Safeguarding Your Home & Family Against Holiday Crimes by Guest Blogger Aimee Lyons

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The movie Home Alone has become an iconic holiday film, most well-known for the hilarious booby traps set by Kevin to curtail the plans of the nasty robbers who had their sights set on his family’s home. But holiday season home robberies, sadly, aren’t limited to the big screen; CNN reports that burglaries increase during the holiday season in the real world, too. Here are a few common risks that may make your home and family a bigger target for would-be thieves and how to avoid them.

Leaving Valuables Out in the Open

Holiday parties are happening plenty during the holiday season, and if you find yourself playing host to a few or many guests, you’ll want to safeguard your valuables. Of course you trust your friends, but there’s always the possibility of someone bringing a plus-one they recently started dating. Better safe than sorry when it comes to your most prized possessions, so tuck those valuables away in a hidden safe when your home will be filled with guests.

Headed Out of Town? Hold Your Mail

One of the biggest indicators that homeowners are out of town is an overflowing mailbox. If you’re heading out of town for a few days to visit friends or an extended shopping trip, it’s worth having the post office hold your mail while you’re gone, particularly if you’re expecting any packages that will quickly fill up your mailbox.

Don’t Broadcast Your Plans on Social Media

It’s happened more than once, most recently with Kim Kardashian’s highly publicized robbery in France, yet social media users continue to publicly broadcast their travel plans across social networks. Letting the world know that your home will be empty and unattended for two entire weeks is akin to sending a written invitation to your local burglar. As tempting as it is to share every detail of your life, don’t.

Put Your Lights on Timers

Much like an overflowing mailbox can indicate that a homeowner isn’t around, Christmas lights that aren’t turned on for several nights in a row are a surefire indicator that no one’s home. Burglars generally don’t like to get caught, and they’re usually not out to get into altercations with homeowners or cause anyone physical harm, so they’ll choose a home that’s seemingly empty over a home with obvious family inside in most cases. If your lights are turned on routinely every evening, it’s more difficult to tell if someone’s home.

Keep Gifts and Packages Out of View

As beautiful as your Christmas tree is shining through the front bay window, avoid the temptation to pile up all those gifts too soon. If you do display gifts in advance, take steps to make sure that they’re not clearly visible from outside. Likewise, bring any packages delivered inside as soon as possible. If it’s feasible, make arrangements to have delivery drivers and postal workers tuck packages away in a spot that’s not visible from the street.

Don’t Trust People Going Door-to-Door

If your doorbell rings unexpectedly this holiday season, be cautious who you open the door to. Various scams have been carried out using door-to-door methods, such as people posing for charity workers or volunteers seeking donations, people posing as repair professionals or sales representatives. If you can’t verify a person’s identity on the spot, decline their request, or you can simply choose not to answer the door to anyone you don’t recognize.

It’s sad that families need to take extra precautions to safeguard their homes against potential crooks during the season of giving, but being the victim of a robbery is no way to spend the holiday season. Take the ‘better safe than sorry approach’ and play it safe this year.

Aimee Lyons is a DIY hobbyist. She created http://diydarlin.com/ to share her DIY knowledge and for it to serve as a forum to learn from other DIYers. She also loves crafting, refurbishing furniture, remodeling rooms, and landscaping. 

 

 

GINGER: One Ingredient = Many Benefits! By Guest Blogger Stacey Marshall

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In this article, I’m going to share with you some information about a powerful, nutritional herb and compound, ginger.

Ginger is extremely versatile in its interaction inside the human body:

  1. It is proven to be an extremely potent pain reliever than box-standard pain killers
  2. Studies have shown it to be more effective at improving digestion than over-the-counter digestive medications
  3. It’s been proven to reduce symptoms of nausea

Ginger root has been used for thousands of years for its health benefits. As I mentioned earlier, one of the main benefits of consuming ginger is that it reduces inflammation.

A recent medical study, published out of Denmark, and published in the Journal of Arthritis, found that:

If you consume just a small amount of ginger, it is more effective at reducing your pain symptoms and inflammation than pain killers given by general practitioners today.

So again, if you’re trying to reduce pain and inflammation, ginger is more effective than many medications, according to the Journal of Arthritis.

Ginger is also very effective in improving the digestive function. If an individual suffers from some kind of inflammation in the intestines, this could well be a warning sign of GI inflammation. Things like eczema, acne, psoriasis, or certain types of skin blemishes are a warning sign, that you probably have inflammation in your digestive tract. Ginger is a great way of reducing these symptoms.

Not only has ginger proven to reduce inflammation, it also supports digestive health. Another incredible thing about ginger is that it aids digestion due to its prebiotics content. It contains a specific type of fiber, which causes good bacteria to grow in that area.

For all the dieters out there, a healthy digestive system aids weight loss, which is another benefit of using this ingredient.

Last but not least, ginger is very effective at reducing symptoms of nausea. So, if you’re ever going to be flying in an airplane, or let’s say, going on a boat all day, and you get sea sick, taking ginger is one of the best things you can possibly do.

You can rub a small amount of ginger essential oil behind your ear. One of the things physicians advise their patients over the years who’ve had arthritis, and diabetes, and other symptoms of inflammation, is to drink ginger tea.

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It’s very easy to make:

  1. Boil green tea
  2. Slice up ginger root
  3. Boil ginger root for 30 minutes (it releases anti-inflammatory compounds)

Try just drinking ginger green tea throughout the entire week.

Alternatively, break off a piece of ginger, or throw it in a smoothie. Ginger can be great with blueberries and peaches because it adds some really good flavor.

Remember all the benefits from ginger:

  1. It is powerful at reducing inflammation
  2. Can reduce symptoms of nausea
  3. Supports digestion
  4. Contains prebiotics

Get more of this super herb ginger in your diet. Medical science proves it, and history proves it, so how much more persuading do you really need?

This article was written by Stacey Marshall. Stacey is a qualified nutritionist and personal trainer. You can find more of her articles on www.authenticweightloss.com.

References:

  1. ‘Arthritis Journals| Peer Reviewed | High Impact Articles List’. Accessed 3 November 2015. http://www.omicsgroup.org/journals/arthritis.php.
  2. ‘Ginger’. University of Maryland Medical Center. Accessed 3 November 2015. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/ginger.
  3. ‘Ginger’. University of Maryland Medical Center. Accessed 3 November 2015. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/ginger.
  4. ‘Ginger And Digestive Health Benefits’. Digestive Health Guide. Accessed 3 November 2015. http://digestivehealthguide.com/ginger-and-digestive-health/.
  5. ‘Ginger Health Benefits | Best Foods for Arthritis | Arthritis Diet’. Accessed 3 November 2015. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/best-foods-for-arthritis/ginger-benefits.php.
  6. ‘Ginger: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings – WebMD’. Accessed 3 November 2015. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-961-ginger.aspx?activeingredientid=961&activeingredientname=ginger.
  7. ‘JAMA Network | JAMA | Collaborative Care for Chronic Pain in Primary Care:  A Cluster Randomized Trial’. Accessed 3 November 2015. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=183624.
  8. Rahnama, Parvin, Ali Montazeri, Hassan F. Huseini, Saeed Kianbakht, and Mohsen Naseri. ‘Effect of Zingiber Officinale R. Rhizomes (ginger) on Pain Relief in Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Placebo Randomized Trial’. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 12, no. 1 (10 July 2012): 92. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-92.
  9. Schittek, Birgit, Rainer Hipfel, Birgit Sauer, Jürgen Bauer, Hubert Kalbacher, Stefan Stevanovic, Markus Schirle, et al. ‘Dermcidin: A Novel Human Antibiotic Peptide Secreted by Sweat Glands’. Nature Immunology 2, no. 12 (5 November 2001): 1133–37. doi:10.1038/ni732.

GO CONFIDENTLY INTO SPRING By Guest Blogger Tina Hamilton

 

FringeBag-CloseupMy trademark spring look, boho chic.

Spring is here and everyone is getting excited for the change of the season. Spring not only means that the weather is warmer and the flowers are blooming, but also that there are new fashion trends to peruse. With all of these great new beginnings, it’s impossible not to get excited for spring!

Even though there are so many great things about this season, many women dread the change because warmer weather usually means more revealing clothes. It can be difficult for any woman to shed her winter layers and expose herself to the world.

Here are some tips to help women confidently wear this spring’s fashion trends:

Start with basics that fit perfectly

Every woman needs to have a few essential items in her closet that she can pair with any outfit and feel fabulous in. some of these basics usually include a great pair of jeans, thong underwear, and a few layering t-shirts. Starting with these basics can help any woman rock a new trend with confidence.

Add a new twist to a trademark look

Most women have a trademark look, or a go-to style that they loved last spring and summer. Anyone can use these looks to create a new and fun trend that they will be able to wear easily and comfortably. For example, if last year a woman could not be separated from her maxi dresses, this year, she could try wearing a crop top over the dresses to create a new style.

Use light layers to cover up

Even though the weather is warming up, women can still use some layers to make each outfit a little less revealing and more comfortable. Most women will use sheer fabrics that are lightweight but still solid enough to cover any areas they are less comfortable with. This year’s mesh trends are perfect for this.

Focus on quality over quantity

Many women make the mistake of buying trendy pieces that are made of cheap fabrics and overall poorly made. Though this may seem like the best financial decision at the time, it is almost always better for women to invest in higher quality items. These pieces will not only last longer, but they will also be more flattering to a woman’s figure.

Only wear the trends you really love

Even though the media may tell a different story, not all trends are made for everyone. Women should recognize when a certain trend does not fit their style and avoid wasting money on something they will never wear. Instead, a woman can use her own style to make new trends and fads that she can feel proud of.

Take a chance on color

One of the best trends that always makes its way into spring fashion is bright color. Every woman can find one bright color that they love and that flatters their skin tone. This season, many women are trying out bright pink or coral, which is great on almost every skin tone.


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Finishing touch with accessories 

The best way to put the exclamation point to your new spring outfits is with fun accessories. Adding a great pair of sunnies, gemstone earrings and necklaces and a festive handbag lightens up your look after all the heaviness of winter.

 

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Tina Hamilton HeadshotTina Hamilton is a journalist, blogger and social media guru. You can usually find her online or walking along one of Southern California’s beaches with her dog, Joey. Look for her on Twitter

 

 

 

 

How to Start 2015 with More Confidence by Guest Blogger Tina Hamilton

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There are a lot of excitements and pressures that women feel at the beginning of a new year. Every woman feels the need to instantly dump bad habits, make a lot of New Year’s Resolutions and suddenly be a different person once that clock strives twelve. Of course, this is just not realistic. Goal setting is a great idea to help any woman achieve her dreams, but no one can change completely overnight.

One of the most important traits that any woman needs in order to set realistic goals and achieve those goals is confidence. So many women struggle with not feeling like they are important or capable of achieving greater things, but this is not true! Every woman should create the power within herself to make 2015 her best year yet.

Here are some tips to help you gain more confidence in 2015:

Start with positive self-talk

Every woman is guilty of it from time to time. Putting oneself down and saying negative things is simply not productive. Every woman should focus instead on building herself up, not tearing down with negative self-talk. This can be a difficult process for a lot of women, but it is something that everyone should be working on constantly in order to become the best version of themselves.

Create a comfortable and expressive style

It may sound silly, but dressing cute actually does help a woman’s self-esteem. More importantly, the saying ‘dress the part’ still holds true. If a woman wants to be more confident to impress a man, get a promotion at work, or for any other reason, she should dress appropriately to help get to that goal. Women should forget about following trends and wear things that make them feel beautiful and comfortable, investing in t-shirt bra styles and well-fitting items that will last a lifetime.

Move every day

Exercise is an important aspect of staying healthy and happy. People who get regular exercise are not only happier with their lives, but they are also more confident and outgoing. Everyone should make a point to get up and move every single day. This can range from a ten minute walk around the block to a 2 hour sweaty yoga session.

Find a teammate

Women often feel like they have to do everything on their own, and there is no one out there who would be willing to help them even if they asked. This is an unfortunate misunderstanding. Every woman can and should work to find a teammate or partner who can help them feel better about themselves and achieve their goals this year. This can range from a life coach to a good friend.

Try something new

It sounds a little ironic, but it is true that one of the best ways to feel more confident is to do something that one is not confident doing! By getting outside of their comfort zone and trying new things, women can empower themselves and gain the confidence they need to take on any new challenge 2015 has to offer.

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Tina Hamilton Headshot

Tina Hamilton is a journalist, blogger and social media guru. You can usually find her online or walking along one of Southern California’s beaches with her dog, Joey. Look for her on Twitter

PURPOSE GONE WILD by Guest Blogger Ashley Brown

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The Gift you are meant to give…

You are a rare specimen. I know that’s a random way of starting this blog, but its true! The fact that you are alive is confirmation that you have purpose. Out of MILLIONS of sperm and hundreds of thousands eggs, YOU WERE SELECTED TO BE HERE. This is simply amazing. In case you didn’t know, it only takes 1 sperm, and 1 egg to create a baby, and in that particular moment, you were created. This is phenomenal. There is a specific reason why you are here, and your purpose is directly linked to your passion.

Let’s talk passion today…

We all have our passions & interest. The problem comes when we fall into a hypnotic rhythm of imitating the lives of others, and fail to realize our own uniqueness. Those who are truly great and legendary are the ones who pursed their curiosities even when it was contrary to what everyone else was doing around them. They did not fear the opinions of others, they simply acted on their hearts desires and in turn, they made a significant contribution to the world. The problem with mass media and social media is that when you are so focused on the lives of others it can be a distraction and distort your thinking, making you believe that you are supposed to be in a position that you are not.

Truth is…

you are right where you need to be and as soon as you take your eyes off everyone else’s purpose you can start pursuing your own.

Don’t be afraid of your own happiness or success.

The world NEEDS that authentic thing you have to offer.

Imitating the masses is a sure way of neglecting your true calling. Dig deep to find your OWN creative voice. Copying is easy. Many people can do it and it makes money, but there is no rewarding feeling at the end of it. When you pursue your passions, that “rewarding” feeling is worth more than any dollar amount.

Take some time to revisit the things that captivate you.

The things that make your heart skip a beat or have you up for hours, researching, studying, dreaming etc. When you are really excited or passionate about something that is a green light that you are headed in the right direction. Some people have a misconception that discovering your purpose is supposed to be a drawn out struggle. It is actually the polar opposite. You are co-creating this life with the ultimate creator (God) and he has instilled a gift in you that will spark your interest.

It is important to act and dive deeper into even the most subtle passions that may seem random and pointless. For instance, if you have a passion for drawing on the ground with chalk, you may be able to start a campaign writing positive quotes on college campuses. As crazy as it may sound, extraordinary things happen when you take time to learn what drives you. God didn’t create anything that is not gifted. Master who you are, instead of being pre-occupied with everyone else.

As we head into the new year, I want you to rediscover your passions. Take some time to reflect back on what interested you as a child, and be confident on your pursuit of purpose. I can’t stress enough how living your purpose truly serves the world.

If your passions don’t line up with all the degrees you have received or career path you’ve been on, do not fear. It’s better to start now, than to look back 30 years from now, realizing you let all your passions die.

So…join me in re-discovering our passions and unwrapping the beautiful gift God has given us. #GettingMyLife #PurposeGoneWild (Hashtag! I want to see your success & progress.)

 Follow me: @AshleyEmpowers 

http://www.ashleyempowers.com

AshleyEmpowers

 

MIX & MINGLE LIKE A PRO: Common Mistakes Women Make At Holiday Parties by Guest Blogger Tina Hamilton

The Most Common Mistakes Women Make at Holiday Parties1

Photo Courtesy of DailyWorth

The holiday season is nearing fast, which can send many women into a sense of panic. There are a lot of things to do before the holiday season is over, from buying presents to securing travel plans, the holidays can be a hectic time for any woman. One of the things that women often stress about the most is attending their holiday parties.

Holiday parties are meant to bring people together to celebrate, but often women create a lot of anxiety around these events. From finding the right thing to wear to deciding what to bring to even deciding how long to be at a party, there are a lot of little details that women feel the need to work out before the day of the holiday party. Most importantly, women should let themselves have fun at their holiday party. However, there are a few simple rules that women should follow to ensure that their holiday parties are a success.

Here are some of the most common mistakes women make at holiday parties:

Wearing something too sexy to an office party

Office parties can be a little confusing for women to dress for. Women can get confused between dressing work appropriate and dressing for a party. This is a balance that is not always easy to find. So many women just let loose and wear what they would wear to a club. Women have to remember that even though it is a party, it is in a workplace setting, so the attire should be festive, but still work appropriate.

Relying too much on the LBD

A good LBD, or little black dress, is always a great option for any special occasion. A LBD that makes a women feel beautiful and confident is always a good choice, but women should not let it be their only fashion statement. Holiday parties are about sparkle and fun, so a woman’s outfit should reflect that. Women can add some statement jewelry or a bright handbag to their LBD for a more festive look.

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Spending too much time at the bar

Drinking is a part of almost any holiday party, and there is nothing wrong with a woman having a few cocktails to celebrate, but they should be enjoyed in moderation. There is nothing worse than being the annoying woman at a party who has had one too many drinks. Women should limit themselves and have a glass of water after each drink.

Doubling up on gifts

Many women make the mistake of combining birthday, anniversary or even wedding gifts with holiday gifts. Women should instead give appropriate groomsmen gifts and birthday gifts at the appropriate time, and give a new gift for the holiday party. Each gift may need to be smaller or less expensive because of this, but the gesture will mean a lot more to the recipient.

Spending too much time with one group of people

Women are often time invited to holiday parties where they might not know everyone, or even very many people. This can be uncomfortable and nerve-racking for any woman (avoid the excessive drinking here!) and she might want to just stick around the people that she knows. Holidays are meant for gathering and mingling, and holiday parties can be the perfect opportunity to meet new people and network. Women should step outside their comfort zone and talk to some new people at their holiday parties, they might just get a great opportunity or new friendship out of it!

Inviting guests who were not invited by the host

Women want to have their ‘entourage’ with them as they head to their holiday parties. This may seem harmless, but it can be a big issue for the host if a woman brings other people who were not invited to the party. Women should put themselves in the position of the host and see if they would do the same thing. The host might not have enough food, drinks or even space for extra people, so women should leave the entourage at home and enjoy the people already at the party, taking advice from the previous point.

All of these tips can help any woman have a fantastic time at all of her holiday parties this year and make her a total pro at mixing & mingling! 

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Tina Hamilton is a journalist, blogger and social media guru. You can usually find her online or walking along one of Southern California’s beaches with her dog, Joey. Look for her on TwitterTina Hamilton Headshot

 

 

 

Cancer VS Suicide: Team Angels Won by Christine Handy

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Christine & a few of her angels, today! 

It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with breast cancer and completed my chemotherapies and surgeries before I felt full inside. I felt loved in a way I didn’t even know existed. I found the Holy Spirit through the teachings by my team of friends that we called my “team of angels!”

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The first days of my diagnosis I was set on suicide. In my mind I felt unworthy of the time and devotion I knew it would take for my family and friends to care for me. I was coming off an already brutal health problem and I felt like I had used up my “reserves” of care from my husband, parents and friends. I was ashamed to ask for more and yet I knew I couldn’t care for my 2 sons while fighting breast cancer. I believed everyone would be better off without me and without the intensity of my health pressures. I rationalized that decision and it made sense at that moment in time.

Then came my angels.

My friends rallied around me and made me believe the truth, Gods Truth. I was worthy and God loved me so much that He knew every hair on my head. The hairs before chemotherapy and each one as it grew back. I became overwhelmed with love, devotion and care by not only my family but my friends. They became my “team of angels”! And they were.

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Christine’s hair began falling out in the shape of a cross! 

I asked many of my friends why they gave up so much to help me. They gave up their time with their own families to care for mine. They gave up their lives in so many ways for my secured health and well being. And through their faith and teachings, I came to realize why.

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They did it for God, the Glory of God. Those woman didn’t want thanks, they didn’t care about the thank you cards , they taught me that the thanks went to The Lord.

I don’t know about you, but being raised a Christian doesn’t guarantee learning the principles that these woman taught me.

They taught me that my life was important and that I was worthy.

They taught me to give all my worries to The Lord .

They showed me what to serve really looks like even in a society that wants to take all the praise and the credit.

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They not only saved my life they taught me how to live. I went from giving up when I was diagnosed to fighting for my life with their help. I believe God put those woman in my life to change me, refine me and save me.

I am cancer free and love my life. I am never alone, I have the Spirit inside me. The terrors of diagnosis and the fears that come with it are devastating. But my life and my story are bigger than that day I was diagnosed, October 1 st , 2012. God has a plan for me that’s so great. There are days and nights where I feel doubt or fear but I remember my faithful angels and how they modeled the Truth for me.

My fears go away and I pray and feel comforted.

John 15:12-17
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.  This is my command: Love each other.

BE FAB FRIDAY: 5 Ways To Layer Without Getting Lost by Guest Blogger, Tina Hamilton

How Women Can Avoid Getting Lost in Fall Layers

Photo courtesy of Cosmopolitan

Beautiful fall is finally here and everyone is getting excited about getting cozy with a cup of hot chocolate and their family in front of the fireplace. This year’s fall fashion is also something to look forward to, embracing a lot of new trends and some bolder colors that every woman can get excited about. However, a lot of women don’t get as excited about fall because the weather means they need to start layering their clothes. Layering can be a great way to create a beautiful & feminine shape and make a woman feel confident about her style, but many women still shy away from layers.

The most common reason why women try to avoid layering is because they think that it will make them look bigger than they actually are. Though it is true that layering does add more weight to the body, it can actually make a woman look a lot smaller and more perfectly proportioned when utilized correctly. Every woman should know the basics of layering to stay warm and look great this fall.

Here are some tips to help women avoid getting lost in fall layers:

1. Start with thin, fitted layers

When a woman starts layering, it is important that she start out with layers that are fitted to her body to create the best base. This even starts with appropriately fitting bras and the best fitting panties. Adding light tank tops and t-shirts will make warm layers effortless and comfortable. These kinds of layers can be topped with anything to create casual or work appropriate looks for fall.

2. Utilize color, texture and pattern to add dimension

Women tend to layer a lot of basic neutral colors for fall. This look can turn any woman into a lifeless blob, so instead, women should take some time to mix up their basic layering pieces with other pieces that utilize color, texture or pattern. An example of this would be layering a basic brown t-shirt with a tweed jacket and a chunky tan sweater-style scarf. This is a classic fall look that combines textures in the same color palette to create an interesting and elegant look. This can also easily be done with accessories, like a bright jeweled necklace over a basic sweater.

3. Don’t forget about hemlines

Hemlines are very important for women to keep in mind when layering clothes. Choosing the wrong hemline can take a layered look for put-together to frumpy. Women should choose hemlines based on their body type and the features they are trying to accentuate. For example, petite women should avoid long tunic shirts and instead opt for structured layers that sit above the hips. Hemlines can also be used to hide or accentuate certain body parts. For example, pear shaped women can layer a full skirt with tights to camouflage a wider lower half and balance out their body.

4. Balance loose layers with structured pieces

This season’s trends involve a lot of loose and flowy fabrics that are void of a lot of structure. To avoid getting lost in a lot of loose layering pieces, women should try to balance a loose trendy piece with a structured piece to balance out the look. For example, maxi skirts have become a great option for fall, and when paired with a structured boot and a tailored blazer, the look becomes sophisticated and trendy. For women who are more apple shaped, skinny jeans with a long loose sweater is the ultimate comfort look perfect for fall and winter.

5. Add accessories to create shape

Accessories are always the perfect way to take a boring or lifeless outfit to the next level. Women can use popular fall accessories to liven up their look and stay warmer in the fall. Scarves are a great way to add color, pattern, texture and an extra layer of warmth to any outfit. To make things simple, women can opt for infinity scarves that don’t involve as much fuss or know-how to tie in order to look fabulous. An additional fall favorite is a belt that can create a waistline in even the thickest outerwear. This helps women maintain their feminine figure while staying warm and cozy.

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Tina Hamilton is a journalist, blogger and social media guru. You can usually find her online or walking along one of Southern California’s beaches with her dog, Joey. Look for her on Twitter.

Tina Hamilton Headshot

BE FAB FRIDAY: 4 Fashion Rules the Media Doesn’t Tell You By Guest Blogger Tina Hamilton

Fashion Rules the Media Doesn't Tell You

Image Courtesy of Cosmopolitan

It starts at a very young age for most of us with your mother telling you that you can’t go to school in your ballerina tutu. It continues when you hit middle school and your friends tell you that braces are dorky and weird. The issue furthers in high school when you are told that you need to look like all your favorite celebrities or you won’t be popular. Just when you think it would get better, it only gets worse as you reach your twenties and thirties when you are supposed to maintain a perfect look, the ideal corporate job and a stable relationship. We don’t even need to talk about the brutal scrutiny that women over the age of 40 are under!

Women are constantly given rules by our peers and the media telling us how to look. These standards seem impossible to maintain, and for many of us, they are simply unrealistic. We all have different bodies, different needs from our style and different tastes that do not always fit into the mold that the media creates.

Instead, we should create our own set of rules, rules that focus on the true meaning of style; to make every woman feel beautiful and confident every single day. Here are the fashion rules that the media doesn’t tell you, and why you should ditch everything else and follow them instead.

1. The garment should work for you, not the other way around

Every piece of clothing and every accessory should work only to enhance you and your beauty. You should never feel the need to squeeze into a tight pair of jeans in order to look skinnier if you are not comfortable doing so. Instead, take those jeans in the next size up. You will feel better and look better in clothes that fit you properly.

2. You should never cast out a style because of your size

Many girls are told they cannot wear certain styles and trends because of their body. For example, girls who are small on top are told they cannot wear sheath dresses. These ideas should be cast out for every woman, you need to try the look on yourself and find the right fit before you determine that the look works well for you or not.

3. Never buy anything before trying it on

Some big changes have been made in the world of online shopping, so the need to spend hours in a department store dressing room is no longer necessary. Most online stores offer free returns and exchanges and free shipping, so you can get the same items at lower prices without leaving the house. You can even buy bras online with new bra sizing apps that ensure that you will get the best fit possible.

4. You can wear trendy looks at any age

Celebrities today have proven that age does not need to determine your style anymore. You can still pull of trendy looks no matter what your age is. Look to celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Stacy London for trendy looks that are still age appropriate so you can maintain your fashion forward style.

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Tina Hamilton Headshot

Tina Hamilton is a journalist, blogger and social media guru. You can usually find her online or walking along one of Southern California’s beaches with her dog, Joey. Look for her on Twitter.

 

BREASTLESSNESS: Part 2 by Guest Blogger Christine Handy

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Christine Today.

OCTOBER 1

The call came in around 8:45 am. The diagnosis was stage 2 level 3 breast cancer, triple receptor positive. It was a Monday morning and I was home alone. I knew right when I picked up the phone that it was the doctor himself, no nurse to tell me everything was fine. As I was listening to the doctor, I sat down in my bedroom with the phone at my ear- trembling. I then asked one question, “was I going to die”?  I have no idea what the doctor said after that, other than he never answered the question. The rest of the day was a blur.

Things happened pretty quickly the days that followed and then weeks. I had a lumpectomy 6 days later in Phoenix, Arizona and shortly thereafter my parents, my husband and I flew back to Dallas to begin the immediate search for an oncologist. I begged every doctor I met not to have chemotherapy, but by doing so I raised my chances of survival. Finding an oncologist that I trusted was not easy. The trauma and disbelief over my arm overwhelmed me. I wasn’t sure I would ever find a responsible and honorable doctor again.
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 My older son was away at boarding school when I was diagnosed with cancer. He was 14 years old. I could not fly to tell him in person about my diagnosis. My husband would tell him the following weekend which happened to be his schools parent weekend. I did call him right before going into surgery to tell him I could not be there. This would be the second parent weekend I had to miss. The spring before, I was having the PICC line placed in my chest and arm to kill the infection that was destroying my wrist. Now this. I called him after we landed in Arizona and I had to tell him something before I went into surgery. I tried to calmly tell him I would not be at his parent weekend, but that his dad would be there. He didn’t even ask why. There was silence. I told my son that I wanted desperately to be there. And as my tears were streaming down my face, I told him that I had to have another surgery. He said, ” what’s new mom?” ” You always have to have surgery”. He was referencing my arm. I told him that I couldn’t talk about it, but that daddy would tell him when he got there . I’ll never forget what he said next. He said in a defensive and yet brave tone “Mom, it’s fine. At least you don’t have cancer.” It stopped me dead in my tracks. You see, in his 14 year mind I can only surmise that he felt that his mom was letting him down with her arm problems, but that she was going to be ok. Now that it was cancer, he would have to go through the agony of not knowing if I was going to be ok. I wanted to hold my son and reassure him, but I couldn’t. I wanted to scream and yell and run and hide. Forget the lumpectomy, I’ll just end my life and my sons won’t have to suffer through any more of my health problems. I was their mother and I wanted to protect – not cause pain. I wanted to love not put fear in their tender souls. I wanted to be a mom, not a woman needing constant care and help from others.
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My younger son was not in boarding school.  We told him the night I was diagnosed. He was 11 years old. He too had been suffering because of my arm. The previous year he never knew who was driving him home from school. Between my arm surgeries and physical rehab appointments and then the discovery of the infection, the ramifications that bled through our family were exponential . There was never dinner on the table, I couldn’t cook. I couldn’t drive, I was in bed constantly recouping and coping with pain. My presence as their mom was sporadic and limited. My son would call me after school and ask, ” Mom who’s picking me up today? ”  A couple of times I had forgotten to have someone there to get him.  I was failing as a mother, the only job I ever really wanted to have. The fear I felt was hideous to me, but the thought of what my children were feeling was paralyzing.

My oncologist was witty and informal which was a relief seeing as though we were there for such a serious reason. I walked in with my husband and the doctor immediately looked over at my casted arm and said in a lighthearted way, “what’s going on over there?” We were off to a good start. He asked me why I had my lumpectomy in Arizona. He said he would have preferred to have done chemo first to shrink the tumor and then surgery. The doctors in Arizona had said the same, but all of the doctors pointed out that the bone grafts on my arm would be destroyed by chemotherapy. Therefore, the decision was made to do the lumpectomy first and buy us some time to allow the grafts to graft.

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The lumpectomy would be the first time of many that I had no use of either arm. I was unable to move my right arm from the fusion. It was casted from my fingers to almost my arm pit. The bone grafts on my arm had to stay exactly where they were placed in order to be properly fused. Cancer was on my left breast. After the lumpectomy I had limited movement on my left arm. I couldn’t open a door, bathe, get dressed or feed myself . Putting in my contacts was daunting. I had lymph nodes removed from my arm pit as well so lifting my arm up was not possible. I couldn’t hold a glass to drink. My mom had to hold a straw up to my mouth. Sleeping was almost impossible . I remember laying in my bed at night on my back feeling petrified, exhausted, in pain and confused while desperately wanting to curl up into a fetal position to give myself comfort. The “I couldn’t do’s ” replaced the ” I could do’s”. I couldn’t even wash the hair I was about to lose to chemo. I had gone from being a 41 year old thriving wife and mother with an incredible passion and talent for yoga and other sports to a woman with a fused dominant arm and breast cancer. I had not had a day without pain in almost 3 years. I was the healthiest unhealthy woman I knew.

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From October 2012 to March 2013, I had 16 rounds of chemotherapy. I lost all my hair including facial hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. I am 5 feet 9 inches and my weight at the sickest part of my chemotherapy dropped to 98 pounds. In April 2013, I had a mastectomy and then in June that year my first reconstructive surgery. Just 2 months later I had another arm surgery where the metal and screws were removed from my wrist/ forearm . This part of my arm was now totally fused and the hardware was causing my frail arm a lot of additional pain. During these surgeries from April 2013 through December 2013, I continued to have treatments for breast cancer. Starting in April, one week after my mastectomy, I began 12 rounds of a drug called Herceptin that was administered every 3 weeks . I was scheduling chemotherapies around surgeries ! I couldn’t fully wrap my brain around the magnitude of what was going on. I was showing up physically to the surgeries, the appointments, the chemotherapies but emotionally I was dying inside. The days when I wanted to quit were too many. I felt desperate to live to raise my children, but the suffering was endless. My last arm surgery was in August 2013 which brought the grand total to 6. My last breast surgery was in January 2014 and I am not finished with the reconstruction. In total, 12 surgeries in 2 1/2 years and 28 chemotherapies.

My husband had his job and now he had to take over my role as mother, caretaker, carpooler, cook etc. It’s hard to describe the pressure it put on our whole family unit. We were all trying to stay afloat, but there were days where I wondered if people and households could just explode. The tension and pressure was so high. We were trying to function in this new environment and every single day was horribly hard. And as we at home were coping, my son at boarding school was suffering in ways we will never know. I often think about the ghosts of who I used to be and I loved that girl, I’m different now.

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My parents were my rocks, my sons out of fear pushed me away, my husband was busy and my friends saved my life.
To be continued………….