Great Clothing For The Winter

This winter, by all accounts, stands to be one of the coldest in recent memory. So, in order to create a healthier world, we need to go shopping! After all, none of us can afford to get sick from exposure. Some great clothing for the winter will keep us nice and warm, and keep us healthy too.

Tunic Tops


Perhaps one of the most versatile items of clothing in a woman’s closet is the tunic. With long sleeves and a longer-than usual hemline, a tunic will offer style and warmth on blustery days and cold nights. They will couple nicely with your winter coat, or serve perfectly on chilly days without the help of an outer jacket. Masai clothing makes a great variety of tunics, from velvet to cotton, depending on your tastes.


Long-sleeved t-shirts are also a great fashion choice for winter weather. While too light-weight for outside wear without an outer covering, they are perfect for home and the office. T-shirts are not just for slogans, anymore, with quality designers and clothing companies incorporating a wide variety of materials and designs in the product. These days the term “t-shirt” applies more to a shape of top than the construction. A t-shirt can have cap sleeves, three-quarter sleeves, or long sleeves, and will usually hit anywhere from mid-waist to mid-hip. You can expect a t-shirt to be a little more form fitting than a tunic, and it will have a little bit of stretch to it. The great feature of this item is that it can be paired with cardigans, jackets, scarves, and winter coats for an overall look that creates your own unique style. Dolan makes some great t-shirts that will go from summer to winter with the right wardrobe additions.



Ah, the winter coat. What a magnificent wardrobe addition! Having grown up in a balmy part of the world, where a winter coat is necessary only 2 or 3 days a year, I was totally unaware that people who lived in colder climes would have SEVERAL winter coats! A lady I knew from New York had 5! Each one was a work of art, with beautiful design and a variety of materials. Long or short, your winter coats can be chosen to compliment your wardrobe and look great at the same time. Apt. 9, Croft & Barrow, and IZ Byer have some great styles out there for the lover of winter coats.


Never underestimate the value of a closet full of cardigans. The cardigan may be one of the most versatile wardrobe items, yet. It can add a touch of color and texture to an otherwise ordinary shell or t-shirt. It can be an extra layer of warmth over your office wear and beneath your coat. It can take your summer wardrobe into the winter with ease and style. Vera Wang, Dana Buchman, and Mudd make some great designs with durable materials that you’ll just love to add to your wardrobe.

Using Stone Planters In Your Garden

A garden is often a place of escape. I know that when i work in my garden, no one bothers me. It’s because they don’t want to be forced to help, but it still means that my garden is peaceful. A gardener can create works of art with living plants, statuary, water features, pathways, and planters. One of the most natural way to incorporate planters into your garden is to use stone planters. The texture, color, and weight can be great tools for crafting certain looks and creating focal points.

Country Gardens

The typical English Country Garden often looks like a maze of wildflowers to the uninitiated. Little do they know, however, that these plantings are carefully thought out when considering height, texture, colors, flowering patterns, and water and light requirements.


One of the most beautiful additions to this type of garden is the stone planter. Savvy shoppers haunt junk stores and farm sales looking for ancient stone troughs, because they make such beautiful planters in a rural garden. The good news is, now you can buy “ancient” troughs that are brand new. Manufacturers are responding to demand by producing rough-cut stone and concrete planters made to look like troughs.


By using a stone planter in this type of garden, you can often add a surprise to a particular planting area. Flowers that have low moisture needs are grouped together, but in a planter with a high moisture planting in it will add an unexpected punch of color and texture to that area. You can water that particular pot more often without affecting the rest of the plants.

Large stone planters are very heavy, and will probably have to be put into place with heavy machinery. That’s ok, though, because it gives you an opportunity to put a significant planting in that spot. A tree in a pot is quite striking, and the right specie of tree will thrive. This can create a great accent to your garden, and certainly give great opportunities for under plantings.

Formal Gardens

14614270779_a2d960c1aa_bThat’s not all, though. Stylized planters can be found in just about every architectural pattern, from sleek, shiny, polished obsidian to rough concrete with pomegranates cast around the lip. If you lean more toward formal structure, then stone can be exactly the addition to your trimmed shrubs and flowering espalier. Imagine your forsythias, rather than just sprouting from the ground, carefully placed in stone planters lining the base of the fence. Matching planters, with the solid look of stone, will give an even more organized look to the formal garden, anchoring the carefully tied branches and adding even more visual appeal.

Polished Stone

For modern gardens, polished stone may be just the touch you need to finish the look. Polished granite or marble planters are elegant, and almost elevated to the look of statuary. Modern designs often incorporate “gazing balls” in the landscape, and polished stone planters can serve dual duty.

Give stone planters a try in your garden. You’ll enjoy the variety and functions.


Relieving Stress By Getting Yourself A Hobby

As I struggle to adapt to my new Windows 8.1 computer (apps? I don’t need no stinkin’ apps), I feel my blood pressure rise. So I turn to one of my favorite hobbies – a brief, tension-relieving game of Spider Solitaire. Only, it’s not there. I look for the program file, and there isn’t one. There is only a bunch of app icons scattered everywhere. Tension mounting, I search for game programs – excuse me – apps – only to find one that takes up the whole screen, yet is hard to read. I think I’ve blown a gasket by now.
We all need break. I’m not one to watch movies or play WOW on my computer at work, but I usually have a crossword puzzle, a jigsaw puzzle, or a game of solitaire open for a brief respite. There are all kinds of hobbies, and simple ones like these can make a person relax, even just a little bit. By relieving stress, you actually restore your energy. Hobbies are like that. They give you a chance to develop new skills and polish old ones, losing yourself in the process.

How Do Hobbies Help?


Most of the time, our hobbies are something we’re good at. We may or may not get paid to do our hobby, but they provide immense satisfaction. One of the ways hobbies help is by helping us center ourselves in something we do well. This restores our confidence and clears our minds. There is a certain balm to repetitive movements that will yield the result you expect, whether it is clicking an icon to deal virtual cards or digging a hole in the garden to plant a flower.

Our hobbies help us to relax, and yet, to feel “in control” at the same time. By finding joy in our hobbies, we shed stress and re-focus our energies.

What Hobbies Are Best?


Just as each person has a different personality, we each have a different taste for hobbies. For some, socializing is the best stress reliever, while for others, socializing would be the ultimate stress inducer. After a very stressful day, some people want the refuge of the kitchen, enjoying the activities of cooking their favorite meal. Gardening, cards, crochet, running, all are excellent hobbies that appeal to some, but not others.

How Do I Get a Hobby?

Sadly, so many people spend so much time working that they think there is no time for hobbies. Their only interest is getting to bed so they can go to work tomorrow. In these cases, it’s time to take on something totally new. The TV show “Dancing With the Stars” has brought dancing into the spotlight, and more people are going out to their local dance shop such as Weston dancewear and turning to dance as a viable hobby. They get some physical activity, experience art, and socialize, all at the same time.
Don’t be afraid to try something new. It will focus all of your energies, take you out of yourself, and build your confidence.

Why Your Drying Methods May Be Affecting Your Health

I remember when my mum got a gas tumble dryer. She cried. No longer did she have to hang clothes on the sagging clothesline outside. We felt like we had moved into the 20th century with that and a color television. If we had known then what we know now, we would have kept the clothesline for some situations. Little did we know that the dryer could actually affect our health!



First of all, we didn’t count on the lint. Apparently, drying clothes in the dryer produces a great deal of lint. This created a problem for my sister, who had asthma. So, the housekeeping had to increase in order to keep lint cleared out from inside and behind the dryer. It was amazing how much lint could accumulate on the wall behind the dryer!
Not only that, we found out that the lint was actually a fire hazard! In our case, the heating element in an electric dryer went out. We had it replaced, and the repairman called us in to witness the huge amount of dryer lint that had accumulated around the heating element. He told us that we were lucky it hadn’t caught on fire. Evidently, dryer lint is highly flammable!
His recommendation to us was to use a clothes rack for some items, and to even install a clothesline for some of the larger, heavy items that could be too heavy for the dryer. So, we were back to the clothesline!



Another feature we did not anticipate was the increased humidity brought into the house when we used a tumble dryer. As the dryer evaporated the water from the clothes, that moisture had to go somewhere! Sure enough, we started having problems with mold and mildew in the laundry room. Now, besides my sister’s asthma being exacerbated, other family members started having allergies. It actually resulted in us having to call in contractors to replace drywall in the laundry room. They took out the gypboard and installed concrete board that was more moisture-proof.
Another problem created by the humidity was closets in the laundry room. That was where we kept our linens, and they started smelling like urine. It was because of the increased humidity in the room. Apparently, when you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, the dryer will add to ambient humidity and create mildew problems.

The 21st Century

Now, we are in the 21st Century, and we have advanced to clothesmaid clothes racks. Sure, we still use our tumble dryer, but luckily the styling of clothes racks is much more sophisticated. The woods and finishes keep the racks strong and splinter-free, and they are even a decorative addition to the laundry room. They can fold down from the wall, fold up into the corner, or be suspended from the ceiling. And, bonus, they have cut down on our utility bills!

You may want to consider using clothes racks in your laundry room. It can improve your health, and save money.

Why Metal Planters Are Helpful

If you are a gardener, metal planters are simply the best way to go. I remember the time when I thought that terra cotta pots were the ONLY way to keep my plants beautiful. I read somewhere that they helped to regulate the moisture content of the soil. Boy, did I goof.

Terra Cotta Pots

Terra cotta pots are beautiful, don’t get me wrong. They are available in every style, too. I should know, I bought a lot of them. And they weren’t cheap, either. Oh, sure, the simple ones were inexpensive, but the really pretty ones with designs? Forget about it – I paid a TON of money for those things. They’ll last forever, right?

Boy, did I find out otherwise. First of all, they flaked. My most expensive pots flaked off in layers, leaving a terrible mess on the patio, until there was nothing left at all.

The ones that didn’t flake got cracks in them! I was really upset to find some of my pots with big cracks running from the rim to the bottom. Even more aggravating were the tutorials I saw on how to repair these pots. They wanted me to drill a series of holes – using a “mortar bit”, whatever that is – on each side of the crack, and lace it back together with BAILING WIRE! It was supposed to look “rustic”. I thought it just looked stupid. Plus, my plants were lying around on the patio, WITHOUT A POT, gasping for air like fish out of water while I played “cobbler, cobbler, mend my shoe” with the stupid pots. Which, by the way, shattered when I tried to drill them.

AND…that whole moisture equalizing thing? What that means is that the terra cotta leaches the moisture out of the soil, leaving a white residue on the side of the pot and dry soil – and DEAD PLANTS – inside.

Plastic Pots

Plastic pots rot. Sure, they are light weight. Sure they are in different styles, but if they sit in the sun, they rot. And break. And the plant dies.

Metal Planters

Which brings me to metal planters. Ok, right up front, metal will rust. But guess what? My metal planters have outlasted everything else I’ve tried in my garden and home!

The metal planters are available in any style you want, in any size. They are amazingly lightweight. Check for planters that have holes drilled in the bottom so that excess water can drain out. This will keep the bottom from rusting. If the metal planter is sitting on a paver or rack rather than the dirt, it will last even longer.

Stainless steel is particularly durable. You can find stainless planters with powder coated surfaces to get the color you want. Or, you can simply get a pretty metal planter and put your ivy in it, knowing that it will look good for years to come.

In reality, I still have terra cotta pots, and plastic ones, too. They are just too pretty to never use again. But, my metal planters have outlasted everything.

How To Get A Relaxing Night’s Sleep

Insomnia and sleep deprivation are problems that thousands of people face. With insomnia, the person can’t get to sleep. With sleep deprivation, the person can’t remain asleep. Lack of sleep is often the culprit behind traffic accidents, falls, and general loss of productivity at home and at work. But, what can you do to get a relaxing night’s sleep? Here are some pointers for beating insomnia and sleep deprivation.




If your lack of beneficial sleep is due to interruptions, see what you can do to eliminate those interruptions. In some cases, you just need earplugs to block out ambient noises. I never travel without earplugs, because you never know how noisy the hotel will be. Young parents are among the most sleep deprived, and when there is someone present to take care of the baby, can greatly benefit from a good set of earplugs.

Another form of interruption is yourself. It is said by sleep experts that everybody wakes up 3 or 4 times a night. They just don’t remember waking up. This means that by repeating pre-sleep rituals, you may be able to teach your body to get back to sleep.

Ambient Noise

Along with the problems that can arise with interruptions to your sleep are the problems brought about by ambient noise. It may not be periodic noises that randomly crop up – it may be repeated sounds such as the neighbor’s garden gate squeaking, or simply the sound of the water heater as it gurgles and pops. The solution to this is often the old strategy of fighting fire with fire. Play recordings that will keep your ears busy, rather than distracted by environmental sounds. Many people listen to relaxation recordings of ocean surf or thunderstorms. Some take advantage of their brain’s need for stimulus and listen to foreign language tapes while they sleep. Foreign language tapes are a great way to keep the mind occupied instead of thinking “I can’t sleep” and you also get the added bonus of being able to learn, there’s nothing better than having the ability for translation. The rhythm of the spoken words help to lull the mind, and some of it usually sinks in!



Caffeine can be a subtle influence on your sleep patterns. I learned that, while I may be able to have a cup of coffee with evening dessert, I must not, under any circumstances, drink any tea within 6 hours of bedtime. You would think there would be no difference, but there is. And, keep in mind that children are also affected by caffeine. I still remember one mother who, to my shock, allowed her children to drink tea with dinner, then complained that they were so hyper and hard to calm down for bedtime!



There are some additives in food, as well, that might be keeping you awake at night. MSG in foods can act as a stimulant for some people. Foods that you have even the slightest allergy to can upset your system and keep you from drifting off, or from remaining asleep once you reach that state.

Slowing down, avoiding stimulants, and using calming music or language recordings can help you get caught up on your sleep. Try them out, and you’ll see.