Fabulous New Year Resolutions

Make it a “Fabulous New Year “.

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Around this time of year, many of us are preparing ourselves mentally for all the things we want to “give up” in order to get the body we want: dessert, alcohol, carbs, late night snacking, etc. How many of us have considered finding spiritual and behavioral solutions, instead, to achieve fulfillment, rather than drastic diet changes to achieve the perfect body? Plus, hey, that fulfillment may just lead to wiser choices in the kitchen and indirectly affect that waistline!

Here are some resolutions that I consider to be very reasonable, enjoyable even (not scary like giving up chocolate!). In fact, how about we add more of something instead of less?

1. Read more.

Now, while reading tons of articles and blurbs online can keep you well informed, I’m talking about a more therapeutic version of reading — real books (or readers)! It could be an informational book, a memoir, or, better yet, a novel — don’t underestimate the benefits of tapping into your imagination and getting lost in a made up story. The idea is to connect to one subject or text rather than a sea of clicking on links. This is more calming and focused than surfing the web. Even as little as five pages each day will give you some fundamental brainpower!

2. Give more.

Volunteering your time is a great way to do this, especially if you’re tight on money. Think about who and what you enjoy being around — animals, children, elderly, special events — and combine that with your strengths or availability. If you’re available during afternoons, you could tutor at an elementary school. If you never know when you’ll have some spare time, become a volunteer to socialize animals at the local shelter, where you can likely drop in. The time commitment may seem overwhelming at first so treat it like a real part of your schedule. The rewarding feeling is unmatchable.

3. Cook at home more.

I truly love to wine and dine, but I appreciate it more if I’ve worked hard all week to feed myself healthily, budgeting my funds and avoiding add-ons to every meal like drinks and dessert! Buying and cooking large batches of everything and having leftovers available is a good way to avoid the urge or need to dine out or stop on the way home to get food. You also won’t want all your groceries to go to waste!

4. Sympathize more.

This will help you to get angry less. Technically, you allow anger to arise, but you choose to not react. Of course there will always be frustrating and unfair people or situations, but how you react is your choice. Think of one reason, in every situation, why that may have understandably happened. This always helps me leave the situation peacefully. For example, what if that driver who cut you off is someone’s grandma? You wouldn’t want someone to flip off your grandma if she made a mistake! Sure, it could have been a jerk who always drives like a maniac, but you don’t know that. Give people the benefit of the doubt, assume they’re trying their best even if it doesn’t show. For your own sanity if nothing else!

5. Call friends and family more.

Yes, on the phone, not just a text message! Where would you be without those people?  Relationships feel more meaningful when you’re up to date on others lives. My cellphone is my best friend; I make use of driving time while maintaining my relationships with the people I care about. Going for a walk while talking is a double whammy (I’m just saying, we could all use a little fresh air.)

6. Forgive yourself more.

Have you ever eaten two slices of cake and told yourself you’ll definitely start a juice cleanse on Monday morning, only to realize you’re hungry for breakfast Monday morning? Stop making drastic promises! You’re setting yourself up for failure and habitually doing this is a vicious cycle. Sometimes I’ll dwell on what  I should have done or what I could have said to someone. Look, its all said and done, just bounce back and move on!

7. Separate from your on line media more.

I am so guilty of checking Facebook as I’m out or even going for a walk down the street, as if walking were just too simple a task. Take in the fresh air and your surroundings instead of looking down at that little screen all the time. Leave your phone away from you when you are involved in a task such as dinner at a restaurant, in a meeting, in class, or — god forbid — sleeping!

8. Be early more.

Being habitually late is not a good quality to have ( I admit, it is a bad habit of mine.) It reflects several other unbecoming qualities: lack of self-discipline, organization, and even common courtesy. Resolve to set your alarm eight minutes earlier, or set your clocks ahead. Think about how good it will feel to arrive places with enough time to settle in.

9 . Go outside more.healthy

Make a conscience decision to get outside, walk on the beach, go to your local park, walk to the market. The weather may seem a bit chilly, but the cool brisk air could be just what the doctor ordered. Instead of holing up inside and thinking lots of negative thoughts, bundled up and get warm my moving those muscles. Bundle up fido and take him along too, nothing clears your mind like seeing your furry friend enjoying the cool breezes and smelling the fresh scents in the air.

10. Waste less!

Doing your part for the environment can give you great purpose when you commit to it. Always keep reusable bags in the car in case you decide to stop at the store on your way home, turn off the water while you brush your teeth, and hey, the less processed foods you eat, the less in your trash!

Sometimes the only thing standing between you and your best health is your priorities. Resolve to take care of your emotional and spiritual self. Happy people tend to have no battles in their diet. They listen to what their bodies tell them about what and how much they need. Maybe you’ll drop some pounds, or maybe you’ll realize that you’re beautiful just the way you are. Start from within, because you are fabulous.

Fabulous Listening Skills

How to be a Fabulous Listener~listening

 

 

As the holidays approach and social events are in full swing, we will have the opportunity to get together with our friends, new and old alike. It is the perfect opportunity to think about the conversations we will be having and ponder on what indeed makes them memorable or forgettable.

I have unfortunately known many people whom while in the midst of a conversation begin looking around, scoping out the room, perhaps deciding who they are going to converse with next. They seem to get tidbits of the conversation, but their mind is never full engaged. I have also known many great listeners, one in particular always comes to mind because she has such a way of making you feel like you’re the only person in the room and that nothing outside of your conversation at that time matters. I am always drawn to the latter and those are the individuals that end up becoming life long friends. Listening to others, to understand what they are going through or what is on their heart makes someone feel special. It makes someone feel appreciated, heard and less alone, which many people in this world feel.
Becoming a better listener improves who you are as a person. When you are ‘present’ in the moment, you are not already thinking of your next response to someone’s comment, or seeking out a way that you can relate to them by rifling through your mental file of your past. Many people treat conversations as a competition and are ready to fire out the next joke, comment or fact. However, being present is so important to our overall well-being and it allows us to retain more information and better assimilate information for future reference. We know by now that multi-tasking doesn’t really exist. We need to be focused on one thing at a time. Have you ever talked to someone on the phone who was driving, putting away the dishes at home or worse-surfing the net while talking to you? We can always tell that they are not fully paying attention, so I’m not sure how they think they’re fooling anyone.
I am amazed at how some of my friends, who are good listeners, can recall certain specific information about me or something I had mentioned one time, long ago offhand. Those are the friends that I consider to be my true friends, the ones that put themselves aside for a few minutes and really listen. Don’t we all want to be a better friend, partner, person? Here are some tips below that will encourage you to listen with both ears.

Becoming a Fabulous Listener

1. Maintain Eye Contact– This lets the speaker know that you are listening. You can incorporate acknowledgements by nodding your head too which shows that you are paying attention. There’s nothing worse than talking to someone who is looking around the room, starting down to check their phone and generally appearing disinterested. Eye contact is key.
2. Don’t Interrupt As much as you want to jump in with a similar experience or mention something you heard on the news that relates, resist the urge. Interruptions can cause the person speaking to lose their train of thought. Besides, cutting people off and constantly interjecting is just plain rude. It tells the person speaking that what you have to say is more important than what they have to say.
3. Stop Fidgeting– Many people fiddle with their clothes, twirl their hair or slouch in their chair which shows boredom and disinterest  (whether they realize they’re doing it or not) and can actually distract the person who is speaking, whether it is a formal or casual setting. Sometimes, what someone says may not be of interest to you, especially in a long lecture but just press through and know that it will be over soon. Try to sit up straight, avoid fidgeting and instead focus on the person speaking. Remember that what you have to say might not always be interesting to everyone around you, so be gracious.
4. Repeat Their Words– To show the person speaking that you are listening, repeat what they said or comment and say something short like, ‘Wow, I had no idea that Bali, Indonesia had so many beautiful places to surf’. Be sure to keep it short though so you don’t distract them or wind up taking over the conversation which can be easy to do.
5. Avoid Distractions- Whether you are meeting someone for business, joining some friends for coffee or spending time together with your spouse, the most important thing to do is eliminate distractions before they arise. If you go out to dinner to catch up, make sure your cell phone is off and that your kids are left with the sitter. Set yourself up to be a better listener that will not be distracted by other people, noises, phone calls, the TV, computer and the like.
None of us are without flaws and I can certainly attest to being a poor listener at times, especially when I have a lot on my ‘to do’ list. Everyday I strive to become a better one though, especially in my own home. It’s easy to take someone close to you like a spouse for granted, especially when you may have heard the same story many times before and feel like you don’t need to hear it one more time.

It takes practice, but the reward of being fully engaged is worth it. Is there anyone in your life whom you admire because they are such great listeners? Maybe you experience people who constantly interrupt you? Does their behavior inspire you to become a better listener? Take cues from those that you admire. Becoming a Fabulous listener will not only improve your friendships, but will also improve your life.

Looking Fabulous

Always Looking Fabulous~

If most people’s grandparents were alive, they would be appalled at the things we wear in public.

I’m not even referring to things that are too sheer, tight or revealing, either. It’s more about how casual we dress for any situation that involves leaving the house. It’s not uncommon to see full-grown adults in pajamas, out and about, as if wearing flannel pants cheerily festooned with a sports team was just as valid as wearing jeans in public. Which it isn’t. At best, it’s the most severe form of laziness one could ever experience. At worst, it’s the sign that putting on jeans — hell, even workout pants, which are the city dweller’s equivalent to PJ pants — has become too much effort.

Looking back at photos from our grandparents’ generation, everyone looks so dapper. Their clothes fit. Their hair is combed. They do not look like they’re on day 6 of a weeklong bender. And there is not a baseball cap in sight. While it would be ridiculous to go back to ’50s standards of dress, with stringent girdles (for the ladies) and sock garters (for the gentlemen), I think we do need to reassess what our clothes are saying about ourselves.

Let’s take a look at a few common situations where people used to dress up from our grandparents’ days.

Airplane Travel: Come on people is it too much to ask you to change out of your pajamas and put on something appropriate before boarding an aircraft? (That goes for anyone over the age of 3) Yes, we all want to be comfortable, but that does not mean sweatpants or worse yet, pants that hang down our backside. Have some respect for yourself.

Grocery Shopping: I’m not saying you must don a hat and gloves, a’la our grandmothers. But a little style wouldn’t hurt either. Put a comb through that hair. If you don’t want to put on makeup then a nice pair of Jackie O style sunglasses and a little lipstick can do the trick.  Show you care about your appearance.

Going into town or a night on the town: This one baffles me, as to why someone would not want to get dressed up to go out and about! If you are going out, its an opportunity to get dressed up. Especially if you are meeting friends or having a night with a significant other, go ahead and show that you put some thought into your wardrobe and that they matter to you!

I realize that times have changed, and that everything today is about comfort. But if you put a little thought into your wardrobe and throw away that which is dated and over-worn, you can be comfortable and still look classy & fabulous in the process.

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Rosewall's ShopCrowd on 42nd St. and 5th Avenue, NYC circa 1940s

Fabulous Relationships

Relationships can be hard. Sometimes, really hard. Finding somebody you want to spend time with can be difficult enough, but once that happens, you’ve got to deal with the difficult task of maintenance: holding hands

This includes keeping things fresh, finding time for each other, and generally just coming up with ways to navigate the tricky ups and downs every partnership faces. It’s enough to occasionally drive anyone—even those in the most secure relationships—crazy. Lucky for you, we’ve come up with 25 relationship tips—some big, some small—that’ll help you improve any partnership. We’ve got 25 relationship tips that you can start implementing right now, so start reading!

1. Listen. It might sound obvious, but when you really allow yourself to listen—and ask questions about—what your partner says, it not only leads to better conversations, but also better communication.

2. Take a few days apart. Missing each other is a great way to reconnect. Try grabbing some girlfriends for an overnight or a weekend getaway every few months.

3. Find a support team. Have a handful of great friends or family members you can call so your significant other doesn’t have to hear every small grievance going on your life.

4. Put away your phones. One of the biggest relationship tips is to give your undivided attention when your partner is speaking. It’s is one of the most important things you can do.

5. Volunteer together. Giving back is a great way to keep perspective of how great your relationship is, and how lucky you both are.

6. Create a checklist. Jot down new and fun things you want to accomplish for the day, week or even for the year as a duo.

7. Talk to couples over 65 years old. Get relationship tips from them, and see what you can take away to apply to your relationship.

8. Take a class. It’s proven that couples who learn together connect deeper. Find some common ground (cooking? art? science?) and go from there. Take a class together

9. Revisit the questions you asked in the beginning. What are you hoping to accomplish in the next year? What are you scared of? These answers change, so we need to keep asking these questions.

10. Find 10 things you really love about them and tell them. Guys need confidence boosters, too! MORE: Here’s the One Time You Shouldn’t Text Your Boyfriend

11. Stop nagging. Seriously, stop. Take a step back and figure out the big things about your partner that truly bother you, and approach them from a place of concern and support instead of nitpicking for sport. That’ll get you nowhere.

12. Get over needing to be right. Learning to say “I was wrong” is a skill worth learning. Sometimes you just have to say to yourself “I can be right, or I can be happy.”

13. Take care of yourself. No relationship can be successful if you don’t feel good about yourself, both inside and out, mentally and physically.

14. Know what you need, and then ask for it. You’re dating a human, not a magical psychic. They don’t know unless you tell them.

15. Stop and appreciate all that your relationship is this very second. Stop living for what it can be. This person is choosing to be in your life every day, not every day in the future.couple

16. Stop complicating things that aren’t complicated enough. Don’t pull a Carrie Bradshaw during the Aiden years: If you bemoan the fact that your relationship is going too well, you might need to revisit why you’re constantly seeking out Drama.

17. Assume that if something was said that hurt your feelings, it wasn’t intended that way. Why would they want to upset you or hurt you? Give your partner the benefit of the doubt, but if it’s really bothering you, don’t be afraid to bring it up.

18. Write notes. Whether you have study hall together or live together, handwritten notes are personal touches in today’s highly digital world. A random sticky note left in a lunchbox, on the bathroom mirror or in the car can brighten someone’s day!

19. Pitch in. Help each other with chores and other necessary, if banal, activities — cooking, cleaning, re-organizing, etc. Not doing them if you live together can create tension, and always doing them can create unfair expectations. Act as team of equals.

20. Disconnect. Step away from the laptop during quality time. Everything on the Internet will still be there later. You can always update your Facebook status later.

21. Allow things to be what they are. Sometimes bad days and bad moods happen. Don’t take it personally. Don’t go crazy trying to make everything better. Just be supportive and loving, because just being there at the end of a bad day can make it better for both of you.

22. Create mini-traditions. Creating small rituals can really help hold up a couple because they become “your thing.” Whether it’s a fancy night out during the holiday season, or watching a certain show every week, these are things that’ll give you both something to look forward to, and it’ll bring you closer together.

23. Be an open book. They can either deal with it or they can’t, but if you can’t be your most honest self with this person, it’ll come out eventually.

24. Compliment, and often. You’re there to make each other feel like your best selves, so let the genuine praise flow freely. Like his outfit? Tell him! Like her hair today? Let her know! Be sincere and genuine, but don’t hold back that compliment!

25. Acknowledge positive actions. This is one of the most important things you can do. When you and your partner see positive actions, solutions, or behavior in one another, acknowledge it, and remind each other to keep it up. Everyone wants to know that their positive actions are being appreciated.

The best relationships are ones in which both partners feel like the luckiest person in the world. 
Find ways to communicate that and foster that feeling in each other, and you’ll be on your way to a fabulous relationship!

The 50 Most Stylish New Yorkers: 2013 Edition

The Fabulous 50 Best Dressed!

StyleCaster

Autumn in New  York is like nowhere else in the world: The days are bright, the muggy heat of summer subsides, and the city itself seems re-energized as locals bid farewell to leisurely long weekends and prepare to buckle down and face a new season.

Then, of course, there’s the fashion. September is really the industry’s biggest month, as richly-textured fall collections arrive in stores and New Yorkers can finally ditch their summer garb and start trotting out their best fall looks on their way to appointments, the office, and — yes — New York Fashion Week. The magazine world heralds the new season by rolling out big cover stars on their September issues, all clad in fall’s most covetable designer pieces.

To celebrate the fall here at StyleCaster, we’re proud to present the 2013 edition of the 50 Most Stylish New Yorkers. Every year, we tirelessly comb the city…

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Fabulous & Sexy

How to be look Fabulous & Feel Sexy!

#1  Get yourself clean. Bathe daily.  But don’t wash your hair everyday, especially if it’s colored! This will fade your color and dry out your hair. Feeling and looking clean is crucial. Wash with a nice smelling body soap, a loofah or with a bathing sponge and you will smell great. Get out and pat yourself dry with a soft, fluffy towel, and rub in some rich body oil that doesn’t smell strong. You need to be soft and able to cuddle at all times, don’t neglect your hands, elbows, and feet. If possible try to layer matching scents on your body, such as soap, lotion, powder, and perfume. For example: If you bathe with a citrus smelling body soap, try to wear a citrus-smelling lotion also. Also make sure you shave your legs and underarms. Have deodorant on so you don’t have sweat stains.bathtub
#2  Practice good dental hygiene. This includes brushing, flossing and even mouth wash. Clean your tongue with a tongue cleaner or a spoon every morning for fresh breath. Get a check up and have your teeth cleaned often. Invest in a good toothbrush, water pick, and mouthwash. Always keep mints or breath spray on hand.
#3  Get groomed. Work with what you’ve got. But keep it neat and tidy. Trim finger and toe nails weekly, remembering to clean under the nail. No fancy nail polish colors are needed, but a simple beige color looks delicious. To do your eye brows with tweezers numb them with an ice cube then soothe them with any cream but if you can an Aloe Vera based one and pluck away. This takes away the pain and gives you full precision on the shape you want for your eyebrows. Or just wait until you get out of the shower, it’ll hurt less.  Once every 2 or 3 weeks, have a pampering day, including a manicure, pedicure, facial, and bubble bath, even if it’s just a spa day at home.
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#4 Style Your Hair. Make a trip to the hair salon. A new cut or style will make you feel sexy and confident. Having a change of hair color is nice, too. Go for something natural and not too dramatic. Deep condition your hair at least once a month. In the mornings, flat iron your hair or put it in a messy bun, depending on your style. Adding extensions or a wig can radically change an everyday look from “ho-hum” to “wow” to turn a few heads. Studies show that most men are more attracted to longer hair. This is because longer, glossier hair is associated with health; if you get ill, the first thing the body stops maintaining is your hair in order to concentrate on sustaining more vital areas. And in terms of evolution, it makes more sense for a guy to be attracted to a healthy girl, it’s become natural to be attracted to hair that looks more healthy. Get split ends treated for shinier hair and use heat protectant to prevent them from coming back.

#5  Create flawless skin. Do a steam facial maybe once a week for up to 10 minutes, to open up your pores and get rid of blackheads and acne. To do this, get a bowl of boiling water and a towel, and just sit with your face in the steam, using the towel as a little tent/mini sauna over your head and the bowl. Doing it for longer then 10 minutes will just stress out your skin, which will just make it worse, so be careful. Wash your face right away afterwards with a cleanser made for your type of skin. Then rinse and splash your face with cold water to close your pores or, alternatively, get an ice cube and wait for it to melt a little. Then smooth it gently over your face until it melts; this closes your pores and prevents dirt going back into them. An alternative to this is to use a facial scrub to get rid of flaky, dead skin cells

#6  Show your personal style. If you are comfortable and look good, you will feel good. Forget trendy, find what looks good on you and your body type.
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#7  Look in the mirror.  What features you are most satisfied with? identify them and play them up,  show them off with clothes, makeup, or accessories.  If you seem to know what you’ve got, others will get the message and notice you for what you have.

#8 Invest in a good pair of jeans. Dark denim looks good on all body types.

#9 Pick clothes that flatter your figure, and that you feel comfortable in. There’s no point picking the latest fashions if you don’t feel comfortable in them. Pick clothes that make you feel like ”you”.

#10 Wear jewelry that excites you. Find colorful, fun, bright chunky necklaces and bracelets, but if you wear lots of pearls and beads, don’t wear a shirt that has a pattern or a picture on it. Wear a monochromatic top with lots of multicolored jewelry.

#11 Black is sexy. It hides fat, creates curves and makes you feel like a goddess. Invest in an eye catching LBD.
#12 Sexy undergarments. But don’t flash them. Be classy about it, otherwise you look trashy. Try to maintain class as much as possible, while still being sexy.
# 13 Wear make-up. Just make sure not to go overboard. Subtle is very sexy in the same way that less is more. Accent one feature at a time. For example, one day, put on lip-liner, bold red lipstick, and mascara. For another day, wear subtle pink or clear lip gloss, and wear eye-liner to make your eyes stand out. If you need help creating a look, a mall makeup counter or independent beauty consultant would be happy to teach you for free.

7-Secrets-Of-Being-Pretty-Without-Makeup
#13 Get-in-Shape. Create an at home workout plan. Crunches and lunges equal flat, hard abdominal muscles, lunges equal toned legs, and squats equal a toned backside. Running or jogging works all muscles of the body and increases your stamina. Plus, the hormones your body releases while exercising carry on through your evening activities to contribute to your new sexy attitude.

#14 Sexy doesn’t equal skinny. Men are attracted to all body types. Curvy women are sexy too. Its all about the confidence you exude.

#15 Sex appeal involves a belief in yourself that you can and will appear sexy. Most public icons or even film stars carry their sexiness in their confidence. Even a simple smile shows confidence and appeal. In fact the starting point to sexiness starts with confidence. Find your passion in life.  Do you love to dance?  Act?  Sing? Listen to music that makes you move your hips? Remember, confidence is the key to being fabulous.

Fabulously sexy at any age…

While the idea of receiving sex advice from your grandma might seem a little uncomfortable, you should definitely listen to what this badass older lady has to say. kisses

This week, Esquire published an excerpt from Dana Adam Shapiro’s You Can Be Right (Or You Can Be Married), a collection of conversations with divorcees. One of the people Shapiro interviewed was a 98-year-old woman named Pauline. After three marriages and an affair, Pauline has plenty of love and sex advice to dispense.

Here are four pieces of wisdom that she had to offer:

1. “First of all, you have to be sexually compatible. That’s very important. If anyone tells you different, they’re nuts.”

2. “It’s very hard to spice things up after ten years. If you haven’t got that feeling, and he hasn’t got that feeling, get a divorce. It’s the only way. You’re better off alone. Because when you live with someone that doesn’t make you happy, it’s miserable. It’s worse than being alone.”

3. “You have to give all of yourself to make the other person happy. But you have to make it so that you each want to give that much.”

4. “You’ve got to have a lot of passion and you’ve got to have a lot of feeling. Without feeling, there’s nothing, it’s just an act — and that’s no good.”

Pauline seems like a pretty sage lady if you ask us.

Click over to Esquire to read the full interview with Pauline.