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The Meaning Of Multilingualism

Learning a different language is easier for some people than it is for others. Some just have a knack for it. One thing is for certain, though, if you are forced to learn a new language for survival and become immersed in it, having to actually speak it every day, you’re going to learn a lot faster and more efficiently than if you just sit in a classroom. 

“The sum of human wisdom is not contained in any one language, and no single language is capable of expressing all forms and degrees of human comprehension.”

–Ezra Pound

Most people throughout the world are at least bilingual (meaning they speak more than one language). To be multilingual is to speak multiple languages and to be able to navigate multiple languages fluently and interchangeably, sometimes during a single conversation. So, if you speak three languages, you’re known as trilingual, and if one speaks even more than just three languages, they are known as “multilingual.” And then there are “polyglots” and “hyperpolyglots. A polyglot is someone who speaks more than five languages, while a hyperpolyglot is fluent in ten (or more) languages. There are only 1,000 (or so) hyperpolyglots in the entire world!

Encourage Children to Learn Other Languages 

Major benefits of learning other languages include: 

  • Opportunities for extensive travel
  • Exciting career prospects
  • Making new friends
  • A greater understanding of people and, ultimately, the world

“Linguistics” is the scientific study of languages. It’s actually much more complicated and involved than you may think. Language is expressed in countless ways: through formal speech, sign language, writing, reading, folklore, and songs. Thousands of years ago—before written language—history was passed down through spoken stories. 

“Speaking, writing, and reading are integral to everyday life.” All these aspects of language unlock clues to behavior and why certain people have particular cultures, habits, etc. We all know that communication is the cornerstone of understanding but what if we cannot speak to one another? We communicate with body language and unspoken gestures constantly, even without realizing it. Without language, how would we express ourselves? How would we tell stories? How would we convey what it means to be alive on this planet?

Why Multilingualism is Important

  • Those who speak more than one language have a “better innate understanding of how language works.”
  • They also tend to develop better problem-solving skills and have enhanced learning abilities (in areas other than just language). 
  • Elderly people who speak more than one language tend to remain sharper, more intact mentally, and experience less psychological decline with old age. 
  • Multilingual people tend to be more perceptive. 

Help Preserve Indigenous Languages 

The Endangered Language Alliance is an organization dedicated to preserving indigenous languages from all over the world. When the last remaining member of a tribe dies, the language ceases to exist. This is why the study of language is so important, and record-keeping is essential to understanding. 

Have you ever thought of joining a “Free language exchange community” like a polyglot club? It’s a wonderful way to make new friends from all around the world! 

Spartan and the Green Egg and Full Cycle Publications encourage world travel, literacy, intellectual curiosity, and exploration. For more information on traveling the world and reading about foreign and exotic places, check out Full Cycle Publications’ Spartan and the Green Egg series of exciting books at the website.

For more information on the topics mentioned in this blog, consult the websites listed below:

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The Joy Of Living: A How-To

“Joie de vivre” or “The joy of living” is a lifestyle, a devil-may-care attitude, a “C’est la vie” boldness. If we’re not lucky enough to have been born with this sort of mentality, how do we adopt it (even in the most stressful of circumstances)? 

“Joie de vivre” is a French phrase that describes an enjoyment of life, exuberance, and a cheerful outlook. 

“He radiates a vitalizing energy, the zest, and gaiety of an inexhaustible joie de vivre.”

– Robert Kuttner

Practice Gratitude for Simply Being Alive

  • There are so many joys that many of us take for granted but, with a joie de vivre attitude, we can relish in creature comforts. Savor a meal, enjoy a good bottle of wine, revel in conversation, make time for a little cat nap, and sink deep down into a hot bathtub filled with bubbles. 
  • What does it mean to truly enjoy life? To enjoy being alive is to take the good with the bad, to have a certain optimism, to be curious, to take chances. 
  • Take everything in stride. Try to live life one day at a time (this is definitely easier said than done; it’s a lifelong practice and doesn’t happen overnight). 
(Joie de Vivre by Pablo Picasso, 1946)
  • Lose the cynicism. Sure, we all love to be a little snide at times but don’t look down on the happy, smiling couple just because you’re having a bad day: know that things can and usually will always get better.
  • Accept that there are things you cannot change and that progress takes time. Life is ever-changing and we are always evolving. Do not let yourself get in the way of important growth but, instead, let it happen. Open yourself up to new ideas and (occasionally) let down your guard and actually consider that certain bit of advice you ask for but rarely take.

Look to the Poets, Writers, and Artists 

In order to understand the intimate language of life, our emotions, and all those inexpressible, indefinable feelings and desires, we look to the great artists for guidance. Without poetry, literature, and art, it would be extremely difficult to connect with certain aspects of the world and we would feel shut off from other people, time periods, and experiences. 

  •  Émile Zola’s 1884 novel La Joie de Vivre (The Joys of Living/Joy of Life/How Jolly Life Is) was supposedly a favorite of Vincent van Gogh’s and is even depicted in his 1888 still life Vase with Oleanders and Books.
  • Dostoevsky wrote of life and loving it despite logic: 

 

“I have a longing for life, and I go on living in spite of logic. Though I may not believe in the order of the universe, yet I love the sticky little leaves in spring. I love the blue sky.” –Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (1880)

 

  • If you simply cannot think of life as an exultation, as a joyous thing, fake it till you make it! An optimist always has more fun than a pessimist.

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GIFTS FROM THE SEA

“To me the sea is a continual miracle.” –Walt Whitman

(Photography by Bert Stern)

There’s nothing more beautiful, mysterious, or healing than the sea: we rely on it for food, salt, its ever-expanding discoveries. We immediately conjure romantic images of long walks on the beach, of Poseidon wielding his mighty triton, and of Homer describing the sea as “wine-dark” in “The Odyssey.” The sea is filled with secrets and is one of Mother Nature’s finest, most vast creations. Why else would Nabila K Cosmetics have fragrances (candles and diffusers) and apparel devoted to the ocean and its breathtaking storms? 

Ocean Tempest (candles and diffusers) combines sweet floral, musky scents (with rose, honeysuckle, and amber) and, most of all, hints of divine driftwood and irresistible salty marine air. You’ll be transported to a sandy shore, aboard a yacht with the ocean breeze blowing through your hair, basking in the sun, and bathing in the sea. 

(Grace Kelly in Jamaica by Howell Conant, 1955) 

“I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think that they will sing to me. I have seen them riding seaward on the waves combing the white hair of the waves blown back when the wind blows the water white and black. We have lingered in the chambers of the sea by sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown till human voices wake us, and we drown.” -T.S. Eliot

One of the best things one can do for themselves (and it’s a brand new year) is a little self-care, detox from all the Holiday festivities and last year’s troubles. Give yourself a “seatox”! Don’t worry, I’ll walk you through it. The ocean has so much to offer for the sake of beauty and health. Go ahead, run a bath (filled with salts: the more, the better), light an Ocean Tempest candle, and add these elements into the mix as well:

  • Salt: Sit and soak in a salt-filled tub until your fingertips prune and feel yourself heal. Your muscles will relax and any small cuts or abrasions will vanish. There’s no better medicine than salt from the Dead Sea.  Don’t forget to lather up with Nabila K Cosmetics’ “White Horses” glycerin soap. There’s nothing quite as free or poetic as wild, untamed horses running along the beach.
  • Seaweed (or kelp) has become a culinary treat for its health benefits. Did you know that it offers a significant amount of iodine and is important for a well-balanced diet? What are you waiting for…? Have a seaweed salad!
  • Algae is fantastic for skin care. Used as a facial mask, it tones, evens, and hydrates your most sensitive skin. Did you know that it’s even been proven to minimize the appearance of cellulite? 
  • Green caviar or “sea grapes” are really not caviar at all but seaweed! These pearls are wonderful for the skin because they hydrate like none other. 
  • Mud: a mud bath at the Dead Sea is one of the best things you can do for your skin. Because it is filled with minerals (the richest on Earth), it is healing, soothing, and revitalizing. You can find masks and complete body scrubs made from Dead Sea mud online and take a trip without ever leaving the comfort of your home! 

For more information on all-natural ocean-inspired products from Nabila K Cosmetics (including the Ocean Tempest candles, diffusers, a luxurious cashmere, and modal-blend scarf, Dead Sea bath salts, and the White Horses glycerin soap), visit Nabilak.com.

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Set Health Goals This New Year

Top Tips For Starting The New Year Healthy  

Going into a new year often comes with resolutions to better one’s life. In 2021, about 50 percent of these resolutions involved exercising more and eating right. At the end of 2018, one survey found that only four percent of people who made resolutions kept them all.

It seems harmless enough to make these resolutions even if they fail. The fact is, though, failing at anything impacts your mental health. Following some of the top tips for keeping New Year’s resolutions can improve your odds, though.

Be Specific When You Choose Your Goal

“I vow to lose weight this year” is too vague. It is a goal that has no teeth.

Instead, hold yourself accountable by setting specific but obtainable goals that you can follow all year. “I want to lose 24 pounds this year.” Twenty-four pounds is just two pounds a month. That is a very obtainable goal for someone who wants to drop some weight.

Pick goals you can measure so you know when you achieve them. If you want to walk every day, set a distance or number of steps and measure to make sure you get there. If you want to read more to help you relax, decide to read one book a month.

Find a Path to Your Goal

Your resolution will lose some punch if you are not sure how to accomplish it. “I will go to the gym six days a week.” It’s a great goal, but is it obtainable in your life? Can you carve out time in your day for the gym and still meet your other responsibilities, for example? Can you afford the price of the gym fee? How about getting to the gym? Do you have transportation?

If you want to take your New Year’s resolutions seriously, then think them through. Make sure you have the know-how and the resources to achieve that goal before you choose it.

Motivation Matters

It is one thing to say you want to get healthier in the new year, but do you mean it? Don’t pick a goal because you think it’s expected of you. Choose something that means something to you. If you want to lose weight, you’ll have a better shot of getting it done than if you just figure you should lose weight.

Make It Simple

The simpler, the better because the easier it is for you to do, the more likely you will keep it up all year. For instance, instead of promising to count calories, figure out other ways to improve your eating habits, like filling half your plate with vegetables or cutting out all processed sugar.

If you are new to exercise, going to the gym every day might be a bit much. Instead, plan to walk every evening or get a bike and ride around the neighborhood. Make choices that fit well with your lifestyle, and that will be easy for you to do.

Consider All Aspects of Health

Health is a broad concept. For some, being healthy means managing their weight and exercising. For others, it might mean doing things that benefit mental health, like meditating or staying off social media at night.

Sit down and think about what you want to improve or what will make you feel better. Don’t just go with what is trending. Pick something specific to your situation.

Don’t Set Yourself Up to Fail

If you end up with the exact same New Year’s resolution every year and fail, pick something new or take a different path to achieve your goal. If you want to lose weight, consider cutting out meat three days a week or giving up sweet drinks. Don’t choose something that you are pretty sure you will not be able to accomplish because you have not been able to before.

Make Family or Friend Resolutions

Everything is more accessible when you do it with someone else. Look for someone in your family or a friend who wants to achieve the same health goal as you and work together. You can keep each other accountable and motivated.

More than anything else, celebrate the little victories. If you made it one week keeping your resolution, pat yourself on the back. If you fail the next week, then remind yourself that you have proven you can do it.

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Festive Fun Christmas Favourites

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas…

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” 

– Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

With the holidays upon us and the winter solstice on its way, there are so many things to do that are unique to this time of year. There are ways, believe it or not, that you can slow down and enjoy so that it doesn’t become the “Holidaze” or “Stressmas.” 

  • Enjoy nature in all its winter glory. With Daylight Savings Time, it gets dark so early so use this time to rise and greet the sun for a brisk morning walk or simply enjoy a hot cup of coffee outdoors. If it snows, it’s a wonderful time to be out in nature. Take advantage of the weather (hopefully a white Christmas) and, if possible, build a snowman with your family, make snow angels, go sledding and catch falling snowflakes on your tongue and eyelashes.
  • Get cozy, light candles, curl up by the fire and be festive! Try to surround yourself with winter scents from my Nabila K collection, such as candles in cedarwood or pine & fir fragrances. Oil diffusers are also a popular option and are available in these same woodsy aromas
  •  Reading a good book while wrapped in a fuzzy blanket is a snuggly, pleasant pastime, and don’t forget to share the fun. Do this at bedtime with the children in your life to help instill warm and loving connotations with reading.
  • Hot toddies are an absolute must for cold winter evenings. There’s nothing better than a hot drink spiked with your favorite libation to help unwind at the end of a long day. Just add a cinnamon stick, and you’re ready to relax in style.
  • Trim the tree! Putting up a Christmas tree can be stressful, but the whole point is to have fun and not to worry over the placement of every little ornament. Have a glass of wine, toss some tinsel on every branch while listening to old Christmas favorites, and, most importantly, include your family and friends. This way it’s a party and not a chore!
  • Write Christmas cards and, if you can, make the presents you give as personal as possible. Hand-written cards are so special and really make an impression so, if you have the time, send your
    (“Cookie” photo by MaaHoo Studio)

    loved ones a card to let them know you’re thinking of them. My Nabila K stationery comes in a wintry “Forest Experience” theme (along with others), complete with custom photography, blank note cards, and envelopes (perfect for a heartfelt holiday greeting). You can also customize your presents with my unique designer gift tags!

  • Listen to holiday music or sing Christmas carols. 
  • Bake something fun and delicious! Cookies in the shapes of trees, bells, snowmen, and Santas, festively decorated cakes, or freshly baked bread: everything’s welcome! Your kitchen will be filled with wonderful smells and this makes everything a bit more wholesome and enjoyable. Don’t forget that baked goods make wonderful presents as well.

For more information on the Nabila K products mentioned in this blog, check out the links below:

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Best Secret Santa Gifts 2021

17 Mind-Blowingly Good Secret Santa Gifts for 2021

As the holiday season creeps ever closer, it’s time to get ready to wow your friends and coworkers with truly impressive Secret Santa gifts. While that might sound like quite a feat, we’re here to make it easy. All you have to do is use this guide to find the gifts that perfectly match the personality and interests of each person on your list. Ready to get started? Here’s a look at the top Secret Santa gifts for the 2021 holiday season.

1. Multicolor Smart Lamp

Available in the shape of infinity cubes, cats, and everything in between, multicolor smart lamps promise to light up the room in style. With its remote in hand, all it takes is a few clicks of a button to dial in the ideal hue and instantly set the mood.

2. Colorful LED Desk Mat

Colorful LED desk mats brighten up the workspace while making it easier than ever to make broad, dramatic mouse strokes on demand. Upon plugging in the mat by USB, users can flash their favorite colors or even sync its theme to the keyboard and other computer hardware.

3. Comfy Nap Pillow

For people who love naps on the go, there’s perhaps nothing better than a comfy nap pillow. They come in a wide variety of styles, ranging from neck rests and travel pillows to face-down desk pillows and hollow headwraps.

4. Bluetooth Wireless Earbuds

Bluetooth wireless earbuds are all the rage these days and for good reason. They’re highly portable and almost completely hidden, yet don’t compromise much when it comes to sound quality. Plus, with more and more brands coming out with their own versions, they’re affordable, too.

5. Streaming Stick

Upon cutting the cord, many streaming services popped up in place of cable. So, why not save the day and gather them all up in one convenient place by giving a streaming stick to your TV and movie aficionados?

6. Glass Triangular Prism

No matter who you are, you can definitely benefit from having a rainbow on demand. To gift that magic to your coworkers and loved ones, just get them a glass triangular prism. Beautiful all on its own, the prism emits a stunning rainbow of colors when placed in the sunlight.

7. Geode Paperweight

A geode paperweight keeps important documents safely in place while offering a glimpse into the beauty of the Earth. You can get them with a raw edge that shows the crystals in all their glory or go with a smooth, polished geode instead.

8. Air Plant Arrangement

Whether you’re gifting to a green or brown thumb, you cannot go wrong with an air plant arrangement. Available on driftwood displays, in circular wall hangings, or as the final touch in glass-blown jellyfish, these plants just need a spray of water here and there to keep growing strong.

9. Mug Warming Tray

As the days take a frigid turn, hot chocolate, coffee, and tea help warm the soul and soothe the spirit. To keep your loved ones’ warm beverages from growing cold, get them a low-key mug warming tray.

10. Gourmet Local Honey

Gourmet local honey celebrates your community and the Earth’s bounty while giving your giftee a little extra sweetness in their lives. They can use it to dress up their sweet and savory dishes or simply enjoy it all on its own. Just don’t forget the honey dripper.

11. Hot Sauce Gift Set

For friends and coworkers with a love for all things spicy, go with a gourmet hot sauce gift set. You can get a flavor-focused arrangement or go straight for the highest Scoville scale varieties. Not sure which way to go? Try a make-your-own hot sauce kit instead.

12. Mini Waffle Maker

Whether your friends and coworkers love waffles on the go or have jumped on the chaffle craze, a mini waffle maker will win them over in an instant. With this little device in their lives, they can make sweet and savory creations all their own – and even turn refrigerated cinnamon rolls into waffles.

13. Mushroom Growing Kit

If you have avid mushroom hunters in your life, keep the fun going well past the fall season by getting them a mushroom growing kit. These kits come in all the top varieties, including shiitake, golden oyster, and lion’s mane, making it easy to have decadent mushrooms on demand.

14. Cocktail Smoker

With a cocktail smoker on hand, infusing boozy beverages with more than a hint of smoke is a cinch. The smoker sits right on top of the glass, adding plenty of flair to the drink-making experience. As far as gifting goes, it works great as a part of a whole cocktail kit or just on its own.

15. Oversized Blanket Sweatshirt

An oversized blanket sweatshirt takes the coziness of a hoodie to the next level, giving your giftees a way to cuddle up whenever the mood strikes. You can get them in nearly any color and pattern imaginable, including in the image of their favorite characters.

16. Shower Drink Holder

Shower drink holders elevate the showering experience, allowing users to fully wash the day away with ease. Whether tasked with holding a cold brew, orange juice, or something altogether different, the holder keeps the drink out of the splash zone and plenty cold sip after sip.

17. Adopt an Animal Plushie

For the animal lovers in your life, look to zoos and animal conservation programs in your area for a chance to adopt an animal plushie. Just give the donation in your giftee’s name, and then hand over the plushie and donation certificate to complete the gift.

Before you start handing out your Secret Santa gifts, ready yourself to keep mum as the whoops of glee ring out across the room. Your friends and coworkers simply won’t believe their good luck, leaving them reveling in their Secret Santa’s uncanny ability to select the absolute best gifts around.

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Be Kind! It’s easy And Rewarding

Simple acts of kindness are almost effortless to accomplish and, yet, can make such an impact. It’s been said (and attributed to Plato) that we should be kind, for “Everyone is fighting a hard battle.” The world is filled with so much uncertainty and cruelty that to extend a hand, flash a sweet smile, or simply ask “How are you?” are truly important actions. What can we do, as ordinary people, to help each other? 

  • Smile: Don’t forget to spread warmth with a smile instead of a grimace. Of course, mask-wearing makes this tricky (for the time being), but smiling eyes are usually noticeable.
  • Open the door for someone.
  • Don’t forget your manners: “Please” and “Thank you” really do go a long way. 
  • When you ask someone how they are doing, take the time to listen. 
  • End a conversation with good wishes.
  • Inquire about those around you and their families; it’s always kind and appreciated when one actually takes the time to ask.

 Affection is something that we, as human beings, all need and crave. Since the pandemic, we’ve all probably felt starved for hugs, but hopefully, soon, we’ll be able to embrace our friends and neighbors again. Also, what about handshakes? A good, firm handshake is something that we all do: whether one is simply saying hello or closing a business deal, “Let’s shake on it” is a time-tested gesture.

  • Greeting with a kiss is, of course, popular in France but is also common in many other European as well as Latin countries. It’s a kind of custom that makes us feel welcomed and accepted.

“I can live for two months on a good compliment.” –Mark Twain

  • A kind word or compliment can turn a bad day into a delightful one. Everyone appreciates being told that they look lovely and are enjoyable to be around. It’s been said that women dress not for men, but for other women, so empower your fellow sister and let her know she’s beautiful and that extra five minutes spent primping in front of the mirror will have been worth it.
  • Try to be patient (especially with the elderly and children). We’re all busy but, when shopping, taking a train, or simply walking down the street, make an effort not to rush those doing their best. 
  • Practice proper phone etiquette. Try to minimize public phone use! While in a public space, try to take a call outside as not to bother other people and never use the speaker option. Trust me: no one wants to hear all the details of your private life while waiting in a queue. Don’t forget—while in public—to silence your updates (especially while texting): making everyone endure every ding and chirp your device makes is incredibly gauche. 
  • One of the kindest things we can do is to be aware of our surroundings. If someone is lost, help with directions. If someone is struggling to carry their load (literally), lend a helping hand.

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Fall Décor Ideas for Your Home and Office

Warmly Welcome the Fall Season with Stunning Décor  

As the weather takes a turn, there’s perhaps nothing better than enjoying truly cozy digs decorated with all the best fall décor. By infusing the beauty of autumn into your home and office, you can enjoy all the best parts of fall but without the chill factor. Better yet, the fall décor will leave all your guests wholly impressed and feeling cozier than ever at each visit. Ready to get started? Here’s a look at the top autumn décor ideas for 2021 and beyond.

Embrace the Beauty of All the Fall Colors

Fall colors are in full swing, so invite them into your home to create an autumn scene.  Brilliant red, deep orange, rich gold, and bright yellow all set the stage for a beautiful interior design. Don’t forget the dark green and brown hues that complement the brighter tones and help bring everything together. When it comes to color, less is more, so pick your theme and add touches of color where your home needs it most.

Add Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

As your fall colors delight the visual senses, diffusers and candles can add to the warmth with pleasant scents.   Although pumpkin spice is a must, you’ll definitely want to go beyond heavenly cinnamon and nutmeg to keep it fresh all season long. Go with rosemary, vanilla, or cranberry for a nod toward a delicious Thanksgiving feast. Or lean toward pine, spruce, and other tree-derived scents to bring the beautiful forest inside. Whatever you choose, aim to change it up on a daily basis to keep the scents at the forefront of your fall décor.

Roll Out All Your Favorite Gourds

Through all the fall holidays, gourds take center stage and help liven up the festivities. They’re never more colorful and plentiful than in the fall, so embrace their appearance by using gourds in your interior design.

You cannot go wrong with whatever gourds speak to you most. So, pick your favorites and put them on a platter, arrange them around the fireplace, or simply place them right outside your front door. Can’t choose between them all? Go with a pumpkin and gourd wreath (or two!).

Go Big on Dried Flowers and Colorful Leaves

Dried flowers and colorful leaves look absolutely phenomenal together, allowing you to save money on flower arrangements without compromising on your home aesthetics. You can buy the dried flowers outright or head out into the garden to see what’s awaiting your arrival. Hydrangea flowers, for example, dry right on the branch and deepen in color as their leaves start to change as well. Don’t hesitate to add a few bare sticks to the mix to add height and interest to your bouquets.

Highlight It All with Copper and Brass Accents

Copper and brass look simply amazing alongside bright fall colors. To help the metallic tones make a perfect impression, go light on their use. Use a copper tray for your gourd display, for example, or pick a bronze vase for your dried flower arrangements.

If you love pumpkins, then definitely try to find a handblown glass pumpkin donning a bronze-dipped stem. If nothing else, you can use a can of copper spray paint to spice up a real pumpkin for your table centerpiece.

Boost the Cozy Factor with Fuzzy Throws and Pillows

Fall definitely brings the sweater weather, so play that up with plenty of fuzzy throws and pillows. Even when they’re not being used, these soft accents up the cozy factor considerably.

Plus, they’re great to have on hand as you settle down to chat with your friends and family. By helping everyone get comfy, you can keep the conversation going well into the evening and make memories to last a lifetime.

Renew the Focus on the Fireplace

When temperatures start to fall, you’ll undoubtedly wind up in front of the fireplace more often than not. So, take advantage of the natural focus on its warmth by elevating its design.

Add a big statement piece just above the mantle, like a pinecone and leaf wreath, and then put a copper pumpkin right beneath it. You can also go with real sugar pumpkins if you wish. Just be sure to surround it all with your favorite candles and figurines, plus drape an attractive garland along the edges.

With all these fall décor ideas on your side, you’re sure to have a blast decorating your home and office for the season. As you pick between the many decor options, infuse your own personality into the mix to make the space all your own. Once you’re done, invite your friends and family over for a fun game night or simply lounge by the fire solo in total peace and quiet.

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Tips For Enjoying A Healthy Halloween

How to Have a Healthy Halloween  

Halloween is typically thought of as a time to fill up with candy and other goodies. While this might seem fun, those sugary foods can increase your risk of health problems, including tooth decay, diabetes, and heart problems. Instead of making this holiday all about sweets, turn it into a healthy one for you and your family. The following tips can help you enjoy a happy and healthy Halloween this year. 

Stay Active

Being physically active is easy to do on Halloween if you’re taking your kids trick or treating. You can make it even more active by walking everywhere rather than driving to different streets or neighborhoods. For a fun challenge, see how many houses you can visit. Just make sure you have good walking shoes on, as well as flashlights for when it gets dark out. Being on your feet on Halloween as much as possible is a great way to get exercise.

Eat Before Halloween Festivities

Whether you’re taking the kids trick or treating or heading to a party for Halloween, eating beforehand can help curb your craving for sweets. Instead of having Halloween candy or other festive goodies, fill up on a healthy meal. Enjoying Halloween festivities with a full stomach means you’ll be less likely to reach for some chocolate or other sugary treats when you’re out.

Make Healthy Holiday Snacks

Having bags of candy or other sweets around can make it tempting to eat them as quick snacks. Consider making fun and healthy holiday snacks to keep around instead. Use carrot sticks, bananas, and other fresh fruits and vegetables as much as possible to make these goodies. When you have these nutritious holiday snacks around, you can easily enjoy them as a snack.

Pass Out Healthier Items

If you are giving out treats to kids on Halloween, you don’t have to pass out sugary candy. Healthier options for trick or treaters are available, such as snack-sized bags of popcorn or pretzels, sugar-free gum, and even sugar-free or low-sugar juice boxes. You can also hand out non-food items, such as friendship bracelets, stickers, crayons, or glow sticks. Kids will mostly be getting candy when they go trick or treating, so handing out healthier items at your door helps cut down on the number of sugary treats they end up with.

Watch What You Drink

Having a healthy Halloween doesn’t only mean avoiding sugary foods. You should also make sure you avoid sugary drinks, such as soda. If you’re staying home passing out candy or going to a Halloween festivity, choose a non-sweetened beverage to drink. If you’ll be taking your kids trick or treating, bring bottled water with you for when you get thirsty.

Give Away Leftover Candy

If you have leftover candy from Halloween, you don’t have to make sure you eat it all.  You might be able to give your leftover candy to a dentist in your area. Some dentists will buy back leftover candy from people or do a trade-in program. This helps lower the risk of children getting cavities from eating too many sweets. You can also look online for food banks that accept donations of unopened candy, or for charities that accept them for deployed troops. 

 With these tips, you can have a healthy Halloween without feeling like you’re missing out on the spirit of the holiday.

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It’s Always Alright To Say No

You Don’t Have to Do It All: How to Say No and Still Feel Great

If you’re stressed out right now, I hear you. Most of us are feeling overwhelmed these days. The odds are strong that you take on too much at work, either because you want to get ahead or help out your coworkers, or you just feel uncomfortable telling a supervisor that yet another project is more than you can—or should be expected to—handle. 

And then there’s your personal life. I mean, we love our friends and our family, but they ask a lot of our time—not to mention our emotional bandwidth. Relationships take work, and we never want to let anyone down. It’s hard to say no when someone asks for help, or even just wants a piece of your (precious, limited) time to catch up over coffee.

It’s hard to say no, but it’s actually a crucial skill for your mental health. Learning to say no—without feeling bad about it—will give you room to breathe and focus on yourself once in a while. You’ll be able to establish healthy boundaries and provide clarity about what people can expect from you. Best of all, you can say no to others while still maintaining strong relationships. Here’s how.

Take Your Time Answering

One reason it’s hard to say no is because we hate to disappoint people. Saying no directly to someone’s face is difficult. You might be afraid to hurt their feelings or even fear offending them, making you more inclined to consent to their request even when you really don’t want to.

Here’s how I’ve learned to deal with such situations: Starting today, make it your policy not to answer any request for your time in the moment. Instead, say, “I have to check my calendar, but I’ll get back to you.” Then give yourself at least 24 hours to think about your true answer. Calling back or shooting an email with your decision after a day or two will take the sting out of a “no” response, and taking your time will teach people that your time is valuable and that they can’t expect you to drop everything on the spot to help them.

Gauge Your Genuine Interest

Now that you’ve made it a habit to buy some time before answering, you want to use it wisely. So you really should check your calendar to see if you have time to take on a new project or activity. You should also use the time to consider whether saying yes to the request will bring you any joy, or if it’s only likely to be a headache.

Traditional pros and cons list can be helpful, but one magic question can bring a lot of clarity. Ask yourself: “Would I be willing to drop everything and do this if it were happening later today or tomorrow?” We often say yes to things we don’t really want to do because they are farther in the future, and we think there’s a possibility we may be more receptive to them later. But in reality, if you don’t want to do it today or tomorrow, you don’t really want to do it next week or next month, either.

Offer an Alternative

When you’ve decided to decline someone’s request for your time, you can avoid hurting their feelings—or worse, creating tension in your relationship—by suggesting something you can do instead. For example, if your sister asks you for last-minute babysitting for your nephews tonight, you could say something like, “I can’t watch the boys tonight, but I can take them out for ice cream on Saturday.” Your offer may or may not be accepted, but most people will appreciate your helpfulness and realize that you care about them and their needs.

Alternatives don’t have to be similar to the original request, either. If you’re asked to donate money to a cause, you could offer to volunteer your time instead—or vice versa. This is also a useful strategy at work because it helps you be honest about what you can handle and can help you suggest ways your boss can support you in getting the work done. For example, saying something like, “It will be hard for me to get that extra report done by Thursday, but if you could assign your secretary to help, I’m sure I could get it done by Friday morning.”

Stop Feeling Guilty

Saying no takes practice, and you may feel guilty for doing it at first. Fortunately, you can learn to change your thought patterns to stop guilt in its tracks. One trick is to simply say “Stop!” out loud every time you feel guilty about saying no. This is technique used by cognitive-behavioral therapists to interrupt negative thoughts. Once you say no, take a deep breath and remind yourself that it’s always okay to say no. Eventually, you’ll become more mindful and catch yourself before guilt can take hold.

Remember, it’s always okay to say no to something you can’t or don’t want to do. The more you practice these tips, the more empowered and confident you will feel.

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