Friday, October 31 , 2014

Last-Minute Halloween Dress-Up

Did you just get invited to a Halloween party and need a costume on the fly? You don't feel like spending the bucks on a fancy mask that three other people at the party might have. What can you do? With just a little imagination and some stuff around the house, you (or your child) will be dressed and ready to celebrate Halloween. Here are two ideas for homemade costumes that are sure to be a hit.

You Are a Junk Drawer. Wear a black sweat suit or running suit or a black leotard and tights, and use safety pins to pin on the stuff found in everyone's junk drawer—extra keys, old receipts, odd pieces of string, a nearly empty tape dispenser, coin wrappers, buttons, dead pens, matchbooks, etc. People will relate to this stuff, and you'll have fun looking for the objects.

You Are a Movie Theater Floor. Wear black, as above, but this time, with double-sided tape or safety pins, attach empty candy wrappers and boxes, chewed gum, popcorn pieces, plastic straws, paper cups (a really big soda cup would be fun), ticket stubs, etc. You can wear a popcorn bucket as a hat. (A number of manufacturers of microwave popcorn sell “movie theater butter” versions that come in big theater-style tubs. Check your local supermarket or a discount department store such as Walmart or Target.)

More Halloween tips that are scary-good...


Monday, October 27 , 2014

Money-Saving Perfume Tricks

You love that scent your partner gave you, but it's a tad too strong. Here's what to do...

You can tone down a too-strong perfume or cologne by adding some vodka. Apply your perfume as usual to your pulse points (wrists, back of knees, behind the ears, etc.), and then just dab a little bit of vodka at a time to the perfumed spots until the fragrance is as mild as you want it to be.

Also, if you want to keep your beautiful scent throughout the day, here's something that will give your perfume staying power. Put a very light layer of petroleum jelly on your pulse points, and then apply your perfume or cologne over it.

The stickiness of the jelly will attract fragrance molecules and lock them in. Just be sure you want the scent with you around the clock till the next time you shower.

More ways to smell great...


Wednesday, July 09 , 2014

Neat Packing Trick

You know those cardboard separators that the liquor-store cashier uses for wine when packing the bottles in a brown paper bag? Save those, and when you're packing for summer vacation, use them to separate clothing in your suitcase. What, you don't drink wine? Go to the nearest liquor store, and ask if they have any extras. If you’'re a woman, roll up tops, shorts, a light jacket or two, a dress (or two) skirt and place each type of clothing in a sectioned area. If you're a man, section out the T-shirts, wrinkle-free dress shirts, shorts and a light blazer or two. Then (no matter what your sex!) lay folded pants on top. And then do this...

Be sure to pack what you'll need first last. For example, if you have an overnight stop at a hotel, you may want to have your nightclothes handy. For the next morning's swim or jog, you may want your bathing suit or running shorts within easy reach. Place those items on top of the pants layer. Now you don't have to search for those garments, messing up the other clothes you packed so neatly.

More help with travel...

Friday, July 04 , 2014

Say No to Sparklers

Did you know that an average of 200 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July Fourth holiday? That's according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. And you'll be surprised by what seemingly harmless handheld item causes a big chunk of those injuries.

Sparklers burn at temperatures over 1,000ºF—hot enough to melt some metals. And over 50% of injuries from sparklers happen to children under five years of age! Please do not ever hand a small child a sparkler. Never try to relight or pick up fireworks that have only partially ignited (and be sure children of all ages know that). And, of course, make sure that fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them, or you may have fireworks of a different sort (are those police lights?) coming to your party.

Better still, leave the fireworks to the professionals! We can guarantee that a public fireworks display is going to be better than anything you can set off in your backyard. When something goes wrong with fireworks, it can result in severe burns, fractures, disfigurement or even death. Be sure to remind your loved ones about that. (Then go hand them each a red-velvet cupcake with white icing and blue sprinkles.)

Have a safe, happy Fourth of July holiday!

More outdoor fun...


Thursday, July 03 , 2014

Patriotic Party Touches

It's summer, so who wants to fuss to celebrate a holiday? Here are two simple ways to commemorate our great country...

Get a blue vase and fill it with red flowers (roses, zinnias, scarlet salvia or dahlias) and white flowers (phlox, Queen Anne’s lace, cosmos or chrysanthemums). Presto!—nature's Old Glory for your table.

Serve up patriotic colors with red velvet cupcakes with white icing and blue sprinkles. (We were going to say blueberries, but that's way too healthy to put on a red-velvet cupcake.)

More help with celebrations...

Wednesday, June 25 , 2014

Where to Sit to Avoid Turbulence

Do you get a little nervous or queasy when there is turbulence? Here's the best place to sit on an airplane to lighten the bumps...

Choose a seat over a wing, and you will enjoy the least bumpy ride on the plane. (It's the same as on a cruise ship—the smoothest ride is amidships near the boat's center of gravity.) Just note that seats near the wings may be noisier than seats elsewhere, depending on where the engines are. But we'll take extra-smooth over extra-quiet any day (earplugs to the rescue!).

If you're a big guy (or not) and would like some extra legroom when you fly, choose an exit row located over a wing. To sit in these rows, you must meet certain FAA criteria—including being willing and able to wrangle a heavy exit-seat door in case there's an emergency evacuation.

Note: If you like to snooze while you fly, avoid the seats that are in front of exit rows—for safety reasons, they do not recline.

More help with travel...


Wednesday, June 11 , 2014

Diarrhea-Free Travel

Are you gearing up for some exotic travel this summer? Passport, shots, bathing suit, tummy-trouble medicine...what a drag if an unwelcome stowaway gets in your system! Here's what to do...

If you're traveling in countries where papaya is readily available, you should eat this fruit every day. It will help digestion and help deter intestinal parasites, especially if you're eating foods that you're not used to eating. More important than the papaya meat are the seeds inside the papaya. Eat one teaspoon of the raw seeds daily. (Chew as much as you can—they have a surprising peppery taste.) They also contain papain, a protein-digesting enzyme that breaks down the cell walls of whatever's in your stomach—including things you don't want there.

A reminder Don't drink the water! The best way to prevent parasitic infection is to avoid consuming local water (including ice cubes!) when you travel. Be sure to wash all raw fruits and vegetables with clean bottled water—and then avoid eating skins even after washing. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling fruits and veggies, too.

More ways to better travel...


Tuesday, February 18 , 2014

Swimsuit Shopping Made Kinder

It's the time of the year to shop for a new bathing suit! Well, maybe a little early, but one cannot over-anticipate a great day at the beach. And you don't want to wait till the last minute when all the great bathing suits are picked over. And what if you're invited on a surprise beach weekend to the Bahamas? But shopping for a swimsuit is such an ordeal. You're pale as a ghost...and clothing stores make you try the suits over your undergarments—that's flattering! Before you head to the mall...

If you are a woman, put on a pair of panty hose that are a few shades darker than your current skin tone. You'll boost your self-esteem with your legs looking their sleek, sun-kissed best when you're in the changing room. And by the way, when we say “put on panty hose,” we mean “ put on panty hose only.” Meanwhile, on top, wear as minimalist a bra as your physique will allow. This lets you see the real fit of the swimsuit.

If you are a man, we can think of no constructive reason for you to wear panty hose while swimsuit shopping, but we wouldn't stand in your way, either.

More help with what you wear...


Friday, February 14 , 2014

Cast a Love Spell on Valentine’s Day

Did you forget to make dinner reservations for Valentine's Day? Nice job! Here are some tips to make it seem like you planned a romantic “ evening in” all along...

Takeout to the rescue! All you have to do is go a step above fast food and pick up some slightly exotic finger-food fare, such as sushi, gourmet tacos, shish kebab or satay (available at Indonesian and southeast Asian restaurants). Be sure to call the eatery ahead—hours before you think you’ll be ready to eat—because you’re not the only love-day procrastinator.

Do you have a fireplace? After it's lit, chuck in a handful of a salt substitute product called Nu-Salt, which contains potassium chloride. Your fire's flames will turn a beautiful, romantic mood-setting combination of pink and lavender.

Fill your home with romantic scents. Dot a drop or two of jasmine essential oil on a light bulb here and there. (Do it when the bulb is cold, please.) According to Laurie Steelsmith, ND, LAc, jasmine oil emits a sweet, musky aroma that prompts the release of pleasure-supporting brain chemicals such as endorphins. It rouses passion...and helps establish an ambience of intimacy. Who needs a restaurant?

More relationship help...


Friday, January 03 , 2014

Winter Weekends and a Good Book

Ahhhh, there's nothing like curling up inside with a good book on a chilly winter weekend. Now, where's your favorite bookmark? It's probably under the couch...but don't bother looking. Try these two items for better place-keeping...

Sticky bookmark. It's just too easy for a bookmark to slip out of a book, especially if it's the laminated kind. If you don’t want to lose your place in a book, use a Post-it note instead. You can stick it directly on the page where you’ve stopped reading...or you can adhere it to the inside cover of the book—then, each time you stop reading, write the page number on the Post-it where you need to start again. You also can use a big Post-it (they're available quite large) as a sticky bookmark and a place to take notes as you read—for example, jotting down all the clues in a mystery, sifting out possible red herrings. A Post-it is an inexpensive, reusable, multitasking bookmark.

Perfect place-saver. The baby cries, a phone rings…nature calls! You can’t help it…you have to stop in the middle of a page. Use a bobby pin to mark the line where you stopped. It’ll grab the page exactly where you want it.

More unique ways to use everyday items...