November 30, 2017

Facing Up To Stress

Life is one big stressful mess. Well, not for everyone, but at some point during the course of our lives we all encounter stress. Work stress, family stress, social stress; you name it, you can encounter it. Stress happens to all of us, but you can’t really avoid your job, family or paying the bills, so it’s something you must learn to manage rather than run away from. Stress management will differ for everyone and the level of stress you encounter will also be different for you. Everyone handles stress differently, but there’s one thing we all have in common when it comes to stress, and that is how we wear it.

Stress marches across our faces because we frown. We have different emotions that invoke different facial expressions and those expressions eventually wear into our skin. Stress shows up on our weight, our skin, our hair and our nails, and it’s important to recognize what stress does to your appearance so that you can combat it before it has a chance to truly take over. Businesses like Cosmetic Laser Dermatology make it their mission to help those who are wearing the effects of stress by reducing the physical appearance of stress on your face. You want your face to stay as fresh for as long as possible, and if you can recognize these signs of stress you can also learn what to do about it.

Bags Under The Eyes
One of the first places you can wear your stress is under your eyes. Stress affects your sleep patterns in a big way, as the stuff you have to get done for both family and work can cause insomnia. If you’re not getting enough beauty sleep, fluid can pool beneath your eyes and collect into bags. This leaves you with a puffy mess under the bottom eyelids and when you’re trying to conceal how stressed you are, this becomes increasingly difficult! Getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night can help you to reduce the puffiness, and you should start avoiding bringing your smartphone to bed with you. Keep electronics out of your sleep space, and there are plenty of studies like the ones you can read here to tell you why! Cucumbers under the eyelids, wet and cold teabags and cold metal spoons are all there to help reduce swelling under your eyes, so get creative!

Yellowed, Bloodshot Eyes
Your eyes can tell a lot about you, and it’s not just about the bags we mentioned earlier. Your eyeballs should be bright white and clear, and it’s a good indicator of health if they’re not. Bloodshot eyes are an obvious sign that you are burning the midnight oil and not sleeping very well, and yellowed or dull eye whites can show you to be dehydrated and exhausted. If your eyeballs are yellow, heading to the doctor to check on your liver function wouldn’t be a bad idea! Keeping well hydrated and ensuring you’re not spending hours every night staring at a screen can lessen the bloodshot cracks in your eyes.

Dry Skin – Watch It Flake
Stress doesn’t just affect your eyes. Your skin type can change with the simplest of life changes and stress is the biggest out there. When we are wound up by work and family, we tend to stop drinking as much water and we don’t do as well with our personal health. Stressful situations also push up our caffeine intake in a big way, so you will find yourself upping coffee and soda, which can have a harmful effect on your previously normal skin. If you aren’t staying well hydrated, you will find your skin drying up and flaking. Firstly, you need to keep drinking water, even when times get hard. Keep moisturizing your skin with a good serum and up your intake of water-filled fruits and vegetables.

Spotty Skin
This is going to depend on your usual skin type, but there is a chance that your skin could go the other way from being dry and flaky, and instead grease up and spark a spate of acne across your nose and cheeks. Skin issues flare up with hormone change in the body and with the disruption in balance between good and bad bacteria, spots tend to form. Doing meditation every day, even for ten minutes a day to alleviate some of the stress that you are feeling is the best thing you can do to stop your skin from changing dramatically with the stress in your life. Again, hydration is key for your skin and you need to do this with fruit, vegetables and a ton of water. Using a good concealer and having regular facials can help to lessen the burden your skin feels trying to keep up with how busy your life has become.

Blushing? Nope.
Did you know that stress can make your skin flare into a red hue? When we are stressed, we often forget to breathe properly and instead take shorter and more shallow breaths. You can even find yourself holding your breath. The key to reducing redness in your face is taking slow, deep breaths to bring some oxygen back into your face. Flushing under pressure is common, but it’s an absolute pain to cope with as you are practically wearing your emotions on your face and everyone can get a good look. It’s just not what you want to deal with, sometimes! There are makeup solutions like these that can help you to conceal the redness and nourish your skin all at the same time. Calming your skin and cancelling out any redness should be a priority to avoid embarrassment, and avoiding the stress in the first place can really help you there.

Your skin is going to be the first place you wear your stress, with your hair and nails following on soon after. Don’t let your skin show you up; manage your stress early and you can avoid showing the world you aren’t coping very well!

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

November 24, 2017

The Big 13! How To Get The Right Gift For A New Teen

Every birthday is special when you’re a child, but perhaps the big 13 deserves a little something extra. It’s the first year of being a teenager, and it’s quite the landmark age when you’re a child. It symbolizes the transformation away from being a kid. That means that, at least in their mind, things need to be much more ‘grown-up’ from now on. So how on earth can you buy a present for the big 13?

Special Interests
Now, more than ever, it’s important to cling on to those hobbies and special interests that a young teen is most passionate about. Life will be changing a lot in the next couple of years. Special relationships will come and go, friendships will change, and homework will start to pile up. There will be less time for the things they love right now. A gift that encourages holding onto that might be really important to them.

Sports is a good place to start for the active teen. Most kids are quite keen on at least one sport. It might be tennis, athletics, or football. Maybe they’re a really big baseball fan. It doesn’t matter if you know next-to-nothing about these things. You can find what you need online most of the time. This blog post explains everything you need to know about baseball gloves. Just look for the specialist websites and blogs that offer advice on the sports your new-teen is most interested in.

Another reason for using special-interest websites is that it can avoid the hard sell from going into a store. Sales staff on commission might take advantage of your lack of knowledge and push items that aren’t really what your gift recipient needs. It’s best to pick up the information you need and then make a purchase decision.

If you’re not keen to buy equipment or kit for fear of getting the wrong brand or size, why not try a coached course? Special training from a reputable sports coach can offer amazing opportunities. This is a very common practice in golfing circles. You can find one-off lessons or even residential courses for most sports. It offers a great experience and plenty of memories that will last a lifetime.

The Arts
Creative kids often have a passion for the arts. They might enjoy storytelling or creative writing. Perhaps they’re pretty handy with a video camera? Some children are very musical, singing or playing a musical instrument like a guitar. Others are very talented with a pencil and sketchbook. This is a difficult age for a child. While they might still find great comfort in their chosen art form, social commitments and schoolwork will soon get in the way.

If you can nurture the talent that your new-teen has, you might be able to help them develop a passion for life from it. These extra-curricular interests are so important. They are really good activities to enjoy when you need some downtime from the pressure of schoolwork. They’re perfect when you’re on your own, and even better when shared with a friend. So what kind of gift can you get to help them develop their talents?

Lessons are always a good approach, but they don’t tend to come cheap! Instead, you might be interested in buying some supplies. If they like art, you might buy a set of watercolors, or invest in a canvas or two. What about a new lens or filter for their camera? There are thousands of books in the stores offering in-depth how-to guides for any special interest topic. If it’s music they love, why not invest in some sheet music or recordings of their favorite artist?

Special Activities
Whether it’s sports, the arts, gaming, or gardening, a special event or activity could make the perfect gift. Conventions, exhibitions, big games, or concerts are perfect as a gift at this age. It gives your thirteen-year-old the chance to see how the pros do it, and can light a fire inside them for their own passions in life. Dancers might love a chance to attend the ballet. Classical musicians might like the Symphony, and basketball fans might love court-side tickets.

There are conventions and exhibitions for every special interest you can think of. The best way to find them is to check out the classified advertisements in the back of magazines on the subject. You can always type in the hobby and then the word exhibition into a search engine to see what comes up. You don’t have to be interested or knowledgeable about the same things to be able to come up with an awesome gift.

Adult Responsibilities?
Thirteen is a really good age for your child to start taking on more grown-up responsibilities. If you’ve been putting off getting a pet, why not consider it now? A pet for your child will encourage them to prioritize others over themselves. They’ll need to do the yucky jobs that are usually left to parents to deal with. Most importantly, they’ll have a reliable playmate and friend through those tough teenage years.

Dogs and cats are the most popular household pets in America. Both require a lot of care and attention. Dogs, in particular, require regular exercise and so will ensure your new-teen is also getting plenty of time outdoors. It’s not easy at this age, but a loving pet can make a wonderful companion and help maintain healthy, active lifestyles.

Thirteen might be a good age to start using a bank account. Why not pay their allowance into their bank account each month? This gives them the means and the responsibility to budget and choose what they spend their cash on.

Pocket money in cash might still be a good idea, but why not try a prepaid card as well? These can often be used to pay for goods and services in the mall and even online. They’re not connected to a bank account. All that is at risk of being lost or stolen is the value on the card at that time. It’s a good way to start learning about responsible spending and budgeting. What made a good gift for your thirteen-year-old?

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

Festive Touches That Will Bring Your Employees Christmas Cheer

If you run a small business, it's likely your team of staff will probably be a little like family. Your employees will have been the ones who have helped your business grow into what it is today, and are vital to its future success, development, and longevity. Therefore, it’s important that you let them know how key they are to your brand, and that they all feel appreciated for their hard work and dedication. Thoughtful rewards and some effort to acknowledge your staff will ensure that they remain motivated of work hard for you and it will keep up the momentum during the new year when it can be challenging to get back into things after the holidays.

There’s no better time than the festive season to spread some cheer and to give those who work hard for you some treats to thank them. Making an effort to be kind to each member of staff will not go unnoticed, and you’ll reap the rewards in the future. With a small or modest team of people behind you; there’s no excuse not to put in the effort they deserve, so get out your notebook and pen and start writing down your ideas. The following are some tips, advice, and inspiration for the little touches you can bring to the workspace this Christmas so that your team feel festive and appreciated.

Decorate Their Space
Nothing says Christmas like the addition of festive decorations to a space, so make an effort to get some trimmings to adorn the office, studio, or wherever your team work from the most. You can get everyone involved; pop on the music for a couple of hours and encourage people to hang streamers and ribbons, and make their desk their own winter wonderland. Perhaps you can bring in a synthetic (or real) tree if there’s room; again, it’s the perfect chance to hang up, and decorate with string lights and baubles, and don’t forget the star at the top!

Ask everyone to bring in their own decorations if they want to so that they can personalize their work environment to their taste. Don't forget to be mindful of those who may not celebrate Christmas as you do, and get their thoughts on the decorating process. Festive photos from years gone by, cards to each other, and other traditional items can be placed around the room to give people even more of a reason to smile when they’re at work. Bowls of festive candy and the odd plate of something baked is another great way to make the time of year feel special, and your staff will know that they can grab a treat when they need a boost during the day. Christmas music can be a little overwhelming, especially in a work environment; however, you could keep it on in staff quarters, or only play it during lunch hours and break times.


Cards And Gifts
If you want to make sure that your team feel really special at this time of year; you could spend some of your free hours choosing gifts for each of them and writing words of thanks. Christmas greetings can double up as thank you cards and you can look into designing some that are specific to your business or brand. The message within each of your cards can be different, and it’s worth picking up positive points that you’ve noticed throughout their last year of working with you. The card will be something that each person can keep, perhaps on their desk, and in their drawer in the new year, and look back on whenever they’re having a stressful day and need a pick-me-up. Little touches like personal messages can keep the momentum in an office high as your workforce will be motivated to do their best for you and exceed last year’s expectations.

You don’t need to spend a fortune on gifts; it really is the thought that counts. Try and pick things that you feel your team will like, enjoy, and that reflects their personality. If someone is an animal lover; adopt a wild animal for a year, or perhaps someone is known for their skills in the kitchen and would appreciate a cookery course or some new kitchen equipment; the possibilities are endless, but they will mean so much when each gift is received. For some affordable gift ideas for your employees, take a look here: and get some inspiration before you head to the shops or an online store.

Christmas Parties
If you don’t feel that individual gifts are appropriate in your workplace; you can still treat your team by organizing a festive celebration before everyone leaves for the holidays. The size of your company will often reflect what you get up to at this time of year, so take some time to think about what your staff will enjoy doing, and where that might be. Perhaps a party in the office space is the best way to start; you can do a gift exchange, eat and drink, and have a dance to some music (it doesn’t have to be Christmas music). Depending on the mood of the get-together; you could head out to a bar afterwards and dance the night away!

For a more intimate and chilled-out affair; book a room or a table at a nearby restaurant, and treat everyone to dinner and drinks. You could ask them to bring partners or a close friend so that it’s a chance for everyone to get to know one another on a more personal level. Bonds are often strengthened through office get-togethers, and your Christmas shindig is the perfect excuse to create a solid and happy workforce. Give your cards and gifts over at the table and enjoy everyone’s reaction. Take plenty of photographs to hang up in the office in the new year, and use your strong relationships with your employees to your advantage; it’s part f your brand identity, so you can pop the odd picture on your social media or website. Have fun this time of year, and focus on those little things that make a big difference to your team at Christmas.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

November 21, 2017

BLACK FRIDAY DEAL ALERT! Ulta's Be Gorgeous 76 Piece Collection

I love makeup kits. Cute, portable, filled to the brim with cute makeup....I mean, what's not to love?! The Ulta Be Gorgeous 76 Piece Collection is a beautiful makeup assortment which contains all of your beauty essentials in a cute, on the go case!

Over $200 worth of makeup is packed into that cute little briefcase and it can be yours for just $19.99!

Here's what we're working with:

The kit includes:
  • 11.4" x 8.8" x 4" x 2.43" purple patterned case
  • 42 Eyeshadows in matte light pink, shimmer light pink, shimmer rosewood, shimmer plum, shimmer periwinkle, matte purple, matte light blush, shimmer copper, matte rust, shimmer light blush, shimmer blush, shimmer rose, shimmer chocolate, matte bone, shimmer beige, matte khaki, shimmer khaki, matte camel, matte tan, matte chocolate, shimmer champagne, shimmer peach, matte light peach, shimmer cream, shimmer gold, matte buff, shimmer bronze, matte light yellow, shimmer light green, shimmer olive, matte green, shiner white, shimmer grey, shimmer teal, matte white, shimmer light blue, shimmer blue, shimmer navy, matte taupe, shimmer taupe, matte black (0.03 oz each)
  • 6 Gel Eyeliners in black, purple, bronze, brown, navy, charcoal (0.02 oz each)
  • 4 Color Correcting Concealers in yellow, lavender, green, pink (0.05 oz each)
  • 4 Eyeliner Pencils in Blackout, Plum, Denim, Mink (0.02 oz each)
  • 3 Brow Powders in taupe, medium brown, deep brown (0.03 oz each)
  • 3 Glitter Top Coats in silver, bronze, rose gold (0.03 oz each)
  • 2 Eyeshadow Primers in champagne, nude matte (0.02 oz each)
  • 2 Bronzers in shimmer, matte (0.08 oz each)
  • 2 Blushes in coral, nude pink (0.08 oz each)
  • 2 Highlighters in gold, peach (0.08 oz each)
  • 2 Matte Lip Creams in Stirring (deep plum matte), Courageous (medium bluish brown) (0.03 oz each)
  • 2 Color Rush Lip Glosses in Brigitte (medium blue pink), Elizabeth (medium plum with slight shimmer) (0.03 oz each)
  • 1 Cream Highlighter in pink (0.08 oz)
  • 1 Brow Wax (0.02 oz)

Out of over 200 reviews, it currently holds a 4.5 star rating out of a possible 5 stars so I'd say it's a pretty good product with an excellent value. I should also mention that Ulta offers free shipping on purchases $35 or more, so now might be a great time to get some Christmas shopping in!

No affiliate links were used in this post - I just wanted to share this great deal!

November 20, 2017

The Dos And Don’ts Of Gift Giving On Your First Christmas Together

Danbo, Christmas, Figure, Together, Hand In Hand, Love

If you’ve found love in 2017, there’s a very strong chance that it was your highlight of the year. Christmas time is the perfect chance to celebrate that relationship, meaning this year’s festivities will be better than ever.   
Still, given that the relationship is in its relative infancy, you don’t want to get it wrong. In truth, your love story is unique, so there’s no one right or wrong answer. Nonetheless, here are some dos and don’ts that most couples can live by.
Do: Show You Care
December 25th is a day of love and happiness, even if you don’t follow the Christian faith. Personalized jewelry from Name Necklace Official can be the perfect token of your love. Alternatively, you could buy something that celebrates their passions or hobbies in life. Showing that you’ve thought about their individuality is key.
Don’t: Force A Potentially Awkward Situation
Unless your partner has asked for clothing, avoid it like the plague. Getting the wrong size can cause a lot of hassle while there’s also the issue as to whether they want to wear it. If the answer no, either they’ll feel awkward for wearing it or you’ll feel awkward because they don’t. Three words: play it safe.
Do: Make A Gesture For The Future
Your first Christmas together is special. However, it hopefully won’t be your last. If you’ve yet to enjoy your first holiday together, booking one at Sensimar Samui can be awesome. It’s something you can look forward to, and shows your ongoing commitment. Besides, given the volume of other presents, buying another bottle of their favorite fragrance won’t be appreciated anyway.
Don’t: Make A Gesture For Your Entire Future
Showing that commitment is great, but it’s very rare for couples to arrive at a place for lifelong commitments within 12 months. Getting an engagement ring could prove to be a nightmare. On a similar note, it’s probably too early to think about a pet or a mortgage. Those three words ring true once more: play it safe.
Do: Spoil Your Lover
Your lover has brightened up your year and life. Therefore, he or she deserves to be treated. As your relationship is young, you should use this opportunity to be spontaneous and carefree. Whether it’s an instrument, a games console or something else doesn’t matter. Get them a gift that they wouldn’t buy for themselves, and it will make their Christmas infinitely better.

Don’t: Make Them Feel Inferior   
On the other hand, you do not want to spend huge sums of money to the point where your partner feels that their present looks rubbish. Opting for a charitable gift that keeps giving can be very useful. Alternatively, you could look to a present that can be improved with accessories further down the line. Take a wild guess... That’s right: play it safe.
The Final Word
There’s no need to put pressure on yourselves. As long as you put your heart into the present while maintaining a slither of responsibility, you won’t go far wrong.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

Want The Perfect Wedding? It's All About The Little Details!

bride, cake, ceremony

It's hardly surprising that most of us want the best possible wedding. After all, your wedding is that once in a lifetime moment where you and the person that you love get to stand up in front of everyone in your lives and promise yourself to each other for the rest of your lives. However, when people are trying to create the best possible wedding day, they have a habit of only focusing on the big stuff -- things like the venue, the dress, the food. Of course, all of those things are incredibly important and forgetting about even one of them has the potential to completely ruin the day. That being said, if you really want to elevate your wedding from good to incredible, the only way to do that is to think as carefully as possible about the little details that might fly under the radar for a lot of people. Here are a few of the little details that can make your wedding truly perfect.

The Theme
A lot of people assume that their wedding just doesn't need a theme. And sure, not everyone is going to want a Star Wars or Doctor Who themed wedding. However, just because you're trying to keep your wedding simple and classy, it doesn't mean that it couldn't benefit from some kind of theme. The best wedding themes are ones that, rather than being incredibly obvious, simply act as the glue that holds everything together. Say you want something like a 1920s theme for your wedding. That way you'll have a much better idea of everything from the colors and decorations, to the music and the kinds of clothes that everyone should be wearing on the day. You don't even need to tell your guests what the theme is, but as long as you've got it in the back of your mind while you're planning everything, you're going to be able to create the most cohesive and well thought out wedding possible.

adult, beautiful, bride

Most people are attending your wedding for no reason other than the fact that they're excited to see you and your partner promise yourself to each other forever. So why not repay that kindness with a little treat for them? Wedding favors for the guests are a great way to keep people talking about your special day for years to come. One of the best ways to elevate little gifts for your guests is to come up with something totally unique and personal to your wedding day. Why not try putting something like Sandsational Sparkle sand ceremony sets with lids on the tables where your guests are going to be sitting. That way not only will they have something to take away with them but they will also make great conversation pieces that guests can enjoy and appreciate on the day. Sure, you may not want to end up spending huge amounts of money on gifts for your guests, but small gestures to let them know how much you appreciate their presence really can go a long way.

Place Settings
The place settings for a wedding are one of those things that a lot of people only really think about in purely functional terms. After all, they're not exactly the most exciting or interesting things in the world. However, you need to think about it from your guests' perspective. The table settings are often the first things that they see when they sit down at their assigned table, so you want to make the best possible impression don't you? Things like handmade place settings can add a huge amount of charm to any wedding that will really impact the way your guests feel. You don't want to go overboard to the point where they're distracting, but paying a bit more attention to your place settings can turn them into a truly elevating factor in your special day.

Music is one of those things that plays a much bigger part in any wedding day than a lot of people realize. Sure, it's not the kind of thing that's going to make or break the entire day, but it can often have a huge impact on how a wedding feels more than anything. The best thing to do is to think about the kind of music that represents you and your partner the best. What are your tastes? What fits with the theme? What conveys the kinds of feelings you want in your wedding? If you don't think about these kinds of questions, then the music in your wedding is going to end up being much more generic and uninteresting than you would like. Remember, the music doesn't end just because you've had your first dance.

Color Scheme
One of the biggest issues that a lot of weddings have is that they simply don't have any kind of cohesive style about them. This often leads them to being incredibly generic and plain looking. One of the very best ways to avoid this is to have some kind of unifying color scheme in place. That way you've got something that you can refer back to every time you're trying to figure out what the best ideas for decorations are. Figuring out the right color scheme is going to depend on a lot of different factors. Everything from your personal taste to the venue to the time of year is going to have a pretty major impact on the kind of color scheme that you end up going with.

You might think that a lot of these things are so simple and small that no one is really going to notice them. And you actually have a point. A lot of the time, these kinds of things are going to go unnoticed by a lot of people, on a conscious level at least. It's a good idea to think of these things as the eyebrows of your wedding. After all, when you look at a person's face, you probably don't spend much time paying close attention to their eyebrows do you? However, if someone walked up to you and they didn't have any eyebrows, you'd sure as heck notice right away! These little details might go unremarked upon buy your guests, but they are almost certain to notice if they're missing.

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.

November 17, 2017

5 Tips For Buying a Gift for the Nature Lover In Your Life

If you’ve got someone in your life that loves going on adventures in the outdoors, then congratulations: people who are passionate about the outdoors are some of the easiest people on earth to buy for -- that is if you know what you’re looking for. Below, we take a look at a few tips that’ll ensure you’re able to get them a gift they’ll love this Christmas.


What Do They Like To Do?

People can generally like the outdoors, but they’re normally more passionate about one specific aspect of it, say hiking, biking, or bird-watching. Knowing that they like to do will be your starting point for choosing a gift. Once you’ve figured out the activities they’re doing in nature, you’ll be in a good position to figure out what type of gift will be useful/wanted by them.

Looking at what they Need

When it comes to the outdoors, there’s a fine line between needing and wanting an item. Most of the time, they can get away just fine without one particular product, but where’s the fun in that? One of the best things about the outdoors is the cellar full of supplies you get to play with when you’re there. If you don’t want to ask him or her directly what they want, you can always ask one of their friends, or read up on the latest gadgets in outdoor magazines. Be aware, though, that some people become irrationally attached to their favorite outdoor equipment. Just because you’re convinced they need new hiking boots, that doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily think the same.  

Using in the Mountains and the City

People love being in the outdoors, but the truth is that people often don’t get as many opportunities as they’d like actually to do so. As such, an alternative to a specific item for outdoors would be to buy them something that is equally at home in the city as it is nature. The best tactical wallet, for instance, will be rugged enough for nature, but stylish enough for the city. There are also many fantastic watches that will give your loved one a cool, outdoorsy vibe even when they’re wandering through an urban landscape.

More Information

Nature lovers really can’t get enough. It’s not just about the time they spent there; it’s about knowing as much as they can. As such, one of the best gifts you can give them is access to more information, be it through movies, books, or talks. If you live near a city, there might be an outdoor film festival traveling through at some point: two tickets would be a perfect gift!

Recording the Moments

Finally, you can also use Christmas as a way to get your loved one into a new hobby that’s built around their love of the outdoors. Buy them a camera, notepad, or GoPro, and they’ll be able to use their passion to get creative.

Remember, if it’s cool and connected to the outdoors, they’ll love anything you buy them as a gift! 

*This is a collaborative/contributed/partnered, compensated post. The copy, content, images & opinions are not my own.