One of the biggest compliments a woman can ever receive is being asked to be someone’s maid of honor. It means that you are the one they trust to make sure their wedding day is the happiest day of their lives. It means that (minus the groom of course!) you are the one they want standing beside them during all of the festivities. It also may mean that you will need to roll up your sleeves and help out your best friend for the next few months. I recently had the pleasure of being my sister’s maid of honor and a couple months later she was mine. Here are some of the things we feel makes a “MOH” truly exceptional.
Weddings don’t magically come together. It takes a lot of time, money and DIY projects to get everything how the bride envisions it. As a maid of honor you should be the one offering to help to get things done. Trust me, helping out with the 500 paper cranes needed for wedding favors will take a load off of a busy bride and make her feel like she doesn’t have to do everything alone.
Bridesmaids dresses can be good, bad or just plain ugly. I have never met a bridesmaid who absolutely loved her dress. I have heard numerous stories about people throwing fits because they hated the color or fit. It’s fine to voice your opinion but it’s really not up to anyone besides the bride and groom what the bridal party wears. As maid of honor its your job to encourage an accepting attitude among the rest of the wedding party. When it’s your turn you can make everyone wear lime green taffeta. It’s only right.
Bachelorette parties don’t have to equate to a Vegas trips. You are the one who knows the bride the best so you should know how this party should be thrown. If the bride is more conservative, a stripper and jello shots probably won’t be her idea of fun. It’s up to you to plan a night that’s all about her and get everyone involved. Ask for a list of her friends and their contact info and plan something special!
In a perfect wedding the bride should never know if something is going wrong. This means no vendor should talk to the bride or groom on their wedding day. If questions need to be asked or checks handed out it’s up to you to take care of it. Make sure all the vendors have your phone number so they can call you with any problems. It’s also helpful for a MOH to call these people a week before the wedding to confirm all plans. It may be a lot of work but your best friend/blushing bride will thank you.
A bride looks forward to hearing the toasts at her wedding. It’s a time for her to hear the people she loves wish her well as she starts her new life and family. Please don’t get on the mic and bring up embarrassing stories. Make it something for her to remember. Something that shows thought and adds personal touches is a given tearjerker. She will always remember what you said and how you made her feel, make sure you put in the effort!
We’ve reached 2013 and I’m sure the one common resolution on most people’s list is to get in better shape. Having been a NCAA Division I athlete, I promised myself that I’d never pay to workout. Why pay to workout when Cal was footing the bill? However, when I graduated, I finally saw what everyone else was doing. They were signing up for Yoga ($35/class), Barre Method ($25/session), and Equinox memberships ($225/mo). I couldn’t believe that people were paying to kick their own butts. $35 for a class isn’t too expensive if you’re just taking the class once. But like anything, to really get results, you’ll need to stick to a routine. That means that you should be following your regimen at least 3 times a week. 3 times a week x $35/class x 4 weeks, rounds out to a cool $420/mo! If you’re like me, you’re not-so- keen on paying big bucks to stay in shape. Free is where it’s at, so here are a few free workout routines.
I do my best to stay long and lean. That means I do a fair amount of cardio work, combined with short explosive movements. Hill work is perfect for this. Usually I run/warm-up for 30-40 min before starting my hill routine. Once warmed up, I do the following: 2 sets of five, 40 second hills (run as far as you can for 40 seconds, jog back to the bottom, and repeat. Adjust your rest and intensity as your fitness increases. Beginners should walk down and rest at least 90 sec in between each rep. Take 5-8 minutes in between sets.) 2 sets of five 30 second hills and a cool down. I keep my heart rate up, and my tush in shape.
The beach is amazing if you’re prone to impact injuries or if you just want a little extra resistance. If you’re near the sand dunes, I highly suggest putting in an hour of work on them. No sand around? Go to a park and run on grass or dirt. There’s not a ton of resistance, but they are both easier on the joints than concrete.
Find a bench that’s about 2 feet off the ground and start some circuit work. Rotate between dips, step-ups, burpees, box jumps, push-ups, wall sits, and core. Keep moving for at least 30 min.
Grab a pair of sneakers and head to a local trail. There are many great things about hiking. 1. You can control the intensity of your workout based on your trail, 2. You get the added benefit of enjoying the scenery, and 3. It’s easy to convince friends to come along. Everyone loves a beautiful hike.
If you’re in L.A., you can go to the Santa Monica or Culver City Stairs. If not, head to your local high school. Beginners should walk the first few times, but as soon as you’re ready, start running. I do 3 sets of 10 continuous up/downs. Fill your rest in between with core work.
Ok, so you really want to take a class, but you aren’t sure that you want to invest the money? Many classes offer free trials. Dirty little secret: Right out of college, a friend and I class hopped, just taking the trial class of each fitness routine. I don’t necessarily suggest doing that, but remember that you can always try a class before you buy.
No matter how you choose to get your workout in, the most important thing is that you have fun and safely test your limits. Keeping your workouts fun will ensure that you stick to your plan. Be sure to keep track of your heart rate. If you're aware of your resting heart rate, and heart rate during workouts, you'll be able to appropriately manage your intensity. Once you’ve gotten into your routine, don’t be afraid to bump up the intensity every once in awhile (with your doctor’s blessing of course). Your workout will get easier over time, but don’t just settle in your comfort zone. Mix it up!
Are you tired of spending money on food only to have it spoil before you eat it? Me too! Every year, American households throw away an average of 470 lbs. of food because of spoiling and poor storage. I don’t know about you, but 470 lbs. of food could feed me for a LONG time! Here are some ways to save yourself some cash when it comes to groceries!
Fruits and veggies should be stored separately in the crispers because the gases given off by different types could cause others to rot prematurely. To absorb moisture, lay a paper towel on the bottom of the drawer and replace when wet.
It is best to wrap leafy greens in a dry paper towel and then put in a perforated plastic bag and replace paper towel when it becomes moist. Tip: if you are looking for a lettuce that lasts longer, buy Romaine!
This great site I found lists fruits and vegetables and where they should be stored to last the longest. Check it out!
DO NOT store dairy on the door of your fridge. The temperature from opening and closing the door is too warm for the very perishable items. Instead keep things like milk, butter and cheese in the body of the fridge where the temperature stays more consistent. Always keep cheese in the original container until opened, and then wrap in plastic and store in a plastic bag or airtight container.
Meat is something you should be very careful with since it can spoil easily and can cause illness when not handled properly. Always store meat in its original packaging and never place on top of where produce or other foods are kept. If the package didn’t come with a tray, place a pan underneath to catch any drippings.
Tip: Freezing is a great way to keep meat fresh until you want to use it! Just make sure it’s in its original packaging or wrapped tightly.
You know those little egg trays most refrigerators have on their door?? Or the cute ceramic trays you can buy at Sur La Table? DON’T use them. Eggs need to be stored in their original container as they are built with holes to keep air flowing. Also, like dairy, eggs can spoil quickly when in warm temperatures so it’s best to keep them off of the door and inside the fridge.
Herbs are very similar to fresh flowers because they both need to be kept in water. Trim the stems and place in a cup of cold water and put in the door of your fridge (since this is the warmest area). Change the water and re-trim every 1 or 2 days. Basil or mint store best when in water on the countertop. Always cover the tops of herbs with a loose plastic bag.
Store all leftovers in airtight, clear containers (preferably glass!) and always refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking. It is best to divide food into small flat containers so that they cool faster, but waiting for the food to cool down before storing is unnecessary since most modern refrigerators can handle the heat! Also never store anything in an opened can. Once the can is open, metal on the rim can leech into the food.
Since I started researching how to keep foods fresh longer I have had to throw away WAY less food, which is much better for the environment and my pocket! I have also found that my fruits and vegetables taste better and I eat them more often. So it’s a win for my waistline too!
The holiday season is right around the corner. That means cocktail parties, cocktail dresses, and of course, the classic LBD. What that also means is you’ll need to gain the will power to "just say no" to your pants with the elastic waistband this Thanksgiving and in the weeks that follow. Here are few simple, easy-to-follow tips to enjoy your holiday eating and imbibing without the guilt.
Exercise in the morning
Plan a hike with your family and/or visiting guests, join a local group bike ride, or check out local fitness facilities that offer special Thanksgiving or other morning classes. On Turkey Day, check to see if your hometown holds a Turkey Trot or another fun 5k or 10k race on Thanksgiving morning. Many of these races exist around the country and most of the proceeds benefit food banks and local charities trying to feed the hungry.
Including physical activity on the mornings of the most gluttonous season of the year means you will be able to increase your metabolism for the day and will likely make better food choices when at the dinner table. If you decide to indulge in an extra slice of pie or glass of wine, at least you’ve burned a few calories first!
Maintain your workout schedule
Company, club, and family parties may interfere with your regular workout schedule. Checking your weekly schedule at the beginning of each week is a good practice to keep, and even more so during this time of holiday commitments. When holiday parties interfere with your workouts, reschedule your workout at a different time. Don't skip your workouts, even if it means abbreviating them. Squeezing in 15-20 minutes will still provide you more benefits than not doing anything at all.
Don’t skip breakfast
In order to prevent guilt-ridden overeating and letting out the waistband on your trousers, eat breakfast. Do not skip meals earlier in the day. Prepare healthy meals or snacks before your dinner to avoid feeling famished, which can result in overeating.
Use smaller plates
I know... you are already dreaming about plates laden with Thanksgiving goodies. But if you want to keep your summer shape, you will have to serve yourself smaller portions all winter long. Serve yourself 1/3-1/2 of what you would normally put on your plate. If you opt for a second serving you should still serve yourself a smaller portion. With this approach you will consume at least half the calories of holidays-past.
Practice conscious consumption
Rather than eating mindlessly while deep in conversation, look at what you stick your fork into before putting it in your mouth. Enjoy the flavors while savoring the food as you chew slowly. You will be less likely to eat the food that is not as satisfying to you, become satiated faster, eat more slowly (which means you will have less time to go up for seconds), and enjoy the taste of your meal at the first plate.
Enjoy this holiday season! And if you follow these tips, you'll be able to do it while staying the same size into the New Year's Eve party. Read: you won't be one of those frantic weight loss fanatics fighting over the treadmill at the gym, madly trying to lose the nine pounds gained over the course of the five weeks of winter holiday festivities. Instead, you’ll look stunning and chic as you ring in 2013.
Long distance relationships are not for the fearful; they’re for the audacious.
The brassy, bold + brave.
You exchange massive time alone for fleeting doses of joy with your beloved.
Critics say the long-distance relationship is doomed.
“You can’t go on that way forever,” they tout.
But you insist you can.
And as long as you do, you’ll be required to practice the qualities of faith + fortitude
Independence + imagination...
It’s for those who find possibility in the improbable.
It can be a shelter for the non-committers, for, the less-than-motivated.
Yet, to be enamored with someone’s absence is to be a quintessential romantic.
And who can thwart the benefits?
The urgency of every second together. Because they all count.
Elation rushes in as each kiss is savored, every touch cherished.
Reality is divinely air-brushed + memories pristinely sealed—set aside to be deliciously revisited later.
On the phone your makeup is perfect, your legs are always shaved + your sweatpants and decal tee shirt become silk shorts and a lace bra.You never have to pick up his laundry, wash the dinner dishes or ask him to finally for-the-love-of-god-turn the TV off. How many times can you watch Transformers, the movie, anyway?
Yet, love + doubt aren’t mutually exclusive.
And in the case of long distance relationships bliss can certainly require sweat.
:: giving too much + getting too little in return
:: wanting to close the distance gap but repressing the need to express it for fear of “rocking the boat” + risking a breakup.
:: tired of living a double life. one with their partner + generally, a bigger one without their partner
:: being crushed by anxiety + jealousy.
And oh, those phone bills! Distance can work for friends + relatives but when it comes to romantic love, the long distance relationship will always fall short.
Short on satisfaction.
There is a rare population of couples that can pull it off–and the only reason it works is that it genuinely works for them. Both feel they are getting their needs met + do not secretly wish for an alternative situation.
If that’s you, congratulations. Ignore everything I said + keep on keepin’ on.
But the chances are that it’s not you, because the only way to make a long distance relationship work is to close the separation gap—eventually.
Short-term long distance relationships: not usually a problem. Long term, open-ended distances are the stuff hell is made of. With the imperfections + benefits of long distance relationships glaringly clear—-
Do you stay or go?
Roll the dice or walk away now?
The answer begins + ends with the truth.
Always with the truth.
How deep do the roots of this relationship go?
Deep enough to sustain your spirit during the days + weeks of separation?
What do you need from your partner on a daily basis?
Witness what comes up for you. Write it down. Articulate it.
First to yourself + then to him or her.
Can he or she provide it?
Will your situation allow it?
You know the answer.
Even when you deny that you do.
Your heart + gut want to educate you on limitations, expectations + salutations.
When to go harder.
When it’s been enough.
When to very lovingly, calmly say:
I loved you while I could. As best as I could. With all I could.
Thank you for you. When I had you.
And love pulses along in spite of it all.
You really don’t want to be that person at the gym who gets a wrinkled nose pointed at her because her clothes might not look or smell so fresh. You might be thinking, “I’m just gonna work out. What does it matter what I wear?” But I say, “You’re a put-together woman and your clothes—gym, work, or otherwise—ought to always convey that message.”
Spending a little extra cash on high quality and durable workout clothes is worth it because they’re designed specifically to stand up to all that you’re going to put them through -- sweat, those awkward yoga positions, etc. Since they are a bit more expensive than your old ratty tee and sweats, you’re going to want to take extra care of them to make sure they last you as long as possible. What’s the best way to do that? Try this:
Those are the fab five tips to keeping your workout gear lasting long and staying funk-free. It’ll keep you looking fresh at your workouts too, so everybody will know that you are that girl—the Made Woman.
If you had invited me to a party a couple years ago, I’d have told you I had to wash my hair. Or my stomach hurt. Or my head exploded into a migraine. Or my face melted off. You name it, I’d use it as an excuse. Unless I knew everyone at said party, I wanted nothing to do with it. People I don’t know well make me…squirmy. I grew up in a tiny town and graduated high school with a whopping 20 other people – I never learned how to meet new friends because I never HAD to.
My lack of outgoing-ness doesn’t mean that I don’t have friends or that I don’t like to go out and have a good time (I can find a few bartenders to vouch for that), but the situation has to be “just so” before I’m down to do it. The problem with that, obviously, is that it’s not exactly conducive to making new friends or starting new relationships.
If any of this sounds sort of like you, and you want to do something about it, I have some good news for you: you can change. I made the decision to start pushing myself outside of my comfort zone a while ago; and while yes, it can still be pretty uncomfortable, the situations you force yourself into are usually nowhere near as bad as you imagine. So how can you put yourself out there more and start acting like a functioning, normal member of society? I’ll let you know how I did it.
Just Say Yes
Seriously, stop with the excuses. If someone invites you somewhere and you feel yourself fumbling for a way to say no--quit it. Say yes, dammit! If you have no other plans, there’s NO reason for you to not go to that party, networking event, girls' night out with some people you’ve never met, etc. You are not going to find a date or a new friend by sitting on your couch stuffing take-out pizza into your face. The more people you know, the stronger your social network is…and that can lead to all sorts of potential benefits. Force yourself to say yes, and follow through. It may feel weird and it may produce a little anxiety, but you can do it and you’ll most likely be glad you did.
Do Something New
A cooking class was offered to employees at my new job not too long ago. The old me would have thought, “I don’t really know many of my coworkers yet, I can’t even cook a Hot Pocket, who am I going to talk to? Will I end up standing in a corner alone hiding behind a skillet?”, etc. etc. The new me pushed those thoughts out of my head and focused on the fact that I’d be getting free food and wine--at the very least--and at the most, making some new connections. If your work offers group activities, sign up for a couple. If there’s a gym in your neighborhood, go take a class. If you’ve always been interested in sailing, take a lesson. Do not let that little voice in your head telling you to avoid new, potentially uncomfortable situations, win. This is about taking control of your fear/anxiety and forcing yourself to think about social situations differently. You have to put yourself out there or nothing is ever going to happen to you!
Let Down Your Guard.
When I go out with my girlfriends, at least one of them usually ends up talking to a guy. Me? Not so much. I’m the girl who’d rather go off and dance by myself than have some random dude in my face asking me what my sign is. I’m instantly on guard with guys and it only starts coming down when I’m familiar with someone. But how do you get familiar with a new person unless you…ya know, talk to him? So now I at least exchange a few sentences before I make an exit. You never know who you might meet unless you give them a chance, and if they’re a creep, there’s always that emergency, “Excuse me, I have to go to the restroom!” excuse.
When I was younger, I was told several times by people that when they first met me, they thought I didn’t like them. Or that I was probably a bitch. I would always feel a little stunned by this, but then it dawned on me. I never really smiled, I pretty much would just give short hellos at work and go about my business, I didn’t make a ton of eye contact; or if I did catch a glance, I’d usually look away. These things all communicate disinterest. It wasn’t because I was a mean person – I was just unsure of myself and let’s be honest, was a bit socially retarded. Once I was aware of how I was coming off, I made a conscious effort to look people in the eye and smile when I walked by them, to say hello to that random stranger in the elevator, to not walk around with my head down and to ask coworkers questions just to make conversation (anything involving weekend plans, i.e .“how was your weekend?” on Monday and “any plans for the weekend?” on Friday is a good start). Everyone is more attracted to a person who has a smile and a friendly “hello” ready.
Listen, if you’ve never been extroverted and it feels completely unnatural to you to chat up strangers all the time, you may never be considered a social butterfly… but you don’t need to be! Everyone is different. I still have my days where I revert to my more withdrawn self, but the important thing is that I put forth the effort to make little changes here and there. I’ve definitely made more friends and connections in the process, and people who’ve only known me for a year or two are always surprised when I tell them how painfully shy I used to be. It’s an ongoing work in progress, but it’s definitely worth the effort.
You get up in the morning and proceed to have an hour long prep session before you even start your day. You use enhancers, creams, and miracles on yourself before you feel ready to face the world. But what about when the day is over and you come home? Do you just crash? If your answer is yes then sister, we have a problem. We are all guilty of it; even me, I confess. But we can’t neglect ourselves at night and then look for a quick fix to combat our laziness (yes, I said laziness). I have learned that if I spend a little extra time simply practicing some self-love with my pre-bed beauty regimen, then I really have little need for extra products. Here are a few beauty tips for right before bed; I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me.
Bedtime Beauty Tip No. 1: Always wash up.
I’m guilty of skipping this step -- and I’ve got to stop! Sweat, dirt, makeup, the day’s grime … all of that sits on our face at night, clogging our pores and aging our skin. So use a gentle facial cleanser and lukewarm water before going to bed, and follow up with a mild toner. And the last and most important step, don’t forget to moisturize your body and skin before bed. (I will too. Pinky promise.)
Bedtime Beauty Tip No. 2: Never sleep with your hair in a ponytail.
No matter how exhausted you are, it’s important not to leave your hair elastics in, because they can cause breakage. If you want to avoid morning tangles, try sleeping on a satin pillowcase. It’s easier on both your hair and your face.
Bedtime Beauty Tip No. 3: Brush and floss every night.
If you skip the dental care at night, you’re not just in for a huge lecture at your next dental cleaning; you might actually be making yourself look older too. Brushing removes stains between and around your teeth, and for healthy gums you’ve got to floss too. Poor gum care can cause your gums to recede, making your teeth look longer -- and you older!
Bedtime Beauty Tip No. 4: Let your feet breathe.
Keeping your feet in socks may keep them feeling toasty, but it also creates a moist environment where foot fungus can breed. Yikes!
Bedtime Beauty Tip No. 5: Keep a glass of water by your bedside. Not only will this help if you wake up in the middle of the night dying of thirst, but also you are supposed to have a glass of water pre-breakfast to dull hunger and rehydrate. Remember, glowing skin comes from water.
Bedtime Beauty Tip No. 6: Don’t eat right before bed.
It is so important to eat within a reasonable time of your bedtime. When you eat right before bed, you don’t have a chance to burn off the calories. Certain foods and eating too much right before bed can lead to a restless night of sleep.
Bedtime Beauty Tip No. 7: Get your beauty sleep.
I know you really want to stay up late to watch your favorite show, talk on the phone, or peruse the internet, but beauty sleep is no myth. Your skin needs time to heal and restore. Plus, who wants under eye bags?
I hope you use these tips to re-energize your bedtime regimen. Instead of just crashing and waking up looking like a wreck, put in a little extra effort at the end of the day and stay looking young and healthy. Sweet dreams!
I’ve always lived my life on the run. As a former collegiate athlete, I would run from class to class and then to practice and back. Everything was go, go, go. When I finished school, I still hustled, but I noticed the people around me were so busy working and networking that they didn’t take time for themselves. After starting full-time work, many of them gained upwards of 20 pounds, felt sluggish or were faced with health concerns they never expected.
Some things in college tend to stay with you. For me, maintaining a balance between staying busy and staying fit has remained a priority. Others may struggle to find time to workout between an 11-hour workday, lunches, drinks and endless networking functions. Despite these constraints, there is a way to set and achieve manageable health and fitness goals. And, even if you don’t think finding time is necessary right now, consider this upstream prevention. You’re far less likely to face health concerns, like Heart Disease and Type 2 Diabetes, if you take small steps now.
Here are a few suggestions to consider when setting and following through with your health and fitness goals.
It’s great to have lofty goals (i.e., losing 20 pounds, finishing a triathlon etc.). But sometimes these goals are too far off and can become overwhelming. Create benchmarks for yourself. If you note your progress along the way, it will make your end goal seem more achievable. The concept of dropping two sizes won’t feel so overwhelming and you can bask in the success of your positive day-to-day decisions. Plus, you’ll be more aware of what is and isn’t working in your routine. This will allow you to make changes.
Remember the ‘Why’
Make sure that you’re invested in your goals; you’ve created them for a reason. Maybe you wanted to lose weight, train for a half marathon or simply lead a healthier lifestyle. There’s an emotional weight behind accomplishing each of those tasks. No one wants to run a half marathon just to do it; they’re proving something about their physical and emotional capacity. Remembering why you picked this goal will help when your “self-motivation” starts to wane - that moment when don’t know why you’re waking up at 5 a.m. or why you’re passing on that slice of strawberry cheesecake. Having a goal that you’re connected to will help you answer the why. And, before long, your choices will become habit.
I work out 6 days a week. Some of my friends claim that they can’t find the time. Curiously, they find time to watch The Good Wife or Game of Thrones. Let’s be honest, we make time for what we want to make time for. When it comes to creating health/fitness goals, time management is a must. I find time to watch my favorite shows but I’m never just watching TV. While I watch, I’m doing abs, push-ups or an interval workout on the treadmill. No one says that you have to workout for 4 hours every day. If you take a serious look at how you spend your time and what those activities add to the essentials in your life, I promise you’ll find time for your health.
Birds of a Feather…
Flock together, yes. Look, it’s much easier to maintain goals if you are surrounded by people with the same values. I’m not saying to totally switch out your friends, but I am saying that it could be helpful to join a gym, a recreational league or bribe a friend to join you on your health quest. Your support system will help you stay accountable. If you’re already having a hard time staying motivated, there’s nothing worse than being surrounded by people who encourage you to veer off track. The little devil on your shoulder will give you plenty of reasons ‘why not’ to work out or skip McDonalds.
Don’t forget who you’re kickboxing or cutting back on milkshakes for. It’s YOU. You are the most important element in setting your fitness goals. Don’t set goals or hold back pursuing this change based on what others think, want or need. Invest in yourself! YOU are important, YOUR health is important and YOU are in control of your body.
Good health is essential to a happy life. If you want to increase your chances at functioning longevity, you’ll need to make your health a priority. This means eating healthy and staying active despite the pressures and time constraints of life. You can do it! Step by step you will reach your goals.