Woman reading a book in a park.

National Poetry Month and Our Favorite Authors

Since 1996 the Academy or American Poets has recognized April as National Poetry Month. It is observed by writers of all genres, libraries, students and publishers among others in the literary world. While many of the individuals that celebrate National Poetry Month are in some way related to the literature, you don’t have to be a writer to enjoy and be a part of National Poetry Month. If you want to participate in National Poetry Month, it is as easy to walking to your bookcase or heading to your local library. For a variety of poets to check out, here are some of Resveralife’s absolute favorite poets and authors.

Maya Angelou
This American born poet has made a number of significant contributions to the world of arts. Her talents include writing not only poetry, but also writing songs and screenplays. Maya Angelou is a very well-known civil rights activist. One of her most famous poems, and a great one to read for National Poetry Month, is “I know why the caged bird sings.”

Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman was both an author and a teacher. Walt wrote poems that are difficult to fit into popular poetic measure and they are truly their own unique works. An incredibly well known and referenced poem by Walt Whitman is “O Captain! My Captain!”

Slyvia Plath
Slyvia Plath is one of the most renowned poets in the world. She wrote her entire life and published her first poem at the young age of eight. Her most notable work is generally thought to be her novel, “The Bell Jar,” however, she was indeed an accomplished poet. Plath chronicled her existence and struggles through poems such as “Mad Girl’s Love Song,” “Three Women” and “Southern Sunrise.”

Allen Ginsberg
One of the founders of the “Beat Movement,” Ginsberg fell in love with poetry in high school when his teacher read “Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman. Ginsberg was an active protester of the Vietnam War and wrote poetry that was truly art. He wrote a lengthy autobiographical poem titled “Kaddish.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson was one of the original American philosopher and writer and was ordained as a minister in 1829. The works of Emerson are many and are considered to be incredibly important and influential. His poems include “Fate,” “Ode to Beauty” and “Loss and Gain.”

Though these poets are some of the most accomplished and acclaimed American poets, there are endless authors from which to choose from. Poetry can be daunting for some, but National Poetry Month is all about making poetry more accessible. Resveralife recommends you to read until you find what you like. Think of things that caught your attention as a child; maybe you loved “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein. Maybe you connected with romantic poets like Pablo Neruda. Spend some time in April reading the works of well-known and fledgling poets until you discover literature you love. If you feel extra inspired, write some of your own poetry. Take some time in April to appreciate the beauty that is poetry.

Woman checking her hips for cellulite.

Resveralife Live Well: Cellulite Myths Busted

Cellulite. One little word that causes large amounts of stress, obsession and frustration. It is estimated that 90% of the United States population struggles with cellulite. While the vast majority of us have some cellulite to deal with, many of us do not have accurate information as to what cellulite really is and as to what we can do to help eradicate it. Keep reading this Resveralife Live Well Guide to find out what cellulite is, who is most likely to get cellulite and what can be done to help minimize the problem of cellulite.

What is Cellulite?
Many of us incorrectly believe that cellulite is merely a buildup of excess fat. This is certainly not true. If it were, it would be near impossible for those skinny or athletic individuals to have cellulite. Because all body types are susceptible to cellulite, there must be another explanation for cellulite. Cellulite has more to do with your genetic makeup than your diet, though diet and exercise do have an impact on the appearance of cellulite. Beneath our skin are layers of fibrous tissue that keep fat in the appropriate place. These layers of fibers change as we age due to changes in our hormones and depending on nutrition, diet and exercise. When these layers of fiber weaken fat pushes through and the result is cellulite.

Who Gets Cellulite?
With 90% of the population having some amount of cellulite, it seems that the answer to this question is…everyone. And this is the truth. However, women are more likely than men to deal with cellulite and it often appears as people age. Skinny individuals are just as likely to get cellulite as those that are overweight.

What can be Done to Remove Cellulite?
The myth that we are stuck with cellulite forever is perhaps the most discouraging. As are the myths that there is a magic way to remove cellulite. No amount of liposuction, laser treatments or body wraps will end cellulite forever. There are steps that can be taken to minimize the appearance of cellulite.

The first way to combat cellulite is to make adjustments to your diet. Add in plenty of “wet” foods such as cantaloupe, cucumbers, strawberries and watermelon. These foods contain water and nutrients that help fight cellulite. Water provides much needed collagen to your body, while the nutrients help flatten out the fat under your fibrous tissues.

While we all would love for a magic cream to simply take the cellulite away, that is not an immediate possibility. However, there are certain skincare ingredients that can help smooth our the skin, making the cellulite less noticeable. The two ingredients that have scientific evidence at working are retinol and caffeine. Together, these two ingredients help to shrink fat cells and strengthen the fibrous tissue.

Lastly, there are certain lifestyle habits you can adopt that will help with cellulite. Exercise and strength training are two important additions to make to your lifestyle. Another option that experts recommend is to use the technique of dry brushing. A dry brush costs around $20 and regular use can help smooth out cellulite. Begin at your lower leg and use circular motions to work up the leg. Bonus benefit to dry brushing? You exfoliate at the same time that you help eradicate the cellulite.

Myths about cellulite will continue to pervade society, but fortunately there are truly factual ways to get rid of the problem.

Woman holding pills in her hand.

Futuristic Beauty Innovations

Often the word technology conjures up thoughts of scientific discoveries and major medical breakthroughs. It isn’t often that the beauty and cosmetic industry come to mind when thinking of technological innovations. However, the beauty industry is making some impressive innovations that will take your beauty game to the next level. From capsules for perfume to wrinkle erasing wipes, the future of your vanity is closer than you think. Resveralife examines the future of beauty innovations in this article.

There are tons of women who use makeup removing wipes at the end of the day to remove makeup from their skin. They are quick, easy and efficient. Wouldn’t it be great if you could remove wrinkles and unwanted lines from your skin as easily as you remove your makeup? Advancements in beauty are making this a possibility. There is a botulinum toxin, known as Revance, that is a wipe-on treatment. This facial wipe and anti-aging treatment works when the botulinum toxin is carried through the skin by a chemical peptide. Soon your medicine cabinet could contain a beauty product that quite literally wipes away your wrinkles.

In addition the Revance wipes, dermatologists are working on a patch that would help to plump skin without the need for injections. A hyaluronic acid path is being developed that will eliminate the need to visit the doctor for injections that improve the appearance of your skin.

One of the most buzzed about treatments for a range of services from hair removal to eye surgery is lasers. Currently only available in dermatology offices, the GentleWaves System is a yellow light treatment that stimulates the growth of collagen. Experts believe it is only a matter of time before this technology is available for home use by consumers. Lasers are also expected to provide relief from unwanted hair, sun spots, wrinkles and fine lines and even acne.

Pills are also speculated to be a prominent part of the future of beauty. Gleevec, a drug used among Leukemia patients, is known to restore hair color in some people. With further research and experimentation, experts hope that in the near future you will be able to simply pop a pill to keep gray hair away. Pills are also predicted to take the place of your liquid sunscreen. You may have the option to simply pop a pill when you know you are going to be in the sun for a prolonged period of time. Perfume may also be a pill to swallow in the morning with your coffee. Perfume pills will work through secreting scent from the pores, continuously maintaining your signature scent. Because your smile is important, there will soon be a pill designed to increase the hardness of teeth and prevent cavities.

The future of beauty is much closer than you may think. Soon, you will be able to stock your medicine cabinet with a variety of pills instead of potions and powders. From oral healthcare to unwanted wrinkles, the future of beauty seems to be largely available in the form of a pill. Additionally, devices such as lasers will be far more accessible to consumers, meaning that the costly trips to the doctors office can come to an end.

Woman examines her wrinkles in the mirror.

Skin Care Science: Can the Aging Process Really be Slowed?

It is a fact that we are living longer than ever before in history. The National Institute on Aging states:  “In 1970, the average life expectancy at birth in the United States was 70.8 years; in 2008, it was 78 years; and by 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau projects life expectancy will reach 79.5 years.” Not only are we living longer, but our quality of life is steadily improving. Chronic illnesses, diseases and disabilities that were once considered an inevitable part of the aging process are becoming less significant and more manageable. The truth is that aging itself is inevitable, but Resveralife tries to show you ways to slow signs and symptoms of the aging process.

Picture of natural antioxidants such as fruits and vegetables.

Antioxidants
One of the most talked about areas of health today is the importance of antioxidants. Antioxidants help to protect the body against damage from environment such as free-radicals. Antioxidants are not only beneficial to physical health, but also to the appearance of skin and body. Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants and there is research that suggests that increasing the intake of of fresh produce can have a decidedly positive effect on health.

A pen drawing the chemical formula of estrogen.

Hormones
Hormones are an important component of much of our lives. As children hormones help us grow into our teenage years. Hormones are largely responsible for other bodily changes, such as menopause.  When we reach older age, the level of hormones in our bodies begins to decline, though experts are not quite sure why this happens. There is a story regarding hormones:  once hormones are replenished in the body the experience of aging is drastically altered. People who have used hormone therapies say that they experience life as they did when they were young and some go so far as to claim that hormone therapies have slowed their aging. There is little research to support that hormones act as a veritable “fountain of youth.” Because there are multiple theories regarding hormone therapies, experts suggest taking supplements or medications that are prescribed by a physician only.

Woman in white holding a glass of red wine.

Reservatrol
Reservatrol is a compound that can be found in grapes, red wines and nuts. While the idea of drinking some Chianti and grabbing a handful of peanuts to combat aging is desirable, the reality is a little more complex than this. The National Institutes on Health cites a study by a staff member at Harvard Medical School that does indeed point to the fact that reservatrol affects the mitochondria, the portion of the cell responsible for energy. The research demonstrated that reservatrol does activate enzymes known as sirtuins. While red wine in moderation may help to slow aging, it is best to consult a doctor prior to beginning reservatrol supplements. That being said, the ideal way of making the best use of resveratrol is to use for skin products that contain this anti-aging ingredient.

The most effective way to slow aging is to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. A diet full of whole grains, fresh produce and lean meats and dairy products will provide the necessary vitamins and nutrients needed for a healthy, strong body. A proper skin care routine will protect your skin from accelerated aging and free radical damage. Moderate exercise for 20 to 30 minutes five times a week also keeps the muscles strong. While the aging process can be slowed, it is going to happen. Aging gracefully always includes a healthy diet, proper skin care, strong body and sense of humor.

Woman with freckles on her face.

Freckle Removal Procedures: Truth or Fiction?

Freckles may be cute on young children, but as you age they can become less than adorable. Caused by a combination of genetics and environmental contributions, freckles are a sometimes unwanted. Read this post from Resveralife to find out what freckles are and if it is possible to remove them.

What are Freckles?
Freckles are spots of pigmentation of the skin and are most often seen in people with very fair skin. Generally, freckles are brown and tan in color, though they can appear yellow, red and black depending on the individual. Freckles are flat spots that frequently appear on the face and areas of the upper body, such as arms and chest. Freckles are harmless, though there are very rare instances in which a freckle can be an indication of skin cancer.

Freckles are small dots, often no bigger than the size of the head of a nail. They are caused by an increase in the amount of melanin in the skin. Melanin is a pigment in the skin, it is the pigment responsible for a body’s ability to tan. Freckles are categorized into one of two types: simple or sunburn. Simple freckles are often round, small and a tan color. Sunburn freckles tend to have a more irregular shape, are darker and are larger than simple freckles. The placement of sunburn freckles also differs from simple freckles. Sunburn freckles appear on the places that suffer from the most severe sunburns: the back and the chest.

While exposure to sun is a cause of freckles, there is also a matter of genetics. Some individuals are more likely to develop freckles than others. Studies conducted about hereditary and freckles suggest that freckles are strongly correlated to genetics and people with fair skin and blond or red hair are most likely to develop freckles.

Freckle Removal
While most people just accept their freckles, there are some who want to lighten or completely remove them for a more even complexion and skin tone. Advancements in technology have made the removal of sunburn freckles possible. The procedure for removing unwanted freckles is known as laser freckle removal.

Laser freckle removal targets the melanin in the skin, which is the pigment in freckles. The pigment then absorbs the light emitted by the laser and the pigment in freckles heats up and breaks down into smaller pieces. These small particles of pigment are removed from the skin through the body’s natural process of exfoliation.

Often, laser freckle removal takes about four to five sessions to see optimal results. Everyone’s treatment varies, but laser sessions generally last from 30 to 45 minutes. The procedure is very low-risk and patients are able to return to normal activities, including makeup application, immediately. Laser freckle removal is effective in almost 100% of patients. However, it is important to think of laser freckle removal as a process that is similar to professional teeth whitening. While the results are significant and visible, the longevity of the results depends largely upon whether or not skin is well cared for after the procedure. Because sunburn freckles are a result of sun exposure, most people will require annual maintenance treatments as complete avoidance of sun exposure is a near impossibility.

The Shiraz sign on a post in a vineyard.

The Resveralife Eat Well Guide: Shiraz Food Pairings

Shiraz wine is a popular and very versatile wine. There are many different styles of Shiraz wine from intense smoky flavors to lush fruity flavors. The styles of Shiraz vary based on price, age and the region of origin. The Shiraz wine is more or less the same as the Syrah wine. It’s just that the most popular styles of Australia are known as Shiraz. The Australian Shiraz is a distinctive full-bodied red wine.  Australian Shiraz typically features fruity flavors, such as blackberry, and is a less tannic wine than other Shiraz styles. France’s Rhone Valley also produces a signature Syrah. The Rhone Valley Syrah is marked by it’s powerful smokey flavors with hints of black pepper. California Syrah is most closely associated with Australian Shiraz, as the American Syrah is a fruitier wine as opposed to the savory European Shiraz.

When selecting food to pair with a strong, savory Shiraz, such as the French version that elicits hints of bold spices such as black pepper, it is important that the food be equally bold in flavor. Shiraz does not pair well with highly acidic food or meats that are particularly fatty. Devise a main course with the idea of lean meats with strong flavors.

One of the best pairings for a Shiraz, fruity or savory, is brisket. Brisket is a Texas classic made from lean cuts of meat. There is, traditionally, a fat cap near the top of the brisket to add a bit of flavor and richness. The lean meat in brisket becomes a tough meat when grilled quickly. What makes this lean protein source perfect to pair with Shiraz is the rub used for the brisket. Think spices such as paprika, chili powder and black pepper. These spices help highlight the intensity of Shiraz wine.

Glasses of wine by the fireplace.

Another meat that pairs brilliantly with Shiraz is lamb. For an easy, but masterfully paired meal, season lamb with black pepper and salt. Add more complexity to the dish by using spices such as rosemary, garlic and a hearty olive oil. Alternatively, make a hearty lamb stew and pair it with Shiraz. Carrots, potatoes and onions pair nicely with the lamb and add substance to the dish. For the more adventurous, try a mildly spicy venison chili. Venison is a great lean meat to pair with Shiraz and works perfectly in place of beef in chili. As with the brisket, paprika and chili powder are excellent spices to use in a venison chili.

Shiraz, because it is so richly flavored, is not the best wine to select for a night of cheese and wine pairings. Shiraz can be paired with a strong or smoked Cheddar. For a Shiraz that leans to the softer, more fruity side, consider a mild blue cheese. Skip sweeter cheeses and focus on those with distinctive flavor to enhance the boldness of the Shiraz.

Grilled beef fillet served on black plate with chili and pepper.

Most typically, Shiraz is paired with lean proteins such as lamb, lean beef, venison or other game. Do not be afraid to add spice to the dishes chosen for Shiraz wine pairing. Shiraz wine is perfect for pairing with rich, complex spice combinations. Vine Vera recommends you to be creative and experiment with exciting flavors when pairing Shiraz wine with food.

Beautiful woman sleeping peacefully on a pillow

Resveralife Live Well: Find the Perfect Pillow for Your Best Rest

You know how important it is to your health that you get a quality sleep each night. However, you might be surprised to learn that there are more factors at play than your bedtime and the amount of caffeine you’ve consumed during the day. You probably are aware that a good mattress is helpful, but you may not know that the pillow you choose is just as important as the mattress you sleep on. The perfect pillow for you helps to increase your sleep quality and comfort while a bad pillow can worsen headaches, neck and shoulder pain and general discomfort in addition to detracting from the amount of rest you receive.

The perfect pillow is different for everyone, but your perfect pillow should provide comfortable support for your head and neck. Additionally, the right pillow for you should enhance the position in which you choose to sleep without losing fluffiness or shape too quickly. Resveralife reviews a few guidelines to consider when choosing the perfect pillow for you.

Consider Sleep Position
Next, consider what position or positions you sleep in most frequently. If you sleep on your back, you will want to look for a pillow with exceptional head and neck support. Most back sleepers also find that they need thinner pillows than those that sleep on their sides. If you are a side sleeper, you will want a more firm pillow that fills in the distance between your ear and shoulder. If you sleep on your stomach, experts say you may not even need a pillow behind your head, though one under your stomach can help lessen back pain.

Age Matters
The first thing to consider is how old your current pillows are. You may have kept the same pillows for years, but sleep and health experts suggest replacing your pillows every 12 to 18 months. As a pillow ages, the amount of skin cells, mold, mildew, fungus and dust mites dramatically increases. In fact, in old pillows, these things can amount to half of the pillow’s weight. No wonder you aren’t getting good sleep.

Pillow Fill Matters
Experts say that pillow fill is where selecting the perfect pillow can get a bit tricky. This is because what feels comfortable one night may not feel comfortable the next. Sleep experts recommend having at least two varieties of pillows available so you can use the pillow that is most comfortable for that night. The most commonly used fill in pillows include down feathers, foam and synthetic fibers. Many experts say that the extra cost of pillows filled with down feathers is worth it and that down filled pillows provide the most comfort for a great night’s sleep.

The perfect pillow is an individual choice so be sure to spend time shopping around and learning about your options. Also, as previously mentioned, it may be worth it to invest in two or three different pillows so you can always sleep according to your exact needs that evening. Find the perfect pillow and experience the health and mood benefits of an amazing night’s sleep.

Rear view of woman in swimsuit holding shopping bags.

Resveralife Look Well: Summer Swimsuit Shopping Made Easy

One time of year strikes fear in the hearts of even the bravest of women:  swimsuit shopping time. There are so many strikes against you before you even begin searching for the perfect suit. Dressing rooms are cramped with horrendous lighting and your body is probably pasty white from being covered up all winter. Swimsuit shopping is definitely one of the most dreaded tasks faced when the weather gets warmer. Fear not! These five tips from Resveralife will help you get into the right mindset, and the right suit, without the stress.

Before You Go
A little preparation can go a long way when it comes to swimsuit shopping. One of the best ways to reduce stress and self-consciousness before you even hit the store is to invest some time in a bit of grooming and pampering. Shaving your legs gives you one less cause for concern in the dressing room. You can even take the pampering a bit further by applying self-tanner prior to going out. These two simple acts can be a huge ego boost when it comes to stripping down in the dressing room.

Beautiful woman in a swimsuit.

Know Your Body
Just like there is not one pair of jeans that magically fits every body type, there is no swimsuit that fits every single body and looks magnificent. Spend some time looking at your body and determining what your general shape is. Also, if you have any areas that you want to hide, look for specific cuts that aim at achieving a bit of camouflage. Alternately, there are specific suits that highlight body parts or areas that you want to flaunt. Here’s a super brief guide to suits that fit a few of the most common concerns when swimsuit shopping:

  • Stomach – If you want to hide your stomach a bit, look for swimsuits that have ruching or shirring. These details are forgiving. Additionally, one of the trendiest ways to hit the beach right now is the retro fit suit. Retro suits are especially helpful with concealing weight carried in the lower part of the stomach.
  • Large Bust – Even if you don’t necessarily want to conceal your cleavage, there are certain difficulties that arise with an ample bosom. Look for bra-styled tops, particularly if they are molded cups, and always go for adjustable straps. Some swimsuits are sold by bra size; these can be a great place to start looking for a suit that will be stylish and supportive.
  • Small Bust – Those with less chest are some of the only people for whom bandeau tops work perfectly. If you aren’t into that style, tops with details or texture like ruffles or fringe can give the illusion of curves. Suits that have bra-style padding or push-up tops help create cleavage if you don’t have much naturally.
  • Curvy Body – Curvy bodies are beautiful, but they can be problematic to fit as they are fuller in the breasts, hips and butt. It can seem difficult to find a suit that highlights and fits your shape without looking matronly. Suits that have color blocking enhance and embrace a curvy shape as do retro cut swimsuits.

Young caucasian female shopping for bikini with friend.

Grab a Friend
While the idea of displaying your body to another person during a swimsuit try-on session may make you cringe, it’s actually a great idea. A friend is there to give you an honest, and hopefully tactful, appraisal of how a suit looks on your body. Additionally, if things don’t turn out as you had hoped or you get frustrated and feel defeated, a friend is right there to pick you back up and make you feel awesome about yourself again.

Get Moving
When trying on a bathing suit, the mindset is generally to get in and out as quickly as possible so the experience is as painless as can be. However, your body standing still is much different than your body in motion, and you probably aren’t going to be merely striking a pose in your suit. To get a true idea of whether or not a suit is right for you, it’s important to move around a bit to see how the suit moves with you.

See a Specialist
While large retailers offer a wide variety of swimsuits, if you are having trouble finding one that fits well, head to a swimwear boutique. Sales staff at a specialized boutique will be able to assess your body and address your concerns. A swimsuit may cost a bit more at a boutique, but if the result is the perfect swimsuit that enhances your beauty, the extra cost is well worth it.

Swimsuit shopping may not be the most fun task for warm weather, but it doesn’t have to be completely overwhelming. Follow these tips for easy, stress-free swimsuit shopping.

Woman cleaning the floor and having a nice time.

Spring Cleaning Tips

The weather is getting a bit warmer, the sunshine is lasting a bit longer each day and the feeling of renewed freshness is in the air. Yes, spring is just nearly upon us. Most of us are excited to welcome the change from winter to spring and relish pulling out our lighter jackets, flirty florals and colorful wardrobe. However, for most of us the beginning of spring is not just about switching our wardrobes from winter to spring and getting outside more often. Many of us take up the annual task of spring cleaning. Whether this is done in one marathon day or broken into several days, the resulting clean, de-cluttered home is well worth the effort. But getting from idea to action can be a bit overwhelming. Resveralife has compiled five of the best spring cleaning tips to help get you motivated and sane during the great cleanup.

Start with Smaller Tasks
Even for the cleanest of homes, the idea of doing a complete spring cleaning can be a bit stressful. Cleaning and organization experts suggest that starting small can help. Before delving deeply into any one room, grab a laundry basket (or other container) and head into each room. Spend five to 10 minutes in each room locating items that do not belong there. A roller skate in the bathroom or water glasses filling a bedside table are examples of items that need to be relocated. Once you’ve collected everything into the basket, spend time putting the items where they really belong. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel after just this task.

Time Yourself
Business experts suggest that employees work steadily for 50 minutes out of each hour and then take 10 to recharge. For some, this rule can be beneficial during spring cleaning. Knowing that you only have 20 more minutes left can help you push through when you feel like quitting. If you prefer to work straight through with no breaks, cleaning experts say that the act of timing tasks can help make you feel less resentful. Many spring cleaning chores can be achieved in 10 minute or less bursts of cleaning, and knowing this makes the idea of getting to the whole house a bit less overwhelming.

Stop Messes Before they Start
Using a broom to clean the dirt..
It can be easy to talk ourselves into the mindset that “it’s only going to get messed up again so why bother?” Don’t let this trap you. Tackling the mess and clutter while spring cleaning can help inspire ways to keep things a bit more organized. First, designate two containers in the home for a lost and found. Small items go into a smaller container, while large items head into large ones. This is particularly useful for kid items such as gloves, building blocks or toy accessories that are commonly lost. If you don’t have a mudroom or other organizational items near the front of your home, mounting a few items can help keep clutter from the floor. Keep a shoe rack near the door for those family members that always lose one shoe at the last minute. Mount a cute magazine rack to collect mail that you aren’t sure whether to keep or toss and keep another lost and found tub here for things that may have missed the other lost and found boxes in the home.

Clean in Order
When it comes to cleaning, experts recommend always conquering tasks that are higher up than those close to the ground. The reasoning behind it is pretty sound. If you clean high, then anything that hits the floor will still get cleaned without you having to repeat your work. This piece of advice works for any room in the house that requires dusting or sweeping (pretty much every room). When you head to the bedroom, start by simply making the bed. Experts suggest that doing this act every single day helps keep your bedroom looking better. Each person has his or her preferred method of which room to attack and when, so pick the room you’re most excited to clean and start there.

Cleaning out the Closet
Woman cleaning her wardrobe for spring.
One of the most daunting chores when spring cleaning is the task of going through the closets. Here are some handy tips to help you tackle this task:

  • Gather items that are in the same category (sweaters and cardigans, blouses, work pants or jeans, etc…) and go through them by category. This helps you to see how much stuff you actually do have, which makes parting with some of it easier.
  • Remove any items for your closet, or your the closets of your kids, that haven’t been worn in a year. These items go immediately to donation bins without a second thought.
  • Get rid of things that no longer fit or that are beyond repair.
  • Resolve to put laundry away at least weekly. This not only helps keep your house cleaner, but it also makes getting ready in the morning quicker. When you know where everything is, you don’t have to spend time clawing through piles of laundry.

Make spring cleaning a welcome task. Think of it as renewing and awakening your home to the possibilities of spring. With a little upkeep each day, the next time you have to do a deep clean, you won’t be so overwhelmed and your home will enjoy a flawless finish.

Group of women having fun and drinking wine

Celebrating International Women's Day

Annually on March 8th, the achievements and advancement of women is celebrated through International Women’s Day. Each year there is a specific theme for International Women’s Day that defines the event. The International Women’s Day theme for 2015 is “Make it Happen.” Though the theme changes from year to year, the aims of International Women’s Day are the same. United Nations Women Watch states of International Women’s Day:  “It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. It is an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments, and more importantly, for looking ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women.”

International Women’s Day has been an event for women’s equality since it’s inception in 1911. However, the roots of the movement go back to 1908. Across much of North America and Europe, the turn of the twentieth century saw labor movements engaging in activities such as strikes to improve working conditions. One such event was the garment workers strike in New York in 1908. In an act of solidarity, the Socialist Party of America designated the 28th of February 1909 as National Woman’s Day. The following year, in 1910, the Socialist International “established a Women’s Day, international in character, to honor the movement for women‘s rights and to build support for achieving universal suffrage for women.” It was not until 1975 that International Women’s Day was celebrated by the United Nations on March 8th.

This year on International Women’s Day, we are all urged to celebrate women’s achievements while calling for gender equality. With the theme #MakeItHappen, International Women’s Day 2015 is a time for all of us to reflect upon all of the progress that has been made for women’s rights and gender equality, and to look to the future by calling for changes in the present and future that will close the gender gap.

There are multiple ways to show support for International Women’s Day. One of the easiest ways to celebrate the acts of courage by ordinary women that had extraordinary roles in the history of women is to wear purple on March 8th. The #PaintItPurple campaign dates once again to 1908. The Women’s Social and Political Union in Great Britain adopted the colors purple, green and white to symbolize the cause of the Suffragettes. Purple was used specifically for it’s symbolism of justice and dignity, two things central to the women’s equality movement.

In addition to wearing purple, consider using social media to further spread the word and celebrate women. Change profile pictures, post photos or images in purple and use the hashtag #PaintItPurple to bring awareness to International Women’s Day. Show support by blogging, tweeting or Instagramming the message of gender equality and celebration of women. Other ways to celebrate include hosting International Women’s Day events locally, uploading content such as videos that educate people on gender equality and the plight of women or making a donation to a women’s charity. However it is celebrated, International Women’s Day is a day designated to celebrating all of the past achievements and struggles faced by women while looking forward to the immense potential of a future that treats women as equals.