How not to see RED on Black Friday

One of the busiest and most exciting shopping days of the year is just around the corner. Along with that day comes the rallying cry of, “Charge it!” and a whole lot of stress. Some of it is self-imposed and some of it is the retail industry knowing just how to get us amped up. The ads for Black Friday are starting earlier and seem to get more exciting every year. The sales even start earlier too! Midnight? You’ve barely cleaned the kitchen or come out of your turkey coma with enough clarity to drive the car and you’re expected to have your shopping head on?! And how many “sales of the century” can there be? Sure we just changed over to a new one but at least give us a couple years to forget about the last one and for gosh sakes pace yourself.

Whatever it is that makes our individual eyes light up, they always seem to find something to start us down the path of mass retail hypnosis. Like zombies we march to the malls with glazed eyes and the mantra of “must shop” only to snap from bliss to stress the moment we pull into the parking lot. From fighting for a parking spot, to getting in to a tug-of-war over the last sale item on the shelf, to finding the perfect gifts for everyone on our lists, we seem to find ways to make our blood boil.

A lot of the stress we feel is self-imposed and can be avoided. The keys to surviving possibly the best shopping day of the year are preparedness and perspective blended with a few of my favorite things~

  1. You can start mapping out what you want to accomplish by making a gift list and charting the sales you want to hit well in advance. This is not the best time to be swimming through manic crowds of pre-dawn discount shoppers looking for gift ideas. Plus, it’s not only a great way to get more done in a short period of time but can also help with budgeting. If you know what you want and get what’s on your list it could cut down on impulse buying. While we all want to take extra special care in getting the right presents, but excessive spending around the holidays is another place we put pressure on ourselves.
  2. You can even use that gift list to route your buying journey to have a nice flow so you’re not bouncing from store to store feeling confused and anxious.
  3. Get a ride to the stores or take a taxi to cut down the stress of finding a place to park. You can also use the fact that you have a designated driver as an opportunity to have a little a pre-party. Speaking of parties, get a shopping buddy.
  4. Remember, if we don’t get everything done we still have over 3 weeks to work on it. If we do cross most everyone off our list we can rest easy and stay out of the frenzy that is sure to build throughout December. We can go back to stressing over what to wear to the company party.

If all else fails and you want to cash in all the great deals and have the fun of shopping without ever leaving the house. Have your shopping buddies over to buy online. You can party hearty and when you shop til you drop you can drop on your own comfy couch.

Thanksgiving Dinner – The Sitcom Sit-down

The holidays are almost here and in theory they should be a time of great joy as we spend precious moments with the people we cherish. Unfortunately for a lot of us that time falls squarely between a sitcom and full-blown horror flick. If they were still making Peanuts cartoons but with a more modern feel, for many of us it would probably be something like, “It’s a dysfunctional family dinner Charlie Brown.”

Whether you are hosting the family dinner or just attending somewhere else, for some reason what should be a safe haven of love and support gets turned into a place you have to emotionally toughen up before walking in the door. If it’s not the delicious aromas of turkey and pie that makes you take a deep breath before ringing the doorbell, what is it?

For starters, you have relatives or friends that can’t be invited at the same time as others, you’ve got an uncle who it’s in everybody’s best interest if you water down his drinks, and there’s always at least one person you know is going to pick apart your life like a buzzard working on a piece of emotional roadkill. The latter can be particularly disturbing when most of us are not facing the easiest of times. All of this leaves Thanksgiving with the potential for the turkey to be stuffed with massive drama!

Before you give it all up and resign yourself to the kiddy table, let’s look at some ways to make the most of these times with family and friends.

First, let’s remember that it is just that, time with the people that mean the most to us. These are people that we know will be there for us through thick and thin. As for Uncle Larry, continue to sneak in the watered down drinks, and if family members are feuding, remember-it’s not your problem. Like I tell my kids, don’t get involved in the drama, and move away from any negative situation.

As for our own worry about being shamed for some of our unfortunate situations, let’s start by not making this a day of playing make believe. It’s time for a little honesty. I’m not saying decorate your house with your dirty laundry but if you’re going through hard times of any sort be honest about them. We stress ourselves out so much with the energy it takes to be “perfect” for the people who should understand us most. To get through any crisis in life we need support. As much as family can tend to judge us and be critical they are there for us. Which brings me to my next suggestion…
Don’t’ be afraid of your family, they really do want to see you succeed. If you are really anxious about the inquiries that will be made by some people who are really labeled as “judgmental” in your tribe, pick up the phone before the big day arrives and let them know what you are going through. While you’re at it, tell them that you are hoping to gain their support and understanding. Many times the people closest to us think they are taking care of us by “fixing” our problems. Let them know if you are just looking to vent, a shoulder to lean on, or maybe not fixing but some positive ideas to guide you through the situation. Hopefully this will lead them to support you in a positive direction and help them keep their negative comments to themselves.

If we can set boundaries and remember what and who are really important in our lives we can get beyond the drama to the love and laughter that should fill our lives more than that extra scoop of mashed potatoes ever could. That said, remember to take time to go around the table to give everyone a chance to talk about what they are truly thankful for.

Fall Skin Care Tips

The changing weather can wreak havoc on your skin. During this time it is important that you take the steps to make sure your skin is protected from the cold weather to prevent premature aging. Below you will find a few tips to help you through the transition from hot to cold. To do this…your first step is to exfoliate

Tip 1: Exfoliate, Exfoliate!

Too much sun exposure from, the summer sun, can often lead to dry, flaking skin – even if you have been diligent with UV protection. Regular treatment with exfoliating face and body washes, scrubs and lotions can work miracles to improve the tone and texture of your skin.

Moisturizing helps to deliver hydrating ingredients and keep your skin’s barrier system intact. Look for products with a slightly thicker moisturizer than what you were using in the summer, even if your skin is naturally oily. If that’s the case, just find non oily products that are a little more substantial. Consider a range of effective products containing retinol, alpha hydroxyl and antioxidants ingredients to help improve hydration and the texture of your skin.

Tip 2: Don’t Forget The Sunscreen

Pay attention to sun care. Protecting your skin from the sun isn’t just for the summer. Just because the weather is colder doesn’t mean that you can’t get sun damage. If the SPF products you were using in the summer were too harsh for the colder climate, switch products. But definitely don’t skip this step.

Tip 3: Show Hands Respect

Try as you might, it’s difficult to keep hands out of water and the elements. Even if you’re diligent about using gloves, frequent hand washing and life in general, can cause hands to dry and crack. If you’re like me and can never remember to wear gloves then it’s a good idea to strategically place hand cream around. I always keep a tube in my purse, in the car, at the sink and on my bedside table. You really can never have enough!

Tip 4: Dull Hair

Hair exposed to the sun and water can appear dry and lack lustre. Go easy on the heating elements such as flat irons and other treatments that can damage hair further. Consider switching to a gentle line of shampoos, minus harsh cleansing ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate which strip away oils and can irritate sensitive skin