Fun Ways to Bond with Your Family

Family time

Spending quality time with your family can often seem like a rarity these days, especially when electronic devices often end up dominating the day. Whether you have energetic toddlers, sullen teenagers, or children that have grown up and have kids of their own, these are some fun ways in which you can truly bond with your family.

The Family Dinner Project
The Family Dinner Project is a grassroots initiative that aims to highlight the importance of family dinners, bringing this back into everyday life. While you may already frequently eat meals with your family, it is unlikely that they are meals in which everyone participates, and this is what The Family Dinner Project hopes to help with. Their website provides plenty of helpful resources, from learning how to get young children to have fun with food prep to listing some unique dinnertime games for adults.

Volunteer Together
Studies have shown that volunteering has a number of different mental and health benefits, from increasing happiness and decreasing depression to helping to extend your life expectancy. In addition to this, you will also be doing something good for others, which sets a great example for everyone else in your family. There are many different organizations that readily welcome new volunteers, so whether you spend some time with children in need, or participate in a beach cleanup, volunteering will bring a healthy dose of positive energy to you and your family.

Sisters clicking photographs

Learn a New Skill
A great way to bond with your family is by learning a new skill together, throwing yourselves into something that may be out of your comfort zone. While it may take a few tries to find a skill that everybody wants to learn, be it photography, glass blowing, painting or dance, you will end up with a shared hobby and passion that will always bring you back together.

Game Night
Game nights are another great way to get the whole family involved, and to make sure that everybody has a chance to participate. Game nights can be made into a regular event, whether it be every week or every month, with each game night featuring a different game. Whether you set up different board games around your home, head out for some evening mini golf, or get competitive at the bowling alley, game nights will be enjoyed by just about every age group.

Be Entrepreneurial
Being entrepreneurial with your family is especially useful if you have younger children, as it is also a great way to teach them about topics such as money, pricing and planning. There are many different options available to you, from building your own lemonade stand, which in itself is another bonding activity, to hosting a garage sale, each of which will teach your children valuable real-life lessons about business.

Family bonding is extremely important, leaving you with memories that you will cherish for a lifetime. While it may seem like unnecessary hassle rounding up the family for regular bonding sessions, it will do the whole family a world of good, and will help you to appreciate each other like never before.

Can a Daily Cocktail Slow Aging?

While the consumption of excess amounts of alcohol can drastically speed up the aging process, there are certain concoctions that can actually do your body some good. From the age-defying antioxidants of a sangria, to the UV-protecting qualities of a bloody mary, these cocktails could quite possibly help to slow down the rate at which you age.

Bloody mary

Bloody Mary
The Bloody Mary is a truly classic cocktail, with tomato juice and carrot juice giving it its distinct flavor. Tomatoes are known for containing an antioxidant called lycopene, which has fantastic UV-protecting properties. In addition to this, carrots are packed with beta-carotene, which is not only incredibly effective at repairing damaged skin, but is also able to transform the vitamin A in your body into a form that is more easily accessible. By mixing in some freshly cracked black pepper, which is considered to be one of the healthiest foods in the world, you will also be enjoying an extra dose of iron, manganese, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin K.

Green Tea Martini
Green tea is known for having some incredible anti-aging properties, and can be used to make a number of different cocktails. A green tea martini is a refreshing drink, and only contains a few ingredients, making it easy to whip up at short notice. Rather than using a standard vodka, opt for Shochu instead, which is a Japanese vodka that is much lighter than western varieties. Mix this with your brewed green tea, adding a touch of Manuka honey for some sweetness, as well as for the many health-boosting properties that this wonder food brings.

Walnut Chocolatini
A walnut chocolatini is ideal for satisfying any sweet tooth out there, and brings with it some fantastic anti-aging benefits. Walnuts are known to be able to dramatically halt the aging process, fighting free radicals while keeping the body looking and feeling young. To make this cocktail, spread out your crushed walnuts and wet your martini glass, turning it upside down so that the crushed walnuts stick to the rim. Pour in a well-mixed concoction of Irish cream liqueur, dark chocolate liqueur, and vodka, before sprinkling some high-quality dark chocolate shavings on top, to enjoy the health benefits that dark chocolate is known to bring.

Sangria

Sangria
A classic Spanish summer beverage, sangria is primarily made from red wine and fruits, but there are many different versions out there that you can experiment with. When it comes to creating an anti-aging sangria cocktail, be sure to pack in a wide variety of different fruits. A strawberry and peach sangria will ensure that you are consuming your daily allowance of vitamin C, which does wonders for slowing down the aging process, while the peaches will also provide you with plenty of vitamin A. Berries contain a whole host of age-defying antioxidants, so try to use as many as you can. When choosing which wine to use, opt for a high-quality red wine, as this will contain several antioxidants, including resveratrol and quercetin, that have been proven to help fight cancer and heart disease.

 

While the majority of cocktails will only accelerate your aging process, there are most definitely some that will play a helping hand when it comes to anti-aging. Whether you choose to make a fruity sangria or a creamy walnut chocolatini, be sure to strictly regulate the amount of alcohol that you include, and pack your drink with more of the health-boosting ingredients instead.

New Styles in Fitness

When it comes to working out, there are always new types of fitness classes being created, designed to keep you energized and motivated. From exciting new classes to workout trends that are set to take over, these are some new fitness styles that you simply have to try.

Women in an exercise class

Small Group Training
Up until now, those seeking workout guidance would either join a fitness group, or hire a personal trainer. Small group training is a concept that combines both of these, utilizing the environment of a fitness class but with smaller sized groups, designed to speed up the way in which you progress, and keep more of the focus on your own individual goals. Classes are usually restricted to around eight people, and each participant will be able to receive one-on-one training during each session, helping them to train much more effectively.

Free Dancing
There are countless fitness classes out there that make use of various dance moves, teaching participants structured techniques in order to ensure that everybody is getting a good workout. However, a new type of dance class seems to be increasing in popularity, and this one completely does away with all of those prescribed steps. Instead, powerful, hip-shaking music is played, and participants are encouraged to move their bodies freely to the beat, in any way that they feel comfortable. The concept of these classes arose from the idea that each body is unique, meaning that there should not be a one-size-fits-all workout class, and, with the intense amount of cardio you will be receiving from each class, you are still guaranteed a healthy session of exercise.

Woman doing yoga on a hike

Hiking Yoga
The beach yoga craze has officially been and gone, and a new sort of yoga is now taking the fitness world by storm. Hiking Yoga originated in San Francisco in 2009, but has only recently been making waves around the world. The original sessions were 90 minutes long, with instructors leading students through three miles of extraordinary nature trails, stopping along the way, at particularly scenic spots, to practice some yoga. The beauty of Hiking Yoga is, no matter where in the world you do it, you are guaranteed a different experience, and will enjoy the cardio benefits of hiking, plus the mental benefits of yoga, along with the health-boosting benefits of fresh air.

Barre Classes
Barre classes have been growing in popularity over the past couple of years, and this shows no sign whatsoever of slowing down. Incorporating the use of a ballet barre, as well as maybe a couple of ballet moves, these classes bring in techniques from many other dance and exercise styles. Borrowing methods from yoga to Pilates to functional training, barre classes have the ability to help you to exercise many different muscle groups at one time, and, when accompanied with high-energy music, is always a fun workout.

It is common knowledge that working out is vital to a healthy mind and body, and, with many more people now recognizing the importance of this, there are an abundance of fitness classes popping up everywhere. However, for those who want to try something different, choosing one of the above styles of classes, whether it may be a yoga hike in the great outdoors or working out in small groups, will guarantee you some positive results.

The Evolution of Elastic in Fashion

While the elastic that we know of today may only date back to the mid 19th century, elasticity has actually been used by man for thousands of years, with the very first elastic strings fashioned from animal guts, intended to hold items together. From here, humans realized that elastic could also be used as a weapon, which gave birth to the bow and arrow, and, after this, a number of other uses for elastic were conceived. However, it was not until around the 1840’s that elastic began to be used in mainstream fashion, but, once its versatility in the fashion industry was finally discovered, it soon began appearing on a wide range of garments.

Woman wearing elastic braces

Elastic Braces
Elastic braces were invented in the 1840’s, and had a huge impact on men’s fashion at the time. Designed to hold up the high-waisted trousers and undergarments that were worn at that time, elastic braces changed the direction of men’s fashion, allowing for a wider range of waistbands and trouser styles to be worn. However, the elastic suspenders at this time were designed to be purely functional, and were completely hidden from sight by the waistcoats that were also worn with this look, meaning that little attention was paid to the actual aesthetics of these braces.

Synthetic Elastic
Over the years, elastic began to become more widely used in fashion, and this elastic was created by transforming latex into a usable rubber. However, during and after the second World War, there were huge shortages of natural rubber experienced, which led to research and studies into ways in which to make synthetic forms of elastic. The first few outcomes of this were great for use within the automobile industries, although not so good for textiles, as elastic made from natural fibers was still highly preferred. However, this all changed in 1959, when, after years of research, spandex was invented.

Model wearing a swimsuit

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Spandex
The invention of spandex brought about huge changes in the textiles industry, as there was now finally an elastic that not only readily accepted dyes and did not absorb too much moisture, but also held up when washed in a machine time and time again. Spandex fibers are also able to stretch to hundreds of times of their original length, giving textile manufacturers a level of elasticity that they had not yet experimented with. This meant that, at the beginning, it was only really used in items such as bras and workout clothes, but, as the years went on, it became a significant structural material in the majority of clothes out there. Today, spandex is used in 80% of clothing purchased by Americans, as it can be usefully incorporated into just about everything, from comfortable night clothes to classic denim jeans.

While elastic is mostly used in fashion for fitting purposes, it also gives clothes the ability to stretch, without losing their original shape. From socks to fitted shirts, elastic likely features in the majority of clothes in your wardrobe, and it is always fascinating to know more about exactly how this material ended up making its way into our daily lives.

Bad Habits that Harm Your Skin

While you may try to take the utmost care of your skin, there are many habits that people have that actually cause much more harm than is realized. From falling asleep with your makeup still on to taking steamy hot showers, these bad habits should all be stopped as soon as possible if you want to maintain a healthy and clear complexion.

Woman taking a shower

Hot Showers
Hot, steamy showers are especially tempting during the colder, winter months, but they are something that should be avoided throughout the year. The skin on the face is extremely delicate, and while the hot water may feel soothing on the rest of your body, the high temperatures weaken the capillaries on the face. This then causes redness, as well as dry skin and dehydration, making a cool shower a much wiser option.

Unclean Makeup Brushes
Makeup brushes end up accumulating a lot of bacteria, and, if you do not clean them before using them, you will only be spreading this bacteria onto your face, which would significantly increase your chances of an acne breakout. There are many makeup brush cleaners that will do the job fantastically, or you could even wash your brushes with a gentle shampoo once a week, ensuring that they do not transfer any impurities to your skin.

Woman applying makeup

Sleeping with Makeup On
After a long and stressful day, it is all too easy to fall into bed in the evenings, forgetting to remove your makeup and cleanse your skin. While this may not seem like such a big deal if it only happens irregularly, even just one night of sleeping in your makeup can be extremely detrimental to your skin. Not only does this clog your pores, resulting in increased oil production, but it also dehydrates the skin, while pushing any makeup residue deep into your skin’s layers. As you age, and your collagen production naturally slows down, your pores will not be able to snap back into shape as easily after being enlarged by the impurities delving their way into them, making it absolutely vital to always cleanse and remove makeup before going to bed.

Excessive Alcohol
While you may try to limit your alcohol intake to one or two nights a week, you should still be keeping a close eye on exactly how much you consume if you want your skin to stay healthy. Alcohol dehydrates the skin, leaving it looking dull and rough, while also expanding its blood vessels, which will soon create spidery-looking veins around your nose and cheeks.

Woman wearing sunglasses

 

Skipping the Sunscreen
While the dangers of sun exposure are widely known, many still do not appreciate the protection that sunscreen provides. Even on the cloudiest of days, UV rays are still able to penetrate into your skin, and all of this sun exposure will not be doing your skin any good at all. From causing dryness to exacerbating existing skin conditions, to dramatically speeding up the aging process, skipping out on the sunscreen is one of the biggest skin mistakes that you can make.

Your skin is your largest organ, and deserves the very best of care. From keeping it well protected against the sun’s harmful rays to ensuring it has been well-cleansed each and every night, to keeping alcohol consumption to a minimum, any bad skin habits that you may have can easily be replaced by ones that are beneficial to your skin and health.

Dealing with Ankle Sprains

Woman having pain in her ankle

Whether due to exercise or high heels, ankle sprains are extremely common and can happen to just about anyone. While it may be tempting to simply reach for an anti-inflammatory drug and then try to walk it off, this can actually cause longer-lasting damage to your ankle. From understanding the severity of your sprain to knowing exactly what to do right after it happens, these tips will help you to deal with an ankle sprain in the most effective way.

What Exactly is a Sprain?
The bones of the leg are connected to those of the foot by a strong band of ligaments, and, when your ankle is twisted or turned in an unexpected way, these ligaments can stretch or tear, resulting in a sprain. While spraining your ankle does make you much more susceptible to future sprains in the same area, this can be avoided by ensuring that you take care of your sprain in the best way possible.

Understanding the Severity of a Sprain
The mildest form of a sprain would result in a small amount of pain when putting weight on that leg, but will not have much noticeable stiffness or swelling. Secondary degree sprains usually involve torn ligaments, which results in bruising, stiffness, swelling and, often, a large amount of pain. Third-degree sprains are quite different when it comes to pain, and, if this happened to you, you would feel an intense amount of pain the moment the damage was caused, but then a sense of numbness in the area afterwards. This is because a third-degree sprain is usually when the ligament completely ruptures, and the numbness is often accompanied by some serious swelling.

Caring for an Ankle Sprain
As soon as you suspect that you may have sprained your ankle, it is vital that you immediately rest it completely, ensuring that you do not put any weight on it. Icing it for about fifteen-minute sessions, three times a day, will also help to drastically reduce any swelling, while keeping it elevated at a level higher than your heart will help to promote a healthy circulation. While painkillers to control the level of pain may be necessary, stay away from any anti-inflammatory drugs for the first two days. The reason for this is to give your own natural inflammatory process some time to start working, as this will kick start the healing process, after which anti-inflammatory medication can be used to keep the swelling down.

While long periods of rest used to be recommended for ankle sprains, this is not the case anymore. Instead, the best way to encourage healing within your ankle is by embracing functional rehabilitation, doing walking and mobility exercises to enhance your ankle’s mobility and speed up the recovery process. Ankle sprains can occur anytime, when you really are least expecting it, so it is always useful to know exactly what you need to do when it happens, and how to speed up the overall recovery process afterwards.

End of Summer Style

As the end of the summer season quickly approaches, so does the cooler weather, which can make putting together chic outfits slightly trickier. These end of summer style tips will help you to tackle the warm days and chilly nights, keeping you looking fabulously stylish right up to fall.

Woman wearing distressed jeans

Distressed Jeans
When the weather turns too cool for your favorite summer shorts, distressed jeans that still show a bit of skin are a great transitional piece, and can be worn right up to winter. They can be dressed both up and down, and since they will be keeping your legs warm, can easily be worn with your go-to summer tops.

Masculine and Feminine
Combining masculine and feminine qualities in one outfit immediately makes it look much edgier and stylish, and this is a great way to dress towards the end of summer. The easiest way to do this is by opting for more feminine items for your main outfit, such as florals or a pretty summer dress, and then pairing this with a masculine piece of outerwear, such as a smart tailored blazer.

Woman wearing a waistcoat

A Long Waistcoat
A long waistcoat is ideal for the end of summer, as it gives you slightly more coverage but in a light and sophisticated way. A tailored version is the easiest to style, and, once fall arrives, you will still be able to wear it with a longer sleeved top underneath.

Wide-Leg Pants
The midst of the summer months are ideal for showing some leg, but, once the season draws to a close, you will need to cover up a bit more in order to stay comfortable. Wide-leg pants are perfect for this, as their flowing structure makes them extremely breathable, and can be paired with a fitted top in order to still enhance your curves.

Woman wearing midi skirt

Midi Skirts
While the evenings may be too cool now for a short, thigh-baring skirt, midi skirts will keep you warmer, but still give you that ultra-feminine edge. Once the temperatures begin to dip even further, pair your midi skirt with some fall boots and a leather jacket, which will make it much more practical on cooler days.

Maxi Dresses
Maxi dresses are always popular during the summer, but can easily be transitioned into fall as well. To keep your arms and shoulders warm, wear a slouchy sweater over it, preferably one that hangs off the shoulder slightly, allowing the straps of your dress to still show. Maxi dresses also work well when paired with structured jackets, and can also be used to create the masculine and feminine combination mentioned above.

Now that the weather has started to turn cooler, you will need to begin utilizing layers more, as these make it easy to deal with fluctuating temperatures, and will keep you from feeling too stuffy when the sun decides to shine. Rather than bringing out your winter wardrobe earlier than necessary, work on making your summer clothes transitional for fall, as this is a great way to mix up your style and create some one-of-a-kind seasonal outfits.

Get Ready for Fall Style

While the fashion weeks in Moscow are always fantastic for taking in some of the latest high fashion designs for upcoming seasons, there is much to be learned from the looks that you see on the streets as well. From edgy leather jackets to a vibrant color palette, here is some style inspiration from the streets of Moscow.

Woman wearing a black jacket

Orange and Blue
The orange and blue color combination was one that was seen numerous times, and, when styled well, can look incredibly chic. Whether a vibrant blue scarf over a burnt orange jacket, or some bright orange outerwear over a pair of casual blue jeans, this color combination can be experimented with in so many different ways.

Black Leather Layers
The black leather jacket seems to be a popular item for this fall, and each designer has put their spin on this classic in their own way. To make your look more Moscow-esque, try to work your leather jacket into a few different layers, giving your outfit various points of interest.

Vetements Hoodies
Parisian fashion label Vetements has become immensely popular over past year, thanks to celebrities Rihanna and Kanye West being spotted in the brand’s oversized hoodie. Their oversized hoodie trend has only continued, with a number of them being spotted not only on the streets of Moscow, but also London, Paris and other major fashion capitals. After being accepted by the fashion elite, the hoodies are now in extremely high demand, making it quite hard to get hold of one, but, if you do, you will see how it contrasts with regular hoodies in the way that it manages to drape off the body. Due to this, they can be styled in many ways, whether with jeans and a pair of sneakers or a structured avant-garde skirt.

Woman wearing a neck tie

Neckties and Bows
While neckties may have previously only been worn by the elite, they are a fashion staple this season in Moscow, and can be styled in multiple ways. From a sophisticated black necktie adding some contrast to a white shirt, to an oversized chiffon bow tied at the nape of your neck, this is a great way to add some texture and individuality to your look.

Knitted Beanies
Thanks to the low temperatures that Moscow experiences each winter, accessories that keep the head warm are always needed in the city. This fall, the headgear of choice is the humble knitted beanie, which was seen in a variety of different colors. From the classic black, which can be worn with just about everything, to striking blues, pinks and yellows, beanies are going to be seen all over the streets this fall.

Cooler weather can often be difficult to dress for, which is why it is always a good idea to look for fall style inspiration in a place that experiences its fair share of the cold. From the comfortable Vetements hoodie to edgy leather jackets to a warm but colorful beanie, these are all items that you will want to add to your wardrobe to prepare for the arrival of fall.

Style Inspiration from Ulyana Sergeenko

Ulyana Sergeenko

Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

An exceptionally talented Russian designer and fashion blogger, Ulyana Sergeenko’s high-end designs have hugely contributed to the exciting fashion revolution that Russia has been experiencing in recent years. Inspired by the rich and diverse history of her native land, Ulyana Sergeenko’s pieces are innovative and avant-garde, but still extremely wearable.

The Birth of the Brand
Ulyana Sergeenko was always passionate about fashion, even at a time when there were only two fashion magazines available in the Soviet Union. Having grown up sewing all of her own clothes, Sergeenko was always breaking fashion rules, and, after marrying a Russian billionaire, became a regular couture client of Valentino, Jean Paul Gaultier, Chanel and Galliano, with each brand teaching her about the fashion industry. After many of her own customized creations, which came about after she collaborated with her favorite designers, experienced tremendous success when sold by these other brands, Sergeenko decided that it was time to launch her own label, and did exactly that in 2011 at the haute couture shows in Paris, receiving some extremely positive feedback.

Traditional Russian Craftsmanship
All of Ulyana Sergeenko’s designs are produced in Russia, by a team of 100 seamstresses employed by the brand. Using traditional Russian sewing techniques, the way in which each of the garments fits the body is, without a doubt, truly beautiful, and each piece is always impeccably crafted. Native handiwork is something that the brand always emphasizes, and, in their most recent collection, details such as the handmade lace and mosaic fur coats, which would have taken countless hours to piece together, are all a nod to the modest needlepoint techniques that used to be utilized in Soviet homes all over the country.

Fall/Winter 2016
Ulyana Sergeenko’s Fall/Winter 2016 collection was recently showcased at the Natural History Museum in Paris, with the collection being primarily inspired by the Soviet Union in the 60’s, particularly when it came to technology and science. Focusing on the importance of idealism and never giving up on your dreams, the collection was extremely opulent, and even the more basic of looks featured incredibly luxurious details upon closer inspection. While the brand’s collections usually end up taking on quite a theatrical feel, this one took a step away from that, not only with its more subdued tone, but also with the daywear pieces that were featured on the runway. In addition to the brand’s signature fairytale-like dresses, the Fall/Winter 2016 collection also saw a number of wearable day items, from the professional tweed pants suit to the ribbed knit tights to the co-ed leather motorcycle jacket.

Having been around for nine seasons of Paris’ fashion calender, Ulyana Sergeenko’s collections have been inspired by everything from the Soviet-era architecture and apartments of St. Petersburg to the Orient Express, highlighting the diversity of Russian history. While a number of the brand’s couture pieces in the past would have been difficult to incorporate into the average wardrobe, Ulyana Sergeenko’s latest collection has addressed this, producing pieces that are professional and wearable, yet completely contemporary and avant-garde.

Eat More Oily Fish

Salmon

Scientific interest in oily fish first arose when researchers discovered that Eskimos, who have a diet that is primarily made up of oily fish, experience a much lower than average rate of heart attacks, strokes and other diseases. Since then, the many health benefits that oily fish can bring to the body have been heavily documented, making this a food that you should be making the effort to eat much more.

What Are Oily Fish?
Oily fish are specific species of fish that contain certain oils that run throughout their body, while white fish only contains oil in its liver. Some of the most readily available of oily fish would be mackerel, sardines, herring, trout, salmon, kipper and whitebait, and these count as an oily fish whether they are fresh, frozen, smoked or canned. While fresh tuna is also considered to be an oily fish, canned tuna is not, as the canning process takes its levels down to that of a white fish, making it not as beneficial.

Highly Nutritious
Oily fish is the best natural source of omega-3 fatty acids that you will find, and these are essential for a wide variety of functions within the body, as well as the brain, and have been directly linked to a reduction in many diseases. In addition to the omega-3 fatty acids, oily fish also contains a variety of other nutrients that the average person usually does not consume enough of, such as vitamin D, some of the B vitamins, and selenium.

Health Benefits
Oily fish bring about some incredible health benefits, such as the prevention of heart disease and up to a 50% reduced risk of rheumatoid arthritis, both of which have been scientifically proven. The omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish also help to protect the vision, as well as improve the memory and inhibit the growth of oral and skin cancers. Pregnant women that consume oily fish in the last few months of their pregnancy will also be able to boost their child’s sensory, motor and cognitive development, giving him or her a fantastic start to life.

How Much to Eat
The recommended amount of oily fish to eat each week is between one and two portions, with each portion weighing around 140 grams. The main downside to oily fish is that they contain certain pollutants that are present throughout the environment, usually as a result of industrial processes and household fires, and while these pollutants will not have an immediate effect on your health, high levels of these in your body can lead to problems arising over time.

In some parts of the world, oily fish features heavily in the diet, and these areas experience a significantly reduced amount of heart disease and other health issues. With so many different types of oily fish out there, it is an easy food to consume more of, and there are a number of exciting ways in which you can cook the fish to make it appealing even to those that are not usually fans of seafood.