7 Spooktacular Halloween Ideas for Your Home

Boo!!!!!!

Let’s Make Halloween a Blast!

Halloween is a great season and many people’s favorite for an excellent reason. It’s always been intriguing, with lore that stretches back centuries, and with lots of fascinating imagery and iconography that make for great atmosphere and decorating opportunities for homes and neighborhoods.

While it’s faced some opposition from the more traditional parts of society, Halloween has endured to be one of the most visually enjoyable holidays. Not to mention one of the most fun — from trick-or-treating to decorating, Halloween has something for every member of the family and even the surrounding community.

Here are seven cool ideas for decorating your home for All Hallow’s Eve.
1.    GHOST PIÑATAS


Pinatas, in general, are always fun, and an exciting way to decorate for an already candy-heavy holiday. It’s entirely up to you to figure out how to integrate things into your Halloween setup, but these would be very popular at parties — especially those with lots of kids over to take a swing at the ghost!

Start by assembling an ordinary paper lantern, which you can buy at most craft stores. This will be the body of the ghost. Well, the overall shape, since ghosts don’t have bodies. Then you can cover the hole at the bottom with a piece of card, tapes securely into place to prevent candy from falling out. Then, measure a crepe paper skirt by wrapping a single sheet around the lantern with a bit of overlap at the edges. Then cut 1″ wide crepe paper strips, and trim them to create a fringe (you can use fringing scissors for this). Fringe the bottom of the skirt as well, and start gluing the fringed strips down onto the skirt to create layers. After the whole layered skirt is done, cut wavy shapes out of the bottom. Make enough fringed strips to reach to the top of the lantern, which you will then fill with candy before sealing the top hole. Cut out roundish jellybean shapes for the eyes and mouth, and you’re all set.

2.    SCARY LANTERNS

   Decorating lanterns and stringing them up along the eaves or the tops of walls is a great way to draw the eye for a party while lighting the place up handsomely. You can get a string of paper lanterns from a craft store (or make your own with smaller-sized paper lanterns), and decorate each with cute faces cut out of black paper and some felt-tipped pen drawings. Orange lanterns and Jack O’Lantern face shapes? White lanterns and skull features? Yellow lanterns as vampire     Pac-Man?

3.    BLACK PLANTS

This may be more for a themed party, but it lends a neat little Addams Family twist to your layout. Pick up a few fake potted plants — perfectly plastic, these — and hit them with a can of black spray paint. Load up the pots with black sand (and scatter some around the pots too), and you’ve turned a symbol of life into something genuinely Halloween creepy.

4.    SUCCULENT CENTERPIECE

Sure, you could carve a traditional pumpkin, but layering the interior and top with some spiky succulents really gives the Jack O’Lantern a rustic desert vibe. Plus, you can move the succulents out into a more everyday-friendly pot for the rest of the year.

Start with a fake pumpkin or a carvable craft pumpkin. Cut a hole in the top, following the shape of the pumpkin’s curves. Then drill a few holes in the bottom for water to drain through. You can now either fill the pumpkin with soil or store a soil-filled pot inside it. You can then plant your succulents — perhaps start with a Crassula ovata gollum, and layer in the smaller varied ones like a Pachyphytum or Graptoveria.

5.    PUMPKIN PUNCHBOWL

Alot of ideas tend to revolve around the classic pumpkin, but did you ever consider it might be a great punch bowl base? You can capitalize on the unique flavor created by a blend of pumpkin and cider for a really unique seasonal refreshment. Hollow out a giant pumpkin (we’re sure Good Eats can tell you what you can make out of the contents) and fill it with cider. A large ladle and some ice will complete the ensemble — and leave you with one less bowl to wash.

6.    CREEPY PUMPKIN CRAWLERS

Spiders are Halloween staples, and so are pumpkins — so mash them up! Not literally, of course. You can scoop out a mini-pumpkin and put a tea light inside (they make electronic ones, but you may opt to use an actual candle). Then stick some pipe cleaners around the pumpkin to make the fuzzy spider legs. Make two or three of these, and they’d be great for arranging in a crawling row.

7.    NO-CARVE PUMPKINS

Some of us just don’t find ourselves handy with a blade. So don’t use one. You can actually dress up some hefty-sized pumpkins with a few accessories (oversized novelty glasses, a fedora or other type of hat, a necktie, a bow) and some felt paper cut up into shapes (a mouth, a fancy handlebar mustache, and so on. Just glue them on with a glue gun, and you can end Halloween with a clean old pumpkin just ready to carve and cook.

 

How to Travel with Your Toddlers: Tips and Tricks to Make Traveling Easier

“Let’s go abroad!”

“Yay!!!!”

“Wait! We have toddlers!”

“So many things to prepare especially if you travel with kids.”  

“Let’s just do it next year then.”

“Ok.”

This is a common dialogue between husbands and wives who have toddlers. Postponing a trip abroad because of all the inconvenience of traveling with a toddler. Well, if you can relate to this kind of problem you are not the only one.

But traveling has to be one of the most prominent new luxuries of this decade. With the prices of airfare getting more affordable and with services like Airbnb making stuffy, pricey hotel accommodations a thing of the past, there’s never really been a better time to see the world more.

It’s easier than ever to see different places without getting lost or put at significant risk thanks to constant portable internet connections that can help you map a walking route or find a museum or temple or coffee shop at a moment’s notice.

Let’s Travel With Our Toddlers

The same is true, really, for those who have kids to consider, even parents of toddler-age kids. Sure, there are a few vital considerations to keep in mind before leaving the house with the little ones, but if you’re sure they’re ready to appreciate the trip and the destination, don’t let naysayers hold you back.

There are a lot of personal parenting benefits to bonding with your kids over travel, not least of them sharing some significant “firsts” like going to an unusual, memorable place for the first time together. They’ll always be able to look back at that experience (which is, incidentally, potentially harder to accomplish once they’re older because you’ll also be older).

Breaking out of the nest has its benefits, but it also has potential pitfalls like any new experience. Here’s how to make the trip more relaxed and more fulfilling.
  1.    Pack well in advance.

This is usually good advice even when you’re just traveling by yourself, but it makes even better sense when you’re traveling with toddlers who will undoubtedly have their own specific needs and particular items that need to be brought. This is especially true if the trip is going to be a lengthy one. While we’re used to hearing that we should pack in advance, we tend to take this for granted the more we travel, because we get so used to doing it that we figure we’ve got it down to a science.

It’s much easier to forget items or things like medication or formula we don’t know whether we can reliably and quickly find abroad when they’re our kid’s and not our own. You’ll see that, as the travel date approaches, you’ll start to cross things off the list and new ideas will pop up.

When you start early, you build in time to let yourself make these common errors without ending up stressing yourself out due to lack of time to fix them.

2.   Keep luggage to two categories: backpacks and wheeled bags.

Kids ages 3 and up can be taught to use and be responsible for simple luggage like a light backpack of their own (with a limited count of their essentials in them). Kids ages 5 and up can manage a rolling carry-on. Traveling can be a teachable moment, and this is one way you can teach the kids personal responsibility while keeping expectations and real workloads realistic and not overly burdensome. When kids pitch in, they appreciate the effort it takes for you to do it as well.

 

  1.    Buy clothing that helps keep comfortable on the plane and on the go.

For example, many people find that for long flights, their legs start cramping or having circulation problems. This is easily avoided or mitigated with the use of comfy compression socks, which have a snug fit to ensure proper circulation even when you’re seated for extended periods. The same will be true for long drives or train rides when you’re there, or for long walks that might strain your leg muscles.

 

  1.    Stick to the routine.

As a parent, you know all about how vital routine is in raising kids — it makes everything predictable and gives kids the structure they need to guide them through the day. It doesn’t hurt that it gives you a lot more control over how the day is laid out.

Many parents, though, treat traveling as a chance for their kids to be off the regular routine — maybe because this is true for them as adults. While we can be more flexible, however, kids need structure wherever they are in their lives, so keep to the routine where you can.

If the kids have an afternoon nap while at home, try to work that into the day’s schedule. Some flexibility is favored, of course, because it’s likely you won’t be able to fit the exact blueprint. But do the homework to make sure the routine is at least partly maintained, and you’ll be rewarded when you get home and have less need to adjust.

 

  1.    Teach the kids, but don’t go overboard.

Don’t use the travel experience as a school-substitute field trip alone (there’s value in that too, mind) — teach kids how to travel. Why are passports important? How do we take care of them when we travel? What’s the difference between walking, taking the train, or taking a bus or a car to get from point A to point B to point C? Why would anyone bother with the other methods?

Small processes like this are second nature to us, but to a kid, it can feel like the tide just pulling and pushing them from place to place as scheduled.

Involving them (and even letting them make small, meaningful choices) will allow them to appreciate the thought process that goes into it, and prepare them for more travel as they grow older.

That said, don’t make the trip purely educational. Sure, it’s tempting to bombard the kids with culture, but museum after museum will lose its appeal after a while. While planning the itinerary, mix things up with a fun, unusual, and colorful place or two — a museum, then a park, then a temple, then a zoo. They’re only going to be young once, and letting them be that will have the side benefit of not making them resent or avoid museums and other educational spots as they travel more.

So, if you want to travel. Travel now with your kids while they are still young!

 

Can’t Sleep? Here are 6 Poses to Help You Sleep Better

ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz!!!!

Still trying to count sheep?

Sleep may well be the one most underappreciated commodity in today’s world. Whatever age you are, you’ve likely fallen victim to the world’s tendency to trick you into never taking a break.

And why would you take a break, after all, when the internet and all our “more-available-than-ever” entertainment and social media fixes are in the palm of our hand? That is if you’re not buried eyeballs-deep in work that keeps you from taking any opportunity to rest.

Indeed, we underestimate the importance of sleep, taking it for granted until our bodies crash due to fatigue and burnout.

One unexpected way to get more and better sleep is doing yoga.

Yoga by itself is one of the current new favorites, having experienced a resurgence in popularity in the 2000s. It’s known to help improve physical strength, a range of movement, and flexibility, as well as enhance mental focus and help us regulate breathing.

“Studies have shown that yoga can help people who have insomnia or other sleep disorders, helping reduce feelings of fatigue, improve sleep quality, and thus overall reduce the need for sleep medication. This leads to an overall improvement in the quality of life.”

Here are six yoga poses that will help you improve your sleep.

1. PERFECT POSE

Tias Little’s advice helps those whose occasional waking up too early or unexpectedly in the middle of the night might otherwise derail their autonomic rhythms.

First, remember that this is not an active posture. Sitting upright with eyes closed, relax your spine and keep it delicate and at rest. You may cover yourself with a blanket, or a shawl if that’s what you use. Just stay silent, letting the silence continue to cover you and quiet your mind.

Whatever you do, try to keep your mind clear as thoughts and plans will activate your mind and make you too alert to get back to sleep. As you drift off, roll back in Savasana, lying on your back and allowing yourself to luxuriate in the sense of spacious ease. Even if you don’t fall asleep, your body will at least be calm and restored.

2. CHANDRA BHEDANA

Sarah Finger’s “Moon Activating Breath” is a simple but effective breathing activity that soothes and relaxes. You can do this one in bed, falling asleep as soon as it takes over.

Sit comfortably with your spine erect, and close your right nostril by placing your thumb over it. Inhale through the left nostril, and hold that breath before switching fingers and exhaling through the right nostril. Keep doing this, extending each taken and held breath with each repetition. Keep your mind clear.

3. VIPARITA KARANI

Natasha Rizopoulos’ “legs up the wall” pose help rest you at any time of day. You can take as little as five minutes, and it’ll still let your consciousness settle. As an added bonus, it helps you soothe tired legs!
Start by putting a blanket or bolster down parallel to the wall, about 6 inches from it.

Sit sideways on this support, setting your hip against the wall and putting your legs up the wall and your back flat on the floor. By this point, the support should be under your lower back. Those with tighter hamstrings can scoot a bit further back from the wall. From here it’s just about keeping the legs up and letting the calm wash over you.

4. MUERTASANA

What could be simpler than actually just lying down? Jeanie Manchester has a Savasana version somewhat unsettlingly called a “corpse pose,” but it’s incredibly simple and effective. You can do this in bed, under a blanket (as long as you’re warm it’ll help).

Lie down flat and relax your jaw, and relax the rest of the way down your body. Slow your breathing to an even pace and feel your body feel heavier with each exhalation. Focus on each breath and clear the thoughts out of your mind with each one. Keep this up for 20 minutes.

5. SUPTA ARDHA DANDASANA

Sage Roundtree has a great half-bow pose that stretches out the hip flexors, which can be great for those who sleep on their side. You can actually do this in bed!

 

In bed, let your leg dangle over one edge. From here you have the option to hold your foot (with knee bent) or keep the leg straight. The non-dangling leg can then be kept in a half Cobbler’s Pose, holding for up to 20 breaths before switching legs and doing the other side. This is surprisingly restive and might have you drifting off to sleep part way through.

6. PASCHIMOTTANASANA/BALASANA HYBRID


Mary Taylor’s hybrid of the seated forward bend and child’s pose helps fight all kinds of insomnia. You can also do this one in bed with the help of some pillows, or you can do this on the mat if you prefer.

Start by sitting upright. Hold your legs out in front of you, a hip-width apart. Relax your legs and let your knees and feet flop to the sides naturally; don’t hold them stiff. Place a bolster or pillow between your legs so that you can curl your body down and rest your forehead on it.  

Avoid exerting, or it’ll wake you up more and keep you from settling down. While bent down, let your arms alongside the pillow. You shouldn’t be feeling any tension in your body, and soon enough you ought to be dozing.

ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz!!!! Now it’s time to sleep! Good night!

 

 

5 Essential Maternity Clothings for Pregnant Moms

How to Become a Mom!

Becoming a mother is, for many women, a highlight of their adult lives. Under the right conditions, this should be a very memorable time for you, albeit not without its share of stress.

There’s a lot to keep in mind leading up to the big day, not least the idea that the big day itself isn’t just the end of one process but the start of another that lasts a lifetime. This may be why industries have sprouted up around motherhood, embracing the process and eager to show women the world over that there is plenty of help to be had.

The Fashion Industry for Expectant Moms

One such industry that has practically molded itself around motherhood is fashion. Of course, while this seems to be an easy cash grab and not much more, there is a lot of thought that goes into choosing the right maternity clothes. While for many of us this initially seems like an extra, impractical set of purchases, there comes a time in the pregnancy period where the need for new, maternity-specific clothing makes itself apparent.

There’s no set time limit, as every woman’s pregnancy body develops differently from the others, but you’ll know when the baby bump starts to cooperate with your clothing less and less. Button down shirts don’t button down all the way anymore. You feel bloated all day long, and the clothes are part of the reason why. You always feel the need to unbutton the top button of your pants, and not just for after hefty meals. You only feel right in stretchy spandex that accommodates your new shape.

These signs show that your body’s current configuration is no longer catered to by clothes designed for an entirely different form, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Indeed, if you see any of these essentials on sale, don’t feel guilty about buying them. Your body will thank you.

1.    Mom jeans.

Especially the stretchy kind. The cut of these is slightly different from the more straight-laced, angular cut that’s currently popular. It’s a simple step but a significant psychological boost to feel comfortable enough in a pair of old jeans on days when you think nothing else you put on works. You might not even want to go back to your usual trendy jeans, after feeling how consistently comfortable these are.

  1.    Cotton compression socks.

It’s not that you’re going to the gym or anything. Compression gear mainly keeps a tight, snug seal around your legs, making sure that circulation gets back to what it used to be. Pregnancy, along with the changes it does to your body, puts a noticeable drag on active blood circulation, making it difficult for all the extremities — especially the legs, which have gravity to deal with — to get the blood flowing to and from them. Breathable compression socks help with that.

  1.    Underwear.

If there’s one area where comfort is a must, it’s this. Look for stretchy but snug, comfortable and breathable underwear that’s also pretty. You’re not going to be wearing this out by itself, of course, but there’s no harm in being presentable. A few supportive bras will be helpful as you’re going to grow in that area inevitably, but nursing bras can wait until you actually need them.

  1.    T-shirts. All the t-shirts.

As before, look for ones that are light and breathable, and that will stretch in areas where you need them to. Look for items with ruching, which will accommodate your bump when it more fully manifests and grows. Also be careful not to pick stuff that’s too sheer. Light is good, but that doesn’t have to mean thin. When buying, bend down, touch your toes or as far as you can, and have the fitting room attendant determine if there are things visible that shouldn’t be. Some stretchy fabrics are elastic but have sheerness as the cost.

  1.    Leggings. Also all the leggings.

Tying in with the cotton compression socks, having your legs covered and supported by a full-length pair of leggings is incredibly comfortable, and is much more secure than having a maternity dress that can billow or rise. Have a few pairs in rotation, as these garments mold to your body and are one of the most comfortable things you can gift yourself with. Sure, they’ll pretty much reveal the exact shape your legs have, but you’re pregnant, and the world can take a hike.

There are a few other vital clothes and dress types to get, but they’re not nearly as essential as these. A little black dress in the right size is always right to have on hand for any occasion (that fashion constant doesn’t change just because you’re pregnant), and some menswear ideas — a nice, solid blazer, for instance, works great as a second layer — can give you more options.

Overall, think comfort, think versatility (most maternity wear has nursing features built in for later) and think practicality.

Just Relax: 10 Ways to Relax During Your Day Off

Really? You still need someone to tell you how to relax during your day off?
Well, the answer is: YES! Relaxing during your day off is not just sleeping all day. Sleeping all day is not even advisable during your day off. There are so many ways to relax during your day off. Here are some:

1. Read a book

Reading a book is not just mental stimulation. It is an excellent way to reduce stress. Don’t read calculus or a philosophical discourse on the workings of the human mind during your relaxation day. Instead, read a book that can excite your mind. Maybe a novel, a love story, a mystery book.

Pro Tip: Read an actual book with pages that you can flip instead of reading from a kindle or a tablet. Let your eyes relax from digital strain. It is refreshing to read an actual book where you can smell the scent of the paper and insert a bookmark to separate pages.

2. Stretch

This does not take the whole day off; but during a busy day, there is practically no time to stretch, unless you are a professional athlete. You have plenty of time to spare during a rest day so, do a little stretching.

Yoga! If you are into yoga, do a little yoga. 40 minutes to an hour is a great way to relax. Stretching and yoga increase your flexibility, improves your posture, calms your mind and most importantly relieves your body from stress.

3. Take a Warm Bath

Yes, please! I want one of these every weekend! A warm bath is undoubtedly one of the best things you can do to relax during your day off. When in a hurry, shower at the start of the day is enough for hygiene purposes. There really is no time to take a relaxing shower. But over the weekend? Yes! A warm bath, please!

Pro Tip: Combine with essential oils. Lavander, coconut, olive oil are best for a warm bath. Remember, a Hot shower is different from a warm bath. A warm bath is far more relaxing and is great for the skin, for the immune system and is more soothing.

**You also might want to try Epsom salt Bath to loosen joints and relax muscles.

4. Watch TV with Popcorn

The key here is the popcorn! Dim the lights, go to Netflix and eat that popcorn. Set the mood to a relaxing movie time with popcorn. Binge watch your favorite movie or your favorite tv series while wearing the most unfashionable clothes you can find in your closet. Don’t worry, there is no fashion police during your popcorn and tv time.

Just like what Hollywood says: Relax and enjoy the show!

5. Get a Massage

Wow! When was the last time that you got a massage? There are so many benefits to getting a massage on a regular basis. Some of which include: relieves headaches, lessens anxiety and stress, lowers blood pressure, improve blood circulation and a whole lot more.

How often should you get a massage? Every two weeks is ideal. Some do it every week; some every month. You know your body more, so if you start feeling those aches in your shoulder blades, calves, legs and other parts of your body, then your body is telling you, YOU NEED TO GET A MASSAGE!

6. Catch up with Friends

Grab a cup of coffee with friends. (You can also call this non-date dates, so there’s actually no pressure)Bowl with them and get that strike that has been so eluding. (Maybe, even a turkey! I am talking about bowling here.) Whatever activity you might find interesting, do it with your friends. The point is to do something with friends.

7. Organize Your Things

Organizing things can be therapeutic. This does not necessarily mean that you do a general cleaning of your house. You can organize your desk. You can organize your files. You can organize your room. You can organize the names of people in your phonebook.

Start small. Make sure you finish organizing within the day so that there is no need for you to get back into it the next week. Being able to arrange things and completing it will give you a sense of accomplishment. Never! I tell you, never organize work stuff though. Separate work organization from your own personal organization at home.

8. Meditate

UHMMMMMMM!
Meditation can be hard for beginners especially if you are so accustomed to a busy lifestyle. But it is a skill that anyone can learn. Meditation is actually only hard at the start, but once you get the hang of it, you will even look forward to it.

Here is a guided meditation I found in NYTimes which I think can be very useful for beginners and experts alike. Benefits of meditation include: stress relief, promotes emotional health, enhances self-awareness, lengthens attention span, and can even generate kindness.

9. Listen to Good Music

Relax with good music! You don’t necessarily have to meditate here. You just need to chill to the music. You can even groove to the music. If you must, dance with the music like there is no one in the room with you.

10. Wear Comfortable Clothes

This is actually the first thing that you need to do! You need to wear comfortable clothes. If you have been wearing heels from Monday through Friday. Saturdays should be “no heels day” for you!

Wear comfortable socks like SocksLane compression socks. Wear your pajamas the whole day if you must. Wear comfy cotton clothes. Walk in your bedroom slippers the entire day.

Relax!

Yes! Relaxing is the best way to spend your day off. Maybe this weekend you can choose 2 or 3 from the list above. You can always mix it up. It’s no rocket science what you can do during your day off, but you need to do something else other than sleep so that you relax. Remember, the key here is to relax. There is no need to rush through the list above and telling yourself you have to do all these things during your weekend.

Just relax!

In no time, you will discover that there are more things to do to relax during your weekend! Enjoy dear!