The holiday season is packed with parties, but that doesn't mean you need to break the bank buying hostess gifts. And yes, it's the thought that counts, but we've handpicked wallet-friendly items that are sure to please party-givers regardless of personal style.
Sometimes, stress can be a good thing, but when healthy, everyday pressure turns into can't-slow-down anxiety, it's time to reevaluate. If you're struggling to keep up with your action-packed schedule and can't seem to calm down, not to worry: with a few quick changes, you can shift your priorities and learn to relax. Try these six slowdown strategies for a simple, smoother way of life.
- Take some time to assess your stressors. For a few days, step back and see what overwhelms you most. Is it a time issue? Your work? Relationships? Find out what triggers your hectic lifestyle so that you can pinpoint some slow-down solutions.
- Lower the information influx. Turn off the push notifications for your cell phone's email, social media, news, and game applications. Check your apps only when you have the time. Otherwise, that constant flood of data will distract from the things you really need to get done, and unfinished tasks will only leave you more stressed.
- Tuck away your tech. Out of sight, out of mind — at least, as much as it can be. Keep your phone and tablet in a drawer or in your purse so that you're not tempted to browse, especially as it gets closer to bedtime. Without your smart phone in sight, your thoughts will be more focused and you'll be more mindful in the moment.
- Pencil in "me time" — and stick to it. Truth is, you can't keep up with that go, go, go routine if you don't allow yourself to wind down every once in a while. For every few must-attend events, pencil in a date with yourself: a massage, a workout, or even just a couple hours to sit back and read.
- Be realistic about your workload. Is all that overtime necessary? Evaluate your productivity to be sure you're making the most of your 9-to-5 hours, then look for any opportunities to scale back. Also, don't be afraid to delegate tasks: asking for help shows that you're willing to collaborate.
- Embrace the ability to say "no." You don't need to be everybody's go-to helper, so let yourself say "no" sometimes. Being a "yes" person can be great, but if it's leaving you overwhelmed or resentful, it's time to be a bit more selfish with your time.
Do you have any tips for reducing stress? Share them in the comments below?
Whatever your profession, whatever your position, it won't hurt to follow a few essential guidelines for your office wardrobe. It isn't always easy to know what's appropriate for every office, but we're tackling the tricky dos and don'ts of work wear with these six simple tips. Regularly find yourself standing in front of your closet, struggling to decide what looks professional? Follow these rules to further your career style.
- Always aim for a polished, professional look. Regardless of your position or industry, keep things neat, clean, and work-appropriate. Whether you're the intern or the CEO, it's important to present yourself in a sophisticated way. Translation: don't let your bra straps show, keep clothes wrinkle-free, and steer clear of any footwear that's too casual.
- Invest in a tailor. Wearing clothes that fit makes a huge difference not only in how you feel about yourself, but also in how you're perceived. A perfectly tailored skirt or blazer makes you look sharp and put together, while an ill-fitting blouse or unhemmed pants can come across as apathetic. Show that you care about yourself and your job by getting your go-to items tailored.
- Narrow down the dress code rules. The definition of "casual" or "business casual" can vary from office to office, so before you show up in your Sunday sweats, ask around to find out what people usually wear. If you find that you're veering toward too-casual territory, remember that a structured jacket, jewelry, and nice shoes can help you dress up an otherwise relaxed outfit.
- Feel comfortable with casual Fridays. A casual end-of-the-week dress code is fairly standard, so don't hesitate to take advantage of the easygoing policy. Not sure how you feel about it? See what your manager wears on Fridays and use her outfits as a guideline.
- Be prepared for a variety of situations. You never know when an emergency event or an unplanned meeting might pop up, so keep a few items at the office to help your clothes shift from simple to sharp. Leave an eye-catching necklace, a pair of heels, and a classy bag in your desk just in case.
- Look for inspiration on the street. As you walk to work or grab your morning coffee, take note of what other professional women are wearing. Look around while you're on the bus, riding the elevator, or at lunch to see what works and what doesn't.
Do you have any work-wear guidelines? Share them in the comments below!
Having a rah-rah attitude in the workplace has its advantages. Even if we can't be all sunshine all the time, most of us would rather be surrounded by co-workers with a positive, refreshing outlook. Not sure how to cheer on your colleagues in a genuine, professional way? Learn how to be both encouraging and office-appropriate in the workplace with these five simple tips:
- Keep your energy up: You can't muster enthusiasm if you aren't feeling well, so it's important to stay healthy and take care of yourself physically. Eat well, get plenty of sleep, and stay hydrated to make sure you're bringing your best self to the office each day.
- Practice positivity, no matter your mood: Even if you've missed the bus, forgotten your lunch, or spilled your coffee, don't let your frustration show. An optimistic outlook can be contagious, so steer clear of complaints and maintain a sunny, cheerful attitude — you can always vent to your pals once 9-to-5 has passed.
- Give credit where it's due: Everyone appreciates a little pat on the back, so make a point to recognize your co-workers and even your managers when they offer help or come up with an amazing idea. Did your boss give you especially clear, constructive feedback? Say so! Calling attention to others will show that you don't need to hog the spotlight.
- Point out the littlest victories: Achievements keep people's moods afloat, and daily high fives — both literal and figurative — can encourage your co-workers to move forward. Be genuine about it, though; there's no need to give out gold stars for each and every project, and if you do so too often, it won't seem sincere.
- Don't forget to say thanks: Gratitude can go a long way, so be sure to speak up and show your appreciation when co-workers are there for you. Whether it's for tidying up the kitchen or helping you fix your laptop, a simple thanks will promote a more positive, productive environment.
Lessen the blow of an early-morning alarm by choosing a fun, stylish clock. Whether you prefer contemporary designs or vintage-inspired picks, we've rounded up some of the cutest alarm clocks on the market, and most of these don't even pass the $50 mark. See eight alarms you'll love waking up to each day.
Getting dressed is a much more enjoyable process when you have a neat, organized closet to rummage through each morning. Stray belts, mismatched shoes, and a pole lined with tangled, broken hangers makes for extra, unnecessary stress. Sure, cleaning out your closet may be an elaborate process, but the results will have a major, time-saving payoff. Not sure where to begin? Follow this step-by-step guide for a smooth closet-cleaning experience:
Remove and Classify
- The first step is to take out everything — yes, absolutely everything. It's the only way to know exactly what you have and exactly what you need.
- As you remove your items, sort them into different categories: things to keep, things to store, things to give away, and things to toss. This applies to everything, from clothing and shoes to jewelry and handbags.
- Bag up the to-give and to-toss piles, then box up the seasonal items you'd like to stow away for a while. Sweaters, puffy jackets, and Winter boots take up lots of space, so keep them in a different closet or attic until the Fall.
Do a Thorough Cleanse
- Once your closet is completely cleared out, it's time to start dusting, wiping, and washing. Clean every shelf and drawer, then sweep and mop the floor.
- Consider adding an air freshener that's specifically designed for closets, like the Ornascent by Compac Closet Freshener ($12), to maintain a clean scent.
Keep reading for more closet-cleaning tips.
If you can't remember the last time you saw your friends, you haven't put on your sneakers in months, or you regularly find yourself checking your phone even when it hasn't beeped, then you probably need to step back and shift your priorities. There's something to be said for hard work, but if all those tireless hours take away from what makes you you, then it's time to strive for some balance. Follow these easy steps to add more leisure to your life.
- Create "break" appointments. If you struggle to tear away from work on your own, then why not pencil it in? Create a phone alert, add it to your Outlook calendar, and consider that "me" time into a must-do.
- Put exercise on your to-do list. One of the best ways to clear your mind and de-stress is to get your body moving, so do what you can to stick to your fitness routine. Whether it's an early-morning gym session or a late-night walk around the block, those precious moments are sure to help you stay sane.
- Limit at-home work hours. Technology makes it easy to work 24 hours a day, but that doesn't mean you should. If you need to work at home, then set a time limit beforehand so that you don't overdo it.
- Leave your phone at home. Truth is, you don't need to be connected all the time; that isn't healthy. When you're heading to the gym or the grocery store, leave your phone behind and check out for a while.
Read on for more ways to improve your work-life balance.
If you're tired of the same old standby office supplies littering your desk, then it's time to check out the cool handmade and vintage options from Etsy. Whether you're into trendy, modern chevron patterns or rustic wooden accents, we've found some original picks to suit the most design-savvy desk dwellers. Wishing your work space had a bit more character? Here are 11 unique products to help you add some personality to your office.
Confidence is key to getting ahead in your career, but how can you communicate your expertise without sounding boastful? To help you assert your talents in a polished, professional way, we've come up with some key suggestions that make tooting your own horn a cinch. Whether you're planning for an upcoming review or seeking out your next promotion, here are four smart, savvy tips to follow.
In order to properly and thoughtfully sing your own praises, it's best to prepare for those moments year-round. First, keep an email folder where you can save all the positive feedback you receive, and then use specific quotes as a reference during your reviews. Next, make sure to monitor and note all the important statistics for your position, like major sales, new clients, and year-over-year improvements. Managers can't remember each and every assignment you've ever completed, either, so maintain a running list of your major projects and the goals that you achieved.
Modesty and positivity are crucial. There's a fine line between expressing your potential and conveying arrogance, so try to tread carefully. For one thing, you need to make sure that the accomplishments you're highlighting are your own. If others contributed to your success, then give your colleagues credit too. That won't take away from your efforts; in fact, it shows both leadership and intelligence. Likewise, it's best to acknowledge any mistakes or shortcomings that arise — just be sure to end on a positive note by calling attention to any lessons that followed.
Read on for more tips to help you get ahead.
A glue stick here, some fabric paint there, and suddenly you've spent way more than you'd planned at the craft store. Sound familiar? If you regularly overdo it with crafty odds and ends, then it's time to step back and reassess your shopping habits. After all, spending too much money on supplies sort of defeats the purpose of DIY projects. Whether you're a foam brush hoarder or a spray paint fanatic, here are six simple tips to help you ease up on the arts-and-crafts shopping sprees.
- Know what you own. Before you head to the store, take stock of what you already have by scanning your drawers and shelves. No need to stockpile: buy what you actually need when you actually need it, and use up your current supplies before your buy more.
- Have specific projects in mind. Here's a good rule of thumb: don't head to the craft store just because. Make the trip when a project comes up, and commit to buying only the specific materials needed for that job.
- Scour for coupons. Sign up for your favorite craft store's email service so that you regularly earn special deals and coupons. Can't stand the inbox overflow? Create a separate account for membership emails or visit the store's website ahead of time to check for sale events.
- Look for versatile products. Make the most of your purchases by opting for multiuse products that could work for several different projects. Buy pens that work on a variety of surfaces, pick a paint shade that you turn to regularly, and grab fabric you'll use again and again. Think all-purpose, all-occasion to get the biggest bang for your buck.
- Buy off-season items. It may feel silly to buy holiday products in January, but it's smart to grab those items on sale and store them for next year. Always check out clearance shelves, too; that's the best place to find those weird, less-practical colors or patterns that might inspire your next creation.
- Set a spending cap beforehand. When in doubt, try to limit your expenses by deciding on a maximum amount to spend ahead of time. Tell yourself that you won't shell out more than $50, and then shop accordingly. Are you a more serious crafter? You may also want to consider a monthly or yearly budget to make sure your hobby doesn't take over too much of your spending.
The very idea of a wedding registry can feel uncomfortable — as if you're doing the shopping for your guests — and then there's the issue of where to register. Do you pick one store? Five stores? And, for that matter, which stores do you pick?
You may choose to go with an online registry site that allows you to choose any and all retailers, but if you're sticking with a more traditional route, then it's best to narrow down your picks. Not sure where to begin? Check out these quick etiquette tips to guide you through the process:
- Be helpful, not greedy. Your registry is a great way to offer guests a wide range of gift options, but it's also important that you don't go overboard. In the Emily Post registry etiquette guidelines, Anna Post writes, "While it's OK to have more than one registry, draw the line at three. You want to be helpful by offering your guests variety, not self-indulgent by listing your every wish in the world." Don't be afraid to scan plenty of items at each store so that the registry isn't exhausted by the first 50 guests.
- When in doubt, go big. One way to keep things simple? Choose larger stores with a broader assortment of items to cover your every need. For instance, if you'd like some new camping products, then try finding them at a big retailer like Target rather than a more specific, boutique sort of shop. Not only will it make the entire process easier for you, but it will also result in a shorter, less overwhelming list of stores for your friends and family to choose from. Even better? The larger chains have several locations, so your out-of-town guests will have plenty of options in their own city.
- Consider pricing. Your guests are sure to have different budgets, and some will hope to spend more than others. Go ahead and register at that luxury outlet, but be sure to scan items at a more affordable store, too. Then, at each place, do what you can to include any and all price points — everything from that high-end knife set to those inexpensive dish towels.
The bottom line: No matter where or how you register, be sure to keep your guests in mind. The point of your wedding registry isn't to create your ultimate wish list; it's to offer options for your friends and family who hope to honor your big day with a thoughtful gift.
Even if it's packed with fun events, a busy Summer schedule can feel overwhelming. Weddings, vacations, weekend barbecues — extra activities mean extra stress, so it's important to step back and do what you can to stay sane. Already feeling a bit anxious? Check out these 11 ways to avoid the pressure and amp up your positivity.
- Control outer chaos. One of the simplest ways to feel better is to tidy up your space. A neat closet, organized drawers, and a clean desk can do wonders for your mood. Pressed for time? A quick 20-minute cleanup at the end of each day can be enough to maintain an orderly, uncluttered environment.
- Get moving. Increase the endorphins and loosen up by sticking to a regular exercise schedule. Stay sane by taking a short walk during your lunch breaks or join a fitness class with friends to boost the relationship benefits, too.
- Eat well. If you're eating badly, chances are you'll feel bad — both physically and emotionally. Do your body and your mind a favor by eating regular, balanced meals that leave you energized.
- Catch plenty of Zs. Running on empty is a surefire way to feel stressed, so do whatever you can to get at least seven or eight hours of sleep each night. Wind down early, follow a consistent sleeping schedule, and try to force yourself to wake up at the same time each day.
- Minimize screen time. The TV is on, your phone is beeping, there are seven windows open on your laptop — staying connected can be overwhelming. See if you can limit the hours you log online each day, then turn off push notifications on your smartphone to gain a bit of peace and quiet. Another idea: pencil in screen time as if it's an appointment, then commit to tuning out as soon as the time's up.
Keep reading for more ways to boost your mood.
Once you know — in a formal sense — how to change your name after marriage, it can be difficult to keep up with all the extra steps: who to tell, which documents to change, which groups you need to notify. To make things easier, we've come up with a short, simple list that you can reference postwedding. Not sure where to start? Here's what you need to consider:
When to Change Your Name
- Your name can be changed only once you've received a certified marriage license with a raised, authentic seal.
- For travel purposes, it's best to wait until after your honeymoon, because the name on your passport needs to match the name on your ticket and extra travel documents.
Who to Notify
In addition to changing your passport, drivers license, Social Security card, and other official documents, you also need to address the following:
- Bank and credit card companies
- Home utilities companies
- Post office
- Human resources department
- Business cards
- Leases, mortgages, or rental information
- Insurance policies
- Medical groups: Doctor, dentist, etc.
- Professional associations and licenses
- School records
- Gym membership
- Airlines and frequent flyer programs
- Email address
- Social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
- Personal or professional website
- Magazine subscriptions
Don't forget to share the news with friends and family, too! Whether you're into a subtle announcement or something a bit more formal, here are seven ways to tell people that you changed your name.
Have you changed yours? Share any tips or suggestions in the comments below!
There was an open bar, a round (or five) of drinks with your co-workers, and things got a little out of hand — now what? If you go a little overboard at the office happy hour, you should deal with the aftermath in a smart, professional way to avoid any extra drama. Save face and keep your reputation intact by following these five tips:
- Don't draw any extra attention to the situation. If people aren't talking about it, don't bring it up. There's no reason to dish on last night's shenanigans with all your co-workers, so skip the "What was I thinking?" small talk and bring up job-related topics instead.
- Apologize and accept responsibility. Accidentally offend someone with your behavior? Own up to your actions and say you're sorry. It's better to step up and deal with it than to push it aside, because ignoring the problem may build unnecessary resentment.
- Redeem yourself. Should any issues arise, address them with honesty and humility. What you said or did under the influence may have reflected poorly on your character, so this is your chance to demonstrate a bit of integrity.
- Steer conversations elsewhere. If the incident continues to come up, do what you can to redirect the dialogue. Laugh off any light jabs, then let it go. The only way other people will move on is if you do, too.
- Try to learn from your mistake. Actions speak louder than words, so back up your apologies with sensible, office-appropriate behavior. Prove yourself by sticking to one or two drinks next time and remember that what you do outside the office still reflects on your professional reputation.
Hoping to build better office relationships? Avoid these four topics you shouldn't bring up with co-workers.
If your desk is looking a little drab these days, give it a fresh Spring makeover by adding a fun, charming tissue box cover. Whether you're into a chic, modern look or something more casual, there's a cover to suit any style. Hoping to brighten up your workspace? Deck it out with one of these nine decorative tissue box covers.
If your officemate has some tell-all tendencies, it can make your workday more than a little uncomfortable. Close quarters make co-worker friendships inevitable, but you may need to draw a line if things get overly personal. Feeling awkward about all the nine-to-five TMI? Follow these four tips to set proper boundaries and keep things professional:
- Consider why you feel uncomfortable. Decide whether it's the nature of the subject, the way it was approached, or your own experience with the topic that made you uneasy. If it's something that you feel extra sensitive about, see if you can just move on. Your co-worker may not have realized that the conversation was inappropriate.
- Put yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself why they opened up to you. Is it because they're lonely? Because they're hoping to build a friendship? Try to recognize their motivations so that you can better handle the situation.
Keep reading for more TMI-fighting tips.
Comedic movies may not be the first place you turn for career advice, but there are certainly some lessons to be learned from even the most hilarious films. From Ron Burgundy's ridiculous, jealousy-fueled meltdown to Ace Ventura's bizarre business approach, here are nine seriously smart lessons from some of the funniest flicks.
The shift from college to real life can be a tough one, but if you're able to maintain a positive outlook, it can also be a fun, exciting time. Hoping to amp up your optimism and get ahead? You'll thrive during the postgrad transition by following these mood-boosting tips:
Connect With Fellow Grads
After four years of roommates, cafeterias, and constant companions, the postgrad life can feel like an awfully lonely road. Feeling a little lost? Look for someone who truly understands what you're going through and reach out to friends who can offer an empathetic ear.
Build a Professional Network
Finding a job can definitely be stressful, so make the task easier on yourself by establishing a strong network of young professionals. The more people you know, the more likely you are to have a valuable, job-securing connection. Begin by reaching out via LinkedIn or Facebook, then send an email to friends and parents who may be able to help. Every little effort will make you feel productive and just a bit more self-assured.
Learn From the Experts
Feeling defeated and uninspired? Do a bit of research to find local lectures related to your field. Attend panels, join job-related groups, and read as much as possible about the industry you hope to join. Taking a few (or several) steps in the right direction will reinvigorate your professional passions and kick-start your enthusiasm.
Remember to Look Forward
It's only natural to get nostalgic every once in a while, but don't let yourself long for the glory days too often. Instead, map out your dream life. Decide where you want to be in five, 10, 15 years, then create an inspiration board to keep your eyes on the prize.
Take Steps Toward Your Goal
It's easy to say what you want, but real happiness comes from acting on that desire. Fantasize about your future as an event planner? Throw parties to showcase your talent, start a blog to build a following, and reach out to experts to find a mentor you respect. Gaining credibility is sure to strengthen your confidence, so you'll be back on the optimistic path in no time.
The bottom line: Transitions aren't easy, so it's important to cut yourself some slack as you move through the gray area. Tuck away the scrapbooks for another time, and for now, just remember to stay connected, put yourself out there, and focus on the bright future that lies ahead of you.
If you're hoping to spruce up your office space this Spring, try adding a fun, work-themed Etsy print. There's a print to suit any office personality, from cheeky illustrations to art that inspires. Interested? Here are 10 playful prints to help you brighten up your desk space — and your workday.
Sometimes it can be hard to justify those random treats you like to give yourself, whether it's a pedicure or a weekend getaway. Even worse? The posttreat guilt that often sets in.
Learn to ease up on yourself and focus on how much you deserve that reward, because the truth is, that treat will make you a better person in the long run. Need an excuse to kick back and relax? Here are five reasons you should go ahead and treat yourself:
- You'll feel rejuvenated. Taking the time to reward yourself is crucial to your well-being. Even if you just steal away from your desk for a few minutes to sit in the sun, you'll feel refreshed and energized. Small steps can mean big rewards, and you'll return to your work with a fresh new attitude.
- It's sure to perk up your mood. Nobody wants to be around a grouch, and if you aren't allotting some time and cash for the things you love to do, your energy will definitely be off. Pencil in a fun class or a spa treatment a couple of days a month to lighten your spirit and boost your everyday joy.
- You'll have more to give. When you're good to yourself, you have the capacity to be good to others, too. Regularly treating yourself means that you'll be a better co-worker, friend, and significant other, so think of all that "me" time as a gift to both you and your loved ones.
- It can serve as motivation. Set up a reward system for yourself so that each treat feels earned and well-deserved. Bonus: that light at the end of the tunnel will be a great inspiration that drives you to do more.
- You'll avoid burning out. If you simply go, go, go without ever taking a step back, exhaustion will likely set in, and you'll have to take extra time to get back on your feet. Avoid any chance of burnout or illness by forcing yourself to treat your mind and body well.