This Hair Dye Changes Color Based On Your Mood




Mood rings were one of the most exciting things about the 90s. An all-knowing piece of jewelry that picked up on your feels? Incredible. Now thanks to British witch Lauren Bowker, we’re getting the 2017 version of that genius 90s staple: color-changing “mood” hair dye.

The semi-permanent dye made waves earlier this month after it debuted at London Fashion Week. The dye, called FIRE, reacts to air and body temperature — so if your blood is boiling, your hair color can now reflect that. One dye lightens hair from black to red as temperatures rise, and another changes hair from platinum blonde to blue when temperatures fall below 60 degrees. There are reportedly seven different color-changing dyesto choose from.

Pretty revolutionary if you ask me.




 Bowker, a 31-year-old designer, told Dazed she has “always been into the occults and into mixing stuff” like bath potions.

Though Bowker practices the magical arts, her products are all backed by science. She created several mood ring-like inventions under her design brand T H E U N S E E N, including a Swarovski gemstone headpiece that claims to change color according to brain activity, and a jacket that changes colors in response to pollution levels.

Lauren Bowker. | Crane.tv/YouTube

To make FIRE, Bowker altered molecular bonds so that when they meet a certain temperature, a chemical reaction takes place to change hair color.

 “However, we also work with [molecular bonds] that change their structure, which gives you a light refraction instead, so it’s more like a prism colour change,” Bowker tells Hello Giggles. “If you have red hair and you’re in the wind it might go blue. So what we did was look at data patterns of weathers and the environment in different countries and tailor the color changes to correlate with those.”

In other words, if you’re someone who changes their hair color as often as Kylie Jenner, this may be the product for you. Unfortunately, the seven magical dyes haven’t been released to the public yet, but we’re crossing our fingers they come out soon. In the meantime, you can read up about T H E U N S E E N products on their official website.




People Say This Is The Weirdest Town In America




In one tiny Iowa town, you’ll find all organic food, rooms built according to the movement of the sun and people practicing daily transcendental meditation to promote world peace.

Maharishi Vedic City (MVC), incorporated in 2001, is based around the principles of Vedic philosophy, which seeks to restore balance and natural law. MVC is a one-square mile city with just 259 residents, where everything is in Sanskrit (which residents say is their “ideal” language).

Community leaders promote their values through daily Transcendental Meditation and “Yogic Flying,” a type of meditation that gives those who practice it the sensation of floating.

 MVC has become known as the “Meditation Capital of the Midwest.” It’s also the first all-organic city in the country, ever since it banned synthetic pesticides and fertilizers in 2005. (MVC sells its produce to Whole Foods chains across the country.)

MVC’s entire city plan is based on Maharishi Sthapatya Veda, which is an ancient system of architecture and design intended to “protect, nourish, and satisfy everyone … while maintaining the integrity and progress of the city as a whole.”

Buildings are placed according to the movement of the sun and have entrances facing east (where the sun rises). Each home contains a special indoor area called a “brahmasthan” that is the most central, holiest place in the home, as well as a perimeter boundary called a “vastu fence” and a gold-colored roof fixture called a “kalash.”




Getty

Here are some top-tier things to do in MVC:

  • Stay in the Rukmapura Park Hotel, which is just like your typical inn but with more Sanskrit. There’s also a spa, and nature trails and lakes nearby.
  • Visit the Vedic Observatory to learn more about Vedic designs and structures dating back thousands of years.
  • Visit Eco Village, where homes feature eco-friendly design and use wind and solar power as their energy source.
  • Visit the campus of Maharishi University of Management to see 1,000 experts gather to practice Transcendental Meditation and Yogic Flying. If you’re feeling adventurous, join in.
  • Eat at The Raj restaurant, inside the Ayurveda Health Spa. It’s a vegetarian restaurant with stellar Yelp reviews.
 And if you get sick of all the organic vegetarian food, there’s a McDonald’s just five miles away.




Music Gets You As High As Drugs & Sex




In the movie “Almost Famous,” Penny Lane famously says, “I always tell the girls: Never take it seriously. If you never take it seriously, you never get hurt; if you never get hurt, you always have fun; and if you ever get lonely, just go to the record store and visit your friends.” Turns out, she was on to something. A new study says music affects the brain in a similar way to sex and drugs—it gets your brain high.

Drugs, sex and music activate the same pleasure centers in the brain, which are powered by its opioid system. The study, published in Scientific Reports Journal, discovered that a pill which blocks a drug high also blocks music enjoyment, indicating the two are closely related. When people take opioid drugs like heroine and morphine, the brain releases a large amount of dopamine, aka the happy hormone. Music releases dopamine as well, albeit on a less intense scale.

Unsplash

Participants took the drug naltrexone, which prevents the brain’s pleasure-making opioid system from working properly. (The drug is typically given to people who are addicted to heroin and alcohol.) When participants on naltrexone listened to their favorite songs, they didn’t experience the same sense of pleasure they normally would. And when listening to songs they were not fond of, they were apathetic.

“The opioid system is this big question mark,” the study’s senior author and cognitive psychologist Daniel Levitin said. “We know from animal studies that the same areas of the brain affected by opioids are affected by food and sex. … We didn’t know much about music because animals don’t enjoy music.”

Sure, there have been studies on music and the brain’s connection before; however, the difference between those studies and this one is that participants brought in music they found pleasurable, as music taste is highly subjective. Some of the participants’ selections included “Turn Me On” by David Guetta featuring Nicki Minaj, “Creep” by Radiohead,” “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd and “Overture: The Marriage of Figaro” by Mozart.

The study findings proved to be pretty remarkable. “This is the first demonstration that the brain’s own opioids are directly involved in musical pleasure,” Levitin said. We’ve all felt that emotional response to a song that’s meaningful to us, whether it’s an upbeat pop tune or a depressing ballad.

In fact, the study found participants had strong reactions to sad music. “A lot of people find great pleasure in sad songs,” Levitin continued. “When we hear sad songs, the brain releases the neurochemical prolactin, the same comforting chemical that a mother releases when nursing a child. We find it in both mother and child [during breastfeeding]. When we’re feeling sad and misunderstood, that chemical is released to show us we’re not alone.”

So when you hear NYSNC sing, “Do you ever wonder why, this music gets you high? It takes you on a ride, feel it when your body starts to rock,” now you know: Music uses the same reward pathways as food, drugs and sexual pleasure, which is pretty amazing.




9 Steps To Brighten Your Financial Prospects




Go to the profile of Jane Hwangbo

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” — John Wooden

Finance is the study of how money functionally applies to our lives, yet very few of us are taught the concepts and skills when we’re young.

I get it. By the time we’re adults, we have so many balls in the air already. Learn a new new skill? No thanks.

Besides the fact that learning money management skills feels new and thus uncomfortable, the idea of looking at things that may need to be changed can be exhausting all by itself. I’m a finance expert who to this day would still rather do many things than comb through my bank statements.

But taking care of my money has become like brushing my teeth. It’s necessary. It’s good for me. And like all life skills, it’s become easy to do.

You won’t have time to do everything over. Learn to do it right. Here are some ways you can be smarter with your money.

1. Be accountable

The word, accounting, derives from the old French word, aconter (which means “to count”). You must set yourself up to financially measure your progress and become accountable.

Hook your bank and credit card accounts up to any number of free apps out there. Mint.com is a good one to start with. Or as I recommend, print out your statements, grab some highlighters, and start getting down and dirty with your financial habits by hand.

There’s something about manually calculating your cash flow(at least for the first few months) that make your numbers feel very real. Apps seem distant.

Amp up your awareness regarding your numbers. You’ll begin treating the money in your life with the respect it deserves.

2. Google a financial word every week

What you don’t know has the potential to derail you.

Challenge yourself to look up one financial word a week you don’t fully understand but have heard a lot. Google it.

You can start with:




  • Income
  • Revenue
  • Profit margin
  • Depreciation
  • Balance sheet
  • Asset
  • Liability
  • Rate of return
  • Cash flow
  • Credit

These are the ABC’s of money. They’re only tough to understand because you haven’t practiced knowing them yet.

Read the definitions out loud every morning and try to think of personal situations you’ve been in where the concept probably applied. New things can feel scary. Make them not new anymore.

3. Create a love account and stick your money in it

Take a moment to think about something you really want. It could be starting a business, or taking a vacation, or maybe paying for your mom’s medical bills.

There are no rules around the goal except 1) you have to be able to measure how much money you need to make it happen, and 2) you can’t fund it with debt.

Do you have a dream in mind?

Today, make an appointment at your bank to open a separate savings account, just for the deposits you make toward that goal. Call the account something funny, like “My freedom from judg-y people” if you’ll be able to leave toxic co-workers behind while you build a thriving freelance business. Call it whatever it means to you.

Then make regular deposits toward that goal. Once you fund the account fully, either withdraw the amount to make good on the promise you made to yourself, or if you’re not ready yet, open a new account for another goal and repeat.

By doing this, you practice:

  • Seeing that money is only a currency for something else. It’s meant to be traded for something more meaningful in your life;
  • Setting financial goals;
  • Feeling successful based on actual results.

4. Become a hyper-realist

Success is achieved by people who deeply understand reality and know how to use it to get what they want. The converse is also true: idealists who are not well-grounded in reality create problems, not progress. — Ray Dalio, Principles

What do you know you’re not great with?

Do you pay your bills late all the time? Do you always pick up something extra to buy (e.g. a magazine, some candy bars, soda) while waiting to check out at the market? Do you find ways to spend your entire paycheck, no matter how much you make, every month?

Know yourself, and take steps to outsmart you.

Set up auto-pay for your bills.

Take an engrossing book with you to the market to keep you company in the aisles.

Create an automatic money transfer from the account that receives your paycheck to a different account.

Set yourself up for success by hugging your weaknesses, not ignoring them.Be as realistic as you can be about your problems and solutions.




5. Hit the pause button often

“The key to being proactive is remembering that between stimulus and response, there is a space. That space represents our choice — how we will choose to respond to any given situation, person, thought or event.” — Stephen R. Covey

Most of our financial mistakes are made emotionally.

  • We need our parents to be proud of us so we take on massive student loans to go to an expensive college.
  • We need to look financially successful, so we lease cars to impress.
  • We need to buy expensive stuff to make ourselves feel better when we’re down.
  • We choose a profession that can bring only limited financial gains out of fear.

When you pause, you bring intention to the financial question before you. You become dangerous (in a good way). You think and act asynchronously, rather than remaining caught in a destructive feedback loop.

6. Revisions matter most

While you’re doing something difficult like changing the course of your financial life, it helps to remember that progress is made through revisions.

Every “genius” adheres to this formula:

  1. Do
  2. Measure
  3. Tweak

Over and over again.

It’s not sexy. It’s process. All major contributors from Albert Einstein to basketball coach John Wooden (and every artist who ever became relevant), achieved what they did through practice. Often alone in rooms and for hours on end. Every day.

I’m not saying that you need to become a monk about your finances. Just expect that your most substantial gains will be made through smaller, measurable revisions spread over longer stretches of time.

7. Contribute vs. consume

The key to doing well with money is pretty simple. Contribute more.

The richest people in the world have figured out how to give the world what it needs, in a way that only they can. What they have to offer is considered valuable. Their work is usually unique.

Hint: you don’t become valuable to others by being selfish.

When you figure out what other people need and get very skilled at making significant contributions, money naturally flows back to you in kind.

Can you imagine? Less grasping, choking, or cajoling for money?

Maximize what you can do with the money you’ve got by taking good care of it, and ask yourself how you can make the biggest difference in people’s lives with it. Invest your funds in that direction. Think in 5–20 year time frames. Contribute big.

This is not to say that you can’t do middling well without contributing. Plenty of people do. You just won’t find your wealth deeply fulfilling, because you’ll have very few people to share it with.




8. Be an unconventional thinker

We get this one wrong a lot.

Unconventionality isn’t a goal in and of itself, but rather a way of thinking about problems. Unconventional thinking means looking at the world through an inquisitive, investigative lens as you did when you were a child.

You hear cliche’s like “Think outside the box” all the time. What does that even mean?

Simply, that you don’t assume much.

Instead of I have to get a college degree, or I’ll never be successful, you ask if this is true from what you know. You don’t make big financial decisions out of fear. (You may still decide to get a college degree, but the decision would be the result of a very different thought process.)

Neither Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, nor Bill Gates graduated from college or got formal management training. They didn’t drop out of school to be unconventional. They were just willing to consider doing unconventional things in order to achieve their goals in the most effective way possible.

When you think about your finances this way, the whole world blows open. You’re not held back by mental constraints.

You don’t spend your money to keep up with the Joneses.

You don’t buy houses because you vaguely think you should.

You don’t chase the latest hot stock at a crazy price.

You make less unintentional mistakes with your money.

9. Practice preserving

It’s very easy to think about making improvements in your financial life through the process of creating. Making new money, perhaps through a side gig, or making new investments.

Sometimes, in order to brighten your financial future, you need to know what to keep.

A security account that contains 6 months’ worth of living expenses, untouched.

A student loan balance so that you can use any extra cash to pay down high-interest credit card debt.

A car that costs less every month than what you could theoretically afford, just so that you make financial room for other things.

A lot depends on your ability to preserve what you have so that you can build on it.

Conclusion

It’s like they say in finance — the attractiveness of an investment is about the future of the enterprise, not the past. In other words, history can give you a clue, but we always have the opportunity to set a different course.

If you can’t implement all 9 steps, start with one. They’re each based on classic rules of finance, reinterpreted for the modern age. They don’t change. The question is, will you?




Don’t Waste an Inch: Ideas for Using a Really Narrow Room





Have you got a landing, a spare room, a bit of hallway—any particularly small sliver of space in your home that’s searching for its purpose? Narrow rooms can pose a special challenge, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t make the most of that space. Here’s a little inspiration for getting the most out of a (really, really) narrow room.

(Image credit: Fantastic Frank)



Since that’s the idea of this post, I thought I’d start with the very narrowest of these rooms: this little nook from Fantastic Frank, which is not much wider than a hallway. These homeowners have managed to squeeze a lot of utility out of this tiny space: wall mounted shelves provide storage without taking up floor space, and a particularly deep shelf functions as a workspace. The lounge chair pulls out to a bed, so the space can function as a guest room, too.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )



An antique desk is the perfect solution for turning this little nook from Jamie and Byron’s San Francisco house into a cozy workspace.

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(Image credit: David Boyle)



Even the narrowest of rooms can make a great workspace, as evidenced by this interior from David Boyle. Shelves don’t have to be particularly deep to hold standard paperbacks: the shelves on the left are made from standard lumber and are (I’m guessing) only 5.5 inches deep.

(Image credit: Nightingale Design)



If you have enough space you can squeeze in a workspace and a cozy spot for lounging, as seen in this staircase landing by Nightingale Design.

(Image credit: A Cup of Jo)



In this sunny spot from A Cup of Jo, a wall-mounted shelf/desk and a built-in bench make the most of a narrow space.

(Image credit: Robert McKinley)



Sectional sofas can make a surprisingly good solution for smaller spaces, like this one from Robert McKinley. If you can’t find a sectional that’s just the right shape or size, try piecing together a modular sofa.

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(Image credit: Lonny)



In a space that’s too narrow to place two sofas across from one another, you can still create a conversational grouping with an upholstered bench. Image from Lonny.

(Image credit: Dwell)

In this space from Dwell, double workspaces make the most of a narrow room.

(Image credit: Country Living)

If your room is just a little bit wider (like this stair landing from Country Living) you may be able to squeeze in a full-sized couch and a desk. That’s multitasking at its best.



Stop the Stress: 15 Real People Share Their Go-To Relaxation Methods





At the end of a long, stressful day, what do you most look forward to? Everyone has a different way of unwinding—for some people it’s plopping down on the couch to watch their favorite show on Netflix, for others, it’s going to the gym or taking a long hot shower. There’s pretty much no limit to how you can relax and de-stress.

We asked people to tell us their favorite ways to relax, so if you don’t have a go-to self-care method, one of these ideas is sure to inspire you.


App-Guided Meditation:

“There are so many options on relaxing that I go to—yoga with my favorite instructors at Equinox (followed by a sauna session), booking an appointment at Drybar, sipping coffee at Kahve in Hell’s Kitchen…but my absolutely favorite is meditation! My coworker turned me on to it with the app Insight Timer, and it is absolutely the best thing. After only a few weeks, I feel lighter, more productive, and dare I say happier! It REALLY works—I recommend guided mediation if you’re a newbie, but any kind of meditation is good I think.”

— Antonia in Manhattan, NY


Crocheting and Knitting:

“I’ve always crocheted, and learned to knit several years ago. It’s how I unwind and release stress and tension built up during the day. It’s a sort of meditation for me….I block out the world and concentrate on counting stitches and the movement of my hands. A lot of people are still alive because I crochet and knit.”

— Christine in Orange, CA


Watching Weird YouTube Videos:

“Lately I’ve been totally obsessed with watching people cut open squishy toys on Youtube—that and the people who make slime. It’s so relaxing! Or people who make miniature sized foods.”

Abby in Camden, ME


Cooking a Grandparent-Approved Dinner:

“A few years ago I found myself in a food dessert in Omaha—there were no real grocery stores anywhere near, so putting together dinner became incredibly stressful. I have since moved back to my home city of Minneapolis, where there are many great grocery stores very close, and as a result the act of making dinner has become weirdly soothing to me after work. I’ve especially been exploring recipes from Eastern Europe—where my grandparents came from—so making dinner has become a little adventure, in that I am sort of traveling through time, to my grandparents dinner tables, and space, to Russia or Belarus or Ukraine. It’s a great way to take my mind off the day of work and get ready to settle in for the evening.”

— Max in Minneapolis, MN


(Image credit: Andrea Obzerova/Shutterstock)

Music, Coloring Books and Phone Calls:

I’ve had Fibromyalgia since I was 16, so my process of unwinding/relaxing is crucial—but it also varies each day. What I do: Listen to my favorite musicians that either calm me or just make me happy (i.e. The Lumineers, Sam Cooke, Mumford & Sons, Jack Johnson, etc.). Adult coloring books have recently become one of my favorite ways to unwind after a busy day—I just lay on my bed and get to coloring and after an hour or so I actually feel more relaxed and less stressed after a hectic work day.

I’ll also go for a walk—after 7 or 8pm, when it gets a bit more quiet and less busy outside my building. I just put my headphones in and take a casual walk around the block—or a few blocks—and sometimes that’s all I need to unwind. Or, I’ll take a long shower with music playing on my speakers—sometimes the best way to relax is a nice hot shower and (badly) singing along to my favorite songs. On really bad days I like to give my boyfriend and/or my parents a call. Hearing their voices and positive words after an especially trying day works wonders for me and distracts me from whatever was stressing me out earlier in the day.”

— Lisa in Manhattan, NY


A Playlist and a Hoverboard:

“After an especially long day I like to grab my hoverboard (which I have actually never taken outside) and roam around my home with a specialized playlist I entitled, ‘Entrance Music.’ It’s a fun way to unwind, and whenever I have company over it turns into something pretty entertaining and fun.”

CJ in Los Angeles, CA





Walking in the Park:

“Long walks usually work for me, especially near water or in a park. Prospect Park is great for this.”

Aura in Brooklyn, NY


Going for a Swim:

“Almost every evening, I head to my health club and unwind by swimming laps and doing aqua-calisthenics in the swimming pool, followed by a relaxing hot soak in the jacuzzi. Swimming is great exercise and also a bit of a social gathering as I tend to see the same ‘gym friends’ each day, and we catch up on our lives in the hot tub as the jets are massaging our tense muscles. Afterwards, I may go into the steam room or sauna and indulge in a bit of beauty treatments—facials, applying hair conditioner, exfoliation and lots of moisturizer. I leave rejuvenated and glowing!

— Samuella in Manhattan, NY


Taking a Hot Bath:

“Taking a nice long hot bath in a dark room with candles is by far the best way I personal relax. A bath is so important for my mental health that when apartment searching it is pretty much my only requirement. Besides the benefits of muscle relaxation and scented candles, I believe a bath is extra helpful since it requires me to unplug from all electronics and actually take some ‘me’ time.”

— Brittany in Miami, FL


Enjoying the View:

“I actually call it Sonia time. I turn off the tv and look out the window (I have a great view) and take in deep breaths and exhale while sitting there and staring out. Sometimes there maybe wine. Sometimes soft spa music. It makes me feel like I’m away somewhere else. I just sit and look. I’m on the 32nd floor and have a lake view on one side and a city view on the other. If I’m looking out at the city I’m enjoying that I’m not busy compared to those people on their way somewhere—for the water side it’s just pure calm.”

— Sonia in Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Going Window Shopping:

“I find time to relax by window shopping at local antiques and thrift stores. It is retail therapy without the costs. The shops are a few blocks from my home office so I take about an hour shop and stroll to get away from my computer to recharge. Not mention I get to burn a few calories and catch up with my neighbors.”

— Michiel in Walterboro, SC





Going for a Drive:

“Personally, I like to take a long drive, with no objective other than to see new things and listen to music. Otherwise, a glass of wine and my best friend are basically the antidote to any stressful day.”

— Brianna in Lancaster, PA


Practicing Tai Chi:

“I am a big fan of Tai Chi, but I also do water aerobics, massage, acupuncture, knitting, reading, hanging out with friends, and watching TV to de-stress. I started learning Tai Chi about 12 years ago and have gotten progressively addicted over the years. I now know the choreography of 2 different forms and I absolutely love it. It is a way to both relax and focus. I even guest teach when the regular backup cannot be there. I have met great people, it has helped my balance, improved my bone density and helped calm my mind. I just love it.”

— Paige in Cambridge, MA


Studying Ballet:

“I’m an amateur ballet dancer. I danced in my youth and took it up again despite having limited time due to having a career and family. Every week I have a private dance lesson with a teacher who is devoted to my goal to improve my technique. I get a wonderful workout, I engage in creative expression, and I leave every class feeling physically and mentally recharged.”

— Ebonee in Washington, D.C.


Playing Video Games:

“Putting in so many hours as an entrepreneur, you can bet relaxation is hard to come by. However, one of the things I do to try and calm myself is play video games. Whether it’s a game on my PS4 or a game on my iPhone, I try to take a couple breaks throughout the day to turn my brain off and play video games. It helps me escape temporarily from the pressures of the day.”

Chris in Houston, TX


Now it’s your turn: What’s your favorite way to unwind?




Yellow Bulldog is on a quest to deliver you the greatest TV, movie and gaming merchandise known to humanity.



Yellow Bulldog brings you the best of TV, movie and gaming merchandise from our awesome online store, straight to your front door. Absolute. Legends.

Yellow Bulldog is on a quest to deliver you the greatest TV, movie and gaming merchandise known to humanity. As quests go, that’s a pretty epic one indeed.

We offer the sort of game merch that will make you squeal with delight. We’re not talking a tiny squeal of pleasure. We’re talking the kind of roar that makes the neighbours wonder what’s going on next door. We know what’s going on, and we approve.



Yellow Bulldog knows what you want. We want it too, and we’re willing to share. That’s why we offer a huge range of quality goods, from video game hoodies to kick ass gaming socks, that will have your friend’s burning with envy. Let them burn, that’s what we say. Or tell them about Yellow Bulldog and all the awesome gamer gear we stock. Actually go with option B. It’s better for everyone.

You see we’re like you. We like awesome things, So awesome things is what we sell. Need a Christmas jumper? Of course you do, you’re a setter of fashion, not a slave to it. Want some awesome Star Wars Stuff? Yeah you frickin’ do. Just killing some time, trying to find some Fallout merchandise? Get your nuclear winter ready for a party!

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to make your shopping basket tingle with joy. We’ll be busy keeping the digital shelves stocked and ready for the fun. What a bunch of absolute legends we are.



Cheap, Yet Chic: Low Cost Living Room Design Ideas





We live hard in living rooms. It’s where we entertain, relax in the evenings, watch TV, and do countless other activities each day. Yet when we get sick of our surroundings and need something different, it’s tough to make big changes in the context of our busy lives and small budgets. That’s when small, cheap tweaks come in handy…

Here are eight small ways to switch it up at home, on a budget:

(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)



1. Shop Your Home: Instead of going to the store, stroll through your house and “borrow” items from other rooms. Or, take a look at what’s lingering in your closet or storage that might feel new again in the light of day.

(Image credit: Monica Wang)

2. Curate: Pare down what’s on hand, and then style vignettes around the room. Arranging decor helps your eye move around the room in interesting ways. Plus, when you choose meaningful items (i.e. travel souvenirs or family photos) it also means extra nice warm fuzzies.

(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)



3. Add Plants: Greenery is one of the best ways to liven up a space. See if one of your friends or neighbors will divide up one of their plants and give it to you, then find a vessel around the house for your new organic friend.

(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

4. Bring out the Books: I firmly believe that books are beautiful. It’s just a bonus that they are close at hand, or easy and cheap to come by. A stack of books adds needed color, or is a nice space-filler when you don’t want to buy pricier accessories.

(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)



5. Re-arrange Furniture: Get acquainted with a different part of your space by moving around your furniture. Put your desk by a window for a change, or orient your sofa towards the fireplace vs. the television for awhile.

(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

6. DIY something: Aside from the good feeling you get from making something with your hands, DIY projects are inexpensive ways to decorate. It doesn’t have to be large— even a quick no-sew pillow adds something new to a room.

(Image credit: Theresa Gonzalez)

7. Paint: We talk about painting all the time for good reason; this is one of the cheapest and easiest things you can do to switch up a room. It immediately changes the mood, looks fresh, and can be done without a lot of money.

8. Find Beauty in the Everyday: Take a look around for regular items that have special visual appeal. Whether it is your collection of boots (above), or an old kimono, displaying them in a conscious way elevates both your objects and the room.

What tips do you have for decorating on the cheap?



Home is where your mum is!

Find the perfect gift for Mum this Mother’s Day. With a great variety of gifts, from experience days to beauty bundles, you are sure to find something your Mum will love!

Mothering Sunday, sometimes known as Mother’s Day, is held on the fourth Sunday of Lent. It is exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday and usually falls in the second half of March or early April.

Decorated cookies

What Do People Do?
Mother’s Day, or Mothering Sunday, is now a day to honor mothers and other mother figures, such as grandmothers, stepmothers and mothers-in-law. Many people make a special effort to visit their mother. They take cards and gifts to her and may treat her to brunch, lunch or high tea in a cafe, restaurant or hotel. People who cannot visit their mother usually send gifts or cards to her.
An important part of Mothering Sunday is giving cards and gifts. Common Mother’s Day gifts are cakes, flowers, chocolates, jewelry, and luxurious clothing. Some people do not give a physical gift, but choose to treat their mother or grandmother to a special meal, beauty treatment or fun outing.


Specially decorated Mother’s Day cakes are available in many stores. In the days and weeks before Mothering Sunday, many schools, Sunday schools and children’s organizations help their pupils to prepare a handmade card or gift for their mother.


Public Life
Mothering Sunday is not a bank holiday in the United Kingdom. Public transport services run to their usual Sunday timetables. Cafes, restaurants and hotels may be fully booked a long time ahead, as many people treat their mother to a special meal on Mothering Sunday. Those wishing to eat in a restaurant on Mother’s Day may need to reserve a table in advance.
Background
Mothering Sunday was originally a time when people returned to the church, in which they were baptized or where they attended services when they were children. This meant that families were reunited as adults returned to the towns and villages where they grew up. In time, it became customary for young people who were working as servants in large houses, to be given a holiday on Mothering Sunday. They could use this day to visit their own mother and often took a gift of food or hand-me-down clothing from their employers to her. In turn, this moved towards the modern holiday, on which people still visit and take gifts to their mothers.
Traditionally, people observed a fast during Lent. Lent is the period from Ash Wednesday until Good Friday. During the Lent fast, people did not eat from sweet, rich foods or meat. However, the fast was lifted slightly on Mothering Sunday and many people prepared a Simnel cake to eat with their family on this day.
A Simnel cake is a light fruit cake covered with a layer of marzipan and with a layer of marzipan baked into the middle of the cake. Traditionally, Simnel cakes are decorated with 11 or 12 balls of marzipan, representing the 11 disciples and, sometimes, Jesus Christ. One legend says that the cake was named after Lambert Simnel who worked in the kitchens of Henry VII of England sometime around the year 1500.

The Freedom of Constraint




Go to the profile of ChristyWrites

This morning, I put on a sweet blouse that ties at the neck. To be honest, it’s possibly a little over the top for work, and even for my personal style. I bought it years ago. I loved it. Yet, I’ve rarely worn it. I’ve bought many articles of clothing like this over the years — things that I love and that look great (in my opinion), yet I don’t wear because they’re just a little too much for me… but that’s not true. The truth is, they define me. They define the me that’s still suppressed, the me that’s fighting to emerge.

But that’s not what this article was meant to be about. (Or is it?) This one is about the freedom of constraint. Since we don’t spend money on clothes anymore (and I’ve actually become fairly allergic to it; even when I try, I can’t), I’ve been relying on a new policy of wearing what I have. Some people call it “shopping in your closet.” That’s what I do now. Even if I think I don’t like something or it’s not suitable, I have to wear it.

Sometimes I even use an extreme version of the rule. I close my eyes and reach out to the skirt and blouse section with both hands, and I MUST wear what I touch. I must find some way to bring them together — or not. If I really can’t for some reason, then that article of clothing goes in the discard pile for Salvation Army.

This morning, I put on the sweet green and white polka dot blouse that ties in a big bow at the neck. Over that, I wore a boat neck/cowl neck black sweater I happened to have on the shelf. I would rather have had a cardigan, but that didn’t exist.

I threw that over the green blouse, pulled the bow out, and dared a look in the mirror. Even though it’s slightly ridiculous, I like the look. I do. I like how a little bit of my bare shoulder peeks through where you don’t expect it to. Even though I’m almost completely covered up, I think the look is kind of sexy. I like the big floppy bow. But, ordinarily, I wouldn’t have the guts to wear it to work, especially not to a new job.

Things are changing. Maybe I’m growing up. Maybe I’m growing more confident. Maybe I just don’t care anymore (getting more real, getting more cosmic, i.e., realizing none of this actually matters — having a son taking an astronomy course and telling me stories of galaxies helps with this).

But really what I like about this new method of shopping in my closet is that it constricts my choice.

I’ve always had a hard time with choice. I have a hard time making decisions and second guess myself ruthlessly. It wastes a lot of time and energy and generates enormous and totally unnecessary angst.

So, when I can’t choose because of this little game I play, I find a smile creeps across my face. I find I’m able to take a deep breath. My shoulders relax. I relax. I give up, give in.

The beauty of constraint is that you know what you’re supposed to do.




It’s how I felt the second I learned I was pregnant with my first child. The fundamental first feeling I had, and it was powerful, was an utter single-mindedness of purpose. Ah. Now I know what I’m supposed to do. Finally, I know what I’m supposed to do: Take care of this child.

Suddenly, I had a task, an important task, to accomplish, and it would take at least the next eighteen years of my life. What a relief! To finally not have to think of myself anymore, to stop wondering, obsessing, worrying, about myself and my decisions.

I remember shortly before I got pregnant being in my therapist Dr. John’s office seized by debilitating waves of stress and anxiety. I remember saying over and over again, “But I don’t know what to do, what path to choose.”

Really I was saying I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what I’m allowed to do. What I’m allowed to think. I was so utterly divorced from myself that I couldn’t tell you the first thing about what Christy wanted.

Even just a couple of years ago, someone said to me gently, “But what does Christy want?” I was speechless. He said, “Ask for what you want.” When he said that, I realized I never ask myself what I want, let alone anyone else, the universe, what have you. The mere concept startled me.

That day in his office, Dr. John said to me, gently, reassuringly, “You might feel like you’re casting about in all directions in utter chaos, but if you were in a small plane flying above your life, you’d see that your path, while it has little detours and tributaries branching off here and there, actually goes in a very purposeful direction. You just can’t see it from your vantage point.”

What a relief that was to hear. I was flooded with gratitude when he said this to me, and I even dared to believe it. It has stayed with me all of these years.

Constraint. A baby swaddled, or bound to a board. A well-trained dog. A place for everything. Structure. Borders. Rules. I grew up with none of that. Our home was a free-for-all. There was no one at the helm. Father absent, mother inebriated. We did whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted.

Which is why when someone or something constrains me, I relax. I feel free. I even feel like I’m floating. I’m somehow released, and yes, it has an erotic component as well. I love this aspect of myself. I’m glad it exists inside of me. It is my friend.