10 Fun Facts about SNOW!

Today we got a lot more snow on the coast where I live than we did up here in town where I work.  Because we have had 5+ snow storms over the last month, and snow storms are a common topic lately, I thought I would share with you 10 fun facts about the snow.

1. If you have a fear of snow, it is called chionophobia.  If you are crazy about snow, it is chionomainia.  (You decide, I know what I am!)

2. It can be fairly warm (40) and still snow.  The tops of the clouds and layers of cool air that are below freezing allow this to happen.  Alternately, it’s really not too cold to snow, it’s the absence of water vapor that keeps it from snowing, and it’s difficult to have water vapor when it is very cold, but it is possible.

3. Snowflakes are crystals joined together, usually between 2-200 of them. They join to get bigger and bigger and when they are heavy enough, they fall.

4. The average snowflake falls at 3.1 mph!

5. The biggest recorded snowflake was 15″ in diameter, in Montana.  The most snowfall in 24 hours was 63″ in 1913, in Georgetown, CO.

6. A snowflake has 6 sides and the shapes they come in are needles, columns, flat plates, stars, dendrites and combinations.  The temperature determines the shape.

7. Snow is actually clear/transparent.  It is like a prism that breaks up the light and the human eye cannot “see” this so it appears white or blue.  Snow can come in other colors depending on the color of the tiny dirt particle that the crystal collects on.  Red and grey are common colors of snowflakes in some areas.  Blue and green snow can be found when algae is trapped in it.

8. Each year over 100 snow storms affect the continental US. One snow storm usually has a lifespan of 2-5 days.

9. Japan has developed a snow-eating robot that is equipped with GPS.  It can shovel snow in your driveway and compact it into ice blocks.

10. 80% of all the freshwater on earth is frozen as ice or snow.  This accounts for 12% of the earth’s surface.

How many of those did you know? 

Pretty “cool” facts I think.

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10 Must-Have Fashion Accessories

Spring/Summer 2011 is coming soon.  The fashions for this summer are showing some signs of the 50s.  The fabrics, jewelry and styles are here with a new flair.  The Style Guide report published in January 2011 by Promostyl has listed the following fashion accessory trends – love ’em or leave ’em:

1. Killer shoes with platform soles, buckles, straps and crazy heels.  

High heels are definitely in and the Stiletto was on the catwalks. Heels were crazy. Straps and buckles on everything and more than 1 or 2!

Natural leather colors were favored.  Evening wear featured gold sandals with high heels. 

 

Flat sandals and ballerinas are out of favor now.  Gladiator and regular boots are out too.  Summer boots with open toes and heels are the novelty of this season.

Did I mention, I love shoes?

2. Summer shoes with open toe.

3. High boots or shoes with open toe and heel.

4. Bags

The classic look is in this season, the huge size of last season is out.  Female is the motto.  Small and flat envelope bags are chic. 

5. Sunglasses (with transparent glass).

6. Ethnic-style chains of mammoth proportions and color, often with dull stone. 

Gold-plated link chains with rhinestones and sparkling stones do it well.  Pile on 2-3.

7. Wide bracelets

8. Natural leather belts and bags.

9. Hair accessories.

10. Watches.

I know it’s early up here, with snow still falling everywhere, but these will give you something to look forward to after a long winter in LL Bean boots.  Try some of these and you’ll be styling in 2011.  The way that you wear it will make it your own.  Let’s see what you’ve got!

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My Favorite 5 Ways to Lose Weight

We are already into the 2nd week in January.  How’s that diet going?  Hopefully you haven’t given up on making some changes for a healthier lifestyle.  These are my 5 favorite ways to be good without telling myself I’m on a diet:

1. I like to include a fruit AND a vegetable at lunch and dinner (preferably fresh).

2. I use the half -plate rule (sometimes more!). Fill half your plate with a vegetable and/or salad.

3. I drink a whole glass of water before each meal and snack.

4. Never eat in front of the TV.  I like to eat at the table and have a conversation, and don’t hurry too much! Enjoy.

5. My personal favorite is don’t eat any white foods at dinner. (This helps you to burn off your carbs during the day.)

There are many other tricks like smaller plates, dessert only on weekends, and putting half of your restaurant dinner in a to-go container before you eat.  Find your own personal “problem area” and see if you can use a couple of these ideas to tackle it.  Track your progress and change your goals if you need to.  Don’t expect too much too fast or you will probably be disappointed.  Slow and steady is the key.  Add a little exercise and the possibilities are endless.  Good Luck!  Stick with it!

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How to be a Great Mother of the Bride

I am headed to a bridal show this weekend and since mother of the bride dresses are one of my specialties, I thought I would share my thoughts.  I was both mother of the bride and mother of the groom (and a bride too) in 2009.  It was a very busy summer!

The engagement of your son or daughter is filled with emotions, especially if it is your first.  The important thing to realize here is that your son or daughter is all grown up and wanting to be treated and recognized as such.  These strange, new feelings, good or bad, will probably continue for up to a year as you come to grips and your daughter grows and becomes more adept at being an independent, married woman.  Nevertheless, it can be an awesome and forever special time for you both if you let it.  In my opinion, communication is the key to this.  Planning a wedding big or small can be both challenging and stressful.  You and your daughter may become overwhelmed with all of the things that need to be done. You will want everything to be perfect for your child, naturally, but you have to be careful.  Remember that this is not your wedding; it is hers and her fiancé’s. You must, at all costs refrain from making this a re-do of your wedding or trying to make it your perfect day.  Communication right from the start will make all of this smoother and easier.  Get together with the happy couple and discuss when, where, how big and who is paying for what.  Give your suggestions, if asked, but don’t push.  Trust your daughter’s good judgment.  Today’s weddings are often a joint effort involving input and financial help from the bride, groom and both sets of parents.  Communicate!

Difficult as it may be, never offer advice, unless you are asked. Comparing your daughter’s wedding to that of relative or friend, will sound more like criticism than assistance. If you are asked, it is certainly appropriate to point out positive things which occurred at other people’s weddings, but be wary of saying: “when your father and I got married…” 

 The Internet can prove to be an enormously helpful resource for pre-screening reception sites, availability, prices, accommodations, dresses, DJs and more. Assuming that your daughter has Internet access, sending her the URL’s of several Web sites or of internal pages may be a great time saver for her.

Be as supportive as you can be. The time before your daughter’s wedding will be extremely stressful for her. Compliment her all you can, she’ll need to be reassured. If you can keep focused on her needs, as opposed to your own you will be giving her the greatest gift.

Keep in mind the very special touches which you can add to the wedding day itself. It’s the little things like hair and makeup touch-ups, hugs and kisses, giggles and laughs which your daughter will remember when all is said and done.

After your daughter chooses her colors, it is important for you to pick out your dress.  You need to stay with the “theme” of the wedding and choose a color that compliments the wedding party.  Traditionally you should stay away from white, cream and red.  Although you may want to be the fancy proud mom, don’t outshine the bride.  Leave yourself plenty of time to order something in the right color and size for you.  Don’t assume it will be on the rack at the store and give yourself allowance for returns if you order a dress online.

The time and style of the wedding will dictate the dress etiquette. For example, an afternoon wedding may be followed by an evening wedding reception or party.  Summer weddings may call for shorter dress styles, with traditional cocktail or party dresses being worn.  An evening wedding reception at a large hotel would probably call for more formal wear than a smaller wedding held in a small restaurant or one that is held outdoors. However, it’s really the bride and groom’s day, so it’s important to consult them as to how formal or informal they want it and to ensure that the wedding guests know what to expect.

Once you’ve chosen your outfit, inform the mother of the groom – she’s waiting. If you can, send her a swatch of fabric and a picture of your dress.  Next, you’ll want to address the accessories.   Adding shoes is probably the next step – finding something that matches but make sure that they are comfortable enough to stand in for several hours. If you can, treat yourself to a manicure and pedicure in preparation for your special mom day.

In winter, you may want to consider silk under-clothing or a wrap or shawl to ensure that you keep warm enough! SPANX work too, and they keep things all tucked in nicely. Don’t forget to consider what jewelry you’ll be wearing – particularly earrings, necklace, watch and bracelets.

The mother of the groom needs to stay with the theme as well.  Compliment the mother of the bride, and the style should not clash either.  If she wears short, you should wear short.  If she chooses a long style, you should do the same.

Both moms need to help with the guest list to ensure no one is left out, although again, the bride and groom should have the final word.  Arrangements for where people from out-of-town will stay are usually up to the mother of the bride to arrange.

Both sets of parents should meet and communicate as well.  The budget should be discussed and duties decided, with the bride’s consent of course.  Again, go to the internet for a checklist of what traditionally happens and break it down into one that you can all work with.  For a big wedding, sometimes a professional planner is the best way to go. It’s what they do!

Both sets of parents should strive to put aside their own personal agendas and combine to make this special day one that their children will remember forever.

Make happy memories together!

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Reflections 2010

Well another year is almost gone – 3-1/2 years now for the Pretty Woman.  It was definitely the worst year for the business, but I know I am not alone.  The economy was bad and it seems to take longer for us up here in Maine to recover.  There was an entire summer of construction out in front of the store.  In business terms – yucky.

So, all “yuckiness” aside, the year has passed and a brighter future awaits.  I have so much that I am thankful for: wonderful husband, supportive family, amazing landlady, and faithful customers.  Thank you all so much.

We did some great fashion shows, had some fun after hours parties and I took a ton of pictures for the new website. www.prettywomandresses.com.

I have great plans for next year.  I am on Facebook (“Like” the Pretty Woman to keep up with current events here.) The website is up and running now.  My blog is ever-present. New fashions are coming in for spring.  A new line of handbags is possible. Classes and/or demonstrations are happening once a month.  Guest business owners will come in to speak once a month too.  It promises to be a great year here.  I hope you will join me for some or all of the events and spread the word that the Pretty Woman shopping experience is waiting for you and your friends!

Thank you again, to all of my loyal customers who braved the parking issues to support the store.  You guys kept me up and running through 2010.  

I wish all of my readers a Happy and Healthy New Year – 2011.  Hope to see you soon.

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5 Quick Fixes for Everyday Stresses

Worth repeating, these quick and easy stress fixes were found in an old Glamour magazine (written by Shaun Dreisbach) that I had.  I loved them because they were so quick and easy and related to yoga, which I teach.  They seem especially appropriate for this time of the year.  Here is our combined version of 5 quick fixes:

These are great, give them a try.  Also, remember to drink your water, 8 glasses per day –  some of these problems could stem from dehydration.

1. Stress.  If you are stressed out, the easiest thing to do is to breathe.  Close your eyes and inhale deeply through your nose .  Hold for 5 counts and exhale through your nose for 10 counts.  Repeat for 2 minutes.  This has a calming effect and will oxygenate your blood for clear thinking.

2. Tense Shoulders.  Stand with your back against the wall, heels together, arms by your side. Slowly roll down, letting your arms dangle.  Do some “dangly” circles in both directions with your arms.  Slowly roll back up the wall..

3.  Low Back Pain.  Lie on your back, legs extended, hands by your sides.  Pull your right knee to the chest and hold – don’t forget to keep breathing.  Then bring the knee across the body in a twist, keep shoulders on the floor.  Hold for 30 seconds.  Return leg to starting position and repeat for the other side.

4. Tension Headache.  Often this comes from neck stress.  Sit up straight with right arm at your side, tilt head toward the left shoulder.  You can pull your head slightly with the left hand to deepen the stretch.  Hold for 30 seconds then repeat on the other side.

5. No Energy.  In yoga we call this the bridge pose.  It opens the lungs and again helps with circulation.  Lie on your back with your knees bent, heels are directly under your knees.  Grasp heels or ankles and lift your hips up.  Your weight is on your shoulders. Hold and release.  Do this several times, and don’t forget to breathe slowly and deeply.

You might want to wait until you get home to do the floor exercises, especially if you work in an office or drive a vehicle for a living.   🙂     

Happy “Less – Stress” Holidays to You!

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Tired. Exhausted. Depressed. Wiped Out. Stressed to the Max.

This is a fun time of year, but it can take its toll.  For women especially we have to shop more, clean more, socialize more and cook more.  Who has the time?  We seem to make the time but then exhaustion sets in.  It usually stays all winter too, at least for me.  I hate the time change and the cold.  Here are 5 tips that might help you. 

If your mood is down, so is your energy and chances are your anxiety level is up.  My advice is to get back to some basics.  These are not new, we just don’t usually make the time or effort to do them.

1. Move that poor tired bod.  Do something.  Walk, exercise, do some yoga, just get that circulation going.  The hardest part is getting off the couch, but once you get going, you will be happier.  Don’t set your goals so high that you quit.  Start with 2 days a week and one weekend day.  Or, use part of your lunch break during the week.

2.  Get some natural sunlight.  This can be a huge uplift to your spirit. You can incorporate your exercise into an outdoor activity and kill two birds with one stone. Being outside helps de-stress you and you get that vital vitamin D from the sun.  10-15 minutes of exposure 3 times a week can provide most of what you need. This can help fight depression, pain and autoimmune diseases.  Again, getting out at lunchtime can be a big help.

3. Eat real food.  Now that we’re talking about lunch, one of the worst killers of energy is too much sugar.  It’s great when you’re high, but when you crash, it’s just awful.  You’re tired and cranky and usually hungry again or feeling sick to your stomach. 

If it is junk you choose to eat, you won’t run at top speed.  You need natural foods to provide you with the high-grade fuel that we once had all of the time.  You also need to stay hydrated.  Most of us don’t take the time to drink our 8+ glasses of water.  This can give you headaches, make you tired, slow and even dizzy.

4. Socialize a bit.  We are social animals and crave this interaction.  Of course now we are doing it online which is not quite the same.  It really is better to connect in person.  See the reactions, hug, laugh and have some fun.

You should be mindful of your alcohol intake.  This can lead to interrupted sleep patterns, not to mention the day after hangover feeling.  Other meds can add to the problem as well.  antidepressants, the Pill, and other prescriptions can interfere with the natural hormonal processes your body is trying to perform.

5. Get enough sleep.  When you do get to bed try to make it 8 hours of sleep.  You need time to unwind and recharge.  Your body has a lot of repairing to do, give it enough time and you will be rewarded with a better mood, more energy, weight loss and lower blood pressure.  Watch the caffeine intake after noon time and don’t use the TV or your laptop the last hour of your day.  You can read, stretch, meditate or listen to some gentle music.

Like I said, this is nothing new, we just rarely take the time to do these things as we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and it’s worse during the holidays.  Take the time to take care of yourself, no one else can.  I hope you have the best and healthiest holiday ever!

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