New Habits: Should They Be Left In Lockdown?

We had a lot of time to learn and perfect new habits over the last year, and many people are keen to continue taking the time to do them even as life goes back to normal. Of course, there may be some habits that are better left, but there have been many great habits people have formed that have really made a difference in their lives and allowed them to find a new passion in life. However, just what are these, why are they worth keeping onto, and could it provide you with inspiration to try it yourself? Keep reading to find out more.

Featured Photo from Vuelio

The Lockdown Kitchen

It was prime time to start getting creative in the kitchen. With so much time at home, people uncovered a love for cooking and baking in the kitchen. From having different themes to using new ingredients and learning new skills, many felt inspired by television shows such as The Great British Bake Off or Masterchef, while others may have been gifted the present of time and were finally able to start testing out recipes from a forgotten cookbook. Not only was there more time for cooking, but everyone had longer to take a moment to plan out a week of eating. To the foodies who never had enough time, this was heaven.

Not only were people more likely to use their stock in the cupboards (because of the essential-only shopping trips), but they had a knock-on effect of a better quality and healthier diet. Overall, this habit should definitely be taken out of lockdown and carried on into post-lockdown life.

The Lockdown Garden

Many were lucky enough in lockdown to have a space, big or small, outside of their four walls in the form of a garden. With so much time spent out there, it got many people thinking more creatively and making the most of their time outside. A survey from Squire Garden Centres concluded that 77% of people did more gardening during lockdown than they would normally do.

From gardening, the same respondents of the survey said it gave them a sense of achievement but also an outlet for stress and a source of much-needed happiness. This kind of positivity should be taken with everyone who found comfort in it from lockdown.

The Lockdown Knitting

Knitting may not have appealed to the masses, to begin with, but once gifted with time, many tried their hand at the skill, and so lockdown provided a lifeline for many wool stores in London. Knitting, obviously, creates a beautiful piece of art, a wooly hat or a newborns’ first blanket, but it has the added bonus of stimulating the mind. Knitting has proven to mimic the rhythmic repetition of mediation, thereby calming those who ‘practice’ the skill and is well worth continuing long after lockdown. You find all your essentials online from wool stores and take guidance from online resources.

The Lockdown Decorating

Interestingly, homeware brand Habitat announced that what consumers watched (or binged) on the television influenced the decoration of their homes. This is a dangerous game, as what could be deemed as stylish in the 1900s period drama may not sit so nicely in a modern home.

This trend should definitely be used sparingly. Otherwise, the front room may look like the set studio for a production company!

Throughout the global pandemic, everyone needed to seek comfort in their home, whether that meant small home improvement projects, getting your fingers green, smelling out the kitchen with delicious cooking or baking, or getting stuck into a challenging skill like knitting, They all brought a sense of calmness and relaxation. As a society, these skills should be taken back into reality, where new skills can flourish in classes, groups, or even to show off your new dish at a dinner party.

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Egg-cellent Easter Decor Tips from TheSoul Publishing

The Easter Bunny is on his way! Easter is just over a week away (Sunday, April 4), but it’s not too late to decorate for the holiday or craft a special Easter basket for young ones.

TheSoul Publishing – the company behind some of YouTube’s most-watched channels – has put together several fun and easy tips to decorate for Easter this year.

  • Hand towel bunnies! Simply twist a brightly-colored hand towel into one long piece, and secure the bottom third with a rubber band. Add googly eyes, a puff ball nose, and wrap a ribbon around the rubber band to create a simple and adorable bunny – perfect for mantle decoration! (Full instructions here)
  • Naturally dyed Easter eggs: If you’re looking to avoid harsh chemicals for your Easter egg dye, or just don’t have time to buy prepackaged kits at the store, you can use household items to achieve the same result. Try turmeric, beets, purple cabbage, and more! (Full instructions here)
  • Adorable seasonal place settings: Are you hosting Easter brunch this year? Make a holiday-appropriate place setting with a bunny napkin, complete with an Easter egg face! (Full instructions here)
  • Egg-celent Herb Garden: Get your chives, parsley, and cilantro ready for Easter by planting them in egg shells to keep the soil fertile and add a nice holiday touch to your kitchen window. (Full instructions here)

WCPO, Cincy Lifestyle Segment: National Cranberry Day and Puff Pastry Swirls

I had the pleasure of hosting a television segment on Friday, November 20th with WCPO 9 News, Cincinnati.  The segment focused on celebrating National Cranberry Day which was right on time for the Thanksgiving holiday!
For many of us, cranberries are a staple side dish with our holiday feast but in the segment, I shared a new recipe, Cranberry Puff Pastry Swirls.
RECIPE:  Karen’s Naturals Cranberry Brie Puff Pastry Swirls
Ingredients:
● 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
● 3 Tbsp salted butter, melted
● 6 oz. Brie cheese
● ¾ cup Karen’s Naturals Just Cranberries
● 3 Tbsp. cinnamon sugar
Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper
3. Dice Brie cheese and remove the rind
Instructions:
1. Unroll the puff pastry and brush with 1 Tbsp of melted butter
2. Sprinkle pastry with 1-2 Tbsp of cinnamon sugar
3. Sprinkle diced brie and cranberries evenly on top of the pastry
4. Beginning at the long end, tightly roll the pastry
5. Brush the pastry with the remaining melted butter
6. Coat the roll with cinnamon sugar
7. Cut the roll into 16 swirls
8. Place swirls onto a baking sheet
9. Bake for 15-25 minutes or until
This simple dish can be served for brunch or an additional pastry appetizer with a warm cup of holiday tea.  To watch the lifestyle segment, click on the link https://www.facebook.com/CincyLifestyle/videos/218152979726399

National Dessert Day – Check Out These Delicious Dessert Hacks from TheSoul Publishing

Today is the most delicious holiday of them all—National Dessert Day!

To celebrate, TheSoul Publishing—the company behind some of the biggest viral videos on the Internet—has shared 28 Delicious Dessert Hacks in this video on their popular 5 Minute Crafts page. These yummy tips include:

  • Gummy Bear Popsicles: These sweet treats are simple to make: just fill popsicle molds with Sprite and colorful gummy bears, and pop them in the freezer!
  • Perfect Nutella PancakesBy freezing discs of Nutella before adding to pancake batter on a griddle, you’ll get perfectly proportioned Nutella-filled pancakes every time.
  • Fancy Edible FlowersMake gorgeous edible flowers worthy of The Great British Bake Off with only three pantry ingredients: marshmallows, powdered sugar, and food coloring!
  • Gooey Caramel Popcorn: This hack combines caramel candies, butter, and popcorn kernels to create a favorite sweet and salty treat.
  • And more!

DIY Beauty Projects from Los Angeles-based TV personality, Budget Travel and Lifestyle Expert: Lindsay Myers

Who doesn’t love getting pampered? But with this lockdown, we have had to figure it out ourselves! It’s always a great feeling to know that you can do it all if you have to! Here are some of Lindsay’s favorite DIY beauty projects:

Featured Photo from Domino Sugar

Natural Lip Scrub– I sometimes grab a pack of sugar and quickly exfoliate if I am in a time crunch. and need to apply some lipstick. But this is my new favorite natural way to get my lips super smooth!

Supplies:

1 TSP of Brown Sugar
1 TSP of White Sugar
1 TSP of Honey
1/2 TSP of Olive Oil

Directions: Just mix all the above in a small container. You can store and keep this for a while, but trust me after about 20 seconds your lips will feel amazing.

 

Bath Salts- I love a good bath, who doesn’t! This is really easy to make and a great way to unwind and get some self-care.

Supplies:

Coarse Salt

Epsom Salt

Baking Soda

Essential oil

Directions: Just take 6 part coarse sea salt and 3 part Epsom salt,1 part baking soda, and just a few drops of essential oil of your choice. That is it! This combo helps soothe the muscles, helps with skin irritation, and softens the skin.

 

Ombre Nail Manicure-I never go really big or bold with my manicure. But I have the time to figure out how to do it myself, why not!

Supplies:

2 different nail polish colors, and clear topcoat

Any sponge (you just need a bit, cut off a section from a larger sponge)

Plastic wrap

toothpick

Directions: Paint your nails with the lightest color. Let it dry. On the plastic pour our a little of each color right beside each other so they touch. Take the toothpick and swirl/blend just in the area where the two colors meet. Next, take your sponge and dab it directly over this mixture and then dab the sponge directly on your nail. Keep going on all the nails. If you want to go back over the nails to make the color stronger just make sure the first coat is dry first. Finish with a clear topcoat.

 

Hair Mask– It is SO easy to make a simple hair mask with everyday things in our kitchen. Why don’t we do it more? Maybe now we will!

2 hair mask options:

  1. All hair types:

Supplies:

Avocado

Honey

Directions: Simply scoop out half an avocado and mix it with a tbsp honey and apply it to hair. Leave this on for 20 mins. Rinse in the shower.

  1. Dry Hair Mask:

Supplies:

Eggs

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions: Mix 2 eggs with 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and apply to hair. Leave this on for 20 mins. Rinse in shower.

 

Facial: I have grown to love my facials, but they are expensive and now we just can’t get them. Why not learn how to do it yourself?

Supplies:

Chamomile Tea

Honey

Nutritional Yeast

Directions: Brew one cup of the tea with 2 tea bags. Let cool. Stir together 1 tbsp of honey and 1 tsp of nutritional yeast. Add just enough of the tea to the bowl to make a paste. You want to be able to spread it on your face, but not be watery. Let sit for 20 mins. This is calm and restores your skin.

 

 

Talk of Alabama Lifestyle Segment – NYE 2016 Beauty Products and Personal Glam Squad Techniques

I was invited to visit Talk of Alabama and share New Year’s Eve beauty products and personal glam squad techniques.  This segment featured at-home beauty essentials to achieve a professional look for everyone – not just red carpet celebrities.

The products I presented on ABC 33/40 included EcoTools Makeup Brushes, SensatioNail Pro LED Lamp, Sally Hansen Gel Polish, Hard Candy Nail Polish, Hard Candy Eyeshadow Collection, Vanity Planet Tame Flat Iron, Spa Sonic Skin Care System, and Whamisa Real Kelp Sheet Mask.

Here’s the breakdown:

FACE

Spa Sonic

Whamisa Real Kelp Sheet Mask

EcoTools Makeup Brushes

Hard Candy Eyeshadow Collection

NAILS

Hard Candy Nail Polish

SensatioNail Pro LED Lamp

Sally Hansen Gel Polish

HAIR

Vanity Planet Tame Flat Iron

 

6 Last-Minute Shopping Hacks for Holiday Procrastinators

If you’ve waited until the eleventh hour to wrap up your gift shopping, you may be feeling anxious and a bit panicked over you ability to get it all done in time. Unfortunately, this combination could cause you to make poor purchasing decisions and lead you to overspend.

1. Shop in the wee hours.
Save your sanity by taking advantage of extended store hours and shop during the less busy times of day. Many stores will be keeping their doors open past regular hours for straggling shoppers. For instance, Babies ‘R Us will stay open until 2am through Friday, Macy’s and Target will be open until 12am all week long, and Kohl’s will operate around the clock through Friday. Know when to shop by reviewing the comprehensive list of store hours from DealNews.

2. Know where the sales are.
Save time and money by using the Steps Away app, which offers hyperlocal, real-time offers and promotions from nearby retailers so you know where to find the best sales and deals instantly. It is now available in over 150 malls in 40 states and 20 major metro areas. Don’t forget to download Coupon Sherpa’s free coupon app which provides coupons to stores based on your location so you never miss an offer. You’ll find offers such as 15% off with a Famous Footwear coupon or 20% off from Kohl’s.

3. Find gifts in unexpected places.
You don’t have to shop at traditional retailers to find gifts for everyone on your list. Save time by picking up presents in unexpected places while running errands. If you’re heading to the drugstore for prescriptions and gift wrap, look for beauty sets, fragrance and even toys for the women and children on your list. The warehouse store is the perfect place to stock up on groceries for guests and cleaning supplies while offering a wide selection of potential presents like small kitchen appliances, gadgets and even chocolate and cookie tins that make great hostess gifts. And if you’re on the way to the airport, look for a Best Buy kiosk for affordable headphones and bluetooth speakers.

4. Opt for an experience gift.
Experiential gifts are the ideal last-minute gifts because they’re quick and easy to procure and offer the recipient a lasting memory. Print certificates to various experiences like wine tasting, race car driving and hot air balloon rides instantly from your computer. Get creative with packaging by combining the certificate with a coordinating item like a bottle of wine with a wine-making experience, for example. Check out eBay experiences or Groupon for an endless list of ideas!

5. Make something.
Making a gift may sound time-consuming and complicated, but there are several homemade items that are cheap, easy and quick to make. For example, you can put together a festive cookie mix gift by layering ingredients from your favorite cookie recipe in a mason jar or try this DIY Peppermint Sugar Scrub, it’s simple to make with just sugar, coconut oil, food coloring and peppermint essential oil. If you’re feeling crafty, make a painted or glitter ornament by following instructions here.

6. Regift.
Regifting is a controversial practice, but when executed thoughtfully, it can be a great alternative to traditional gift giving. There are definitely do’s and don’ts for regifting, including using only new or like-new items and being honest about whether the recipient wants the item. Unused candles and accessories like scarves make great gifts for coworkers and neighbors. You can even regift a favorite book with a note letting the recipient know why you enjoy it so much, and why you thought they would, too.

Feel free to share “6 Last-Minute Shopping Hacks for Holiday Procrastinators” with your audience, giving proper attribution to the source.

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Andrea Woroch is a money-saving expert who transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers by sharing smart spending tips and personal finance advice. As a sought-after media source, she has been featured among such top news outlets as Good Morning America, Today, CNN, Dr. OZ, New York Times, MONEY Magazine, Consumer Reports, Forbes and many more. In addition, Andrea’s stories have been published among leading publications and sites such as Yahoo!, AOL Daily Finance, CNN Money, Huffington Post, LearnVest and New York Daily News. Check out Andrea’s demo reel or visit her website at AndreaWoroch.com for more information about booking an interview or requesting an original written article. You can also follow her on Twitter or Facebook for daily money tips.

Pretty Summer Feet – Beauty Tips

52079154 The 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival Lowriders Premiere held at The Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood, California on 6/2/16. The 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival Lowriders Premiere held at The Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood, California on 6/2/16. Eva Longoria FameFlynet, Inc - Beverly Hills, CA, USA - +1 (310) 505-9876
52079154 The 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival Lowriders Premiere held at The Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood, California on 6/2/16.
The 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival Lowriders Premiere held at The Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood, California on 6/2/16.
Eva Longoria FameFlynet, Inc – Beverly Hills, CA, USA – +1 (310) 505-9876

Since we learned to walk, our feet have been supporting us. They walk us anywhere we want to go. They get us to the bus stop with three seconds to spare. And they dance into the early house in crazy high heels. For most of the year, we take our feet for granted. But in the summer months when the socks come off, we can no longer ignore them. Follow our simple steps to pretty summer feet.

  1. Scrub

This sounds obvious but in the summer months we sweat more. It’s important to keep feet clean and smelling fresh. Wash your feet at least twice a day. Scrub them with a brush and warm soapy water. Or, create a DIY foot scrub. Apply a generous amount of foot cream to keep them moisturized.

  1. Comfortable Shoes

The summer months are a great excuse to ditch the high heels. Not all of the time, of course, but for at least some of the time we can enjoy flats and sandals. Combine style and comfort with a pair of sandals, like Uggs. Shop around for an Ugg coupon code and other promos.

  1. Heels

Heels can be a problem area. They are a pressure point on our feet, and often hard skin builds up. After a while, it becomes dry and can crack. This is unsightly and painful. Treat yourself to regular at-home pedicures to remove hard skin. Use a foot file or pumice stone and gently rub away the problem areas. Always apply a good quality foot cream to prevent skin from drying out.

  1. Toenails

Keep toenails neat and short. Cut them regularly with toenail clippers. Cut straight across to avoid ingrowing toenails. File rough edges with an emery board.

Toenails are prone to fungal infections, and so it is important to keep them trimmed and clean. Apply some tea tree oil after cutting, to prevent infections.

  1. Nail Polish

Nail polish is the final touch if you’re wearing peep-toe shoes or sandals. However, don’t wear it all the time. It is important for your nails to rest.

  1. Blisters

Blisters are more common in the summer months. People tend to walk more when the weather is warmer. Blisters are caused by rubbing. Make sure your shoes fit well and wear them in before wearing them for long periods of time. Opt for shoes with absorbent insoles to absorb sweat. Or, alternatively, wear socks. This will prevent your feet slipping and sliding inside your shoes and rubbing against the sides. Keep some plasters in your handbag in case a blister develops.

  1. Sun Protection

When applying sun cream, don’t forget your feet. They need protection like every other part of your body. Apply a sunblock liberally and ensure you keep it topped up throughout the day.

  1. Smelly Feet

Your feet contain more sweat glands than any other part of the body. Odor is caused when the sweat breaks down. To prevent smelly feet take the following precautions:

  • Keep feet clean
  • Don’t wear the same shoes every day
  • Apply antiperspirant
  • Use insoles that can be removed and replaced
  • Wear shoes that allow air to circulate

 

Follow these simple steps to pretty, sandal-ready feet.

collaborative post

Ereka Vetrini from TLC Creates Agua Fresca Beverage

Ereka-photo_905 (1)

Have you heard of agua fresca? It’s a drink traditionally sold by street vendors throughout Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. This beverage—which is perfect for cooling down on warm days—has recently grown in popularity throughout the U.S. thanks to its refreshing quality.

Today, The Host of TLC’s Sunday Brunch, Ereka Vetrini will introduce you to the refreshing world of agua fresca, and share a few of her thirst-quenching recipes to get your readers prepped for spring and summer.

The recipes Ereka demonstrates will feature the recently released Agua Fresca line from Santa Cruz Organic®. As a pioneer organic brand, Santa Cruz Organic offers a variety of organic, 100 percent juices that you can feel good about drinking.

agua fresca

Ereka will also share additional tips with our site very soon!

About Ereka Vetrini:

Ereka Vetrini is a TV Host, Lifestyle Expert, Brand Spokesperson, Producer, Blogger and proud mom of two! Tune-in to TLC Sunday Brunch on Sunday mornings as Ereka brings you the very best brunch & cocktail recipes, styling tips and so much more! Ereka is also the host of Lifetime’s Access Health where her and her team bring you the latest cutting-edge developments and innovations in medicine, nutrition and fitness, so women everywhere can take charge of their health, starting today! As the TV spokesperson for AllRecipes magazine, you can catch her in the kitchen at The Today Show, Meredith Vieira Showand The Better Show where she cooks up recipes created by home cooks from across the country. Ereka was the host of Easy Does It on Yahoo! where she interviewed authors, experts and celebrities to uncover everything you need to know about how to simplify family life. As a mother of two, Ereka enjoys spending every spare minute running after her 1st grader and preschooler. Check out her blog BeYOUtifulmoms.com to see how she balances it all and deals with her daily dose of mom guilt.