Stay Positive in Stressful Times

When everyone in your family is down for the count with colds and the flu, you're often the one who continues to be the family cheerleader. But keeping a positive perspective can be tough under some circumstances. 


“Being upbeat during stressful times is difficult," says Dr. Eva Ritvo, vice chair of the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "To stay positive, you've got to work it."

What's the best way to maintain an upbeat attitude? Ritvo offers these useful suggestions for rising to the challenge, no matter what you're up against.


1. Sleep on it.
Busy moms know from experience -- observing their own children -- that getting enough shut-eye helps banish blue moods. So why not apply the same principles to yourself? "As adults, we forget about these things," says Ritvo. "It's difficult to stay upbeat when you're working with a sleep deficit. For a positive outlook, getting a good night's sleep of at least eight hours as many nights as you can is really important."


2. Fuel up.
The right diet is as crucial to keeping a positive perspective as getting enough sleep. If you're not eating properly, you're stressing your body, and when your body is doing all it can just to function, a happy-go-lucky attitude is hard to obtain, says Ritvo. "Avoid things that send your blood sugar rising, like alcohol, diet soda or candy. You're not going to have a positive outlook if your basic nutrition is not attended to."


3. Get moving.
Experts agree that regular exercise can boost mood thanks to the feel-good endorphins it releases. "Our bodies were designed for a lot of movement," says Ritvo. "Exercise makes you feel good, helps circulate your blood, gets rid of toxins, maintains your weight and stimulates your brain." It does so many things that are essential to everyday happy functioning. Try to work in at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, whether it's a power walk, a bike ride or Pilates.


4. Try something new.
To keep a positive perspective, introduce variety into your daily routine. A study conducted at the National Institute on Aging found that the novelty of performing new activities has wide-ranging positive effects, including extending your life.

“Do something you haven't done before, which is very stimulating for the brain," says Ritvo. Make a new friend who doesn't fit the mold of your old friends. Take a language class if you've never spoken a language. Take an art class if you've never done art. Give yourself the opportunity to grow in different ways. That's very energizing.


5. Pair up.
Looking to change your perspective? Surround yourself with positive people. "Everybody knows someone who is the life of the party and looks at things in fun ways, so put yourself near them," suggests Ritvo. "Ask them out to dinner. I like going to a book signing where everyone is excited to be there, or a sporting event where people are excited to be. Be around positive energy."


6. Set aside time for yourself.
“It's very easy to attend to people all day or attend to work and neglect ourselves, but that doesn't work for creating a positive outlook," says Ritvo. "It doesn't matter what you do, but be sure to honor yourself and allow yourself to be in a space that works for you." Ritvo suggests setting aside time for a bath, reading for half an hour or meditating to pump up your attitude.


7. Talk about it.
Sometimes, using positive language is all you need to shift your perspective. Ritvo suggests talking with a friend and making a pact to share with each other the things that you're grateful for each day. "Tell each other two things, such as "I'm grateful for my health,'" she says. "Or 'I'm grateful that I could walk up the nine flights of stairs today without being out of breath.'"


8. Put your best face forward.
As the old saying goes, when you look good, you feel good. You don't have to compete with a fashion model, but do try to look your best whenever you can, says Ritvo. To be sure you do this even on your busiest days, set up a quick beauty station by your front door. Just place a basket with a mirror, mascara, eyeliner, blush and lipstick near the door so you can stop and quickly primp before you exit. Don’t forget to tuck a pack of Puffs facial tissues into your bag for touchups later. "Beauty can be an instant boost, and it matters," says Ritvo.


9. Have faith.
Having confidence in yourself and your ability to tackle any challenge is key to keeping a positive perspective. "I like to call it a "faith lift,'" says Ritvo. "Tell yourself that you can survive these things, and it will come true. Having faith is very important. For some people, it might be a religion, for others it might be spirituality or just an inner confidence. Tell yourself you're valuable, and the world will see it too."


10. Practice being positive.
To make a positive mood a part of your permanent psyche, try this experiment: Ritvo suggests challenging yourself to pinpoint one appealing thing about everyone you encounter in a day. "One person might have a beautiful smile, and another a kind word to say," she says. "Train yourself to zero in on positive things (even if it's just one day a week), and (in time) you'll see a change in your overall perspective."

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Beauty How-To: The Perfect Wedding Guest Makeup

Wedding season has arrived. Whether you have an invitation to a glitzy black-tie event or beachfront affair, you want to look your best. (After all, chances are those candid group shots will wind up on Facebook!) With my beauty advice, you’ll have gorgeous, no-smudge makeup all evening long. Just because you don’t want to outshine the bride doesn’t mean that you can’t look fabulous.

1. Fake it.
Weddings are celebrations, so what better time to ramp up your look with lush false lashes? They’re affordable -- I use the $2 kind from the drugstore. If you feel like the look is too bold, cut the strip in half with small scissors and apply them on the outer corners of the eye. Or apply a few individual lashes. Grasp them in tweezers, dip them in glue and stick them on the lash line. If you’re a newbie, I recommend using the white glue, which dries clear. And have some tissues on hand to wipe away the excess.

Still can’t manage it? If you buy the lashes at a makeup store, such as Sephora or Mac, a makeup artist will usually apply them for you free of charge.

2. Get a little glimmer.
The secret to celebrities’ glow: iridescent lotion. To create the look, mix your foundation with a little shimmery lotion. Then dust your entire face with a translucent powder, which will set your makeup without covering up that gorgeous sheen.

3. Go for the gold (or silver).
Nothing makes a glamorous statement like silver or gold eye shadow. When I work with celebs for red-carpet events, I wet my eye shadow brush before dipping it into the shadow. And instead of swiping it across the lid, I pat the brush into the skin. This helps set the shadow into the skin so it won’t budge. It also creates a wet, shiny look that’s perfect for evening events.

If you want a subtle look, apply light-colored shadow with a little sparkle in it to the inner corners of the eyes. This opens up your eyes and makes them look bigger.

4. Be a bronzed beauty.
You can go from pasty to perfect with one application of bronzer gel. Adding a fake tan will also create the illusion of looking leaner. One of the most common beauty blunders is not blending your makeup into the neck, which creates an unsightly line. Make sure that you blend your face makeup into the bronzer so you’re the same color all over.

5. Don’t forget to touch up.
To stay fabulous, freshen up your make-up a few times throughout the night. I recommend packing travel-size versions of the following items:

  • A pack of tissues. Use them to wipe away smears and blot your lipstick.
  • Powder. Use one that’s a shade lighter than your skin and blot it on sparingly. This will keep your complexion from looking muddy.
  • Cream stick blush. This formulation has staying power, and the small tube is easier to tote than a powder compact.
  • Teasing comb. To keep your hair from falling flat, take a handful of hair at your crown and back-comb it. Flip your head upside down and spray it with hairspray -- you’ll score instant oomph!

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Spring Makeup Trend: Brighten Up!

At last, spring is here! There’s something about the season that makes you feel daring and ready to come to life, just like the budding flowers. And your makeup should reflect that: This season, pops of bright color -- like rosebud red lips or an aqua-lined eye -- are in. 

Nervous that your makeup will look more clownish than starlet? Don’t be! With the following tips, you’ll look fresh and new for the spring.

Step 1: Prep Your Skin

Exfoliate. A smooth complexion is essential for evenly distributed color. Once or twice a week, use a gentle exfoliant to scrub away rough patches and dead skin. After drying off, wipe down your skin with a soft facial tissue to remove all traces of the exfoliating particles.

Powder up. Your skin becomes oily in warmer weather. To avoid smudges and smears, opt for powder instead of liquid foundation. The powder will absorb some of your skin’s natural oils throughout the day.

Put on primer. This silicone-based product helps smooth your skin, providing a perfect canvas for eyeliner and eye shadow. Apply a coat of primer to your eyelids before you put on makeup.

Step 2: Apply Bright Shades

Single out one feature. A rainbow-like assortment of colors is fine for sherbet, but not for your face. Instead, think one bright swipe. If you want to play up your eyes with an aquamarine eye shadow, use a neutral palette for your cheeks and lips. Coral-colored lips mean less color on the eyes. If you decide to highlight your lips, blot your lips on a facial tissue to set your lipstick and keep it from feathering.

Blend, blend, blend. Blending bright cheek and eye colors is key: It prevents a jarring look. Use a brush to blend that blush or shadow into the skin. Or if you’re in a pinch, wrap your pointer finger in a facial tissue and gently blend in the product.

Take a smaller step. Still not ready to embrace those vivid colors? You can achieve that playful look in a subtle manner: Try out a colored mascara, such as a blue or purple shade. (Just place a facial tissue beneath the eye during application to catch any falling pigment.) Or paint your nails a sunny orange or pink for an office-appropriate flash.

Photo by Boris Krizmanic on Unsplash

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Look Gorgeous During Allergy Season

Ah, spring. It’s a season filled with balmy weather, budding trees and -- for allergy sufferers -- a disheveled appearance. All too often, you’ll dress up for an outdoor concert or picnic only to return home with a red nose, under-eye circles and a pocket full of tissues.

If you’re one of the 35 million Americans who battles seasonal allergies, there’s no need to become a springtime recluse. The following tips will help you ease those symptoms, so you can look fantastic all season long.

1. Cover up.
Allergies can cause dark circles to form beneath your eyes. To look awake and fresh, use a concealer that matches your skin type. Dab it on with your finger and use a facial tissue to remove any excess product. Keep an extra concealer in your purse so you can apply touch-ups on the run.

2. Look like Jackie O.
Before you head out of the house, put on a pair of wraparound shades. Not only do they cover up the dark circles, but they’ll also block pollen from entering your eyes.

3. Minimize your makeup.
During allergy season, some tears are inevitable. Make sure you use waterproof makeup, or go for a minimal look: Stick with tinted moisturizer or BB cream, concealer, blush and lipstick -- and skip the heavy eye makeup, which can run. Also keep a pack of tissues in your purse to wipe away smears and tears.

4. Pick soft tissues.
Constantly wiping and blowing your nose irritates the skin, creating a red Rudolf-like effect. Look for a soft facial tissue with lotion that’s gentle on your nose. And dab lotion on your nose throughout the day.

5. Drink up.
Being dehydrated causes blood vessels to get bigger, which can lead to an even puffier face. Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning and carry a reusable water bottle with you to make sure that you’re getting enough fluids.

Photo by Gabriel Silvério on Unsplash

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5 Ideas for a Romantic Look

There’s no better time to get flirty than on Valentine’s Day -- especially when it comes to your hair and makeup. Soft waves, dewy skin and rosy cheeks create a dreamy, romantic look that’s perfect for the evening, whether you’re planning a big night out or intimate dinner at home. Try the following tips for makeup application to score a look you’re both sure to love.

1. Make some waves.
You can’t go wrong with loose, bohemian waves. Start by working volumizing mousse onto damp hair and blow-drying completely. (If you’re short on time, sprinkle dry shampoo, such as Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo, on your roots.) Wrap small sections of your hair around a curling iron, only using the middle part of your strands; keep the iron away from your roots and ends. Repeat until you’ve curled all of your hair, then gently brush out and set with hair spray.

Want to wear your hair up? Show off your neck and shoulders with with a romantically undone ‘do. First, curl dry, unwashed hair with a large-barrel curling iron. Then pull your hair into a loose ponytail at the nape of your neck or to one side, and secure with an elastic band. Twist hair around the band until it forms and bun and secure with bobby pins.  Run your fingers through your hair for some wispy face-framing pieces and finish off with hairspray. For an extra touch, add a pretty headband.

2. Go light.
To achieve a gorgeous glow, skip heavy cream-based foundations. Instead, lighten up your look with an illuminating sheer liquid foundation, such as Stila’s Illuminating Liquid Foundation. Then dab on the concealer only where needed, and set with a translucent powder. To remove excess product, blot with a facial tissue.

3. Try a twist on the smoky eye.
Trade in your usual black or charcoal eyeliner for a pop of color, like emerald green, deep plum or navy blue. To apply, smudge the eyeliner along the top and bottom of your lashes; you want an uneven, soft look. Wrap your forefinger in a facial tissue, and swipe away any excess beneath or in the inner corner of your eye.

For an extra pop, dab a little white eye shadow in the inner corner of your eye or add a subtle gold liner just above the top lash line (apply on top of the colored liner). Keep the rest of your makeup neutral -- and all eyes will be on you!

4. Look pretty in pink.
In the beauty world, going match-matchy is usually a don’t. But the romantic look is an exception to this rule: Soft pink lips and cheeks create a super-dreamy appearance.

To avoid going overboard, apply the blush only to the apples of your cheek. Then add a touch of bronzer along the edges of your face: On each side of your forehead, a sideways “W” motion from the edge of your forehead to the cheekbone, and then from your cheekbone to the side of your jawline.

5. Get soft, dewy skin.
A simple trick for come-hither skin: Apply moisturizer before and after you put on your makeup. (You heard me right -- after!) Like to a topcoat of nail polish, lotion sets your look and adds a little glow. Pat, don’t rub, a little drop of moisturizer on your cheekbones, T-zone and chin -- and you’ll look gorgeous all evening.

Photo by Jose Martinez on Unsplash

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