Simple Style Tips to Make Your Outfit Outstanding

2:21:00 PM
Student living is cheap living. When you were in school, you had to work hard to pay for rent and tuition. With those large expenses kept at bay with a student employment paycheck, you probably didn't have much left over for your wardrobe.

However, now that you've started a career, you might look at your clothes and realize they need a little help. As you dress for success at work, the clothes you unashamedly wore to class (i.e. pajamas. Admit it.) just don't cut it anymore.

Your clothes show off your personality, so don't feel you have to throw everything out. You'll want to throw away, give away, or reimagine your favorite items and revolutionize your wardrobe by adding a few simple pieces.

Style Your T-Shirts

Ah, the humble T-shirt. We all have one, but if your dresser drawers overflow with them, you should go through and decide if you need them all. Ripped, stained, or ill-fitting T-shirts have no place on your body, but don't let the pendulum swing in the opposite direction either. If you love T-shirts, keep your favorites, and style them differently.

Most T-shirts need some help to look fashionable. Instead of wearing one with jeans, pair your T-shirt with a pattered pencil skirt. It's an unexpected, modern take that will turn heads. Or, keep the T-shirt and jeans combination, but add a blazer to the mix. A fitted blazer will bring the outfit together and give it a more tailored, complete look.

Invest in a Tailor

That "fitted" or tailored look is something you should aspire to in most of your outfits. If you like the Bohemian style's loose and flowing clothing, you might think you don't need this step, but you're not immune to it either. Regardless of clothing style or fabric, you need to find clothes that fit your body.

To make your clothes look like they were made just for you, make them just for you. How? Invest in a tailor. You might think this step is extravagant, but you can find local tailors who charge reasonable prices for their services. You just need to shop around. While you certainly don't need to tailor your entire wardrobe, a few customized looks will make you feel like you've stepped out of the pages of a magazine.

Keep Your Feet Comfortable

Whoever said "Beauty is pain" should rethink their priorities. Give your poor feet a break; they deserve it. You can wear comfortable shoes that keep your style in mind. If you have to be on your feet all day, have chronic foot problems, or just want to walk in comfort, buy shoes that give you support.

Research online and local retailers that focus on style and comfort. You can also purchase replaceable insoles that form to the shape of your foot and outsoles that reduce pressure. These shoes will still match your style; you'll just be more comfortable at the end of the day.

Follow Fashion Blogs

When you flip through a magazine at the grocery store, you might wonder how people put those fashionable outfits together-and where you can buy them. You can stop wondering and get a style coach by clicking a button.

Use Instagram, Tumblr, and other blogging outlets to follow your favorite blogs. Each blogger has a different style and focus. Some are avant-garde and use luxurious fabrics. Other can help you DIY a stylish wardrobe without breaking the bank.From geek chic to retro glam, if you can think of a style you love, there's a blogger out there for you. Follow a few to get varied advice and tips to make the most of your clothes.

Balance it out

Once you purchase new clothes, it's tempting to wear your favorites all at once. Sometimes mixed-and-matched styles and patterns work well, but its a fine line between stylish and garish. Most of the time, you'll need to balance out your outfit by using only one interest piece.

An interest piece can be anything that stands out with a bright color, a different texture, or an intricate pattern. If you place too many interest pieces in the same outfit, the eye doesn't know where to focus. Instead, wear basic pieces to set off your unique pants, shirt, or accessory.

Plan ahead

As you shop, plan ahead. We all have clothes hanging in the closet or stuffed in a drawer with the tags still attached because we can't figure out what to wear with them. If you have an entire outfit in mind as you shop, you will get more mileage out of your clothes.

Have a game plan before you check out. That way, you'll avoid buyers remorse-and have an outstanding outfit to wear to work.


Happiness = Less Stress!

1:46:00 PM
"Happy" by Pharrell Williams is the kind of catchy song that gets stuck in your mind for hours (or days in my case). You know the song, “(Because I’m happy!) Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof! (Because I’m happy!) Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth! (Because I’m happy!)…” I've run into a gazillion folks who, like myself, have made this jovial tune their smartphone ringtone so that even on the gloomiest of days each phone call (even the not so great ones) at least start out with a little happiness.  


All kidding aside I have yet to meet someone who did not long for happiness, even just a little bit, in their lives every day. But each day brings with it its own anxieties and stress. Whether you are a nurse, teacher, hair stylist, dog groomer, judge, or juror, (or all of the above if you’re a mom!) you know all too well how quickly stress can build up and start to wear you down—eroding your happiness. I stumbled onto Happify.com, a great website that uses scientifically designed games and activities to help you build your happiness skills. Happify.com says that 7 out of 10 people say they experience stress every day. Almost 1 in 4 women report feeling extreme stress during the past month (compared to just 1 in 6 men)...not really surprising if you are in the healthcare profession. Work overload, time pressures, sleep deprivation, understaffing….and the list goes on and on….can quickly cause stress levels to skyrocket. 


How can we bring those stress levels back down to earth? 

We have to SPRING into action. This spring let's make a few changes in our lives to bring the stress levels down and the shoot the happiness levels through the roof. To help you remember 6 ways to help reduce your stress levels just think S-P-R-I-N-G! 

Sleep: Sometimes it seems virtually impossible to get enough quality sleep. However, sleep deprivation has been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, as well as problems with decision making, solving problems, and controlling emotions. A quick 10 minute nap during the day can boost alertness and performance. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (www.nhlbi.nih.gov) recommends going to bed and waking up at the same time each night if possible. Keep your bedroom cool, quiet, and dark to let your mind know it’s time for sleep (this means put the tablet or smartphone down—it can wait until tomorrow).  
Prioritize: Keep things in perspective. Prioritizing daily tasks is a major way to gain a measure of control over stress. Make a list of things you have to do for the day and try to do the most unpleasant or difficult tasks first so that as your day progresses the tasks become easier and the day less stressful. Break large tasks into small steps and delegate when you can.  
Relax: Although you may feel you simply don’t have time to relax, even a 2, 5 or 10 minute relaxation break can help. Take a quiet walk around the building, sit quietly for a few minutes breathing deeply, or listen to your favorite song (how about "Happy"?). Any activity that takes you away from the here and now can help to relax you.
Interact: This may sound crazy (it did to me!) but socializing can actually increase the hormone oxytocin that decreases anxiety and make you feel more confident. Call up a few friends and share a meal or have a drink (try the oh so yummy Mojito recipe below). Grab your best buddy and go shopping! Staying connected to your friends and family can help you feel supported, stay mentally sharp, and improve your overall sense of self and well being. 
Nourish: Oranges, tangerines, blueberries, and almonds all work to reduce stress levels and they are easy to stash in a backpack, lunchbox, or pocket. For breakfast start the day with a banana and some yummy yogurt. At lunchtime add avocado to a fresh salad with grilled chicken. For dinner try heart-healthy salmon with nutrient rich carrots on the side. Finally, my two favorite words—Dark Chocolate. 
Get moving!: Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress and feel better quickly. As little as 20-30 minutes of increased activity can go a long way towards reducing stress hormones and increasing the feel good hormones. In fact, several studies have shown that exercise can be as effective as or even more effective than antidepressants and therapy in reducing the stress hormone cortisol.
 
Are you feeling just a little bit happier now? I hope so :-) SPRING into action and reduce your stress today for a happier tomorrow! 

Magical Mingle Mojito   
1 teaspoon powdered sugar   
Juice from 1 lime (2 ounces)   
4 mint leaves   
1 sprig of mint 
White Rum (2 ounces) 
2 ounces club soda 


Place the mint leaves into a long mojito glass and squeeze the juice from a cut lime over it (should be about 2 ounces of fresh lime juice). Add the powdered sugar, then gently smash the mint into the lime juice and sugar with a wooden spoon. Add ice (preferably crushed--I'm in love with ice from Sonic) then add the rum and stir, and top off with the club soda. Add sprig of mint for garnish and repeat for your friends and call it a party! Or scale up the recipe to 1 bunch of mint, 1 cup of sugar, juice from 6-8 limes, 1-750 ml bottle of white rum, 1 liter of club soda, and ice. Let the good times roll!

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