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Holidays Not-So 101: The Holiday Diet December 16, 2013

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Cooking, Cross Training for Life, Food/Dining, Health and Fitness, Holidays, Holidays Not-So 101, How To, Tips and Tricks, Traveling.
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If you’re anything like me (or you’ve been to this site a handful of times) you know that I’m pretty much committed to my relationship with working out. Whether it be going to the gym, taking a dance class, or running outside. I’m all about the treadmills and the kale chips. Which is why I have some sad news, I hate to tell you this but…health and I are taking a break. It started sometime around Thanksgiving, the relationship just wasn’t the same anymore. Even though, in my head, I still wanted to be faithful, I always felt like I was cheating. There was a night with mashed potatoes, and then that time with the starburst. Yesterday, Eggnog and I watched Home Alone together, and while it wasn’t meant to be a date, it sure felt like one. The bottom line is, I wasn’t giving health what is deserved. We stopped seeing one another at the gym, and slowly my friends stopped hanging out with health too; my sneakers didn’t call him, my Athleta pants blocked him from Facebook,  and when my i-pod ran into him on the street, it pretended not to know him. The truth is, we need to take a break until the holidays are over so we can sort out our relationship.

image Well…you get what I’m saying. The truth is, this happens to the best of us. Holidays hit and the gym takes a hit. I feel like I have zero motivation to workout, and likewise, zero motivation to eat health. So, once a week I’ll have a kale salad, or bring an organic soup for lunch, but for the most part I’m pigging out on brownies, piggies in a blanket, and shopping around for dessert recipes for Christmas eve. So, I could beat myself up for not carrying my lazy behind to the gym…but I’m not. I learned a long time ago when you force yourself to do something that you really don’t want to do, you’re only going to give it half the energy and time you would if you wanted to do it. There is a theory, that some workout is better than no workout at all, and if you abide by that theory then you are a far more disciplined person than I am! Go for it! However, for many of us, the reality is that the time we’re going to waste isn’t worth it. So, if you are like me, I can tell you: 1. You are not alone! Stop feeling bad and just take this time to enjoy the holidays, make it your new year’s resolution to get back in the gym as soon as your hangover dies out, and 2. Here’s how to pig out without feeling like your losing everything you’ve worked for.

Whether we realize it or not, there are a lot of things we do during the holidays that are similar to a workout, without actually putting our sweat bands on. For many us, holidays are a time of visitors and with visitors come cleaning. Make it a point to get down and dirty with all the dirt in your home, a day of cleaning will definitely burn those calories off. Additionally, traveling is a huge stressor and one that involves lost of bending, heavy lifting, and walking. So, if you’re going somewhere this holiday season, rest assured that you will get your workouts in, even if they’re only here or there. Lastly, set a goal for yourself. Buy gifts, sending cards, baking, and making it to all your holiday parties (which inevitably have more food and alcohol to make you feel like a flubber), take time away from things like being healthy and active. So once the crazy subsides, remind yourself that they’ll be a sliver of time where you’ll have virtually nothing to do but sit back and watch TV. While rest is important, this is also a perfect time to put 30 min on the treadmill! My goal? To have my body and my healthy habits back by New Years; there is no other holiday, other than Halloween, where girls can go out looking like they lost some of their outfit along the way. I know I’ve got to fit into that dress by the time Dec. 31st rolls around, so the second Christmas day has ended, you know I’m going to be racking up those miles on the bike!

Even if your goal isn’t New Years, it can still be Jan. 1st, or by the time you go back to school/work, even Valentines day. Get yourself as excited for getting back to your habits as you were to forget about them. In the meantime, enjoy the holidays and everything that comes with them.

Holidays Not-So 101: Kids & Their Gifts December 10, 2013

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in children, Finances, Holidays, Holidays Not-So 101, How To, Shopping, Tips and Tricks.
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There was a year I participated in a charity event for Christmas. Underprivileged children wrote letters to Santa about what they wanted for Christmas, little did they know, we were Santa. We each received a letter or two and bought the children exactly what they wanted.  We then dressed a co-worker up as Santa and as each of the children sat on his lap and took a picture, they received their specially ordered gift. It was one of the best moments of my life, I remember one girl looking right into my eyes and squealing “Oh my gosh! This is exactly what I wanted! How did he know!?”. While I learned many valuable lessons from this experience, there was one that really resonated – kids toys are not cheap!

I somehow remember having about 7 Barbies when I was a kid, more stuffed animals than I could count, and a constant rotation of crayons, pencils, markers, and clay-type art molds. It never crossed my mind that my parents were shelling out for these things. When it said “made in China” I assumed it was priced accordingly. Well, I learned pretty quickly that Barbies start at $20, and that’s never the one your kid is actual going to want. So, this brings me to my Holidays Not-So 101 dilemma, how the hell do you buy kids gifts they want without actually breaking your holiday budget? To be totally honest with you, I have no idea, ask a parent, but what I can tell you is the tricks I’ve used to get them something they want without spending 2 hours in the toy aisle. woman-shopping-for-toys

Trick #1 – Ask their parents. If this is someone you’re relatively close to generally their parent’s will have some kind of gift list that either their kid made, or they themselves have been keeping. Most parents aren’t going to ask you to buy their child a bicycle or the latest doll, so whatever they tell you will definitely be under that $40 mark. If they don’t have anything specific, they can at least give you an idea of what their child might be into these days – Batman, American girl dolls, a specific movie character or board game, etc. This way you can get them something within that theme, without having to get them the actual toy/movie/game.

Trick #2 – Know your options. Remember yourself as a kid, you were excited by a happy meal toy that was lost under the couch in two weeks. Kids love big gifts, flashy lights and funny noises, but that doesn’t mean they require it. Evaluate price per square inch of this toy, maybe a three dollar bear that looks like it’s going to disintegrate isn’t the way to go, but a $25 my little pony the size of your hand isn’t either. There are lots of good deals out there if you’re in stores like Target, Kmart, Toys R Us, and so on. Matchbox cards often sell in a 5-pack for under $10, small toys with “dress-up” or “hair bow” type accessories will usually range between $10-$20. Check aisles thoroughly and weigh out the options, would you like this toy? Even if it doesn’t seem like much to adults, it may be the world to a child.

Trick #3 – Use your noggin. This isn’t so much a trick as a fair warning – for those of us who don’t have kids, we forget that some toys aren’t safe or favored by parents. Look at the age frame, every toy tells you “3+” or “ages 4-9”. Be accurate. Also, no matter what the toy says, pay attention to small parts as they can be a choking hazard, sharp edges or themes that parent’s might not be fond of. Anything that’s too violent, may not communicate an appropriate message, or might be too extravagant or very messy probably won’t be appreciated. If it’s questionable, don’t get it. No matter what you buy, include a gift receipt to give to the parents.

Trick #4 – Ask the parents. Yes, I’m saying it again. Unless it’s a situation where you’re expected to bring the kids a gift (like a family Christmas, or best friend/siblings child) make sure it’s okay with the ‘rents that you bring a little something. Ask ahead of time, or, if that’s not an option, mention is as you walk in, before you hand the gift off to the monster, I mean kid. A simple “Hey, I brought Johnny a little something, I hope that’s okay?”. They’ll either say it’s fine or they’ll say thank you and take it themselves. This might mean it’s not cool, but it might also mean that they don’t want their kid to get wound up, and will give it to him or her at another time. Don’t be offended, they’ll appreciate the gesture, they may just want to keep their kid calm for that moment.

So, while I may not have the most in-depth knowledge, these tricks have worked for me. And if you’re a non-parent, newly crowned aunt or uncle, or simply realize that most of your friends are starting to have miniature versions of themselves, this is a great starter guide for this holiday season.

Holidays Not-So 101: Holidays with the Other Family November 27, 2013

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Cooking, Dating, Family, Food/Dining, Holidays, Holidays Not-So 101, How To, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Relationships.
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We all, at some point in our lives, reach the inevitable point where we stop having holiday dinner with our family…and start having dinner with our significant other’s family. On one hand, congratulations on the great achievement and milestone in your relationship, on the other hand…shit. Your own family is hard enough, Thanksgiving or holiday dinner with another family is like a minefield times ten! Even if you, or your significant other, have the best relationship with his or her parents, holidays are like a permanent marker, one false move and it’s branded on your for life, all because it was Thanksgiving. How do you navigate the field of “oops” bombs?

To begin, do your homework. There’s nothing wrong with being a little prepared. What are the general traditions for this meal or holiday? Will you be expected to say what you’re thankful for at the dinner table? Will it be a formal evening or should you be prepared to hang out in sweatpants? Does everyone help out in the kitchen or stay put in front of the TV for the game? So on and so forth. Also, communicate your traditions to your man/woman. People always want you to feel welcome and will often do something that is important to you, like make your favorite dish, or a special tradition like having mimosa’s as a cocktail. Every family is different and when you start celebrating holidays with a significant other, those traditions start to combine.

Credit: NBC Universal

Credit: NBC Universal

It’s better to be safe than sorry. For the most part, you’ll be expected to show up, say thank you twelve zillion times, and not insult anyone. However, it’s always good to make a nice impression. Bring flowers, a dessert, or a small gift like a holiday themed candle to show your appreciate for the invite. Volunteer for things you wouldn’t normally do if your mom were slaving away in the kitchen like loading the dishwasher, helping cook, or uncorking the wine. 9 out of 10 times they’ll say thanks but no thanks. It’s awesome to be comfortable, but remember that you’re a guest here so even if this is the eighteenth holiday with the in-laws, you should still be on your best behavior.

Don’t be a weirdo. Spending a holiday with the boyfriend/girlfriend’s family is lots of fun, but it can also be a stressful situation. No one wants to feel awkward, so don’t make it that way! “Just be yourself” is perhaps the most annoying but also truest phrase in the book. If someone tells a joke and you’re a loud laugher, just laugh. Trying to stifle a laugh or make the joke better by being inappropriate won’t give people a good impression of you and a false idea of who you are. It’s better to be who you are and maybe end up a little embarrassed instead of feeling stupid for doing something out of character and then trying to rectify it. If you’re a relatively quiet person, don’t try to be outgoing; if you’re a lively character, make sure you’re stepping in at the right times.

Gifts can potentially be the biggest stressors of the holidays. Really, what do you get your not-so-soon to be sister-in-law whose husband just bought her the world? Or the nephew that you met once when he had the flu? Or the mom that’s still trying to figure you out? Something with the best intention but the smallest commitment. Unless you know there is something specific they want, a more generic gift will let them know you thought about them this holiday season. A nice candle with their favorite store’s gift card, a zip-up sweater and a scarf from Gap or Express, a moderately price doll and one of her cool accessories, or a Tonka truck and a git certificate to Lego Land. Always include gift receipts and let them know it’s “just a little something”. Don’t go overboard, or pay too much, just keep it simple and classic.

While the holidays make everyone anxious it’s important to remember why you’re going through all this. You’ve met someone awesome and they like you enough to bring you home for the holidays. Bonus points all around! So remember to have a great time, and treat it like what it is, a holiday.

Holidays Not-So 101: More Than Gelt December 12, 2012

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Cooking, Family, Finances, Friendships, Holidays, Holidays Not-So 101, How To, Shopping, Tips and Tricks.
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Purchasing only 3 items at Fishs Eddy, the other day, the cash register rang up $66.34…and this was only one, incomplete gift. Ooouch! It’s no secret that the holidays can bleed you dry and result in paying off credit cards for months to come. Between traveling expenses, gifts, holiday fun and decorating, the dollar signs really start shining brighter than any lights around your home. The worst part is often not the money your spending, but the money you clearly don’t have to spend.

Finances can be a sensitive issue around the holidays, for some, it can make the difference between a great holiday and a horrible one. We all have that conversation with ourselves at the start of December, we won’t spend excess money and we’ll buy modest gifts, but once we get into the store and we see the perfect holiday present for someone we love or the cutest little Christmas tree, our verbal and emotional agreement goes out the window.

Having been on both sides of the fence, and a holiday, gift giving nerd, I know how to both give and receive modest gifts that often have more meaning than something expensive. The point of the holidays is to celebrate the wonder and joy in your life and be appreciative of all we have with each other. It’s a great tradition to exchange gifts but that shouldn’t be all it revolves around. Peer pressure can make it tough too, when you know that some of your more cash-in-excess friends will be getting you great gifts or multiple gifts, it can build up the pressure to find something extra special, which may come with an extra special price tag too.

holiday-credit-cardA great tradition is secret santas! If you do have a group of friends, all with different financial situations, the best way to have a great celebration without stressing people out is to do a secret santa draw and set a reasonable limit that’s high enough to get one great gift but also low enough that everyone is able to afford it. You can even make something small for your other friends who you’re not playing Santa for; a few home baked cookies, a bag of candies, even just a holiday card or self-made coupons.

People also love things that come from the heart. Unless you’re hiding under a rock, your friends and family know your situation, they probably aren’t expecting you to give them an i-Phone 5 with a pretty silver bow. Perhaps your mom pointed out a sweater she really wanted months ago, or your best friend always forgets to charge their iPod. Just one gift, that shows you are paying attention can mean more than five high-end gifts. When your mom sees the sweater or your friend uses her portable charger, they’ll always think of you and how attentive and wonderful you are.

Speaking of coming from the heart, the simplest things can often mean the most. The ever popular photobooks, collages, beautifully framed or blown-up photographs of your life together and even small friendship or love charms are known to bring tears to people’s eyes, so consider dipping into your creative side. Putting together jars of cookie mix with bows or buying fancy marshmallows and placing them creatively with hot coco powder can make for an enjoyable and unexpected gift.

Lastly, don’t be embarrassed. People around you love you for you, not your cash or lack thereof. If they have a problem with only getting one gift, or a few small gifts from you, then they have no business being in your life. As materialistic as it may seem, the holidays are not about pouring your back account into stores. It’s nice to be able to do something wonderful for someone, something expensive, something they wouldn’t spend their own money on, but it’s also important to be a good, kind and caring person, none of which involve selling your soul to MasterCard.

If you are one of those people (like SK), who waits all year to sing Christmas carols a drop a couple hundred on everyone you know….there are ways to get around it. Set limits for yourself, buying your best gal pal tickets to the Nutcracker or helping your brother put a down payment on a new car means not going to Starbucks fifteen times a month or telling yourself you can’t buy any new clothes and shoes until all this debt is paid off. Everyone celebrates holidays differently, and if for you that means shopping yourself silly, that’s still okay, but be smart about the ramifications.

So get creative and give the gifts that’ll warm the heart and spark great conversation this holiday season, and all seasons to come.

Holidays Not-So 101: Giving the Gift December 8, 2012

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Family, Friendships, Holidays, Holidays Not-So 101, Men, Shopping, Tips and Tricks, Women.
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Holidays can bring all sorts of stress – family related and otherwise. So, here at DLIH, we wanted to take the stress out of one part of it, Christmas shopping. For the most part, we know what our friends and family want, but every now and then we get one or two people on our list that totally stump us. Depending on who it is, the idea of getting them the wrong gift, or something they don’t like is like building a concrete wall on our shoulders and telling us to run the mile, so whether it’s your estranged father, brand new girlfriend, or the gift for the person who has everything, here’s a carefully collected list of ideas.

Ladies – For Her

  • Jewelry – Most women will tell you they want jewelry, which is a great gift, but there are so many other things that can make her smile and don’t need to come in a small velvet box.
  • Something cute she swoons over – her favorite Disney character, a fuzzy robe she keeps mentioning, a set of wine glasses with girly sayings on them, a fancy snow globe she always looks at in the store window.
  • Girls like going places – a ticket to her favorite concert or sporting event, a homemade coupon to take her on a road trip to her favorite restaurant in the next state, or a broadway play you know she loves.
  • Shoes – 90% of women will tell you you can’t go wrong with the Cinderella theory. If you pay close enough attention, women will mention shoes in passing without meaning to. Sometimes they’re fancy heels, something new that just came out but it might be a pair of over the top rain boots that costs a little more than they’re willing to spend or a new pair of converse, maybe a stylish winter boot. You can sneak their shoes size when they’re in the bathroom or the kitchen, but always get a gift receipt just incase they want a little more or less room.
  • Girls are underwear crazy…Stop by Victorias Secret or Pink and ask a sales girl for help. Men, too embarrassed? We understand, a gift certificate will do just fine…but you might be surprised at how much uncomfortable fun you could have in those stores. Weird going in, but you’ll get to pick out exactly what’s under our clothes…isn’t that your Christmas wish too???
  • Things to help take up a new hobby – roller blades, rock climbing classes, a new set of pots and pans for cooking.
  • Something mushy – a scrape book of your relationship, or of their family (maybe a recently deceased family member and them), photo book of their pet or special framed favorite artwork. Girls love mushy stuff.

Gentlemen – For Him

  • The ever popular sports equipment for their favorite sport or accessories. (Tip: Check out Runner ID or Road ID for men and women!)
  • Coupons for places they like to go, things they like to do – 1 free hour of paintball, 1 interruption free hour of video games, their absolute favorite ribs restaurant.
  • Something you know they need that they’re not going to ask for: a nice watch, tie, cufflinks,briefcase, monogram toiletry bag or suitcase.
  • The infamous naughty gifts, on you, or with you…or for you.
  • The little things they’ll appreciate as much as the big things – A pack of t-shirts, Gap sweater, new PJ pants, clothes for the gym.
  • They’re favorite photograph or recording artist’s picture nicely framed
  • Gadgets – GPS, car accessories, universal remote controls, portable everything chargers
  • A cool cocktail shaker or drinking accessories from stores like Brookstone
  • Autobody gift certificates
  • The Art of Shaving…as recommended by DLIH male readers and fans

Gifts for Almost ANYONE!

  • a gym membership
  • a wine rack or wine of the month membership
  • personalized anything – pocketknife, lipstick holder, drinking glasses, picture frames, etc.
  • Collectables – bobbleheads, unique shot glasses, etc.
  • Massage or spa like treatment
  • subscription to magazines or newspapers
  • Things that remind them of home- old fashion maps, street signs, a six-pack of beer that’s only in their home state, a special tea or tin of cookies that will be a special treat.
  • Classes – Bar tending school, Beer brewing, cooking – yes men like to cook too, dancing, karate, swimming.
  • The age old standby, gift certificates.

So whoever your question mark giftee is, there is sure to be something on this list that’ll tickle their fancy and put a Christmakuh smile on their face!

Holidays Not-So 101: It’s Still YOUR Turkey Day November 19, 2012

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Cooking, Family, Food/Dining, Holidays, Holidays Not-So 101, How To, Life Lessons/Growing Up.
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So this is that time of the year when your personal hell begins; everyone is going out of town, posting Facebook photos of large family filled, table clothed tables, while you’re stuck twiddling you thumbs reading “This store will be closed on Thanksgiving day” signs. Don’t resent..getting through the holiday’s isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. If you’re looking for a turkey day that’s still fun and holiday-esque but without the constant reminder that your family is far away or missing in action, then DLIH has got the cure or at least the band-aid.

Start by picking something fun that’ll make this holiday special for you. Sure in past turkey days, it was your grandma’s candle holders, maybe some special wine glasses, or the tradition of going around the table and saying what you’re thankful for. Being thankful doesn’t need to come with pizzazz, it can just come with a little something to remind you of home. Go out and buy a cute or funny apron, a set of dishes that will only be for holidays, or treat yourself to a manicure or maybe a haircut. If family is far away, ask mom or uncle to send you a piece of home, maybe a recipe you can cook yourself or a special something that’ll make your new abode feel just like the old one.

Many places offer some kind of day-of holiday special, your favorite bar might be having special beer or 50 cent wings, the local cafe might be doing a cookie with purchase of pumpkin latte or even your gym might be having a special class or even offering certain paid services for half off. Make sure you kick off your personal celebration in a celebratory way! It’s your holiday too, even if it feels a little different.

One way of getting through is to plan, when you find yourself alone with nothing to do you might start freaking out and getting depressed so pack your day with back-to-back activities. You don’t need a lot, but you have to keep it moving in order to keep enjoying yourself. For example, start off with a special breakfast in bed, the full enchilada: Some eggs, toast, fruit, yogurt or maybe some whole wheat pancakes after you go out for your holiday morning run. Then get showered and get out of the door for your holiday chosen activity or even your shop-a-thon. If you can grab a pal for a few hours, perfect! If not, enjoy the alone time, it’s so rare nowadays. Even just a long walk in the park can cure the holiday blues. In these times, there are many things to do where you can help other people; volunteer at a soup kitchen, a clothing drive, a Thanksgiving activity for underprivileged children or walking dogs at the shelter. If you don’t feel like spending the day alone, a great alternative is to spend the day helping other people.

Make sure you come home with the food goods too, if you’re a cook give yourself the Thanksgiving dinner you deserve. If not, have some baking fun, whether you can measure by sight or buy a Pillsbury pop container, there’s no better way to celebrate the holidays than with an oven of sweets. Try a new recipe or an old favorite! Put music on and dance around as you fill the kitchen with aroma, scented candles are a great addition to your day! Pumpkin Spice, Peppermint or any other holiday scent, you know the stores are full of them! If you’re not the cooking type, watch a movie, holiday related or not, fill up on mexican food from your local place and make a dessert buffet from Pepperidge Farm!

Holidays Not-so 101 was started because there are so many people out there who find themselves alone on these traditional days, and most of those people, didn’t expect that to happen. You can look at it from the most negative, resenting place or you can pick yourself up off the floor, after a good cry, and let yourself enjoy life. It’s not the same, but it can still be special!

Holidays Not-So 101: After the HollyDay December 29, 2011

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Holidays, Holidays Not-So 101, Life Lessons/Growing Up.
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We complain that Christmas decorations go up before Halloween, carols are being sung before the turkey is even on the table and just as we’re about to get bitter and humbug about the capitalistic ideals of the holidays, they’ve slipped through our fingers faster than egg-nog. So much preparation, excitement and anticipation goes into the holidays and then suddenly, after a simple few days, they’re gone. What to do now?

There’s excess wrapping paper in the corner, leftover gifts bags never used, the smell of gingerbread still lingers on your sweatshirt, and the tree just looks odd without a pile of accumulating presents under it. Let’s be honest, a large multitude of us spent the last few days in the company of others, family or friends, drinking, singing songs, sharing memories and giving gifts. We cuddled and watched movies, we cooked together or went out, we said Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays to people we passed in the street. If none of that – we pulled in some overtime at work, had the day off, or at least got to see a brand new movie or two while everyone else was dreaming of a man in a big red suit. Between the last week of November and December 26th, everything changes. Even if we don’t want it to or even if we waited all year, things are different, they aren’t normal and sometimes going back to something we feel is mundane or rutted can be the scariest of all.

Guess what?! Theres a support group for that! It’s called everybody, we meet at the bar*. It may seem like we all walk around with glee in our eyes but the reality is no one ever wants to go back to work, kids, errands and bills. It’s nice to forget about absolutely all of that for a few days and the hurt we feel coming back from our mental vacas is nothing more than sweet nostalgia. So, what to do besides walk around singing “Blue Christmas”? GET UP! Throw on some heels or your best looking shirt and jump back into the swing of things, what makes a better human than a rested one? The best way to ring in the New Year, now, is to do it in style. You really want to face 2012 mopey and down? If there’s one thing experience will tell, it’s that people don’t get anywhere when they’re not motivated and sometimes that motivation needs to come from within. After the holidays, it can seem like there’s nothing to be excited about or look forward to, so you’ve got to play a trick on yourself to find something to look forward to. Have to go back to work so soon? Dress to impress and make a task list fit for kings, walk into work like you’re the star employee. The thought of next semester wearing you down? Get a head start by buying supplies, getting your books and organizing your life so when classes hit you’ll be ultra prepared. Simply don’t feel like going back to the humdrums of everyday, errand-running life? Find goals in each task – cook a new recipe instead of the same old thing, strive to re-organize your entire wardrobe before the end of the week or work on brand new objectives like whitening your teeth, getting to the gym three times a week, buying less at the local general store or making sure to always have a fully stocked fridge. These little goals and missions are great distractions and rewards until the next exciting holiday comes along.

Don’t be blue…be colorful! The holidays may be gone but that doesn’t mean the spirit is!

* Credit given where credit it due: Original line by BF. 

SK Fashion Post: It’s the Holidays! December 19, 2011

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Fashion/Clothes, Holidays, Holidays Not-So 101, Men, Shopping, Women.
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Is this your holiday season?

We’ll it’s about time we put some holiday cheer in your step starting from head to toe! It’s a Holidays Not-So 101 and SK Fashion Post mash-up! Keep in mind that the tips and ideas offered here are just that, tips and ideas, make your outfits your own by mixing and matching or adding your own personal touches. There’s no wrong way to dress…but there is a way that’s going to make you look like you could melt a snowman.

Holiday Cocktail parties can be the hardest to dress for, it’s freezing out so stockings are a must. Always find something festive, that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to have Rudolph’s self portrayed plastered across the front. Holidays are about magic, the slightest bit of pizzazz can make the difference. Ladies, use sequins, lots of silver or gold or holiday colors to accessorize your outfits, if it reminds you of a Christmas tree in one of those fancy catalogs, it’s a go! (Not to be confused with over the top popcorn strung tree, please, no popcorn necklaces!). Try to add some shimmer to your make-up whether that be bronze, gold, silver or even some misty blue, if it looks like jiggle bells or fluffy snow, it’s a solid choice for this holiday season. Since accessories and accents may make up the better part of your outfit’s attention, be sure to keep the rest simple. Dark jeans or black pants with a fun, sparkly or festive shirt on top are a great option for less formal parties or those who aren’t dressy-dress girls.

Men this is where you get lucky! (No, not like that!) The holidays are the one time of the year where almost anything goes! Naturally, most formal events will require a suit but don’t be afraid to bust out that dancing Santa tie! For a softer, more serious look, you can layer a white shirt under a nice colored woven. Stay away from anything to light or bright like pinks, light blues, bright reds or oranges. They make you appear like you have no idea what month we’re in. Burgundys, navys and darker green shirts look great this time of year! For something more casual or fun, reverse it! Wear a red or green T and put a white button down over it or mix it up with a nice cardigan or sweater. If you’re feeling super festive deck the halls with a fancy vest, blazer or even, if you’re feeling all that holiday cheer, a bow-tie! You really can’t go wrong, I mean look at what Santa wears, it’s hardly high fashion and chicks still dig him!

Questions, Comments, Color Concerns? Email me! sofia@doinglaundryinheels.com

***SK has no formal education in fashion, nor does she desire one. Simply a good eye, creative taste and two years experience in men’s retail.

Holidays Not-So 101: Even Santa Has Baggage December 8, 2011

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Family, Holidays, Holidays Not-So 101, Life Lessons/Growing Up.
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Something many people struggle with around the holidays is the exact same thing that so many people enjoy; the lights, the carols, wrapping gifts and drinking eggnog.  What these traditions symbolize to many of us are also what remind us of holidays past and many of those memories may be difficult reminders of what we don’t have today.

I believe in honesty; Honesty with yourself, honesty with your loved ones; honesty with those around you. The reality is many people, esepcially those in big cities have a very difficult time with the holiday season. Take my word for it, skipping it, or attempting to is just like moving to another state to solve your problems. Run as fast as you want, it will get you no where. So, step 1? Grab a good friend and get a coffee, have a class of wine, let it out. We spend 18 years of our lives in the warmth of family and tradition and one day, it’s gone and recreating it seems next to impossible. It’s okay to feel disjoitned and lost at this time of year, it’s okay to feel cold even with the warmest hot chocolate. Step 2, now that you’ve told yourself and the people around you that you may be a little blue this Christmakuh, try to enjoy what you can. No one, not even you, should expect some sudden burst of holiday confetti to spark from your ears. If it does, by all means, party on! but chances are, you’ll still feel that tinge of loss. Try to find joy in the little things – a new cocktrail dress, sending out your own holiday cards, a secret santa party, listening to carols on your i-pod…and, be gentle with yourself. If carols, or the Nutrcracker or the sheer smell of peppermint make you want to crawl into bed and cry, don’t do it! No one’s asking you to be Santa Claus but no one wants a wet mop of an elf either.

Remember one thing, even Santa has baggage, and I’m not talking about that big ole belly of his. Chances are, once you let out your sour holiday cheer, you’ll find you’re in good company. Take that company and spin it into good fortune. Between the few of you you’ll find holiday cheer…or maybe even Taco Bell at your Christmas dinner, whatever let’s you enjoy the holidays the way you can, right now, is the best way to do it. Maybe next year, it will be easier, maybe you’ll start your own traditiions, maybe…just maybe…they’ll be some special surprise under your tree or just south of the mistletoe.

Holidays Not-So 101: Thanksgiving 101 November 27, 2011

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Apartment Life, Beauty, Family, Finances, Food/Dining, Holidays, Holidays Not-So 101, Shopping, Tips and Tricks.
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Last year, DLIH introduced Holidays Not-So 101, a line of articles strictly devoted to surviving enjoying the holidays alone or orphaned. As the holiday season of 2011 beings, we’re here again to hold your hands and offer the tid-bits of advice that will make your festive season a little different but, by no means, bland.

Thanksgiving is strictly the American holiday of food and family and while food could potentially be plentiful family may not always be. Here are some sure-fire ways to celebrate without feeling the weight of lost tradition on your shoulders.

Have Thanksgiving, just not on a Thursday – Thanksgiving is about being around loved one and eating turkey with all it’s delights, we may celebrate it the third Thursday of November but it’s not set in stone that you can’t celebrate it anytime! If plane tickets seem to be too much that week, ask your family if you can postpone the holiday, together, so you can save some dough on airfare. If you’re not traveling this year, see if a core group of friends would like to do Thanksgiving Part II the weekend after so they can both see their families and still include you in the fun! Often times significant other’s families, friends or co-workers will adopted the orphaned, ask around!

Do the thing you hate the most – maybe you can’t stand vacuuming, organizing your closet, or cleaning the tub (SK’s personal vice), what better time to get it out of the way! If you’re stuck at home alone on a holiday it can be depressing and lonesome, focus your energies on productive things that you know you wont otherwise do when you’re content or busy. In the end, you’ll feel accomplished, even if the task itself feels annoying and gross.

Reward being alone! – SPA DAY! Even if all the spas and salons are closed, it doesn’t mean you can’t entertain yourself at home. Take a bubble bath and paint your nails. Guys, catch-up on grooming, do something you can’t always do with others around. This is also a great time to read, work on fantasy teams, get that Wii out and bust a move or sing. Some things are just better done in the comforts of no one else.

Your personal movie theater – whether it’s Netflix or the marathon of shows and movies that play on the holidays, allow yourself comfy couch time! Relax! Order in too, no need to cook up a storm if you’re alone. Holidays can be tricky with takeout depending on where you live, usually Mexican, Indian and some Chinese are always around and most chain pizza places will still deliver. Try Yelp, Seamlessweb or GrubHub to see what’s open near you!

Lastly, get in the spirit! – Being alone on the holidays doesn’t mean you have to scrub them all together! Start decorating your apartment, get online and make some personalized holiday cards, start getting those Christmas carols on your i-pod! Black Friday starts at midnight, a perfect time to get some early holiday gifts at percentages off or even cross off some of those “Need to buy” items and save some cash. You’re allowed to be sad and missing your friends or family but you are also allowed to enjoy yourself, whatever that may mean to you.

Check back throughout the season for more coping and celebrating at DLIH! Use Holidays Not-So 101 on the drop down for more of last years adventures!