The IT List: New Year’s Eve Style

Finding the right New Year’s Eve outfit is as important to many people as watching the ball drop in Times Square. We know you’ll be filtering tons of Instagram photos and uploading tons of pictures to Facebook – so make sure you do it in style! We’ve got outfit ideas for whatever is you’ll be doing at the stroke of midnight.

PARTY WITH FRIENDS

You’re ringing in 2013 with 50 of your closest friends! We decided to go bold as a way of welcoming in the new year. A sparkly, champagne-colored dress paired with both a fuschia necklace AND pumps is fun and bright without looking tacky.

FAMILY GATHERING

Sky-high heels and a glittery dress might not be ideal for spending the last few minutes of 2012 with Grandma. Instead, try a sparkling sweater with skinny jeans and a plain tank. Black boots will keep you comfortable while statement earrings will add a little flash. Hellooooo 2013!

STAYING IN

Whether crowds aren’t your thing or you just want to relax while you count down to midnight, you can still look festive on a new year’s eve staying in. Pair comfortable leggings with a cushy pair of black loafers. On top, throw on a draped metallic sweater for a look that’s super comfortable, but still has a New Year’s flare.

Which ensemble will you be sporting this New Year’s Eve? Post a comment below and we’ll share it with our readers!

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Winter Reading Wish List

When stuffing the last few things into your overflowing suitcase and getting ready to catch up on a lot of missed sleep, are you thinking about how to productively spend this “free” time over winter break? We’re not kidding! But don’t worry, being productive doesn’t have to be too difficult. Reading a book, even a light fiction novel or a popular suspense series, can be both relaxing and productive.

Reading fiction can help you better read human emotions and interpret social cues according to a 2006 study by Oatley and Raymond Mar. These skills are crucial in the business world for networking and building client relationships. But no matter what your concentration, reading sharpens your verbal and written skills, endows you with historical and cultural perspective, and heightens brain function. Find a quiet nook or a comfortable café and check “being productive” offs the to-do list. Here are the top picks from our Winter Reading Wish List:

1. Bringing up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel – This brilliantly intriguing work of historical fiction explores Tudor history and the ruin of Anne Boleyn.  Winner of the 2012 Man Booker Prize.

2. The Grand Pearl Heist by Molly Caldwell Crosby – A true crime novel based the infamous London criminal Joseph Grizzard and Scotland Yard’s search for the world’s most valuable necklace.

3. Phantom by Jo Nesbø – An international bestseller, this Scandinavian detective novel follows a deeply troubled former police officer as he jets to Hong Kong to prove the woman he loves is innocent of the murder for which she has been arrested.

4. The Monsters of Templeton & Arcadia by Lauren Groff –Groff’s first and second novels, set in a beautiful but aging western New York are captivating and unusual works of fiction that are set off by her organic prose and dark sense of humor.

5. Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan –True and moving story of Susannah Cahalan and her doctors’ struggle to understand what caused her to transform from a normal, healthy girl into a hospital patient suffering from hallucinations, violence, and psychosis. Using the available records, brilliant journalistic instincts and excerpts from the journal her Father kept during her illness Susannah pieces together the shocking and heart wrenching tale of her “lost month.”

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
You’re Not Doing it Right by Michael Ian Black
The Timekeeper by Mitch Albom
The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny
Letters from Kurt Vonnegut
The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain
Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Still looking for more titles to choose from? Check out our full Wish List here.

What books have you been reading this season? Let us know in the comments below!

Written by Guest Blogger, Alycia Terry

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Monday Motivation

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Winter Break To-Do List

We all know how fast Winter Break flies by. One minute you’re watching Elf and chugging hot cocoa and the next you’re scrambling to find that missing pair of socks you’ll need to pack for the semester ahead. However, we’ve got everything you need to kick off the best semester yet! So sit back, relax, and watch a few more How I Met Your Mother reruns. You survived the first half of the school year (using our Back to School Survival Guide, obviously) and we’re here to help you finish it out right.

Check these items off your To-Do List this winter break and you’ll usher in the new semester with ease.

TO DO LIST:

[] Check your move-in times. Moving in during the first semester becomes such a production that the second time around seems like a walk in the park. However, most schools still ask that students moving back in arrive between very specific times – often determined by their residence hall and/or floor. Check your school’s website so you’re fully informed.

[] Pack layers. Spring weather is notoriously unpredictable. Rain, wind, and changing temperatures make it difficult to dress appropriately. Make sure to include clothes that can be easily layered and you’ll be ready for whatever Mother Nature brings your way.

[] Review and map out your schedule. Who wants to be late their first day? Make sure you know where you’re going and at what time. Store your schedule in your cell phone in case you need a quick reference.

[] Order your textbooks. Find your bookstore and figure out which textbook options works for you and your budget. Rentals help you save more than 50% of the cost and you can still write and highlight in the books!

[] Make a list of items you wish you’d had last semester. You know that moment when you say to yourself “If only I had a ______!”? Think back to each of those times and make a list. You’ll be better prepared for next semester.

[] Keep in touch with your friends from school. Last year we posted “Keep in Touch During Winter Break” and we still think it’s important now! Keep your school friendships going even when you’re not all living ten feet apart. You’ll feel even more connected when you get back.

What items fall on your to-do list over Winter Break? Post a comment below!

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#WinterProblems – Our (Natural) Skin Care Guide

Gah! Somewhere between the crazy cold weather, stress, and sleep deprivation my skin definitely took a turn for the worse. Having the same problem with blemishes, dry skin, or redness? We’re counting down the Top 10 tested and approved natural skin care tricks.

1. Avocado and Lemon Superfood Mask basically hits the reset button for your skin. This mask takes our blog on Foods for Your Face to the next level by using the vitamins in avocado to smooth and moisturize skin and return it’s healthful glow. Puree avocado flesh, stir in a tsp. of lemon juice, and apply to face for 15-20 minutes before rinsing with warm water.

2. Use Freshly Brewed Green Tea as a toner. Not just a healthy beverage, green tea brewed and then cooled can reduce the size of pores and redness. Use a cotton ball and generously apply after washing your face. Let dry (don’t rinse!) and follow with a moisturizer.

3. Coffee Scrub for Clear Skin with milk. Mix 3 tablespoons used finely ground coffee with 3-4 oz. of milk until it makes a paste. Apply paste to face, avoiding eyes and lips, and leave on for 20 minutes. To remove, rinse face and gently massage mask off like an exfoliator. Pat dry and moisturize.

4. Greek Yogurt and Oatmeal for Dry and Irritated Skin sounds like breakfast, but it can also be a great mask for those dry winter skin days. Mix together a 1:1 concoction of regular Greek yogurt and plain oatmeal, and if your skin is extra dry you can add a few drops of honey. Using a clean foundation brush or your fingers, spread the paste over your face. Let sit for 25 minutes or until dry and rinse with lukewarm water.

5. Warm Milk for Soft, Radiant Skin has traditionally been a popular treatment. To pamper yourself like a Queen, apply it to your face or even add a few cups to your bath (maybe with some scented oils). To use on your face, warm a little milk in the microwave and apply with a cotton ball. Let sit for about 10 minutes and rinse with cold water to seal your pores!

6. Honey for Puffiness, Inflammation, and Cleansing. This is one of our favorite remedies because it is so simple and versatile! Take raw honey and apply a thin layer all over face and neck. Leave on for 5-10 minutes and gently rinse with warm water. Try this twice a day and you just may be in love with your skin. For extra moisture add a teaspoon of olive oil.

All About Eyes (as posted by Free
People
)

7. Crushed Grapes for fine lines and crow’s feet. Crush a bowl of grapes and use cotton balls to soak up the juice. Apply around eyes and let sit for 5 minutes before rinsing off. Try to do this 2-3 times a week.

8. Egg Whites for puffy eyes. Beat egg whites until stiff, use a clean brush to apply around the under-eye area, and rinse after 15 minutes.

9. Mint Leaves, due to the flavonoids they contain, are an antioxidant and great for
diminishing dark circles. Chop and crush a sprig and rub under eyes. Leave on for 20 minutes and rinse. Say goodbye to looking like a zombie (Halloween is over, after all).

And the #1 secret…

1o. Apple Cider Vinegar for…everything. We first heard of using this to make a tea with honey and lemon. Instead, we tried our own short-cut recipe using herbal tea. The short-cut uses 6 oz. hot lemon herbal tea, 2 teaspoons ACV and 1 teaspoon honey. Try drinking 2 cups a day and see how much your skin improves!

Have you ever tried any of these? Have your own skin care home recipes? Let us know what your best tested and approved skin remedies are in the comments.

Written by Guest Blogger, Alycia Terry

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