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How To Wear Blue Eyeshadow

From the spring 2013 runways to the red carpet, blue eyeshadow is having a major moment.

We’re 100% with you – it can seem scary putting blue on your peepers. The good news? This hot hue is totally wearable, whether you’re a blonde, redhead, or brunette. Celebrity Makeup Artist Laura Dillon says the key is following a few simple guidelines:

  • NEVER match your eyeshadow to your eye color. You want to make a statement, not get lost in the crowd.
  • ALWAYS keep your cheeks and lips on the lighter side. Redheads should stick with peachy/coral hues, blondes should think shades of sheer pink, and brunettes should reach for neutral tones, light pinks, or mauves.
  • ALWAYS use an eyelid primer. Since blue is a primary color, it can easily take on a different hue once its applied to bare skin. (For example, blue on reddish skin tends to turn purple.) A primer will prevent that from happening, not mention increase staying power.
  • ALWAYS use two different makeup brushes when you apply blue eyshadow. Dillon recommends an eye shading brush for the lid and a blending brush for the crease. Be sure to clean them often.
  • ALWAYS take an eyeshadow’s texture into consideration. Dillon says this can make or break a look. Younger looking eyes are plumper and smoother, so they’ll always be able to pull off vibrant and shimmery colors. More mature gals should reach for matte tones and subdued blues, which won’t draw as much attention to fine lines or look dated.
  • ALWAYS remember that matte shades tend to work best in the crease and up to the brow, esepcially if you’re working shimmer on the lids.  Dillon says too much shimmer gives an “overly blended” appearance.

RELATED The Ultimate Mascara Guide

(Top: M.A.C 217 Blending Brush, $23; Bottom: M.A.C 239 Eye Shader Brush, $25)

Now that you know the rules, it’s time to break out your makeup brushes. Here are three different looks to try…

Look #1 – Luxe Liner:

  1. Apply gel liner to the upper lashline (and along the lower one, if you’re up for it). Feeling crazy? Flick the line up and out when you reach the outer corner for a “winged” look.
  2. Using a smudge brush, trace/diffuse the line with your favorite blue shadow.
  3. Apply black or navy blue mascara. Voila!

(Try: M.A.C Fluidline in Waveline, $16; Smasbox Jet Set Waterproof Eye Liner in Teal, $22)

Look #2 – Simple Blue Smoke:

  1. Apply a medium to dark shade of blue to the lid. Lighter colors won’t work as well. You want drama!
  2. Apply a neutral shade through the crease (think taupe or beige), using a stiff/dry brush. Ideally, this color should be darker than your natural skin tone, but lighter than your lid color. The goal is to soften the line between the lid and the crease so the colors blend seamlessly.
  3. Apply a lighter shade (think cream or champage) from crease to brow using the same softening technique. Avoid frosty or shimmery colors, since they look dated.
  4. To enhance the look, apply a deep blue liner to the upper and lower lashes using a smudge brush.
  5. Finally, swipe on your favorite mascara in black or navy blue.

RELATED Eyelash Dehydration: Yes, It Can Happen!

(Try: Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Haight and Verve, $18; Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner in Bluefin, $20; Rimmel London Glam’Eyes Quad Shadow in Smokey Blue, $5.99; Maybelline EyeStudio Color Explosion Luminizing Eyeshadow, Blue Blowout, $10.49)

(Try: Urban Decay Naked Basics Matte Palette, $27)

Look #3 – Smokin’ Hot 

  1. Apply a vibrant or deep blue eyeshadow to the entire lid.
  2. Apply a neutral shade through the crease, using the softening technique described above.
  1. Apply dark brown or black shadow from the outer corner of the eyelid into the crease. Blend, blend, blend.
  2. Apply a highlighter from crease to brow.
  3. Finish off the look with black or navy mascara.

(Try: CARGO Color Palette in Vienna, $30; Yves Saint Laurent ‘Pure Chromatics’ Wet & Dry Eyeshadow Palette in #11, $55, L’Oreal Colour Riche Eye Shadow Quad in Love To Hate Me, $7.95, Flower Shadow Play Eye Shadow Quad in Blue Lagoons, $9.98)

With 13 years of experience in the fashion and beauty industry, Laura Dillon admits she is a true artist to her core. After transitioning from fashion design to a successful career as a Bumble and Bumble trained hairstylist and later as a color educator for Aveda, it only came natural for her to pick up her brush and paint faces. She has worked on a variety of famous faces, inclduing Nicole Richie and Cyntha Nixon, and has done editorial work in glossies like Improper Bostonian and Self Magazine. Laura Dillon is with Team Artist Representative, Inc. 

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6 Easy Ways To Look Great In Photos

by Lori Garcia, Editor for GalTime.com

If you’ve ever known someone who couldn’t take a bad picture if they tried, you also know that they’re usually the same person who shares pictures all over social networking sites where they look awesome and you…well, don’t.

Since camera shyness is hardly an option in today’s snap and share society, check out these simple tricks to take a more flattering picture:

1. Chin up: My husband’s notorious for tucking his chin way back into his neck when smiling for pictures, enter quadruple chin. Instead of tucking your chin into the shell of your neck like a frightened turtle, tilt your chin up and slightly forward to create a clean and defined jawline, free of unnecessary (and unflattering) shadows and neck rolls.

2. Relax your face: Ever wonder why some people look best in candid shots? It’s because their face isn’t all tensed up in anticipation of an imminent flash. Make a deliberate effort to relax your entire face, particularly your eyes when posing for pictures. Oh, and about that dreaded “bite-smile”, you’ll want to stop that. It comes off looking forced and insincere.

3. Revisit your photos: View pictures of yourself with constructive criticism. Chances are you’ll notice a handful of undesirable posing habits. Maybe you tilt your head at a strange angle like I do, or strike an awkward habitual pose. Become acquainted with poses and angles that have served you well and make a mental checklist of what not to do the next time you’re in front of a camera. Whether it’s the chin tuck into the neck, unflattering posture, or a too wide forced grin, awareness will likely result in more flattering pictures in the future.

4. Enhance, don’t distract: Since makeup can appear much darker in photos than perhaps intended, focus on reducing redness and shine in natural tones and of course, wear clothing that accentuates your body’s best features.

5. Look through the camera: Focusing on the camera lens can translate into tense eyes (highlighting every eye wrinkle you own). The trick is to look “through” the camera lens with relaxed eyes. There’s one very important caveat to this rule: if you’re in the unfortunate position of being up-shot by a camera positioned lower than eye level, keep your head up and look straight ahead rather than tilting your head down to peer through the camera.

6. Strike a pose: Madonna told us, “Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it.” I happen to disagree; striking a decent pose takes at least a little bit of effort. Try standing at a three-quarter angle with one foot behind the other, paying close attention to your posture while relaxing your shoulders. Not only will you instantly appear slimmer in photos, you might just look like a seasoned professional.

With a few minor adjustments, we can all take better pictures. So snap, smile and tag those pictures my friends!

For those of you busy striking poses in live action, click here to learn how to look good on a web cam!

Have any tried and true tips for taking great pictures? Please share!

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Why Sporting Events Make Great Dates

by Suzanne Casamento for GalTime.com

With the exception of baseball, I am not a big sports fan. But I am a big fan of attending a sporting event as a date. Sporting events can give you great insights into who you’re dating and what to expect from them — and what to expect when you’re with them outside of the stadium, away from the field and when a ref is not around.

What His Ticket Tells You

Your education about your date begins before he even leaves the house. Is your date a season-ticket holder? If so, this guy is serious. Season-ticket holders fork over big cash to attend games, which means that he has prioritized his budget and his schedule to be there. If you plan on dating an NFL season-ticket holder (and let’s not assume just yet that you will be sitting in the seat next to him at every game), you might want to join an afternoon book club or sign up for hot yoga on Sundays next fall. Or maybe you can master the sport and get invited to a game or two. But whatever you do, don’t expect him to stop going to games so he can hang out with you. It’s not going to happen and if you push for it, he’s going to resent you.

Now that you have your ticket info, the next thing you need to know is how your guy tailgates. Does he keep a beer funnel in his trunk and pull it out once he parks in Section C with all his old frat buddies? Or does he visit his butcher on game day and select rib eyes for the two of you and the friends you’ll be meeting?

Once you arrive, does he toss you a beer in a can or does he introduce you to his friends, pour you a glass of cabernet and ask you to help him man the grill? The way he parties can say a lot about a guy. Does he know how to eat and drink like a gentleman or is he a grown up trying to relive his college years? And which do you prefer?

What His Cheering (and Jeering) Reveals

Inside the stadium, does your date play well with others? Does he give the stink eye to people rooting for the opposite team or is he cordial to the other fans seated around you?

How does he treat you during the event? Does he ask if you’re hot or cold? Hungry? Thirsty? Does he involve you in the game with comments like, “Did you see that?!” If he treats you well and considers you in a scenario in which he’s most likely seriously distracted, that’s a good sign that he’ll consider you all the time.

Is He A Big Loser?

Finally, how does he handle a loss? Some sports fanatics slip into serious depression after their team tanks. Some guys can’t speak to anyone for hours. They may be depressed for days. Take note of his reaction when his team loses. If he goes dark and moody, ask yourself if you can handle bouts of misery for days on end.

And don’t forget to enjoy the game. You don’t have to be a pro to have a good time watching guys shoot baskets or slap hockey pucks. A high-energy crowd plus an action packed game is a formula for a winning date!

What great sports event dates have you had?

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How To Rock Faux Fur

by Jessica Conway, Associate Producer for GalTime

Whether you’re debating buying into the trend or you’re a seasoned faux fur collector, these fuzzy pieces are the perfect fashion statement this winter! We asked Michelle Williamson, Style Editor for New York Girl Style, for the 411 on faux fur.

What are the hottest faux fur accessories this season? If you’re just opening up to the trend, vests and scarves are a super easy way to incorporate faux fur into any wardrobe. These two styles are quite popular and can be worn many ways – you can throw them on with jeans or over a black mini. We’re also seeing a lot of hats, both hunter caps and ’50s toque-type style hats are in! (Below: C Wonder Faux Fur Vest, $109.99)

How can you wear these styles without looking like you’re ready for the North Pole? The trick is to not overdo it. It’s lofty, so layering a faux fur piece over sleek shapes and fabrics creates a nice juxtaposition of textures. Don’t be afraid to toss a furry vest over a denim jacket or another woven fabric. Faux fur scarves look great peeking out from the neckline of a double breasted jacket. (Below: Forever 21 Faux Fur Scarf, $12.80)

Which colors and styles should readers look for? Natural colors and patterns like leopard are always classic, but there are also some fun faux patterns to play with – so don’t be afraid to try stripes, zig zags, chevrons. Graphic black and white really make a statement when paired with an all black outfit. When venturing into colors not found in nature, tread carefully by making sure that the quality is there so it doesn’t read cheap. That being said, jewel tones are a nice alternative! (Below: Michael Stars Pop Accent Trapper Hat, $38)

Is it best to save these accessories for outside? Vests and scarves can easily be worn indoors if they’re not insanely bulky. If it restricts your movement, it’s probably best to keep it for outdoor wear. Faux fur hats look out of place when worn indoors, but they’re perfect for hitting the streets on a chilly day!

What is the best way to store faux fur in the off-season? Gently use a soft-bristled brush to clean faux fur items. If they are meant to be left hanging, use a padded hanger and don’t put it in a plastic garment bag. Store the piece in a dark, dry place where it won’t get exposed to excessive heat.

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5 Beauty No-No’s

by Sasha Beauty Blogger for GalTime.com

We tend to focus on the must-dos when it comes to our daily beauty regimen, but what about the no-nos? With our ever-increasing busy schedules, it’s no wonder bad habits end up working their way into our beauty routines. (Note to self: stop going to bed with makeup on…oh, and wearing waaaay-expired makeup!)

So with the New Year (aka New Beauty Resolutions) right around the corner, we decided to proactively embrace the whole out with the bad old, in with the new formula. Here are five bad habits to break, STAT…and some no-nonsense tips to help break ‘em:

Not cleaning your makeup brushes: After cleaning your house from top to bottom, cleaning your makeup brushes probably isn’t a top priority. But bacteria (and even mold) can form in a brushes fibers and then transfer to your skin (which means bad news and can lead to skin and eye infections).

Problem solver: A spray-on sanitizer. These timesaving germ-killers instantly sanitize and remove residue and build-up. A good rule of thumb: clean your regularly-used brushes once per week. One to try: Clinique Makeup Brush Cleanser ($14)

Wearing makeup that expired when J-Lo and Ben Affleck were a couple: We get it. You paid darn good money for that mega-expensive mascara, but makeup products can collect bacteria (think mini Petri dishes) over time, and ingredients eventually separate or just stop working properly.

Problem solver: Replace mascaras after three months. Cream-based makeup (i.e. blush, foundation, foundation, and eye shadows) should be tossed after six months. Powders are the long-term players and can be kept up to two years. Lipsticks last around one year, but if you notice its texture starts to feel dry or cakey, replace it. Worried you won’t be able to keep track of purchase dates? Simply apply a mini index label to each piece along with the date you bought it (i.e. 11-15-12).

Pimple popping: That pimple might as well have a flashing neon arrow pointing to it, but unfortunately, popping that blemish can leave a major red mark for days and possible long-term scarring.

Problem solver: Try applying an ice cube for several seconds and repeat this a few times. The intense cold can help shrink the cyst (AKA white head). Then apply an acne spot treatment. One to try: Bliss No Zit Sherlock Spot Treatment ($18)

Forgetting the SPF: Make no mistake, beauty mavens, wearing proper sunscreen is the single most important beauty (and health) habit in the beauty commandments. (Thou shalt not forget to apply daily SPF!) Skipping sunscreen can cause brown spots, wrinkles, or the scariest of all: skin cancer.

Problem solver: If your moisturizer or foundation doesn’t contain proper SPF, go the quick n’ easy route: a spray-on SPF mist (and don’t forget about your hands, chest, and other exposed areas). One to try: L’Oreal Advanced Sunscreen Crystal Clear Mist SPF 30 ($10)

Overusing the Clarisonic: Hey, if exfoliating is good for the skin, then surely there’s no such thing as too much of it, right? Wrong. Electric face brushes ,or any exfoliating product, should really only be used 2-3 times per week, otherwise your “too-much-of-a-good-thing” approach might cause redness, dry patches, or dehydrated skin.

Problem solver: Make specific days (i.e. Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays) your planned exfoliation days, so you don’t fall into the over-exfoliation rut. And if you find you’ve over done it in the scrubbing department, step away from the exfoliants and use a heavy-duty moisturizer until your skin heals.

Here’s to kicking bad beauty habits and replacing them with face-saving ones that just might positively influence our bad fitness habits, too. (Okay, that second part may be a bit of a stretch but a girl can dream, can’t she?)

Are you guilty of any of these beauty no-nos, GalTimers? What’s your worst bad beauty habit? Share ‘em in the comments section below!

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Be A Bombshell On A Budget

by Mary Schwager, Consumer Watchdog for GalTime.com

Forget traveling from department store to department store in the hopes of snagging a great deal on beauty products. With a little creative thinking, budget beauty can be yours!

Just ask model Gina Elise who knows a thing or two about creating beautiful looks for less. When Gina first started Pin-Ups for Vets, a non-profit organization that creates and sells calendars of vintage inspired pretty-girl images with proceeds going to help raise money for veterans and military hospitals, she had to be very budget-conscious. Gina had to come up with creative, budget-friendly ways to obtain classic pin-up beauty. Gina would buy makeup from drug store chains, scour discount department stores and thrift stores for costumes and shoes, and even snag wigs from Halloween stores!

Wondering how you can become a bombshell on a budget? Check out Gina’s top 5 calendar girl secrets:

1. Take full advantage of your local Goodwill or Salvation Army thrift stores

Thrift stores contain treasures for anyone looking to conjure up their inner bombshell. Look for dresses that are below the knee (polka dots and floral patterns create an instant retro vibe). Hunt for fun belts to combine with dresses, as belted waists are essential for creating unstoppable pin-up curves. And of course, be on the lookout for pencil skirts. Keep your eye out for sexy platform and peep-toe shoes. Don’t forget to peruse your local outdoor flea markets for vintage jewelry, jeweled broaches, and replica bakelite jewelry.

2. Pay a visit to your local drug store

Thanks to bombshells like Adele, Lana Del Rey, Katy Perry and Dita Von Teese, the cat eye is back in style! My go-to liquid liner to create this look is Revlon’s Colorstay liquid eye pen in “Blackest Black.” The eye pen is perfect for first time cat-eye fans because it’s drip-proof. To enhance this look, grab some false eyelashes while you’re in the cosmetics aisle (Psst! Ardell makes self-adhesive lashes so you don’t have to mess around with glue). Finish off the look with red nail polish and red lipstick.

3. Do-It-Yourself Locks

Ladies, allow me to introduce to you the best thing since sliced bread: Wrap, Snap and Go Hair Rollers available from Sally Beauty Supply. For years, I’ve spent hours standing in front of my bathroom mirror with a curling iron rushing to get ready (and have the burns to prove it). Take the drama out of creating perfect curls with these hair rollers that will have you saying hello to gorgeous, bouncy curls without all the fuss.

To dress up any alluring hairstyle, purchase a flower from your local craft store to tuck behind one ear. You can also hot glue the flower to a comb or clip so it stays in place.

4. Use You-Tube!

There are so many incredible makeup and hair tutorials on You Tube to choose from! Type in key words like “1940s hairstyle” or “1940s makeup” to get started. The wonderful thing about watching online tutorials is that you have the ability to do your hair/makeup right along with the tutorial, pausing, stopping and starting as needed!

5. Free hair and makeup? Yes, please!

Give your local cosmetology school a call; their students often need hair and faces to practice on! This is a great way to get pampered while helping students perfect their skills under the watchful eye of experienced instructors.


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Teaching Kids To Write Thank You Notes

by Michele Borba, Ed.D., Parenting Pro for GalTime.com

Did you know that writing a “thank you” note is a simple, proven way to boost your child’s gratitude? That’s what researchers from the University of  California at Davis and Southern Methodist University found. Researchers also discovered that being thankful might be the key to raising  your child’s happiness and well-being.

For the past ten years, two professors, Robert Emmons and Michael McCollugh, have examined data of several hundred people who were involved in  their  simple gratitude experiments. One ten-week study asked a group to write down five things in a journal they were grateful for that happened in the last week  for four days a week.

A second group listed ways they were better off than others as a way to appreciate their blessings. The psychologists then looked at the medical and  psychological tests of each participant prior to the study, and then again ten weeks later. Those simple gratitude exercises made those participants  feel 24 percent happier.

But that’s not all: the students were also more optimistic about the future, felt better about their lives, slept better, felt healthier and less stressed,  were less materialistic and more likely to help others. And those results were not hard to achieve.

Best yet, you can help your child reap some of those results just by encouraging them to write thank yous.

While most of us agree that writing “thank you” cards is a habit of gratitude we should encourage, getting many kids to actually write them – without the  whines and complaints — is often a problem.

So here are a few fun (and a bit sneaky) tricks to getting your kids to write those notes for this year’s batch of  holidays presents.

8 Tips to Get Kids Into the Habit of Writing Thank Yous

Set expectations for gratitude. Be clear and upfront this year. Any present–regardless of the price or size–deserves a “thank you” card. If your kids hear those expectations now, they’ll be less likely to put up a battle later. Parents who raise grateful kids don’t do so by accident.

Keep reminding! Keep in mind that kids may need constant reminders. “Did you remember to thank Jeff’s mom?” And don’t overlook the slips: “You can call to thank her when you get home.”

Enforce the “Write then play” rule. Implement one simple family rule: “You must write the thank you note first, and then you may use the gift.” Believe me, that mandate speeds up the writing process.

Set age appropriate guidelines. A young child can dictate his comments and only needs to sign his name. School age kids should use this rule from The Etiquette and Leadership Institute at Athens, Georgia: “The total number of sentences in a thank you note should be half the child’s age.” So a ten-year-old should be expected to write a minimum of five complete sentences; a six-year-old should write just three sentences.

Turn on kids’ creative juices. Another way to get kids more involved in the “thank you” writing process is to ask them to come up with their own unique way of thanking Grandma. A few creative “thank you” card ideas for kids might include:

  • Making a video just for that person that expresses appreciation.
  • Taking a photo of the child wearing or using the gift. The developed four-by-six inch print makes an instant postcard; the child just writes a brief note on the back and addresses and mails it. Tweens and teens can take a photo from their cell phone and send it to Grandma (along with a thoughtful message).
  • Writing the thank you on a piece of card stock and then cut it into a few pieces like a jigsaw puzzle.
  • Spelling out the thank you use M&M’s or alphabet cereal glued on a piece of cardboard.
  • Picking a flower and press it flat for a few days between wax paper arranged inside a heavy book. Once the flower is pressed send it inside a heavy piece of folded paper with a note.

Help imagine the emotion behind the gesture. A hard lesson for kids to learn is that they’re really thanking the person not for the gift but the thoughtfulness behind it. “Grandma thought a lot about what to give you this year.” “Mark went to five stores to try to find what would make you happiest.” Keep reinforcing the thought that went into the purchase.

Be the example. One final tip: Remember, your kids are watching your example. So don’t forget to write thank you notes yourself! Have you written your thank yous?

Thank your kids. What about thanking your kids? Don’t overlook your kids’ daily thoughtful deeds. Just be sure to tell them what they did that you appreciate so that they are more likely to copy your example and send their own “appreciation messages” to others.

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Easy Ways To Recycle Last Year’s Christmas Cards

by Katie Myers, Design Diva for GalTime.com

Ever feel like the Grinch when throwing away last year’s pile of holiday greeting cards? I know I sure do! To combat this Grinch-y feeling I’ve come up with a few creative ways to reuse and recycle these gorgeous holiday greeting cards.

If you’re in the mood to spread some cheer this holiday season just like Santa, pour yourself a nice steaming cup of hot cinnamon chocolate, and try making these simple Holi-DIY projects at home!

Make a Wine Bottle Tag. Festive parties are in full swing this time of year and bringing a gift is always a polite (and much appreciated) gesture to thank the host. Since a bottle of champagne or wine tends to be one of the most popular gifts, it’s a good idea to include a tag so the host can remember which gift was yours.

Step 1: Use a pencil to trace an outline in the shape (squares, circles, and stars work well) that you’d like your wine tag.

Step 2: Cut along the outline that you traced.

Step 3: Punch a hole in the top of the card.

Step 4: Write your message using a marker.

Step 5: Loop a piece of twine or ribbon around your card and tie it to the bottle. (Le Box Boutique Twine, $5.50)

Create Ornaments for the Christmas Tree! Pulling out the box of holiday ornaments and adorning the tree is a beloved annual tradition for many families. In addition to admiring pieces from the past few years, turn old cards from friends and family into new sentimental reminders on your tree. When creating the ornaments, try to use colors or winter scenes that match the rest of your tree.

*Follow the steps described above, but tie card onto a Christmas tree.


Create Wine Markers. You know how it is – you’re in the middle of a party and you set your glass down in the midst of a great conversation. Then, after you’ve finished chatting you go to grab your glass and can’t remember which one is yours! This doesn’t have to happen to guests at your holiday party as long as you take just a few minutes to create wine markers. Make sure each glass showcases a different scene or color scheme.

*Follow the steps described above, but tie card onto a champagne or wine glass.


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How Parents Pass Down Unhealthy Habits To Kids

by Christy Wilson, RD for GalTime.com

You may not think twice about laying around the house on a sunny day, serving yourself heaping portions of food or perpetually sipping soda, but know that your kids are watching you.

They probably won’t talk with you about the health risks of being a couch potato or scold you about the abundance of calories you’re eating and drinking because, to them, this is normal.

Regardless of whether our lifestyle habits are good or bad, our kids perceive them as typical behaviors. If you want to pass along healthy habits to your kids, don’t just tell them what to do, show them you’re doing it, too. Kids are likely to follow our lead, so set a healthy example before your unhealthy behaviors become their lifelong bad habits.

If you do this: Serve yourself large portions of food at mealtime.

Try this: Divide and conquer your plate.

One of the best models to follow at mealtime is our national food icon, MyPlate. The message is simple and effective: fill half the plate with colorful fruit and vegetables; fill the smallest part with a lean protein (like chicken, fish or lean beef) and fill about a quarter of the plate with grains (preferably whole grains like whole wheat bread, oat and bran cereals or whole grain pasta). Eat fewer calories by eating off of a smaller plate.

If you do this: Rarely exercise.

Try doing this: Play outside with your kids.

In 2008, the Center for Disease Control reported an estimated one-third of our nation’s children and adolescents are overweight or obese and for the first time in two centuries, our youth are not expected to outlive their parents. This can change with lifestyle improvements like exercising more. Make exercise a priority by being active with your kids. Go outside and kick around the soccer ball, jump rope or shoot hoops with them. Have fun playing active video games like “Dance Dance Revolution” and “Wii Fit.” They’re sure to get you and the kids off the couch and on your feet!

If you do this: Keep junk food around the house.

Try doing this: Keep healthy snacks visible and always on-hand.

If chips, sodas and sweets are regularly purchased from the grocery store, the family is filling up on a lot of empty calories that can lead to weight gain. Upgrade those choices with nutrient-rich, low calorie foods like sweet and colorful apples, pears and grapes. Chewy raisins and crunchy freeze dried fruits like bananas and apples can be placed in a bowl on the table for quick snacking. Bring out a plate of crunchy carrots, celery and jicama sticks; they’re tasty, filling and naturally packed with vitamins.

If you do this: Drink sugary beverages with/between meals.

Try doing this: Swap out the liquid sugar with water.

Sugary drinks like sodas, sports and energy drinks, juices and sweetened teas are nothing but extra calories with no health benefits. These liquid calories digest quickly and don’t satisfy our hunger as effectively as solid foods. Diet drinks aren’t much better as their heightened sweetness can stimulate the desire for full-sugar snacks like candies, cakes and cookies. Dump the sugar and the extra calories and drink water with or between meals. Don’t like the flavor of plain water? Brew and chill a pitcher of green, lemon or raspberry tea or infuse regular water with slices of lime, orange or cucumber and toss in a few sprigs of mint or rosemary.

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The Top 5 Skincare Mistakes

By Lee Ann Buttery, Mario Badescu Skin Care

It’s amazing what thoughtful and consistent skin care can do for your appearance. On the flipside, innocent mistakes and a touch of carelessness can easily cause complexion chaos.

Want to be sure you’re getting it right? Check out the top five very worst skin care mistakes!

1. Picking or Touching Your Face: We’ve all been guilty of this one. You see a pesky blemish and attempt to extract it by popping or squeezing it. This is a huge no-no and can only make matters worse. The best thing to do is to leave it alone and let nature takes its course.

However, if you absolutely cannot stand looking at it or you have a major event to attend and need it gone pronto, apply a spot treatment (preferably one that contains salicylic acid) with a cotton swab or a clean finger and leave it alone. Picking or squeezing pimples can result in scarring and often causes more acne.

In general, try not to touch your face at all unless you are certain your hands are clean. It’s easy to make this mistake unintentionally—resting your chin on your hand or rubbing your eyes. This touching may seem harmless, but the oils and germs from your hands can cause a breakout.

2. Washing Your Face with Bar Soap: Bar soaps are formulated for the body, not the face. The ingredients in bar soap are too harsh and can strip the skin of its natural oils, disrupting the protective moisture barrier and leaving the skin severely dehydrated. Moreover, their use can leave a filmy residue. Instead, stick with a gentle facial cleanser that contains nourishing and soothing ingredients that promote the health of your skin rather than compromise it.

3. Skimping on the Sunscreen: Whether you’re sunbathing in the tropics of Belize or skiing on the slopes of the Colorado Mountains, it is imperative to wear sunscreen all year round, rain or shine, winter or summer. Even on the most gray, gloomy, overcast days, the sun’s rays are still peeking through the clouds. Sun exposure is one of the top causes of premature aging. Even when you’re indoors or inside of a vehicle, solar rays can penetrate through windows. Therefore, make sure to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15.

4. Neglecting to Wash Your Face: If you simply can’t be bothered or you feel legitimately exhausted, the easier (albeit wrong) thing to do is to hit the sack and call it a night. Your skin will suffer the consequences: clogged pores from a combination of old makeup, dead skin cell buildup and possibly an emerging pimple. Not a pretty picture. So the next time you really, really don’t feel like washing your face at night, gather up every ounce of strength you have and do it. Your skin will thank you!

5. Tanning: If you’re not blessed with enviably bronzed skin like Jennifer Lopez, it doesn’t mean you should bake your face and body to achieve a glow. On the bright side, you have two alternatives: opt for a safe sunless tanner or embrace your equally beautiful alabaster complexion. The sun’s cruel rays can cause premature wrinkling, brown spots and worst of all, skin cancer.

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