Healthy Relationships for Your Teenager

Parenting for Healthy Relationships

As a parent, you might assume that your teen knows what a “good” relationship looks like and how to develop one. Teens need to learn about “violence-free” relationships, and what it takes to engage in healthy relationships. Information, awareness, and the attention of parents will ensure their children can identify a healthy relationship.

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Characteristics of Healthy Relationships 

A healthy relationship includes more than feelings of love, passion, affection, and shared likes and dislikes. Parents and other adults can engage teens in discussing the following characteristics of healthy relationships:

Give and take: both partners get their way some of the time and compromise some of the time

  • Respect: valuing one another’s opinions and accepting each other for who they are
  • Support and encourage: being positive with each other’s goals, ambitions, friendships, and activities outside the relationship
  • Trust, without jealous restrictions
  • Emotionally and physically safe: feeling comfortable being themselves without the fear of being put down or hurt
  • Communicate openly and honestly, and allowing partners feel safe in expressing themselves

 Parents’ Roles

As your child goes through stages of adolescence, you have an important role to play in your teen’s ability to have good relationships with peers and intimate partners. Parents evolve from being “managers” who are actively in charge of almost everything in their child’s life, to “consultants” who provide an important connection, along with values, information, and feedback, supporting their children’s increasing abilities to make decisions for themselves.

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Encourage your teen to think about his or her relationships, both present and future, by discussing healthy relationships, pointing out features of relationships they see in books and movies, and opening a dialogue so they can think about what they want in a boyfriend or girlfriend. This will help them to identify differences between relationships that are built on respect and those that are not.

Parents can be great resources for teens with open communication, being aware and informed, fostering good self-esteem and empowerment, encouraging assertiveness, talking about sensitive and volatile issues with teens, and respecting their opinions and emotions.

One of the most effective ways of teaching a child about healthy relationships is to model positive qualities in your own relationships. Even if you think your teen is not listening to your conversations with your partner, they often are.

Guidelines for Conversations with Teens

Create opportunities for discussion by “showing up” in a relaxed manner when you know your teen is available: hang out with them at night, or drive someplace together. Or you can ask your teen questions about something they read or saw, and take interest in your teen’s opinion. It is important for parents to include same sex couples in their discussions, to let teens know that these issues are important for all relationships.

Parents can take advantage of “teachable moments” when the subject of relationships comes up. For example, after watching a movie together, ask about the relationship in the movie and what they think worked and didn’t work. When they see something in the media about famous actors or sports figures, discuss those relationships. If there is a situation involving someone they know, chat with your teen about what he or she thinks about the situation.

Conversation Starters

Open-ended questions can start a conversation with teens. Use these opportunities to have a relaxed dialogue about different points of view. Here are some examples of open-ended questions to ask:

  • “What do you think about [a situation in a TV show….]?”
  • “I saw your friend at the mall with her boyfriend. How do you think their relationship is going?”
  • “What if your date drinks at a party and wants to drive you home? How would you handle that?”
  • “Did you notice how different guys treated [a woman in a movie you watched together]? Which guy do you think did the right thing and why?”

Teen relationships provide a way to experiment and practice for future long-term relationships and marriages. Talking with your teen about what they are looking for in their relationships will help him or her develop healthy relationship skills, and teach them differences between unhealthy, abusive behavior and healthy behavior. Then your teen will begin to understand what it takes to be a healthy relationship partner: to be treated with respect and to treat others with respect.

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About the authors:

Barrie Levy and Patti Giggans are co-authors of When Dating Becomes Dangerous: A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Relationship Abuse. Patti is the executive director of Peace Over Violence, and blogs regularly for The Joyful Heart Foundation, which was founded by Mariska Hargitay from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Barrie, a violence prevention specialist, is the editor of Dating Violence, a collection of writings about adolescent dating abuse and violence.

The Plus Sized Problem

Body positivity and fat acceptance have never been an integral part of the fashion world. When an industry is built to thrive from shame, it often reflects the current societal expectations from the majority. Stores everywhere cater mostly, if not entirely, to women of “straight sizes.”  That is, women who fit into sizes 0 to around 12. Trying to find trendy, affordable styles for larger women is a quest that often seems impossible. Most of these stores order very few pieces of clothing in the upper ranges.  Even plus sized models that are used in their ads or campaigns look to be more on the smaller side when compared to the diverse body types of the American woman.

Professionals are trained to eliminate fat where it exists because it is not considered marketable. For instance, Target recently opted to use a pregnant model in order to show off plus size wear, instead of just hiring a plus size model. The American obsession with thinness is so rampantly widespread that “fatshaming” is becoming a cultural norm. Young people are being bombarded with billboard campaigns insulting and degrading overweight children.  Young girls are constantly flooded with edited images of their favorite stars, giving them unrealistic measures to attain. When children’s anti-obesity ads are created, they often use a lot of children of color as well, even going as far as Photoshopping thin child models to look as if they were overweight behind demeaning advertisement text.

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In a recent interview with Barbara Walters, straight sized actress Jennifer Lawrence stated “I just think it should be illegal to call somebody fat.” I believe the main issue with this statement is that it perpetuates the stigma that “fat” necessarily equals “bad.” We are facing consequences of being culturally ingrained with this mindset daily. Going to any store and being able to find your size represented is an example of thin privilege. Being able to say statements like the quote above is an example of thin privilege. As another thin woman, we do not have the authority to deny or dismiss words that aren’t meant for us. Fat isn’t/shouldn’t be a bad word, but Lawrence is inherently saying it still is unacceptable.

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On the bright side, there has been a lot of recent movement towards reclaiming the word “fat”–not as an insult but as a positive identifier.  The fashion world has been steadily advancing the availability of cute and quality plus size clothing to be distributed to the masses. Eden Miller became the very first plus size designer to have her own runway show at the 2013 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York, showcasing models sized 12 to 24 in her collection of bold printed dresses. Rick Owens’ fashion show in Paris showcasing his 2014 Women’s Spring/Summer collection featured four step teams to model the line. This gave a new diverse and genuine look to the fashion industry that has never been represented before, as most of the models were Women of Color ranging in all sizes. Rockstar and fashionista Beth Ditto walked in designer’s Jean-Paul Gaultier’s 2010 Spring/Summer runway show and has even launched her own edgy clothing line for women sized 14-32 that was carried by the plus sized clothing store Evans. In Manhattan, Full Figured Fashion Week, a concept developed by former plus size model Gwen DeVoe, finished its fifth year with a bang.  It drew attention from hundreds of fashion bloggers and some lesser known celebrities who would occasionally walk in the runway shows.

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Visibility and representation of body diversity in the fashion world and the media, as a whole, is too important. Without which, many women who are unrepresented in the media available to them will continue to feel less than other women. We are making small steps towards body positivity and acceptance and hopefully, we won’t stop now.

DIY: Sharpie Scripted Pillows

Who says that writing on furniture is just for kids? Snuggle up with a love letter every night with this how-to for Sharpie scripted pillows!

THINGS YOU’LL NEED:

  • Sharpie Fabric Markers
  • Cotton or Jersey pillowcase
  • Cardboard
  • Letter Stencils (Optional)

Choose the text or design you wish to write on your pillow.

Lay the pillowcase out over the piece of cardboard to prevent the marker from bleeding through and to keep the pillowcase smoothly stretched out.

For best results, sketch/write your ideas out in pencil FIRST before going to work with the Sharpie to allow for mistakes.

Use the fabric marker to create your one-of-a-kind pillow!

Take a look at these examples of DIY Sharpie pillows on A Subtle Revelry or Dear Lillie Blog if you need inspiration!  For more great DIY projects, check out our Pinterest page!

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Sweet dreams!

Tips for Natural Hair Care This Winter

Harsh winter weather can be detrimental to all different types of hair, but the cold, dry air is especially brutal to Black hair and other types of textured hair. Natural hair, and newly transitioned natural hair, risk undergoing extreme breakage and damage when exposed to the winter elements. Need some help on how to upkeep the quality of your natural hair? Avoid damage this winter with these must have items and habits to introduce to your hair.

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  • An Efficient Protective Hairstyle

Protective styling, such as twists, braids, or locs, helps to retain length by stretching out your hair and encouraging growth. With minimal manipulation, you natural hair will be allowed to grow freely, eliminating the constant threat of tangling and breakage. Because your hair will already be in a style, all you have to worry about is maintenance–which allows more time to focus on moisturizing your scalp and roots! But be sure to only keep protective styles in for their maximum time limits–let your hair breathe! Keep box braids in for no longer than three months at the max, for example!

  • A Satin-Lined Beanie

Want to cover up your hair and keep your ears warm in style this winter? Invest in a satin-lined hat or beanie to keep your ends protected and to retain moisture on the go! You can find many of these online on Etsy or you could make one yourself with this easy online tutorial video!

  • Incorporate Heavy Products

Add heavier sealants and oils into your normal routine like shea butter to guarantee maximum moisture retention in the cold weather. You can find heavy shea butter at your local health food store.

  • Wash Your Hair Less

Unlike less textured hair, natural hair requires less frequent washing as it removes essential moisture from already dry hair. At least limit hair washing to every ten days or two weeks to limit drying out your hair even more.  Use fewer products to encourage healthy growth.

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  • Condition, Condition, Condition!

Ditch the shampoo and co-wash regularly! Carol’s Daughter has a lot of products in stock to cleanse and condition your hair all at once! If you don’t already do so, incorporate frequent deep conditioning treatments to your lifestyle. You can buy products to deep condition with in your local beauty store or stick to hot oil treatments with Extra Virgin Coconut or Olive Oil (and any other essential oils if you’d like!) Apply warmed oil to your hair and scalp and leave on for about an hour. Then, simply rinse and co-wash!

@BruceontheLoose

The music people choose to love is an interesting thing to observe.

Some folks want you to know how cool they are by the musical groups they promote.  Others let their musical preferences reflect their lifestyle – which is why there is such a large range of genres from Americana to Country to Hard Rock to Rap and more.  Then there are people that don’t push their musical preferences to the front of a conversation, but are known to weigh in with an “I hate that group” or a quick “have you heard of such and such?”

When you’re looking for a common ground conversation at a mixer, music is an interesting topic.  Really listening to what a person says can give you a deeper look into their life approach.  It becomes a springboard to further conversation.

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Try this fun question, sure to incite a variety of responses: What are five songs you never get tired of hearing on the radio?

First of all, the tendency is to choose obscure music from dusty LPs that others reviewed and decided are classics.  You know– that fifth cut from the Police’s Syncronicity II album, or the live version of a Rihanna song that no one has ever heard.  Other responses include bands from New Orleans or central Tennessee that you must hear.   Naturally some music snobs will say, “I never listen to the radio.”  That’s how they can stay above The Fray (get it?) and not have to pay attention to pop music at all.

I like music.  It transports us to another place or another time.  It reminds us or propels us.

That means I can always pick out my favorites, but still appreciate and enjoy a wide range of things including show tunes, Eminem, and American Authors (who?).  With two teenagers, I try to keep up with newer music as well– I even saw the One Direction Documentary last fall.  That doesn’t make me hip – in fact I’ve probably lost some gravitas with a few of you – but at least I am somewhat current.  Not a bad trait for a 49 year old.

Now, since this is my question, I have a running start on answering it.  However, you can start thinking of your own answers and have fun discussing them with your friends and family.  Try to include songs that most everyone would have heard at some point – even if it was while walking through a shopping center or eating at a restaurant.  Here are my five in no particular order:

  • Walking in Memphis by Marc Cohn
  • Mr. Jones by the Counting Crows
  • Unforgettable by Nat King Cole
  • Viva La Vida by Coldplay
  • The Way It Is by Bruce Hornsby

No matter how many times I’ve heard these particular songs, I’ll tune in, perk up, or hit replay.  There isn’t always a reason.  I just like them.  How about you?  What songs catch your ear every single time?  Talk amongst yourselves.

Remember Those New Year’s Resolutions?

January’s almost over and you may have already forgotten about that to do list of New Year’s Resolutions that only seems to get longer. You haven’t gone to the gym five times a week like you were hoping to and yesterday you bought yet another pack of cigarettes. Don’t beat yourself up about not fulfilling all of your 2014 goals by now. The most common reason why New Year’s Resolutions fail is because we tend to set huge standards for ourselves and these goals are often bigger than they should be.

new year goals or resolutions - colorful sticky notes on a blackboard

Aim lower; start small. Don’t plan to change your entire lifestyle in a week, rather make small improvements to your lifestyle more frequently. If you want to live healthier, set a goal of eating some type of fruits or vegetables every day or incorporating less strenuous exercises into your daily routine, such as stretching every other morning.

Know your limits. We tend to set grand resolutions expecting to see a major change instead of setting realistic goals. People who live a generally hectic life should not set too many goals at once. Rather, try to change one behavior at a time. This can be as minor as wanting to have more time to see your friends and be social or talking to your family more often. Long term ideals often fall through the cracks–for example, if you wish to learn a new language or lose weight, just do a little every day. Resolutions will come through gradually; don’t expect sudden changes.

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Get a support group. It’s easier to work towards your goals with the help of friends and family on your side. Accept any help that comes your way which will also help with any relapses in behavior or stress management. Those on your side will make sure you keep going whenever you feel less than capable and can definitely throw a great celebration party when you achieve a goal!

Stay positive. So you were too tired to work out or hang out with family and friends–don’t worry about it. Mistakes are normal and can even give you more incentive to get back on the track. Thinking positively defeats those negative thoughts that can threaten any further progress. Come up with your own inner mantra and always keep on the bright side of life!

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We want to know, have you stuck to your resolutions so far?  What are your secrets?  Remember, there is no shame in failing, as long as you keep trying!

Sassy Scrumptious Salads with Liz Bushong

Serve up Stunning Simple Salad’s with One Vinaigrette for a Healthy New 2014!

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Turn over a new leaf in 2014 with this trio of sassy but easy-to-put-together healthy salads. Three different salads presented three different ways using one tangy vinaigrette. These no-cook colorful salads offer a variety of fresh greens rich with disease-fighting antioxidants. With their pleasing variety of flavors, colors, and textures, these salads are the foundation of healthy eating.

Lettuce begin the new year with the Tomato Melon Feta Salad. For this colorful salad, medium thick slices of ripe watermelon and firm red and yellow tomatoes are layered and sandwiched together like silver dollar pancakes or columns of crackers. Small cubes of feta cheese, salt and pepper complete the stacked wonder. Balsamic vinaigrette is drizzled lightly over the salad for a flavorful mix between the sweet and acidic taste of these fruits. Your palate will perk up with this unexpected pairing of fruits. According to Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia, a tomato is a fruit. “The fruit is rich in lycopene, which may have beneficial health effects.”

The Cucumber Wrap Salad has a beautiful presentation. We eat with our eyes and this salad really alerts the senses. This salad looks complicated but it is easy to prepare. A seedless English cucumber is mandolin-sliced horizontally, and curled around to form a self-serving bowl. A handful of crisp baby spring mix is layered inside the cucumber, and other garden fresh vegetables are then added and positioned to create this one-of-a-kind salad. The tangy balsamic vinaigrette is served on the side and may be drizzled on the salad to the guest’s personal taste. Edamame, walnuts or pecans, blue cheese crumbles, steamed snow peas and sliced gala apples complete this simply-stated salad. You will be cool as a cucumber creating this salad for your next ladies luncheon or brunch.

The final salad in this dynamic trio is the Salad of Mesclun Greens and Baby Beets. It consists of a combination of mixed greens, shaved vegetables, and cubed beets all served with bagel croutons. A splash of the balsamic vinaigrette brings out the artful essence of this salad. You will enjoy this delightfully light and crunchy combination. To make this the main course, just add protein such as grilled chicken strips, flank steak, salmon, tuna or shrimp.

Presentation for a salad or any meal is important. To keep yourself motivated to eat healthy, be sure to set your table in style by using glass bowls full of the organic fresh vegetables and fruits that you have put in the salad as your table centerpiece. Packaged herbs like dill, mint, chives, and oregano make a beautiful statement as one or two elements of the centerpiece. Cut watermelon slices and graduated bowls of fruit and berries can serve as the light dessert after your salad course. Be creative and have fun!  

Salads are satisfying, health promoting, disease fighting, and include the best fresh ingredients from farm stand or grocery store finds. Serve up one of these tantalizing healthy salads for your family or just for yourself.

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Food for thought: Just happened to turnip some nutritional information about a few ingredients in salads, such as edamame, apples and leafy greens.

“The United States Department of Agriculture states that edamame beans are “a soybean that can be eaten fresh and are best known as a snack with a nutritional punch”. Edamame and all preparations of soybeans are rich in carbohydrates, protein, dietary fiber, and micronutrients, particularly foliates, manganese, and vitamin K”.

The nutritional benefits of an apple are remarkable. “Apples can be found in the Food Rating System Chart. A link that takes you to the In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Apples, featuring information over 80 nutrients, can be found under the Food Rating System Chart.” www.whfoods.org . “Spring Greens Help You Detoxify Naturally, according to Medea Galligan, MS, Nutrition, AADP CHHC, RYT, with healthy lifestyle concepts blog.

“The health benefits of eating leafy greens can’t be overemphasized. Salad greens are loaded with vitamins A and C, as well as several of the B vitamins. Just one cup of these greens provides 70 percent of the daily recommended intake for vitamin A and 20 percent of the DRI for vitamin C. Salad greens are also a rich source of iron and calcium and numerous trace minerals including magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale also are good sources of vitamins K and E.” –

healthylifestyleconcepts.healthcoach.integrativenutrition.com/blog/2013/03/ SpringGreensHelpYouDetoxifyNaturally

 

Liz Bushong- Serve it up Sassy Recipes

For more recipes and ideas go to lizbushong.com

 

Salad of Mesclun Greens, Baby Beets and Bagel Croutons

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5 ounces mesclun or spring mix greens, washed and dried
2 medium sized beets, steamed, peeled and diced into ½ inch cubes
16 individual sliced chives
2 carrots, peeled and shaved with vegetable peeler or mandolin
1 English cucumber or cucumber of choice, washed and sliced to ¼ inch
2 plain bagels, or bagel of choice, cut in small pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
4-6 ounces thinly sliced smoked Gouda, rolled tightly
Balsamic Vinaigrette or dressing of choice

Wash greens and spin dry. Plate the greens in the center of plate. Shave peeled carrots, and then roll strips tightly to form a curl, position carrots as desired on greens. Slice cucumbers, dice the beets, and roll the cheese, position as desired on greens.

Cut bagels into small bite-sized pieces using kitchen shears. In small zip lock bag, place soy sauce and olive oil mixture, toss croutons in this mixture to coat. Bake on baking sheet at 500 degrees for 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully not to burn croutons. Remove from oven and place on top of salad.

Serve Balsamic Vinaigrette in a separate dish or drizzle salad with dressing.

Garnish salad with X crossed 4 chive stems on each salad.

 Yield: 4 small salads

Tomato Melon Salad

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2 medium firm ripe yellow tomatoes, sliced ¼ inch
4 ½” thick sliced of watermelon, sliced melon in rounds
2 medium firm ripe red tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch
1-(4 ounce) package crumbled –or block blue cheese, or feta cheese
Balsamic Vinaigrette or light dressing of choice
15 steamed pea pods for garnish

Stack yellow tomato, watermelon slice and red tomato one on top of each other. Add crumbled blue or feta cheese and drizzle with vinaigrette. Garnish plate with pea pods.

Yield:  4 small salads

Cucumber Wrap Salad

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1 English cucumber, sliced horizontally into thin strips
 2 ½ cups Organic small leaf greens
10 tablespoons Edamame (soybeans) & snap peas steamed and cooled
15 thin slices of Gala apple with skin
10 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles
5 tablespoons chopped pecans or nut of choice
Balsamic dressing-recipe follows or purchase

  • Slice cucumber into very thin strips.  Curl into a medium sized circle. Cucumber will stick to itself if you overlap ends. Fill cup with greens, layer apple and pea pods stand on ends in back of salad.
  • Add blue cheese and nuts to the left side of salad. Add soybeans to right side. Serve dressing in separate bowl.  Make it Yours by adding whatever salad toppings you enjoy.  Balsamic Vinaigrette page 36.

Serve it up Sassy on individual white salad plates.  You cannot pick this up to eat, must be plated.

 Yield: 5 mini salads

 (This vinaigrette is for all three salads- 3 salads 1 vinaigrette)

Balsamic Vinaigrette                                                                                                           

½ cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons honey
3 teaspoons minced garlic
¼ teaspoon celery salt and pepper
1-cup extra virgin olive oil

  • Whisk together first 5 ingredients until blended. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Blend well. 
  • Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.
  • Serve on any green salad as well as Cucumber Wrap.  Can also be used as a veggie dip.

 Yield: 2 cups

 

RECIPE DEVELOPMENT, FOOD STYLING, PHOTOGRAPHY, AND ARTICLE SUBMITTED BY LIZ BUSHONG

 Helping You Make a Statement, Make it Sassy, and Make it Yours! ®

Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. She makes elegance easy for her audience and encourages them to add their own Sassy touch to make it unique. Liz is famous for creating her own version of a beautifully presented tablescape – which she calls a Sassyscape ™ -and she also creates magic beyond the dining experience. In 2009, 2010 and 2013, she was selected from thousands nationwide to be part of an elite team of 75 professionals entrusted with decorating the White House for the Holiday. In 2011, she was part of seven-person team selected to decorate the Tennessee Governor’s Mansion for the holiday.

To purchase her cookbook, find recipes, cooking, and decorating demonstrations/ideas go to www.lizbushong.com, www.facebook.com/lizbushong, and twitter @lizbushong.

 

Look Cute and Stay Warm!

To be cute or not to be cute?

That is the question that’s definitely been on most of our minds during this frigid winter. Freezing blasts of cold air have put a damper on daily ensembles around the nation. So who is this invisible enemy, daring us to tuck away sexy heels and lightweight jackets in favor of fur lidded puffer coats and ski masks?

Thanks to the Polar Vortex, a low pressure system of circulating cold air descending south from the North Pole, many of us have put fashion on the backburner in order not to freeze to death when having to deal with weather as low as 1° Fahrenheit in some areas. You shouldn’t have to choose between wanting to look cute and hypothermia, so here are some tips on how to survive the winter weather and still look fly:

  • LAYERS!  The number one way to make it through these frosty days is to pack on lots of layers. This is especially good for constantly moving from outdoors to an indoor setting. You can wear a nice coat, a scarf, a nice blazer, and a comfy cardigan underneath. For the main outfit, try a slip underneath your dress or layering t-shirts. Leggings can go under jeans or trousers or for a more whimsical look, try knee highs over tights!

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  • OUTERWEAR: Puffer coats aren’t always the answer. (And if they are, try a less bulky one with a high collar or tailored waist!) This winter, don a double breasted wool pea coat instead, like a Jason Kole product, available at Macy’s for only 79.99!  www.macys.com                                                  
  • Keep your fingers warm and your hands adorable with quirky gloves and fingerless mittens! The Etsy shop, Yastikizi, specializes in handmade hand warmers and other winter fashion necessities to combat the cold weather in style! www.etsy.comwebsitecoldweather
  • Funky tights can add flavor to any drab winter ensemble! Retailers like SockDreams or Romwe have large collections of inexpensive one-of-a-kind legwear sure to make a scene.  www.sockdreams.com or www.romwe.com

 

The regional magazine for women