Look Better in a GIF

bronzerOr in a jiff with these handy gifs from NY Mag the Cut. I cannot get over how big a fan I am of the GIF Lesson series, because am I the only one who can’t follow a series of pictures for something so complex as attaching fake eyelashes or to get just the right shading of bronzer? Instead, this smarty pants website has created a series of animated steps with real people to show you how it’s done. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, these little video shorts are worth a million bucks.


Women Play Video Games Almost as Much as Men


I have always liked to play video games. I grew up playing Zelda with my Gram, and have had every Nintendo gaming system since the classic. My friends have always gently made fun of me for it, telling me I was like a 7-year old boy on the inside. But, it turns out I have a lot of company among the adult, female gender. As survey reported in USA Today (that I read about on The Daily Beast) found that 45% of all video game players are women. However, besides Zelda – who sits in a castle waiting to be rescued by Link- (and my favorite, Princess Peach who actually gets to save the day sometimes), there are not very many female characters and even fewer female protagonists in the actual games. This is a fact that is often attributed to males being a larger proportion of the overall gaming population, but in actuality is due to a lower budget delivered to games featuring women leads. Though, there is hope that the female heroines of The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones will translate into women dominating the fantasy worlds of the video game screen.

Desk with a View = Better Sleep and More Movement



Another reason to get outta that cube farm! A study presented by the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (I read about it on The Scoop) found that people who worked near windows are more active during the day, and get better sleep at night.  People who had more light exposure slept up to 46 minutes more on average each night than those who didn’t get any sun. And, they moved their bodies 4 times more than those confined to an office with no windows. If you can’t score a corner office, no need to give up your current gig. Just make it a point to get outside on your lunch break to eat, or take a spin around the block to sleep and feel better!


linksHi everyone! I’ve been busy going to the beach, seeing a battle of the bands, and boating around Lake George then attending a motorcycle rally. What fun! Here’s the links I’ve clicked in between.
Just another reason to dislike Fox News –they’re hating on female breadwinners.
Oprah’s advice never gets old. Here’s some gems from her Harvard commencement speech.
Who knew that Kmart sponsored so many hilarious celebrity lines? Leopard print shapewear?
Will Smith and his family, saving the world time and time again.
Crafts are for more than just DIY. How handmade can help develeping areas.
If this rain and gale-force winds are getting you down, here are 16 quotes to brighten your day!
A must read for wedding season! How to pull off a top notch toast.
I want one of these at my next house party.
There is a new, healthier chip in town. The chick pea chip!
In case you need vacation ideas, 20 ultimate bucket list experiences.
I ice cream sandwiches made with french toast cookies?I need to get to Smush immediately.
Ok, so this place is defnitely not for the squeamish, anti-gun campaigners or animal lovers, but after hearing about Joe’s Bar from a friend, it might have to be an oddity on my next road trip through Pennsylvania.
Turns out that smarter people tend to drink more (but you knew that already you smarty pants, right?)
Things have really changed for women in 50 years. Answering a letter to Harvard.
What have you read recently that caught your eye?

How to Haggle for the Right Price

Anyone who has visited Canal St. in New York City knows that half the fun of scoring cheap baubles is haggling on the price. If I can get the pashmina for $3 instead of $5, it is that much more beautiful to me. But on the flip side, I am typically extremely disappointed if someone turns down my offers to bargain and really sticks with their original sticker value. My usual technique is to name a price a bit below what I want to pay, have my high number in mind of what I’ll actually pay to own it, and gradually come up from the low number until we’ve reached a deal. Sometimes they bite on the low number, and sometimes we meet in the middle. Now research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology (that I read about on The Scoop) has some handy tips on how to get the deal you want.

Studies completed by the Columbia Business School found that when hagglers gave a specific figure (think $4.35 instead of $5), they were more likely to receive a price closer to the number they wanted. The exact figure shows the seller you know what you’re talking about, and are sure about what you should pay, while rounding off to a $5 figure implies uncertainty. That being said, whenever you’re negotiating for a price, make sure you’ve done the research, and know it’s real worth. The seller knows its value, and picking a price near that will guarantee you more success.

What’s the best deal you’ve ever gotten after bargaining for the right price?

10 Tips to Be More Optimistic

optimismYou already know that looking on the bright side is way more fun than being a Debbie Downer all the time. But what if it’s just not a part of your nature, and instead of seeing the silver linings, you’re more prone to seeing the big gray cloud hanging over your head? Well, you’re in luck! Author David Mezzapelle shared 10 ways that even the worst pessimist can try to be a little more optimistic.

  1. Be Thankful: If you aren’t aware of the good stuff you have going on, it’s hard to be happy with your life. Take stock of what is going right in your life, and what is going wrong. This will make you value what you’ve already got, and help you figure out how to turn those not so great things around. Hopefully 6 months from now, those awful things will be lessons that taught you something great that you can appreciate after the hardship is over.
  2. Tell Others Your Stories: By telling other people about the times you really messed up and how you coped, you pay it forward, making it easier for someone else to avoid those pitfalls you found first (and just in case you didn’t know, paying it forward will make you feel pretty good too).
  3. Don’t Hold Grudges: When you carry around bad feelings towards someone else, the only person they will make feel bad is you. Forgive and move on because while you can learn from it, you can’t change what’s happened in the past.
  4. Really Listen: Don’t half-listen while you play a game on your iphone. When you’re distracted, you send others the message that you don’t care about what they’re saying, and block yourself off from learning new things.
  5. Use the Green Monster: When you’re jealous or envious of what someone else has, that probably means you want something they have. Instead of festering about it, pick their brain and figure out how you can get it too – take that negative energy and use it to get what you want.
  6. Smile More: When you smile (even if you’re faking it), your body releases serotonin that will boost your mood. Frowning just gives you wrinkles.
  7. Lead a Healthy Lifestyle: Try to be active, eat healthy nourishing food, and get a little sunlight most days. Park farther away from the store. Take the stairs. Grab a pack of almonds instead of a candy bar at the drug store, and use that lunch break to go get some fresh air. Your body will thank you with better focus, higher levels of vitamin D, and a boost of energy.
  8. Think Good Things About the Future: Try not to always jump for the worst case scenario. Picturing the opportunities that will open up ahead of you instead of doors slamming in your face will help you see your life in a more positive light. Reposition the situation to one that has (even if it’s really tiny) some sort of pleasant effect on your life at the end, even if it sucks going through the steps you need to get there.
  9. Take Charge: Don’t blame things that are going wrong in your life on other people, the economy or politicians. If you decide you’re in control of your own life instead of looking for a scapegoat, you’ll be more open to opportunities that might come your way to get you out of that scenario.
  10. Know that the Past does not Predict the Future: If you had a crappy childhood, that does not mean you’re doomed to a crappy adulthood. If you screwed up your last relationship, it doesn’t mean you’ll fail at the next. When you go through something difficult, you typically learn something. Instead, think of it as a hurdle you’ve already jumped. Now the path is clear to move forward unobstructed.

What do you do when you’re in a funk, and want to look on the bright side?

Help Others to Improve Your Health

helping othersI have in quite a few bridal parties, and as much as I love being a part of my friends’ special days, that business is expensive. From showers, to dresses, and bachelorette parties, it’s a financial investment (albeit one I am happy to make) in my friendships. Today, my most recent bridesmaid dress was dropped off for alterations, a little strap tweak in time for the ceremony just under two weeks. Now, this isn’t my first time in the alterations game, and typically tailors will charge a set amount for any small alteration (think shortening and adjusting straps), then up the price for more major jobs (like taking in or letting out globally for the garment). But this lovely women told my friend that for two dresses with just a small strap adjustment she would not accept any payment. She would not accept a gift card in thanks. What she wanted was only for us to pay her small kindness forward by either donating time or items to our favorite charity, or doing a good deed for another. I was bowled over by her generosity with her time to make a wedding a little bit less expensive for two complete strangers. It certainly made my day.

And, it probably made hers. There is something incredibly uplifting about doing something kind or generous for a stranger. Anyone who has donated to a thrift shop, or helped an elderly person cross the street knows that good feeling you get when you help someone else. In addition, the Huffington Post reported it can have real health benefits for do-gooders. Doing a random act of kindness for a stranger can improve heart health, contribute to lower blood pressure by triggering a release of oxytocin which opens blood vessels and protects the heart, and as an added side effect is can boost your mood to make you an overall happier person. So, keep it up! Doing good for others is good for them, good for your mood, and good for your health.

Has a stranger ever given you a random act of kindness? Have you given one to someone else?