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Thanksgiving Decor

There are a lot of things to love and be thankful for in the thanksgiving season. Great food, quality time with family, and a rare opportunity and reminder to call to mind all the things you have that you should be happy about.

But one thing that can be just as fun as all the good food and times with family is the decorations! Decorating for the fall can be a lot of fun, and they stay relevant after thanksgiving too; nobody says you have to put up the Christmas decorations as soon as turkey day’s over! It is still autumn, after all (the official first day of winter is December 22!).

So today, Vine Vera’s offering up some thanksgiving decorating tips that are as tasty as your turkey day feast.

Decorations for Thankgiving

Mason Jar Vases
Rustic, functional, with a fun DIY element and a touch of antiquity, This project is as neat to make as it is to look at. Just get four-quart mason jars, paint them all over with a couple coats of white paint on the outside, then grab some brown or copper paint and your favorite jumbo-sized stencil letters, and paint “F-A-L-L” on the jars, one letter per jar. You can then fill them with water and some fresh-cut flowers, or just bunch up some silk flowers if you never want to have to change them. Either way, go for reds and golds with some complementary greenery for a lovely fall accent with a delightful contrast between the flowers and jars, and a unique, rustic fee.

Vase? What Vase?
Okay, before we go on, let it be known we have nothing against vases, and they’re super useful. It’d be a bit hypocritical if we said otherwise after that last entry. That said, here’s a fun alternative to the traditional flowers-in-a-vase option: find some rustic wooden spools (Etsy is a great place to look) and stick stems of dried leaves in them for a uniquely autumnal and delightfully novel decoration idea. You can also use them for fresh flowers if you get spools with wider holes and can fit floral tubes in them, though beware: you’ll need to refill the water every single day, unlike larger-volume traditional vases.

Gourd candlesticks

Gourd Candlesticks
It can’t get more fall-themed than this. Get some miniature decorative gourds and hollow out the middles of them, making just enough space to fit a candle inside. Stack two on top of each other and slide a candle in, and you’re golden.

Vintage Fall DIY Luminary Tray
Grab a nice earth-toned metal or ceramic tray, and lay down some candles covered by vintage box graters. Fill the rest of the tray with acorns and a couple extra candles. In no time flat, you’ve got yourself a modern, yet rustic fall lighting accessory for moody lighting at nighttime. Put it in the middle of the table and set out more candles spread around the table (the gourd candlesticks from above would complement nicely!) for a quiet candlelit dinner, or put the tray on a sideboard for a nice atmospheric touch, with the lights on dim.

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Outfits that Accommodate a Thanksgiving Tummy

Thanksgiving is a special time for a lot of things. You’ll be visiting and spending quality time with family and friends, you’ll be calling to mind and expressing gratitude for what you have, and you’ll be eating lots and lots of delicious food.

We don’t blame you if you want to take this one day out of the year as an opportunity to really pig out and enjoy yourself. After all, one day of indulgence isn’t going to ruin your figure, and the fantastic food you’ll have before you represents an opportunity that, after all, only comes once a year! What’s a little temporary bloating in the face of a once-a-year feast?

That said, considering how many people you’ll be eating in front of, you’ll still want to look good. Looking good and pigging out may seem antithetical to each other when you consider the aforementioned bloating, but Vine Vera’s here to tell you otherwise. You absolutely can look totally fabulous and eat all you want, with some creative wardrobe choices. If this notion intrigues you, do keep reading, because we’re about to spill all the secrets to looking great and eating a ton this thanksgiving.

Ponchos

Ponchos
When it comes to being stylish with something big, baggy, and flowy, it really doesn’t get any better than ponchos. Grab your favorite fashionable poncho and complete the outfit with long sleeves, skinny jeans or leggings, boots, and a fancy, well-coordinated hat. Casual yet elegant, fashionable yet functional, and downright perfect for concealing that food baby.

Shift dress

Shift Dresses
Shift dresses are the epitome of stylish comfort. They don’t always look comfortable, but they certainly feel so, managing to be both stunning and roomy. They’ll conceal that bloated bulge no problem, just don’t wear a belt with them! Normally, it can be a great idea, but not today; you’re planning on eating far more than usual, so sectioning your stomach, causing serious discomfort, or accentuating your belly are all things you want to avoid—and all things that wearing a belt on your dress will cause. So just leave it out! Shift dresses are great because they look just fine without one. Make it a full ensemble by matching a neutral-colored dress with tall boots and a bright scarf.

Woman wearing a coat during fall

All the Layers
When you want to conceal things, layers is the way to go. Adding multiple layers of fabric has a smoothing effect on your frame, sort of flattening the appearance of things. Further, layers in different shapes—such as a straight silhouette jacket over a form-fitting blouse—or different patterns and colors are especially effective. Vertical stripes or long, dangly necklaces also have an elongating effect on your torso, making you look a fair bit more slender.

What to Avoid
As we mentioned before, avoid belts! Further, stay away from horizontal stripes, which will make you look wider and draw attention to your belly. Finally, avoid any pants or skirts that feel tight around your midsection already; they’ll only get worse as your tummy fills up with food.

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Ways to Show Gratitude During the Holiday Season

Woman kissing her mother

The holiday season is replete with things to be grateful for. Quality time with friends and family, good food, laughter and merriment, and so much more. But have you ever had the experience of having a hard time really, sincerely being able to thank someone? It can be all easy to fall into the pattern of relying on gifts or simply saying “thanks”, but that doesn’t really communicate how thankful you may actually be.

Not many of us would refuse presents, but neither would most of us truly adore them.  But, take heart, here are some original ways of showing gratitude this holiday season.

Make Gratitude a Habit
Gratitude comes with practice.  Says therapist Patty Behrens, “Practicing gratitude not only takes intention but tangible prompts to remind yourself to be thankful. Connect to something you already do daily. Put a sticky note by your toothbrush to set your intention for the day.  Add reminders on your phone to appear daily at a specific time.”  You will find that your practice will begin to pay off in the form of less stress and more positive emotions.

Express Your Gratitude
With the myriad ways to communicate, there is really no excuse for not reaching out.  Ruth Spalding of Live Well Counseling advises her clients to send notes expressing appreciation, adding that, “even just a quick message via text or email” will suffice. Jennifer Owens, holistic therapist advises practicing more creative acts of kindness.  “Write down some positive statements on post-it notes and stick them where someone else will see them.”  Just think of how good your significant other will feel when he/ she gets that note saying, “Thanks for last night.” Only kidding.  While you’re  at it, you may even want to leave some notes of gratitude for yourself!

Woman hugging a friend

Hugs
It doesn’t even have to be for a specific act, gift, or any particular thing that happened recently. Sometimes you just need to thank a close friend or family member simply for being in your life, and giving them a long, affectionate, warm hug is a great way to show that appreciation. Just make sure they know it’s coming and are okay with hugs (not everyone is).

Write It
Therapist Erika Labuzan-Lopez suggests asking yourself to “name one thing you are grateful for today.  Actually write it down and spend some time thinking about it.  It only takes a few minutes, but will bring awareness to you that there are aspects of life to be appreciative of, even when it doesn’t feel like it.” Writing your thoughts down will reinforce them and make them more concrete.

Woman hugging herself

Don’t Forget About Yourself
You deserve to give yourself thanks as well! Labuzan Lopez says, “Give yourself a break and be free to rejoice in ways that feel meaningful to you.” Take some time to relax, indulge in a glass of wine or just treat yourself to a solo date in your favorite restaurant. Do something you truly enjoy so you can feel grateful for having the ability to actually do it. Even if it’s doing your nails, the key is in the appreciation.

So, let us know how you expressed your gratitude today. And if you are grateful for this article, feel free to send a comment. We love your comments and suggestions.

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Face Yoga

There are a lot of different ways to improve the appearance of the skin on your face. You can disguise the feature you’re unhappy about with makeup, you can use anti-aging products with ingredients like antioxidants, collagen, retinol, and more, or you can undergo cosmetic procedures like injections (such as botox), laser treatments, deep peels, surgeries, and more.

Or, you could try face yoga. Never heard of it? Sounds weird? We don’t blame you. But it’s looking like there might actually be something to this seemingly bizarre notion.

If you really think about it, it makes sense: when the rest of your body is out of shape, how do you solve it? By working out, of course. It almost seems to follow intuitively, then, that the same could be true of the face. Let’s take a look at the practice of face yoga and what it entails.

various face yoga poses

Face Yoga
Facial yoga simply involves stretching your head and face in various ways to stimulate the skin and the muscles in it to improve the appearance of your facial skin.

How, exactly, could this work? Well, your skin is attached to your muscle. Sometimes, when your skin sags, it’s in part because the muscles it’s attached to are out of shape and sagging. Just like any other muscles, exercising the ones in your face can firm up and tighten them, dragging the skin on top of it along for the ride, resulting in smoother, tighter skin.

Now that we’ve established how it could work, let’s give it a go. Try these stretches on for size.

Smooth your Forehead
Ball up both your hands into fists. Place your fists on your forehead, with the middle and index knuckles making contact with the center of your forehead. Push down with firm, but gentle pressure, and gradually slide your fists out from the center, finishing it off with a firm press into the temple. Do this four times to help prevent wrinkles by relieving tension in the forehead.

Lift Your Neck
Pucker up your lips like you’re going to kiss someone, but exaggerate it. Move your puckered lips to one side until you feel a stretch in your cheek, then turn your whole head to that side at a 45-degree angle, stretching your neck. Hold it for three seconds. Do this twice in each direction to prevent or reverse sagging of the chin and jawline.

Lift Your Face
Put your hands on your temples, pushing up and back, pulling the skin on the sides of your face upward. Make an open “O” shape with your mouth and stretch your face as long as possible (drop your jaw). Hold for five seconds and repeat a total of three times for smoothing out your smile lines.

Lift Your Eyes
Drop your shoulders down. Lift one arm straight up, dropping it over your head, bringing your fingers to the opposite side of the head, and resting your fingers on your temple. Press firmly but gently on that temple, gradually letting your head be pulled towards your shoulder. Slowly exhale through your mouth, and repeat on the other side, helping lift drooping eyelids and sagging skin all over the face.

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Anti-Aging for Hair

When it comes to anti-aging, that ceaseless, sometimes bitter war between you and the encroaching signs of aging, its oh so satisfying when you’re winning, we often focus on the skin exclusively. I mean really, we mostly focus on the face, but sometimes we’ll think about the skin on other body parts too, and Vine Vera is pretty good about pointing out helpful advice for the areas that aren’t the face.

But what about anti-aging for a part of your body that doesn’t even have skin? Might sound silly, but there’s actually something to it. In case you haven’t caught on by now, we’re talking about your hair. While it doesn’t need the same kind of care as skin, your hair absolutely does change as you age, so any full, comprehensive anti-aging strategy should include the hair. As you grow older, your hair will thin if you don’t do anything about it, particularly after you hit menopause. The color will gradually drift towards gray, and the texture might even change, all telltale signs of age.

And as such, today, Vine Vera’s going to be throwing some of our very favorite hair-related anti-aging tips for your perusal.

Woman conditioning her hair.

Nutrition
Yes, nutrition can indeed affect the quality of your hair. If this surprises you, consider that just as nutrition affects the functioning of the majority of your body, including external parts like the skin, it’s only natural that your hair might be affected too.

Specifically, biotin, vitamin C, and keratin supplementation can help improve the quality of your hair. You can often find pills that contain a supplement of each of these things mixed together in a specialized “hair care” supplement. Do note, though, that this will only affect new hair growth, and not the hairs already on your head, but they can help the new growth to stay healthy, vigorous, and grow out longer and stay thicker.

Hormones
As we mentioned, one major cause of hair thinning and degradation is hormonal in nature. Menopausal women often experience a rapid increase in the rate of hair thinning as they continue to age, and a lack of estrogen can negatively affect the texture of your hair, too. This can also happen to a lesser extent even if you’re pre-menopausal, because your hormone levels can change slightly with age even before menopause.

So whether you’re pre or post-menopausal, consider making an appointment with your doctor and discussing hormonal supplementation. Bringing your estrogen levels a bit higher and within a healthy range will not only help your hair, preventing or even reversing thinning, but it can also make your skin softer and decrease your pore size.

Coconut Oil

Oils
Natural oils, especially argan oil and coconut oil, can help you restore moisture and shine to rough, damaged, hair, and help prevent thinning and breakage. Try mixing a small dab into your conditioner, work some into your hair after you get out of the shower, or for intensive deep conditioning, warm some up a little, put on a very generous amount (seriously, make your hair as greasy as possible) at night, put a shower cap, wig cap. Or similar over it, and go to bed. The next morning, wash out the excess oil and your hair should be incredibly soft.

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Look Younger with Makeup

Woman applying makeup

Makeup may only be temporary, and washed off at the end of every day, but that doesn’t mean it’s not tons of fun to use it to accentuate your best features, downplay the ones you’re not so fond of, and try out a variety of great looks as a means to express yourself.

But makeup—temporary though it is—can also be used as an anti-aging tool. To be sure, the best anti-aging methods involve nourishing and healing your skin for long-term results that will be there whether you’re made-up or not, but that said, there’s certainly something to the “fake it ’till you make it” mantra. In other words, we are not saying that you can abandon your dreams, serums, and exfoliants and just use makeup instead. Obviously, keep using all those things, and keep reevaluating and making sure you’re using only the best. In the meantime, though, while you wait for those long-term results to eventually kick in, use makeup as a stopgap, so you can have flawless, youthful, radiant skin right now. To help you along the way, we have some killer tips and tricks that actually work. Read on if you’re ready to look great today.

Woman using concealer

Deal with Dark Circles
Dark circles, one of the peskiest banes of cosmetic brilliance on the planet. The solution? Use clever color-matching to neutralize them. You want a concealer that’s close in brightness to your skin tone, one tone lighter at most, but with more yellow than your actual skin. Dark circles tend to have a purplish hue, so using a yellow concealer will neutralize their color and make them just about completely disappear. Further, only apply where dark circles are actually present, and rub the concealer in with short, vertical motions, not horizontal.

Woman examining crow's feet.

Kill Crow’s Feet…the Right Way
One of the biggest problems with disguising fine lines like crow’s feet is that concealer tends to cake in and around them and actually emphasize them, making your problem worse. Part of this, once again, is related to color matching. The other half of the puzzle is weight and texture.

Regarding color, crow’s feet tend to have brown undertones. So where you want yellowish concealer when it comes to dark circles, crow’s feet require a different color-neutralization tactic. Search for a concealer with pink or pink-beige tones if you’re fair skinned, peach or ocher tones if you’re medium to olive skinned, and for darker skin tones than that, just look for something close to your own skin tone, with just a hint of pink. Apply only to the crow’s feet, after you’ve already concealed dark circles.

Woman applying pink lipstick.

Choose Your Lips Carefully
While in the long term, proper care and maintenance of your lips should let you rock any color you like without issue, for now, aim for various shades of mauve and pink. These colors are subdued enough not to draw attention to the fact that your lips may be thinner than they once were (a problem you’ll no doubt fix with time and attention), but still give your face a youthful “pop” and rosiness.

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Addressing Vitamin A Deficiency in Infants in Poverty

Doctor examining an infant

Vitamin A, like every other vitamin, is essential for health and well-being in humans. This isn’t exactly a disputed fact, and if you’ve read many of Vine Vera’s other articles this week, it’s one you’re no doubt familiar with. That said, one thing we haven’t paid particular attention to yet that deserves a spotlight or three is the need for proper nutrition in the youngest part of the population, namely: unborn infants, newborns, and toddlers. These ages are no doubt formative in a number of ways. Psychologically, the experience a young child has at those ages is quintessential for developing into a happy, emotionally balanced adult. And physically speaking, nutrition at that age is so important as to merit very, very serious attention, as improper nutrition at that time can lead to lifelong health problems, or even death.

Think About All the Children, Not Just Yours
That said, in developed countries like ours, infant and toddler nutrition is relatively easy to do right. Granted, it still deserves attention, and you should absolutely talk to your OBGYN while pregnant, and make sure you follow dietary advice to the letter (this is your kid’s future we’re talking about after all), and likewise seek professional medical advice after birth and throughout childhood.

But if you have a reasonable, stable income, this is not hard to do. It requires only that you take the initiative to do it. The rest of the world, though, is not so lucky. Nutrition is a huge issue in undeveloped and under-developed countries; it’s not enough to simply have food, even if one has enough food to keep one full and satisfied. Recall that all the macronutrients (carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins) and all the micronutrients (vitamins), in addition to certain essential trace minerals, aren’t just good for health, they’re required, and if lacking any one of them, serious consequences occur, eventually and inevitably leading to death if untreated. Again, we have it easy in developed countries; so long as we have a halfway-decent income, it’s simply a matter of making good choices, and we’re covered nutritionally. Those in poverty do not have that luxury, and may not have an easy solution for nutrient deficiencies.

Addressing Infant Vitamin A deficiency in Undeveloped and Under-Developed Countries
That said, there is promise for this predicament. Studies are currently being proposed that aim to assess the effect of giving newborns a large dose of vitamin A on the first day of life. The research has yet to be conducted, but the idea is that a big dose on that first day could leave infants with a large supply to draw from during that formative time of life. This is a promising notion, because if true, it would help assess the problem in situations where regular supplementation is difficult.

So keep a lookout, and if you have the inclination, do consider donating to any cause that helps people in poverty receive access to better nutrition (not only in regard to vitamin A, but anything that helps the affected people receive a more complete and nutritious diet). Vine Vera hopes you have a clearer picture of the need for it after reading this.

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