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10 Ways to Add More Sophistication to Your Look

Creating your personal style can be fun and exciting, but you’re often faced with moments where you’re expected to create looks that are elegant and smart. You might already be putting plenty of effort into ensuring that your outfit is as stylish as possible, but there are a few small touches that will add some instant sophistication to your look.

Woman carrying a handbag

A Single Handbag  
A stylish handbag always makes a fashion statement, unless it is paired with a shabby tote bag at the same time. While you may think that you have plenty to carry, it is likely that you can cut this down to an amount that will fit in your handbag, allowing it to once again shine as part of your outfit.

Keeping It Tucked In 
No matter how hard you may try to tuck in a shirt, it is unlikely to look quite as neat a few hours later. To keep your outfit looking sleek, invest in a couple of stylish bodysuits, whether they look like casual tops or button-up blouses, and wear these whenever you want to go for a tucked in style.

Pair Your Pants and Shoes Together 
Pants that are too long end up dragging on the ground, and not only does this dirty and damage the pants themselves, but it also instantly makes your look seem so much scruffier. However, when wearing heels, your pants need to be longer than if you were in flats, which makes it quite difficult to choose a pant length. While sticking to skinny or straight-leg styles is an option, as these are more versatile, those who want to invest in a pair of trendy flares or wide-legged pants should decide what sort of shoes they are going to be worn with beforehand, and then try them on with shoes of that heel height, so that you can find the perfect length.

Woman checking fit

Check the Fit  
No matter how much you may fall in love with a garment in the store changing room, if it does not fit your body perfectly, then put it back. A classy and elegant outfit is one that does not need to be constantly adjusted, so make sure that all of your clothes work well with your body, both when it is active as well as still.

Streamline Your Outfit  
VPL, otherwise known as visible panty line, is never a good look, but, fortunately, this is an easy issue to avoid. From ensuring that your underwear fits perfectly, to opting for seamless versions, to giving shapewear a try, there are a variety of effective options out there when it comes to streamlining your outfit.

Re-Lace Your Shoes  
After a number of wears, your shoelaces will end up twisting, and will not be lying flat against your shoes any more. While this is not really that big of a deal on a day-to-day basis, it will definitely keep your outfit from looking well-polished, so spend a few minutes re-lacing those shoes if you have an important occasion coming up.

Woman with a ponytail

A Tidy Hairstyle  
When in a rush, it is often all too easy to quickly pull hair back into a messy bun or ponytail, or even one of those bun-ponytail hybrids. This may not matter if you are just spending the day around the house, but, if you have anything else planned, whether this may be a meeting at work or drinks with friends, spend a couple of minutes tidying up your hairstyle. This will leave others with a much better impression of you, as messy, two-second hairstyles can often make it seem as though you just cannot be bothered.

Put That Hair Tie Away
Keeping your hair tie on your wrist may be convenient, but it will always detract from your overall look. If you do not have a handbag or pocket to put it in, it may be worth purchasing a decorative hair tie that can also pass off as a bracelet.

Woman using a steamer

Invest in a Steamer 
Ironing can often leave clothes with long creases, and this is quite the fashion faux-pas. Investing in a home steamer, of which there are models available to suit just about every budget, and giving your outfit a quick steam before dressing will immediately freshen up your outfit.

De-Lint
From small bits of fluff to floating pet hairs, an outfit can often end up looking quite shabby before you have even stepped out of the front door. Keeping a lint roller by your front door, whether outside or inside your house, will give you the opportunity to quickly de-lint before heading out into the world.

While each of these changes may not make a huge difference on their own, they are extremely powerful when combined, and will give your look that extra level of elegance. Even if you do not have time to do this each and every day, this is a great checklist to keep on hand for when you are needing your outfit to exude even more sophistication.

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Protecting Your Skin at Work

Woman looking out of the window

Many of us are well aware of the havoc that our modern world wreaks on our skin.  We have heard countless warnings and admonitions cautioning us to pile on the sunscreen, abandon our cell phones and protect our skin against the elements.  Indeed, protecting the skin has become a priority when going to the beach or engaging in an outdoor activity, but, what if your job includes exposure to skin-damaging elements on a regular basis?  Skin issues affect more workers on a daily basis than you may realize and you may be among them!  Are you or any of your loved ones on this list?  If so, take heed!

Farmers and Landscapers
You may have guessed that farmers and landscapers are at risk for sun damage, but did you also know that the pesticides used in most agricultural production is a leading cause of melanoma?

Truck and Taxi Drivers
While the glass in most vehicles blocks out UVB rays, it does not filter UVA rays, which penetrate the skin more deeply.  A study done by the New England Journal of Medicine confirmed that a 69-year-old who had been driving a taxi for 25 years had  a shocking amount of damage on the side of his face that faced the window of his car, while the other was noticeably less effected.

Pilots and Flight Attendants
A study by JAMA Aviation reveals that UV radiation is worse at an elevation of 30,000 feet, an altitude commonly experienced by airplane workers.

Woman looking in a pocket mirror at work

Office-Goers
Those bursts of sunlight that make their ways into an office building in the early evening may be more damaging than you think and so can that dry indoor air.

Workers
Despite getting 6-8 times the average dose of UV rays, only 14% of postal workers admit to wearing sunscreen during their 5-hour shift. Construction workers and roofers face more intense sun damage because of reflections off building surfaces. Welders face exposure to chemicals which may lead to rashes and allergic reactions as well as UV exposure from the oil, grease, and solvents that are associated with the job.

Keeping Safe
The warmer, longer days may have kept you extra-vigilant during the summer months, but don’t let the gentle fall breeze sway you off your skin protection game. Here are a few things you can do to keep your skin safe at work.

  1. Wear gloves, aprons, and protective clothing to keep skin away from oils, greases and chemicals.
  2. Wear clean clothes to work and remove oil or chemical soaked clothes right after work.
  3. Protect your hands with petroleum jelly, lotion or cream.
  4. Educate yourself about the best ways to get dangerous materials off of skin and how to get medical help if you do come into contact with these materials.
  5. Do not drink, eat, or smoke in your work area.
  6. If you work outdoors, apply sunscreen several times a day, wear sunglasses a wide-brimmed hat and long sleeves.

Whether your job requires you to work outdoors, or you’re getting exposed to those tiny bursts of sunlight and dry indoor air, these tips will help you protect your skin while at work. Remember, protecting your skin doesn’t interfere with your performance, it only ends up enhancing it because you know you’re taking care of yourself!

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Health Benefits Of Organic Clothing

Women in an organic cotten offit

“Whole Foods” on the catwalk? Could it be that the place we rely on for our healthy lunches could also be major player in the organic  fashion industry?  If you are familiar with organic clothing, perhaps your picturing a few walking hemp sacks in biodegradable shoes or an earth colored muumuu with a straw hat? But would you ever picture a knee length dove grey dress with a sculpted jacket?  Mini and maxi off the shoulder sheath dresses?

In order to cater to a demand for organically made clothing, Whole Foods sponsored a fashion show in the ballroom of the Marriott Hotel in Anaheim, featuring clothes from Maggie’s Organics, Satva and Threads for Thought. Themes ranged from Modern Femme, Street to Studio, Haute Hippie, and Global Chic. It seems that organic clothing is not just for the music festival crowd.

In fact, Jessica Chastain,  “Jane the Virgin’s” Gina Rodriguez, “American Sniper”s” Jake McDorman and “The Office’s”  Steve Carrell all wore organic clothing to the 87th annual Oscar Awards and Emma Watson and will.i.am are just two of the many celebs who have put their names behind sustainable goods.

Consumer Health
We all want the best for our little ones!  Organic cotton is exactly what the doctor ordered for that tender developing baby skin.  How could we not put our little princes and princesses in anything but the softest, most comfy fabric?

Also since organic cotton is not made with chemicals, it causes fewer allergies and reduces respiratory problems in people of all ages.

Environmental Health
Beware!  You may want to throw out your 501s after reading this.  Even though cotton crops are only grown a 3% of the land, it is responsible for nearly 25% of the insecticides and 10% of the pesticides in the world.  In fact, there is a laundry list of diseases that have plagued cotton crops over the year including anthracnose, southern blight, charcoal rot and tropical cotton rust.  In other words, you may not want this stuff in your clothes.

Cotton is also fourth on the list of most heavily fertilized crops, which is responsible for a lot of environmental pollution.  So, if a greener world is important to you, you might want to invest in some organic cotton.

Farmer’s Health
If the insecticides and pesticides are bad for the environment, just think of what they must be doing to the poor farmers who have to use them!  Poisoning due to toxic chemicals are a leading cause of death for farmers in developing countries.

Like organic foods, organic clothing costs a bit more to manufacture, and, as a result, consumer cost is affected.  But for those of you who have given up on organic clothing as a luxury item, do not fret.  Manufacturers like Basics, Alternative Apparel and Threads for Thought are just some of the companies featuring reasonably priced green duds.  We’re talking $15-50 for  tops and jumpsuits and dresses for under $100, and this stuff is CUTE.  Check it out for yourself and see if you don’t fall in love, oh, and next time you go for a tofu burger, you can pick up a top to eat it in. How’s that for one stop shopping?

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Planning A Home Spa Treat

Woman enjoying a bath

Here’s the scenario.  It’s weekend 1 of Coachella.  Your bestie is there and so is your significant other.  Apparently, his friend only had one extra ticket.  The clubs and bars are empty and the thought of watching a movie alone seems kind of sad when you think of all your friends partying and watching Guns and Roses under the stars.  What can you do?

How about a home spa?  Sure, why not?  I mean you deserve some pampering and your boyfriend is not about to do it for you.  You’ve got the time, you just need a few ingredients.

Atmosphere
What does it take to get you in the mood?  A little music?  A glass of bubbly?  A little incense?  Whatever your idea is of a relaxing mood, this is your time to create it.Lower the lights and slip into your robe.

Facial Stem
Heat up a  pot of hot, not boiling water.  It will open your pores and get them ready to receive treatment.  Add some essential oils or fresh herbs, and breathe in deep.  Put a towel over your head to trap the steam and let it work its magic for ten minutes.

Body and Face Scrub
Exfoliate your face and body with your favorite body scrub. You can get creative and make your own with salt, sugar, even coffee grounds. Massage into damp skin to help diminish those pesky blackheads.

Hair Mask
Time to give your hair some love.  It is your crowning glory, after all.   Apply any oil or hair mask that you love and wrap your hair in a towel.  Let soak.

Bath
Fill up the tub and throw in some almond or lavender oil.  Get out those floating candles and find a place to set that drink.  Turn up that music. Maybe some bathtub Karaoke? Belt it out with Adele!  Axl who?  Coachella what?

Quick Rinse
Give your hair and body a quick refreshing rinse.

Facial Mask
What would your spa day be without a proper facial mask?  If you are bold enough and DIY is your thing, fresh mashed strawberries are an option.  The little seeds act as exfoliants and it smells yummy.

Foot Wrap
It has been said that the nicest thing one person can do for another is massage their feet, so why not  be nice to yourself.  Rub your favorite foot cream int your feet and put plastic map around them.  Pop a wet towel into the microwave to warm it up and wrap it around your feet for 10-15 minutes.

Sleep
You are having a dream. Your boyfriend has just returned from Coachella.  You walk in the room.  You’re face is glowing, your hair falls in perfect waves around your milky shoulders.  You smell of fresh strawberries.  Your boyfriend falls to his knees at the sight of your beauty.  You walk past him on your freshly wrapped feet.  You get into a limo where Axl and Slash are waiting with a bottle of champagne.  Let the fun begin.

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Treat Yourself To A Luxury Purchase

Women on a shopping spree

In Milan, Victoria Beckham spent more than 1.5 million dollars on a shopping spree including a Rolex for husband Dave and 5 sofas.  Teresa Giudice spent over 60,000 on home decor.  Brad Pitt treated his daughter to the entire spring/ summer collection at Paris’ Bonpoint Children’s Boutique. Is this the stuff your dreams are made of?   Join the club.  Whether your celebrating a big promotion or just celebrating yourself, you don’t need an excuse to treat yourself to a luxury purchase.  In fact, here are some reasons why you should!

A New Purse
It’s no secret that cheap bags wear out quickly.  The material peels, the closures break, the studs fall off.  You’re better off buying a really well-made handbag that will last years! And think of the signals you’ll send off when you show up to work with that new bag.  People will say, “Wow, she really has her act together!” or, “Wow, what great taste.”  Besides, bags are only getting more expensive.  If you wait, it will only go up in price!

Designer Clothes
You may think you are paying for the name, but expensive clothing is made better!  The cut is better, the construction is better, the look is better.  You can wear designer clothes for years if you protect them correctly. Everyone deserves clothes that flatter them and make them feel great. You also pay for the workmanship.  Designer shoes are often more comfortable and last longer.

Woman buying jewelry

Jewelry
Are you waiting for our significant other to buy you that perfect piece of jewelry?  Well, stop waiting.  Henri Barguirdjian, leader of Graff diamond US operations says,  “We are seeing more and more women achieving careers on their own and they can afford to buy their own jewelry.  I would say about 25% of our customers are women buying fr themselves.  Jewelry is a great investment.Says Jerry Ehrenwald, president of the International Gamological Institute says, “Unlike a dress or car, jewelry doesn’t wear out….After 20 years, a fancy car needs to be replaced, whereas a diamond improves in value.”

Makeup
Performance is what counts when it comes to makeup.  If you want serums that really work (that is those that contain antioxidants and special properties) you need to shell out.  High-end makeup means more unique products, better pigmentation, better fragrance and usually comes with higher quality applicators. No one wants foundation or bronzer that doesn’t coordinate with your skin, and shouldn’t anything you put on your skin be high quality?

Food
So maybe possessions are not your thing. After all, we get used to possessions and once we do, we just look for a better one.  Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University claims that experiences can be more rewarding.  “You can really like your material stuff….but…we are the sum total of out experiences.”  And what can be a better experience than a great meal? Try the Frrozen Haute Chocolate ice cream sundae at Serendipity 3 in New York or the Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata at Norma’s with 10 oz of sevruga caviar or Le Burger Extravagant served on a gold dusted roll and held together with a diamond encrusted toothpick. You’ll leave with a full stomach and a story to tell.

So what are you waiting for?  Go out there and spend!  You’ll make yourself happy and contribute to the global economy!

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What Is Self Care

Woman reading a book in a park

You may have noticed that many of your garments come with care instructions.  These are instructions, usually printed on  a tag sewn into  clothes that give you directions to help keep your clothes looking their best. They may include things like “synthetic wash” or “dry flat”  or “do not iron.”

Well, people also come with care instructions.  Although they are not written on our forehead (at least thus far), humans do need special care to keep them looking and feeling their best. When we first pop into the world, our mums and dads take care of us, and for this we are very grateful, but, as we get older, we become less dependent and we need to assume these duties ourselves.  This is referred to as “self care.”

Self care involves any activity which is done voluntarily to help you maintain your emotional, mental or physical health. It can help you feel relaxed and healthy and can also spur you to take on more responsibilities and challenges at work. It essentially puts you at peace with your own being, helps you avoid burnout, allows you to de-stress. Now, since self care needs to be practiced on a regular basis, it may take a little bit of getting used. to. The following tips should help you incorporate self care into your daily life.

Take Care of Your Emotional Hygiene
Anger and depression and stress often cloud good judgment.  Many people try to get past negative feelings by trying to busy themselves with more activity when, in reality, this may be the best time to take a break.  Acknowledge your emotions.  Try writing them down, even keep a journal. It can be cathartic and help you to think more rationally.

Woman exercising in a gym

Eat Well and Exercise
Life runs at a hectic pace, but if you have no control over it, it can lead to additional stress and burnout.  You need to make time for yourself.  Exercise should be part of that time.  Think of it as an escape rather than an extra duty.  Try working out with a buddy or find a gym close to work.  Let the rush hour traffic go by while you work on yourself.

Another effect of a busy life is also the tendency to eat on the run, and processed food is often the most readily available. Bad food may seem unavoidable. If you are looking to make some changes to your diet, take baby steps. Focus on what it is about your diet that you want to change most and start by changing that one thing.  If you want to focus on eliminating carbs, for example, make it a point to avoid bread and pasta. You’ll find that small goals are more achievable.

Don’t Overload Your Schedule
According to a research done by Stanford University, after 50 hours per week, employee productivity plummets. Quantity often replaces quality. So make sure that you try and limit your time at work and always squeeze in some time for yourself.  See a movie, get a massage or a mani pedi, do yoga, or read a book.  Make downtime just as important as work time.  Block it in your calendar if you need to!

Budget Your Time 
Although it may not seem it at the moment, doing nothing can actually be more productive than you think. If work does not lead to an immediate result, chalk it up to a learning experience.  Don’t let it stress you out. You may discover later that inactivity reaps unseen benefits.

So now you have it, your own personal self care instructions.  If we follow them when it comes to our clothes, why not when it comes to ourselves?  Bottom line:  Handle you with care.

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Building Your Revenge Body

Stylish woman wearing leggings

Have you ever seen, “The Girl Most Likely To….”  This 1973 movie tells the story of the unattractive, often bullied Miriam Knight.  After having failed at almost every endeavor she attempts to achieve popularity in college, she finally lands a lead in a school play, only to be humiliated at the curtain call when her jealous roommate places roses at her feet, knowing Miriam is allergic.  The result is an embarrassing sneezing fit.

Upset, Miriam speeds away, only to become involved in a terrible automobile accident leaving her with the need for reconstructive surgery on her face.  Long story short, she comes out gorgeous and spends the rest of the movie killing everyone who was ever nasty to her.  Sounds pretty good,no?  Everyone loves a good revenge story; we love to believe that the underdog will somehow come out on top and make everyone around him/her green with envy.  The most recent real life example that comes to mind is that of Khloe Kardashian, ruthlessly teased by every late night host and comedian until, after a startling body transformation, emerged, disputably, more beautiful than any of her sisters.  So how did she do it?  What does it take to build the revenge body?

Mindset
Before we get into out workout, let’s get one thing straight.  The concept of getting in shape as an act of revenge is a bit shallow.  While it is everyone’s dream to run into an ex and being able to say, “You should have put a ring on it,”  may seem like a pleasing fantasy, working out is a commitment and you have to be prepared to take a little physical pain.  In addition, making other people jealous does not always have the best consequences.  You may find your best friend suddenly less friendly.  Now, having got that out of the way, how can do it?

Start Strong
According to a study from the College of New Jersey, people who push themselves in the first half of a workout and slowed down in the second half burned 23 % more fat than those who did the opposite.Rather than starting with a slow jog, consider doing 20 jumping jacks.  This charges up your upper and lower body muscles and get your heart rate up in less than a minute.

Concentrate on Cardio
When it comes to exercise routines, think fast!  Women who do 20-minute sprints of cycling lost 3 times as much fat in 15 weeks as those who cycled for twice as long at an even pace, according to research.  Consider high-intensity interval training (HIIT), alternating between intense exercise and recovery breaks.  Get in, get out!  And you’ll have loads more time on your hands.

Alternate Your Workouts
Don’t tack minutes on your routine if you stop seeing results, switch your routine!  Trainer  and WH fitness contributor, Rachel Cosgrove says, “It takes four to six weeks for your body to adapt to a workout.  Once you become efficient at it, you lose less energy and burn fewer fat calories. You don’t need to alter your whole routine, adding a few new moves should do the trick.

Work on an Unstable Surface
When doing upper body strength training, such as bicep curls and overhead presses, you might try using an unstable surface.  it will force you to use your core to stabilize  yourself and maintain balance which will tone your midsection.  Working on a balance board, or even a couch cushion will work.

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