importance on strength and weight training, believing that the best way to keep your body looking and feeling youthful is to build muscle tone. Austin herself works out every day for at least 30 minutes, and usually does this first thing in the mornings. On the weekends, workouts take a more unstructured form, and can include everything from tennis with her husband to walking with friends.

Kathy Smith
Not only has Kathy Smith sold millions of fitness DVDs, but she has also written several successful books, and her top piece of advice when it comes to exercising is to view this as something that is non-negotiable in your life. Rather than giving in to excuses that you may make to yourself, from having no time to being too tired, find a way to work around these and make exercise a priority in your life.

Physical activity is such an important part of staying healthy, but many people simply do not get enough regular exercise. If you have been feeling unmotivated, follow the advice from these fitness icons and make 2017 the year in which you get back into shape.

Weightloss Tips That Are Just Wrong

Weight loss is something that many struggle with, and this comes as no surprise with the amount of weight loss tips out there that are just wrong. From avoiding all fats to the concept of a cheat day, these are tips that you should definitely not be following if you want to in a healthy way.

Woman measuring waist
Avoid All Fats
Many assume that all fats are bad, and will only cause you to put on more weight, but this is not at all the case. While the fats that you will find in greasy foods and processed snacks will definitely add to your calories, while also increasing your cholesterol and risk of certain diseases, there are other fats out there that are vital for a healthy mind and body. These good fats come from sources such as salmon, avocado and nuts, and when consumed as part of a balanced diet, do so much to support your overall health, and certainly not be the cause of any weight gain.

Cheat Days
Those who have really been watching their weight always highly anticipate a cheat day, which is a day when they can indulge and eat whatever they want. While some believe that this will help to keep the metabolic rate high, if you over-eat on a cheat day, then this excess food is likely to simply be stored as extra body fat. This means that the weight that you have lost over the rest of the week is likely to just be piled back on, so you still do need an eating plan for those days when you want to indulge.

Woman eating
Skipping Meals
One of the biggest weight loss myths out there is related to the skipping of meals, with the belief that a skipped meal would mean that you have saved yourself from all of those extra calories. However, your metabolism actually increases each time you eat, and chronically skipping meals can end up slowing this down in a huge way, resulting in rapid weight gain.

Juicing Instead of Eating
There is no denying the many health benefits that come from juicing your fruits and vegetables, but replacing your meals with green juices will only end up making you feel much hungrier. The reason for this is because, although these juices would be packed with nutrients, they are lacking the fiber that is found in whole fruits and vegetables. This fiber, which is found in the skin, seeds and pulp, is what helps to keep you feeling full, while also maintaining your blood sugar levels, so while a green juice is definitely beneficial, do not let this replace a meal too often.

Healthy weight loss methods not only focus on diet and exercise, but also the other aspects of your life. From sleep to stress to your environment, there are so many different factors that can have an influence on weight gain and loss, so be sure to consider all of this when coming up with a weight loss plan.

How a Bad Sleep Night Affects Your Health

While you may think that the only consequence to a night of poor sleep is that you will be yawning much more the next day, there is actually much more to it than this. From cognitive dysfunction to high blood pressure, here are just a few of the ways in which a night of bad sleep can affect your health.

Woman who cant sleep
Cognitive Dysfunction
Sleep is absolutely vital when it comes to your cognitive ability, which, in other words, means how fast and how well you can think. A night of bad sleep can affect cognitive processes in many different ways, impairing everything from attention and alertness to concentration and problem solving. Sleep cycles also have an impact on memory consolidation, meaning that a night of poor sleep will lead you to have memory issues the next day.

Higher Risk of Serious Health Issues
While one night of poor sleep will not immediately lead to serious health issues, chronic sleep loss drastically increases your risk of many medical conditions. From high blood pressure and heart disease to diabetes and strokes, these are just a few of the conditions that have been linked to sleep deprivation.

Depressed woman
Depression and Anxiety
In addition to having an impact on your physical health, a lack of sleep will also effect your mental health. While one or two nights of poor sleep is not going to immediately cause depression, this is a condition that can soon occur after chronic sleep deprivation. Studies have shown that insomnia is often one of the first signs of depression, making good sleep absolutely necessary for a positive and healthy outlook on life.

Weakened Immune System
Your immune system works hard while you are asleep, producing infection-fighting cells and antibodies that battle bacteria and viruses, keeping your body healthy. If you experience a lack of sleep one night, this means that your immune system will not have had the opportunity to properly defend your body, meaning that not only are you more susceptible to foreign invaders, but it will also take you far longer to recover from any illness that takes you down. Even when it comes to the common cold, those that average less than seven hours of sleep at night will find themselves three times more likely to develop cold symptoms, and will also have a much harder time fighting these off.

Digestive System and Obesity
Studies carried out by the Harvard Medical School have shown connections between a lack of sleep and weight gain, making sleep deprivation one of the primary causes of obesity. A night of poor sleep will raise the levels of ghrelin in your body, which is a biochemical that stimulates the appetite. Sleep deprivation also triggers the body to release higher levels of insulin after eating, which not only promotes fat storage within the body, but can also quickly lead to diabetes.

Quality sleep is absolutely essential when it comes to a healthy mind and body, and a night of poor sleep can really have some adverse reactions. From a weakened immune system to rapid weight gain, make sure that these issues do not affect you by ensuring that you are receiving enough sleep each and every night.

Get Ready for an Adventurous Girls Night Out

woman drinking wine

A girls night out is always plenty of fun, but if you are starting to tire of the usual cocktail bars and nightclubs, it may be time to start thinking of some exciting alternatives. From a winery tour and tasting … Continue reading

Five Surefire Ways to Put a Smile on Your Face

January can be a hard month for many, but this does not need to be the case. Rather than letting the January blues get you down, here are five surefire ways to put a smile on your face and lift your mood right back up.

Woman making a list
A Bucket List Adventure
One of the most exciting ways to lift your mood is by doing something slightly crazy, that you would not usually do. If you have a bucket list of activities that you have been meaning to try, pick one of these and give it a go. Whether it be skydiving, rally driving or taking a day trip to a destination that you have always wanted to visit, heading off on an adventure will take you out of your comfort zone and leave you with a huge, accomplished grin by the end of it.

Baby Animals
No matter how low you may be feeling, spending some time with some cute, baby animals is a guaranteed way to put a smile on your face. Whether this means visiting a local petting zoo, a nearby animal sanctuary, or even your neighbourhood rescue shelter, there are so many studies that show the benefits that spending time with animals can have on your mood, so seek out some new furry friends and spend some quality time with them.

woman dancing
Dance It Out
One of the best, and easiest, ways to quickly lift your mood and get you smiling is to have a mini dance session at home. Simply put together a playlist of tunes that are guaranteed to have your feet moving, and blast this loudly while you rock your way around your home. Whether it be seventies disco or classic rock, choose songs that you know that you will not be able to resist, and turn to this playlist whenever you need a smile.

Pamper Yourself
If you have been feeling especially stressed lately, then it could be well worth taking some time out to spend the day completely pampering yourself. This could include everything from at-home beauty treatments to a day at a spa, and will leave you feeling totally refreshed and ready to tackle the world again.

Learn a New Creative Skill
Studies have shown that when people are completely focussed on learning a new skill, especially one that involves creativity, satisfaction levels are hugely elevated. Not only will this help you to feel alert and in control, but it will also leave you feeling energized and invigorated, all of which are bound to put a smile on your face. The skill that you choose can be anything that intrigues you, whether it be a dance class, a cooking class or an art or photography class.

If you have been finding yourself quite down lately, these methods are guaranteed to get you smiling again. Whether you spend an afternoon cuddling baby animals, or head off for a day of excitement and adventure, keep this tips in mind for the next time you need a quick pick-me-up.

Celebrities Who Never Seem to Age

Celebrity

There are some celebrities out there who just never seem to age, and while a part of this is likely due to the media’s airbrushing skills, they do still tend to retain their youthful glow in person too. From Pharrell … Continue reading

Choosing Age Appropriate Nail Art

Nail art

Nail art is a trend that does not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, but many of the popular designs just do not seem to work on women who have passed a certain age. If this is the case for you, this does not mean that you have to shun the nail art trend, and can instead opt for designs that are sophisticated and age appropriate.

“Kiss Me Kate” Stripe
The “Kiss Me Kate” Stripe was created by celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann, who was inspired by the aesthetic of designer Kate Spade. This design consists of a crisp white nail that features a jet black horizontal stripe running across it, resulting in a beautifully contrasting graphic look. Stripes in general are always a classy design to go for, and there is still plenty of room for experimentation, whether this may be with the hues that you use or the direction that the stripes run in.

Crop Top
The Crop Top nail design is all about making use of negative space, and intentionally incorporates some bare nail. Rather than color blocking the nail with two shades, the bottom half of the nail is left bare, while the top half features a shade that is deep and rich. Rather than opting for a standard shade, go for something such as mustard yellow or hunter green, as these will make your nails look even more luxe.

Fine Art
There are many manicurists out there that are exceptionally talented when it comes to reinterpreting works of fine art for the nails, and, depending on the artist and piece that you choose, this is a look that really screams sophistication. Whether you opt for the graphic squares of Mondrian, abstract shapes from Picasso, or whimsical floral details from Japanese masters, the key to mastering this look is finding a manicurist who is able to really perfect each one of your nails.

ombre nail art

Ombre
Ombre, which means shaded in French, makes use of two main colors, with the first one fading into the next, showcasing different shades in between. This is an elegant design, and can have varying effects depending on the colors that you pick. Blue fading into black will give you quite a deep and intense look, while a baby pink fading into aubergine is much more fun, but still age appropriate.

Lace Tips
Lace-tipped nails ooze elegance, but also have a subtle level of sexiness to them, which makes them a great design no matter your age. There are many different ways to achieve this look, from drawing it on yourself if you have steady hands, to applying nail art stickers, to even using nail glue to apply the actual lace to your nails. However, keep in mind that, in order to keep this style age appropriate, you need to make sure that the lace does not stray too far from your tips, and is not too over the top.

As you can see from each of these designs, age appropriate does not have to mean boring. Instead, it is all about choosing styles that are sophisticated, as well as relatively minimal in terms of design and color palette. The next time you are having a manicure done, try something new and give one of these nail art designs a go.

Chic Winter Coats to Perfect Your Style

Chic Winter Coats to Perfect Your Style

 

Whether you are combating blustery winds or fighting your way through deep snow, a reliable coat is a must if you want to stay on top of all that the season may throw at you. To ensure that you have the right combination of style and practicality, here are some chic winter coats that will not only keep you warm and dry, but also give you a fashion forward edge.

Hooded Wool-Felt Duffle Coat – Burberry
Burberry’s outerwear always seems to have quite the timeless quality about it, and this hooded duffle coat, which comes in a striking red color, is definitely no exception. Woven from a thick and ultra-warm wool-felt, the coat boasts a generous hood, as well as large patch pockets and Burberry’s signature checked lining, and can be styled with everything from jeans and a sweater to a sleek party dress.

Oversized Shearling-Lined Cotton-Twill Parka – Balenciaga
This luxurious parka is an updated interpretation of archival Balenciaga couture, making it no surprise that it has been one of the most sought-after winter coats this season. The oversized cocoon shape can be cinched in at the waist with a drawstring, giving you the option to add some extra shape, while the quilted shell cuffs give the coat an added modern twist. To ensure your comfort and warmth, the coat is lined with a decadent shearling, which is known for being one of the best winter fabrics out there.

Lilia Belted Cashmere Coat – Max Mara
The Lilia Belted Cashmere Coat from Max Mara comes in a sophisticated gray, and features a relaxed silhouette that makes it extremely versatile when it comes to styling. This coat is one that oozes elegance and style, largely due to the way in which it has been meticulously handcrafted in Italy, and is made from the finest and purest of cashmere. The soft lapels help to give the coat just the right amount of structure, and the detachable waist belt gives you the opportunity to experiment with different silhouettes.

Kinsley Oversized Striped Faux Fur Coat – Alice + Olivia
The majority of winter coats are usually created from relatively neutral colors, which is why this striped faux fur coat from Alice + Olivia really stands out. If you want to add a vibrant pop of color to your winter outfits, then this coat, which features stripes in a deep claret, black and white, is perfect for you. This is a coat that really makes a statement, not only due to its bold exterior, but also its smooth satin lining, and, with its oversized fit, it can be styled in so many different ways.

A stylish go-to winter coat is an absolute must at this time of the year, and if yours is not as chic as you would like, then it may be worth investing in one of these pieces. Whether you make a statement with a striped faux fur number, or stay sleek and elegant in cashmere, these coats would all be a great addition to your winter wardrobe.