From attire to travel to gifts and favors, your wedding can be a major investment for your bridesmaids. Standing up as part of the bridal party means tons of extra expenses, so it's smart to step back and see how you can keep costs low for your friends. Hoping to help them out by minimizing expenses? Here are 7 simple, thoughtful ways to make your wedding festivities more budget-friendly for your bridesmaids.
Entryways are quick to become cluttered, but a few extra hooks and an extra piece of furniture can turn a messy foyer into a functional, stylish room. Not sure where to start? From a practical shoe tray to numbered coat pegs, these 15 simple design tips will help you organize your entryway — plus these gorgeous photos will serve as inspiration.
There's no magic recipe for self-confidence, but there are certainly a few everyday habits that can set you on the right path. Whether you're stressed, overcommitted, bored, or simply insecure, we've come up with some quick tips to help you boost your self-esteem and maintain a positive attitude. Struggling to feel good about yourself? Here are 11 simple ways to love yourself more:
- Surround yourself with positive people. Moods and attitudes can be contagious, so if you're hoping to boost your self-esteem, it's important to keep confident company. Steer clear of the Debbie Downers: people who are constantly rattling off their insecurities will only prompt you to acknowledge yours.
- Be a planner. Organization is key to feeling good on a day-to-day basis, so do what you need to do to stay on top of your schedule. Rushing around, running late, and missing deadlines puts you on the fast track to anxiety, but you can avoid these common culprits by simply tackling your to-do list.
- Make time to do the things you enjoy. To be your best self, you need to set aside plenty of time for the hobbies and passions that fulfill you. Whether it's long walks, a good book, or a few minutes of art each day, you need to prioritize the simple pastimes that put you at ease.
- Get plenty of Z's. If you're exhausted and run-down, your mood — and your confidence — is sure to plummet. You need energy to be social and productive, so try to avoid burnout by balancing your work with plenty of R&R.
Keep reading for more confidence-boosting tips.
From long-lost aunts and uncles to your father-in-law's best friend's cousin, it's easy to let your wedding guest list spin out of control. It's tough to pick and choose who to invite — where do you draw the line? Still, when it comes to watching expenses, cutting the guest list can be one of the quickest ways to keep costs low. Whether you're narrowing it down in hopes of a more intimate ceremony or simply doing your best to save money, here are five stress-free steps to help you trim your wedding guest list:
- Consider your budget and venue. Before you analyze your guest list, take a step back and talk to your fiancé about your highest priorities as a couple. Are you hoping for a specific venue? Worried about staying under budget? Those guidelines will help you decide how long your list can be and whether you need to cut back in other areas.
- Agree on a fair split point. Keep things equal by compromising on a guest list ratio. Is it important that your guests are split 50/50, bride's side and groom's? Or do you have tons of mutual friends, making it more of a joint effort? It's important to have an open dialogue about your expectations so that you can avoid any drama or resentment later on — both between each other and among your family members.
- Cut by category. Divide your guests into groups: immediate family, closest relatives, extended relatives, family friends, friends, acquaintances, kids, etc. Once you've both classified your lists, see if you can trim the list by removing entire categories. Maybe you can both nix the young kids, the acquaintances, and the co-workers. Keep going until exceptions start to pop up, then evaluate each possible guest individually.
- Stick to the present. If you haven't seen someone in a long, long time, they can probably be considered for your cut list. (Think childhood friends and old acquaintances.) A good rule of thumb: You should invite the people who know your fiancé — the people who have spent time with you as a couple, who play a part in your present lifestyle.
- Hold to your hard-and-fast rules. Tight on space? If you've decided that only your bridal party and engaged pals can bring plus-ones, you should try to stick to that rule. It's the best way to avoid offending your loved ones, and an easy way to limit extra add-ons.
These simple, straightforward tips are just a starting point — complications are bound to come up. Reach out to both sets of parents for advice, because even if you don't adhere to all their suggestions, it's a great way to double-check your list and come to a settling point. Plus, throughout the process, remember to be practical, considerate, and sensitive. Even more important? Step back and enjoy it: you're bringing together all the people you love to celebrate one of the most special days of your life.
Thanks to a range of cooking devices, piles of tiny measuring tools, plus tough-to-stack pots and pans, the kitchen can be a difficult room to organize. Still, with a few quick tricks and some smart furniture shopping, it's possible to maximize the space and make food preparation an easier task. Struggling to tidy up your cooking area? Get inspired by these 10 clever tips for kitchen organization.
Blouses are spilling out of your drawers, shoes litter your floor, and there are too many random items under your bed to count — sound familiar? If your bedroom is in constant disarray, check out these clever organization tips to make over your messy space. Whether you have plenty of room to work with or just a tiny corner to call your own, here are 11 valuable suggestions for turning your bedroom into a neat and tidy retreat.
If your office space looks like most, chances are it's white or beige or some other combination of neutral shades — in other words, it's an ideal backdrop to add some of your own personality.
Bringing a bit of character to your workspace can be a great way to kick-start your creativity, so we've come up with some simple, affordable tips to inspire you. Mix and match these easy tips to decorate your desk:
- Book stacks. Bring a few coffee table books to work — or even issues of your favorite magazines — and use the pile to prop up your computer in a fun, unexpected way.
- Etsy prints. Find an affordable office-themed Etsy print to add a cheeky, creative touch to your workspace.
- Concert memorabilia. Consider yourself a total music junkie? Gather your old concert tickets and posters and photos from memorable shows to create a cool collage. Another idea: put your favorite record on a small stand as a simple, personal accent.
- DIY poster. Upload one of your best snaps to a photo editing website like PicMonkey to add creative, artsy effects, then order a poster-size version of the image and have it framed for your wall.
- Seat pillow. Buy a small patterned throw pillow in your favorite shades to add comfort and personality to your office chair. Don't need the extra cushion? Find a bright wrist rest to set in front of your keyboard instead.
- Desktop calendar. Shop for a colorful, playful calendar to decorate your space, or create your own calendar using photos of friends and family — a unique, practical way to display photos.
- Postcards. Collect postcards during your travels to create a simple collage of all your favorite places. Prefer a more vintage look? Shop on Etsy for old postcards from around the world.
- Knickknacks. Love travel souvenirs? Have a quirky collection that inspires you? Grab a handful of small, meaningful knickknacks to display on your desk.
- Colorful supplies. When in doubt, invest in bright, chic office supplies to liven up your space. Whether it's a neon green stapler or a bold, red journal, colorful desk accessories are an easy way to cheer up your workday.
Bachelorette parties can be a blast, but they can also be a major expense. To keep costs low for both you and your bridesmaids, step back and brainstorm simple ways to make your festivities more budget-friendly. Now that we've covered how to make your wedding easier on your bridesmaids' budget, here are seven easy ways to make your bachelorette party more affordable, too.
- Plan ahead. In order to get the best possible prices, make your plans as early as possible. Thinking ahead will also offer you plenty of time to seek out special deals, so spend those extra days browsing reputable travel offer sites like Jetsetter to see what's available.
- Opt for a staycation. Road trips and cross-country weekends may be fun, but you and your friends will save big if you choose a spot in your own city instead. Not only will you skip the cost of gas and airfare, but you'll also be more knowledgeable about the most fun, inexpensive places to go for your party.
- Pick a house, not a hotel. Rather than shelling out for a hotel room, why not rent a house instead? You'll have a more cozy, intimate atmosphere and everyone will be free to come and go as they please — free of any messy, time-sensitive checkout situations.
Keep reading for more money-saving tips.
It's natural for work to leave you a little stressed, but if you're a frazzled mess from nine to five, it's important to step back and relax. Not sure how to loosen up? From doodling to redecorating, here are 13 easy ways to de-stress during the workday:
- Finish the tough stuff first. Try to get your most complicated tasks out of the way early in the day so that they're not looming over you for hours. Think of it as a "best for last" technique and you'll start to look forward to your afternoons.
- Make exercise a priority. Whether it's a quick walk around the block or a full-on gym session during your lunch hour, moving your body is crucial for your sanity. Aim to stretch every hour, too, in an effort to clear your head.
- Savor your snack. Rather than mindlessly munching on whatever snacks are handy, bring your favorite treat from home and take the time to relish every bite. Make it a healthy bite to really rev up your mood and energy.
- Connect with a friend. Socializing is one of the easiest ways to distract yourself from everyday anxieties, so call up a pal to chat for a few minutes. Try to avoid any work-related venting and stick to fun, tension-free topics instead.
- Congregate at the water cooler. It's important to engage with your co-workers on a day-to-day basis. Not only will kitchen small talk free up your mind for a few minutes, but it will also help you build positive relationships around the office.
- Take five to do something lighthearted. Were you the type who doodled during class? For five (and only five) quick minutes, draw, catch up on Instagram, or browse Pinterest to improve your attitude and recharge your batteries.
Read on for more de-stress tips
After months of traveling, gift-giving, and pricey nights out, save money and score quality time with your pals by hosting a board game potluck party. Invite over a handful of friends and ask each person to bring his or her favorite board game plus a snack to share. Take care of the drinks yourself or ask guests to pitch in if things become costly.
A few entertaining tips to try:
- Set up a table to stack all the games and, when guests arrive, ask them to write the name of their game on a slip of paper. Toss all the slips into a hat and draw them throughout the night to decide which game will be played next.
- Create fun, festive decorations and drink recipes that follow the board game theme. Glue Sorry game pieces to the top of cocktail stirrers, swap your living room rug for a Twister mat, or laminate Uno cards and turn them into drink coasters.
- Give the party a nostalgic feel and ask guests to bring the board games they loved as kids. Add to the old-school vibe by creating playlists of the songs that were popular when you were younger.
Have you hosted a board game potluck? Share your suggestions below.
If you're all about the at-home design projects, then there's one item that definitely belongs in your toolbox: your smartphone. With apps that cover everything from inspiration to measurements to step-by-step instructions, you'll develop a smoother, more efficient DIY routine. Whether you need a fresh new color palette or a cool project idea, these apps will help you make it happen. Hoping to step up your arts and crafts habit? Check out these eight must-have DIY apps to kickstart your creativity.
You may wake up on the wrong side of the bed, but that doesn't mean you have to adopt a negative attitude. Sometimes bad days seem inevitable — you miss the bus, arrive late to work, then forget a major deadline — but just a few tweaks to your everyday routine can set you up for better, happier days. Hoping to have a joyful Spring? Check out 10 simple ways to make a good day more likely:
- Set multiple alarms. It's hard to be satisfied when you're tired and groggy, so do yourself a favor by going to bed at a decent hour. More importantly, though, be sure to set several alarms so that your day gets off to a prompt, panic-free start.
- Eat a healthy breakfast. If you're hungry, it's not a good day. Period. Easy solution? Allow yourself enough time each morning to sit down and enjoy a filling, nutritious meal. Pack healthy snacks to make sure you have plenty of energy throughout the day.
- Look good, be comfortable. If you dress well and feel positive about your appearance, you're more likely to channel your best self. Your attitude will shift, if only slightly: "The rain is terrible, but at least my sweater is cute."
- Have a plan. Avoid any hectic moments or anxious breakdowns by giving yourself a daily schedule. If you're able to prep the night before, you'll feel much more relaxed as you tackle your daily responsibilities.
- Chat with loved ones. Engaging with the people you care about, be it in person or over the phone, can do wonders for your attitude. Even a five-minute conversation with your pal will be enough to lighten your spirit and leave you energized.
In honor of Black History Month, we're celebrating some of the most influential and professionally powerful African-American females. From novelist Toni Morrison to the multitalented Beyoncé Knowles, we admire these 11 women for their hard work and strength, as each has become a leader in her industry. Take a look at our some of our favorite African-American female role models, then share your own in the comments below.
Save money and revamp your wardrobe all at once by hosting a clothing swap with your friends. Not only will you get a chance to clean out your closet, but you'll also be able to add new items for free. Make the event as small or as big as you'd like, and keep things fun by serving playful cocktails with simple appetizers.
A few tips to make the swap run smoothly:
- Ask each friend to bring the same number of items to keep things even. Encourage your guests to bring a variety of pieces, too, so that you're not left with 30 pairs of jeans.
- As people arrive, help them to arrange their clothing in a way that makes sense. Lay all the pieces out in a large room and group them by type so that guests can easily see each item.
- To give everyone a fair shot at choosing items, draw numbers from a hat and ask each person, in order, to pick out one thing. Redraw numbers before each round so that the same person isn't always getting the first pick.
- Make the most of your event by donating any extra items to a local nonprofit.
Have you hosted or attended a clothing swap? Share your suggestions below!
When you're dining out with friends and the check arrives, things can turn uncomfortable quickly. Is the tip included? Should the cost be divided evenly? Some people just ate appetizers, some people just had drinks, and only a handful brought cash — what do you do? Follow these quick tips to keep things pleasant when the bill appears.
- Make a date with the ATM. Unless you regularly keep cash in your wallet, you should always stop at the ATM before meeting up with a group. Some restaurants are picky about charging multiple credit cards, so think ahead and stop by the bank before any group get-togethers. Better yet, buy something to break all those $20 bills.
- Communicate early. As soon as everyone is settled in and preparing to order, initiate a casual conversation about their bill expectations. Find out whether your friends plan to order appetizers, full meals, or just drinks, then talk about tip options and come to a consensus on how you'll handle the tab.
- Pass the bill. It's polite to pass the check folder around the table so that everyone has a chance to look at the bill. Once each person has seen the tab and made their contribution, take charge and count the cash to make sure enough money has been added. If the total comes up short, don't single out any one person — instead, kindly let the entire group know how much more is needed and let each person decide whether she needs to chip in a bit more.
Bucket lists are a great way to set goals and daydream about grand plans, but it's easy to feel overwhelmed by everything you hope to see and accomplish in your lifetime. To make your bucket list more manageable, divide it into parts and give it a yearly spin: "13 Things to Do in 2013." Choose one item to tackle each month and be realistic with your picks, setting aside the loftier ideas for a separate "someday" list.
Committing to just one item a month is reasonable enough, and when one fresh experience leaves you reenergized, you'll feel inspired to continue with the rest of your list. Not sure where to start? Here are 10 fun and doable bucket list ideas:
- Go to a museum in your city that you've never visited.
- Volunteer for a cause that means something to you.
- Visit a restaurant or attempt an intimidating recipe you'd usually avoid.
- Go all out and host the dinner party or birthday bash you've always imagined.
- Run a challenging race that requires regular training.
- Save $100 a week for four weeks and put the money toward a dream vacation.
- Do the thing you're always talking about but have been too scared to try.
- Take a beauty or fashion risk.
- Sign up for a class — fitness, language, etc. — that interests you.
- Spend a month focusing on your space and decorate in a way that inspires you.
What's on your bucket list? Share your ideas in the comments below!
The occasional mistake at work is inevitable — what really matters is how you handle it. Deciding how to navigate the aftermath of a misstep gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your integrity, so take the time to manage your mistakes carefully. Follow these four steps to properly solve any work dilemma:
- Assess the damage. Take the time to step back and recognize where you may have miscalculated. Target the specific issue, identify who was affected, and find out if your blunder impacted any future projects.
- Communicate the problem. Be honest with yourself, your collaborators, and your boss. It's better that your manager hears about the mistake from you rather than someone else, so speak up and take responsibility for your actions.
- Ask for help. Once your misstep is out in the open, ask your manager for any suggestions. How might you have avoided the problem? Do they have any advice for tackling the issue? Your manager will appreciate the constructive dialogue and the fact that you value their opinion.
- Take precautions for next time. After the issue has been settled, pinpoint different techniques to avoid repeating your mistake. Did you miscalculate a key transaction? Vow to slow down and be more thorough. Forget to check in with a major client? Establish a calendar system that reminds you of important follow-ups.
Bottom line: everyone makes mistakes, so let go of the guilt and resolve to move forward. Consider the lesson learned from each misstep and see it as a chance to improve your working style and boost your professional development.
Whether you're hoping to get ahead at work or just trying to build healthy relationships, it's important to understand how your boss works — what she appreciates, what she respects, and what she can't stand. Create a strong connection with your manager and avoid irritating her by steering clear of these 15 ways to annoy your boss:
- Arrive late, coffee in hand. If you waltz into the office 20 minutes late, clutching a Starbucks cup, chances are it's not going to be well-received. If you're running short on time, skip the coffee shop and head to the office coffeemaker instead.
- Dress inappropriately. Your boss doesn't want to feel like your parent, so she won't be thrilled if she has to regularly address your workwear. Keep things professional and remember to err on the conservative side.
- Regularly bring up your accomplishments. Patting your own back is fine every once in a while, but high-fiving yourself for every little victory is sure to frustrate both your co-workers and your boss. Save the boasting for your year-end review and always note your successes with a purpose — as in, say, while negotiating salary.
- Say you'll "try" instead of you "will." When you're asked to finish something, that means you're expected to finish it. Form your responses carefully, as even small tweaks can have a huge effect. Instead of saying, "I'll try to get to that," nod and assure your boss by saying, "No problem, I will get to that as soon as I've finished this."
- Ask personal questions. Your boss will offer personal information as she sees fit, so refrain from asking anything too intimate. Small talk is fine, of course, but remember to maintain professional boundaries during conversation.
- Tattle on other employees. Most information finds its way through the grapevine, so chances are your boss will find out about any significant scandals from someone else. Nobody likes the office tattler — and telling your boss someone else's secrets would say more about your character than theirs, anyway.
- Reply to all her tweets. You may be Facebook friends, but that doesn't mean you need to "like" every status or comment on every one of her pictures. Keep the interactions minimal so that you don't aggravate her with hourly notifications that say you've commented on five more of her Instagram photos.
Be prepared for any 9 to 5 dilemma by stocking your desk with these 10 must-have items. From beauty mishaps to health setbacks, you'll be equipped with all the necessities to sidestep obstacles and stay focused on your work.
Once you've snagged a job interview, the inevitable nerves that follow can make it difficult to focus on preparation. With a little bit of planning, though, you can bring your best business-ready self to the table. Follow these tips leading up to your big moment.
Several hours earlier:
1. It's important to have a healthy, substantial breakfast, of course, but it's just as important to eat well the night before so that you feel your best in the morning. Choose nutritious foods that fill and satisfy, and remember to limit caffeine to one or two servings. Chances are you'll already be feeling jittery, so put a cap on your coffee consumption.
2. Check the hourly forecast and grab any extra items that you may need: an umbrella, a raincoat, gloves, or suitable footwear, for instance.
3. Shoes are important: make sure your pair is both weather-appropriate and easy to walk in, because the last thing you want to do is trip your way through the office. The night before your interview, wear the selected shoes with socks for a couple hours to guarantee that they're broken in and comfortable.