Are You Addicted to Being “Too Busy”?

Are you crazy-busy? Of course! Who isn’t? These days, having a crammed work, kids and activities schedule has almost become a status symbol. Why, just look at all the women who post Facebook updates of everything they’ve accomplished during the day!

But being super-busy isn’t always a sign of a fulfilling life, according to Dr. Jaime Kulaga, who holds a doctorate in mental health counseling, and is the author of Type ‘S’uperWoman -- Finding the Work-Life Balance: A Self-Searching Book for Women. It actually can become a bad habit -- and a stressful sense that you need to stay busy in order to be a good wife, mom or worker.

Where does this pressure come from? Fear! “Fear is false evidence appearing real,” says Kulaga. “It can be the fear of guilt, such as, ‘I have to write long notes in the Christmas cards I send to 45 friends because I haven’t talked to them in so long.’ Or it can be fear of loss, such as, ‘I have to respond to a client’s email at 11 p.m. when I’d rather be reading a book because if I don’t, she might not give me a referral.’”

Here’s how to rid yourself of that fear and kick the busy addiction.

Ban the “Musts”
“We use the words should, must, ought and have to all the time, and psychologically speaking, they are words that will fill you with anxiety,” says Kulaga. “80 percent of our thoughts are ‘habit’ thoughts. If you say, ‘I must drop that off’ or ‘I must clean that closet,’ you’re keeping yourself in the habit of staying busy and expanding your to-do list, even if it’s not essential for you to do those things right away.” By taking the “shoulds” out of your vocabulary, you will tell your brain that it’s okay to be a human being, not a human doing.

Become a Delegator
Think you’re the only one in the house who can make the bed and fold clean clothes the “right way”? Accept the idea that there’s more than one way to get the job done -- and then assign those tasks to the rest of your family so your day isn’t totally taken up by housework. “Your husband might not do the grocery shopping perfectly, but get over it -- nothing is perfect,” says Kulaga.

Stop Being a “Yes” Woman
If you’re asked to lead a project at school or chair a committee at church, don’t cave in to pressure to make a quick decision. Instead, take a time-out with this standard answer: “I’ll need to think about this and get back to you.” As Kulaga points out, “When you say ‘yes’ immediately, you’re rewarded with a warm and fuzzy feeling, but you may come to regret it if you’ve got a full plate. Saying ‘no’ pays off later, when you actually have more free time.”

Dump the Drama Queens
Surrounded by peeps who expect you to be available 24/7 so they can vent about bad bosses and homework wars? Or pals who constantly ask you to drive the carpool and watch their kids? “Needy people will suck the last two drops of energy out of you if you let them,” warns Kulaga. “They deplete you emotionally, so you don’t have the energy to take care of yourself.” The solution: If you can’t avoid the drama queens completely, set tighter boundaries. For instance, you could agree to carpool just once a week instead of four days, or let the voicemail answer your cell phone after 7 p.m. so you can enjoy a quiet evening with your family.

Schedule “Me” Time
Make a daily appointment to do something fun that’s totally unrelated to your family or job -- and stick to it. Go to the gym, catch up on “Downton Abbey,” read a book, meditate or phone a friend. It doesn’t matter what the activity is or how long it lasts, as long as it brings you pleasure and lets you step off the “too busy” treadmill.

2014 Red Carpet Beauty Secrets

Wouldn’t you like to make an entrance like the stars at red-carpet  events? You can! Celeb beauty pros reveal how you can recreate the dewy skin, smoky eyes, shiny tresses and sexy curls you covet. (Getting an invite to an awards ceremony is up to you.) Here are their insider tricks:

MAKEUP

Go steamy. Open and cleanse pores -- making skin look its best -- by adding two tablespoons of an herbal laxative (such as Swiss Kriss) to a pot of boiling water. Turn off the heat, cover the pot with a moist towel, then lean over it for two minutes, says James Vincent, celebrity makeup artist to Taryn Manning.

Let it glow. Squeeze equal parts of your liquid (or cream) foundation and moisturizer on the back of your hand. Blend with a sponge, then apply to your face. “That thins out the foundation and softens skin,” says Saisha Beecham, celebrity makeup artist with Cloutier Remix for Vanessa Hudgens.

Beecham then dusts loose pearlescent eye shadows to add strategic shimmer in a vertical line down the ridge at the center of the nose, on top of the cheekbones and at the Cupid’s bow at the center of the upper lip. Or try Vincent’s technique: Apply blush or bronzer to cheeks before putting on foundation for “a natural flushed glow.” When you’re done, set with a dusting of loose translucent powder on the forehead, under the eyes and down the sides of the nose. “Never cover up where you put shimmer,” says Beecham.

Erase fatigue. For everyday, use a concealer that matches your skin tone exactly. For special events and photography, use one that’s barely lighter than your skin if you’re really fair, and two shades lighter if you’re dark complected. Dab on lightly with your finger on the darker areas underneath your eyes.

Amp up your eyes. For eyes that pop, start with a thin line of waterproof eyeliner, starting at the outer edge and moving inward. For a smoky eye, use a gold or bronze liner and blend outward and upward.

Pump up your lashes. Once you apply your mascara, run a fine metal lash comb through to remove clumps. Apply two more coats, letting the mascara dry between coats. Finally, run the tip of the mascara wand along the outer ends of lashes.

Get primed. For perfect Hollywood lips, exfoliate first with a soft-bristle toothbrush on which you’ve applied the contents of a vitamin E capsule. Follow with a lip stain or liner. After applying a matte lipstick, dust loose translucent power along the lip’s outer border.

When in doubt, use restraint, says Vincent. “Nothing is as unflattering as overdone makeup!”

HAIR

Extend yourself. If your hair isn’t movie-star perfect, consider getting a little help. “There isn’t one woman on the red carpet without extensions,” says Gregory Patterson, hair stylist to Anne Hathaway. “They add volume, hold a curl, and add highlights and dimension that deflects light on camera, which reads shiny.”

Go for the shine.  A dry scalp in the winter months is common, but who wants dandruff dusting the shoulders of your favorite party dress? For glossy flake-free locks try using an anti-dandruff shampoo in place of your ordinary bottle. Lightly spray your hair with dry texturizing spray before using a flat iron. Starch-and-silica combos are best because they absorb oil while still adding shine. When you do wash your hair, use leave-in conditioner and at most a nickel’s worth of light oil while hair is still wet, says Michael Dueñas, founder of Hair Room Service and stylist to Mariah Carey. 

When you use your dryer, point the nozzle down, which will make the hair cuticles lie flat and reflect light, says Jenny Balding, senior stylist at New York City’s Cutler Salon and backstage for Marc Jacobs runway shows. Finish with a blast of cool air, then a spritz of light hairspray, followed by a little shine spray and a final pump of hairspray, Hold spray canisters 8-12 inches from your hair to avoid adding too much product.

Get star curls. The trick to waves is to spray hair lightly with texturizing spray, says Patterson. Then hold the curling iron vertically, wrapping hair in 1-2 inch sections and curling in the same direction each time. Brush your hair (use a little hairspray on the brush first), then spray your ‘do lightly. “Add an ornate headband, a metal brooch and you’ve got magazine-worthy hair.” If you prefer a braid or bun, try weaving or wrapping a necklace through the style, securing it with pins. Voila -- you’re best-tressed!

How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolution!

Perhaps you made a resolution last January to exercise every day. It’s just as likely that you stopped doing daily workouts somewhere in early February. Turns out, it’s really tough to stick with a New Year’s resolution, and the research bears this out. In a recent study conducted by the University of Scranton, experts revealed that fewer than half of those who make New Year’s resolutions have kept them six months later.

So why do we still try setting goals for the new year? “I think people like a marker during the year,” says Karen Elizaga, an executive coach in New York City. “And January is a big catalyst if you want to make changes.”

Here are five tips for following through with your resolutions.

1. Connect to the ‘Big Why’

Before saying “I want to lose 10 pounds this year,” focus on the deeper reason for your goal -- or what certified health coach Chanelle White calls the “Big Why.” “Connect to your emotions and identify your biggest motivating factor,” suggests White, who works in West Cape May, N.J. “So, instead of wanting to lose 10 pounds to fit into a pair of jeans, the ‘Big Why’ might be that you want to feel confident and reignite intimacy with your spouse or partner. By connecting your intention to something meaningful, you’re more likely to stick with it.”

2. Write it Down

Once you know why you want to make these resolutions, write down your plan of action. “By writing it down, you’ll see it regularly and can reflect upon it,” says Elizaga. Consider jotting down your resolution in a two-column grid. The first column should be your goal (“Spend more time with my best friend”); the second should be a list of ways to make it happen (“See a movie once a month; plan a girlfriend getaway”). Once you’ve met your goals, be sure to check them off the list.

3. Start Small (Ridiculously Small)

Instead of going global with your resolutions, pare them down, suggests Maria Brilaki, a certified personal trainer in San Francisco. “Most people start with a lofty goal like exercising five times a week or going to yoga three times a week,” she says. “Instead of starting big right away, start small. Then connect this small activity to something specific in your daily routine.” For example, you could do two pushups after getting out of bed, three squats while brewing your morning coffee and go up and down the stairs five times after you send your kids off to school.

“The beauty of starting small is that you’re likelier to keep adding more and more exercise, not because someone is pressuring you, but because you feel like doing more,” says Brilaki. “Remember: The exact activity you do isn’t as important as actually getting started. Before long, you’ll look forward to it.”

4. Make Sure Your Resolution Has Legs

Before kicking off your goal, ask yourself whether your resolution is something you can do in the short-term and over the long haul. “Create a goal with a specific action that can be done consistently,” suggests Jenny Westerkamp, a registered dietitian-nutritionist at CJK Foods, a Chicago-based prepared healthy meal delivery service. “For example, doing a juice cleanse for three days is short-term. A better goal would be to have a fresh-pressed juice every morning, which can be done every day, is sustainable, and has no end date.”

5. Be Your Best Cheerleader

Sounds elementary, but for any resolution to stick, you have to develop your own internal strength. “I use this strategy with my executives,” Elizaga says. “I urge them to be their own best support system. And, by finding love for yourself, you’ll be more productive, happier within yourself and more apt to keep your resolutions.”

Fast Fixes for Fashion Fails

Murphy’s Law gets us every time: The farther you are from a sewing kit and tool drawer, the more likely it is that you’ll be in need of a fashion fix. Whether it’s a dangling hem, broken heel or loose button, the key is to “stay calm and be creative about a temporary solution,” says Lilliana Vazquez, author of The Cheap Chica’s Guide to Style: Your Guide to Shopping Cheap and Looking Chic. “And take comfort: No one’s looking that closely.”

Here’s how Vazquez and stylist Ruthanne Rosen handle fashion fails:

Fashion Fail: The back clip of your earring falls off, never to be seen again.
Fashion Fix: “Rip the eraser off a pencil, snap it in half and stick it on the earring post. Just make sure you wear your hair down that day, and no one will notice,” says Rosen. “Office supplies are a huge fashion-industry secret.”

Fashion Fail: Your skirt or pants are wrinkled, and there’s no time to set up the ironing board.
Fashion Fix: Your flat hair iron makes a great substitute -- no board needed. If your collar needs an extra perk-up, stiffen the fabric with a spritz of firm-hold hair spray.

Fashion Fail: Static cling makes your skirt tangle around your legs.
Fashion Fix: Once again, hair spray comes to the rescue. Spray inside the skirt and add a couple of spritzes to your tights, says Vazquez.

Fashion Fail: A rushed morning leaves makeup stains on your blouse.
Fashion Fix: “Baby wipes can remove smaller stains,” says Vazquez. “So can a damp warm cloth with hand soap. For ink stains, use a portable detergent pen; for deodorant stains, try baby wipes or a dry sponge.

Fashion Fail: Your bra strap breaks -- at the office, naturally.
Fashion Fix: Pull a safety pin through the strap ring and attach to the fabric. No safety pin? Try a paper clip or a key ring.

Fashion Fail: Your furry friend leaves hair all over your outfit -- and you don’t notice it till you’re at your desk.
Fashion Fix: Reach for anything sticky to lift the hair off -- Scotch tape, masking tape or even the rubbery adhesive on a large mailing envelope.

Fashion Fail: You take out a pair of shoes you haven’t worn since last winter -- and they’re badly scuffed.
Fashion Fix: Rub with the inside of a banana peel. “Something about it smooths out scuffs,” says Vazquez. (Color-matching markers also work.)

Fashion Fail: Your hem comes undone, and you can’t find your sewing kit.
Fashion Fix:  Keep a roll of double-sided fabric “fashion” tape handy, which keeps the hem up until you have time to sew. (This tape is handy for blouse gaps, too!) In a pinch, you can also use whatever tape is lying around: masking, duct, gaffers’ -- but avoid staples: “They damage the fabric,” says Vazquez.

Fashion Fail: Your zipper sticks -- or worse, breaks.
Fashion Fix: “Soap or orthodontic wax works like magic” on stuck zippers, says Vazquez -- or try rubbing a candle over the spot. For a broken zipper, use an adhesive Velcro strip to close the fly temporarily until you can get a replacement.

Fashion Fail: Your button is dangling by a thread.
Fashion Fix: Take a twist-tie from a bag of bread and remove the paper coating. Thread the wire through the button and tie at the back of the cloth.

Fashion Fail: Your belt breaks -- or perhaps you can’t find it at all.
Fashion Fix: Replace it with a ribbon! “It adds an instant update and looks pretty,” says Vazquez.

Fashion Fail: Your favorite sweater snags on a sharp corner.
Fashion Fix: Take the top of a closed pen and push the loop through to the inside of the sweater. Then knot the snag inside and secure with a dab of clear nail polish.

Fashion Fail: Your heel is coming loose -- yikes!
Fashion Fix: Wood glue or even chewing gum will keep the heel secure until you can get to a shoe repair shop.

Your Stay Healthy Guide for Kids

Your kids may come home from school this winter with something more worrisome than homework: sniffles, tummy bugs and even (ick!) lice. Now that students are cooped up in overheated classrooms all day, schools can be breeding grounds for any number of ailments.

You probably can’t avoid sick days entirely; according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the average schoolchild gets 8-12 colds and 1-2 cases of diarrhea in a year, and the Centers for Disease Control reports an estimated 6-12 million head-lice infestations per year among 3-11 year-olds. But there are steps you can take to minimize the risks and keep your whole family healthier, such as washing your hands often, eating right and staying up-to-date on vaccinations. And don’t give in when the kids beg to stay up a little longer: “Getting enough sleep helps your immune system fight off whatever might be coming your way,” advises Rebecca Jaffe, MD, of Wilmington, Delaware, a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

If you want to know about staying healthy, steering clear of the typical list of school yard sicknesses and the best way to treat them, here are the health facts about five common contagions:

Colds and flu  

Cause: Viruses.

Symptoms: Stuffy nose, sneezing, mild sore throat and cough for colds; fever, aches, severe cough for flu.

Spread by: Droplets on hands or released into air by coughs or sneezes.

Prevention: Use a tissue to sneeze, cough or blow your nose; discard immediately and wash hands. Teach kids to sneeze into their elbow if there’s no tissue handy. Don’t share cups, water bottles or utensils.

Treatment: Rest and fluids. Give antihistamines and non-aspirin pain medications for colds; antiviral meds for flu if prescribed by your pediatrician. (Antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections such as strep throat.)

Gastroenteritis (stomach flu)

Causes: Virus, bacteria or parasites.

Symptoms: Diarrhea, vomiting; may include fever, headache, chills.

Spread by: Contact with infected person or contaminated food or beverages.

Prevention: Frequent hand-washing. Disinfect surfaces your family touches often -- doorknobs, keyboards, etc. -- as well as the kitchen counter and other areas used for food preparation.

Treatment: Bed rest and an oral rehydration solution to prevent dehydration; gradually give bland foods such as toast, bananas and applesauce. See your pediatrician if your child runs a high fever or if vomiting and diarrhea continues for more than a day. Keep your child home until she’s been symptom-free for 24 hours.

Conjunctivitis (pinkeye)

Causes: Virus, bacteria, allergies.

Symptoms: Reddish eye and lower lid, itching, discharge and painful inflammation.

Spread by: Contact.

Prevention: Wash your child’s hands frequently and warn him not to rub or touch his eyes. Don’t share towels or washcloths.

Treatment: See your pediatrician for a prescription eye ointment.

Infectious skin rashes

Causes: Rashes can be caused by bacteria (impetigo), a virus (fifth disease) or mites (scabies).

Symptoms: Itchy, oozing blisters (impetigo); reddish rash on face and body (fifth); intensely itchy pimple-like rash (scabies).

Spread by: Impetigo and scabies can be spread by touching the infected area or handling the affected child’s towels or clothes; fifth disease is transmitted by saliva and mucus.

Prevention: Frequent hand-washing and use of tissues; avoid sharing towels.

Treatment: Varies by type. For impetigo, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics, antiseptic soap and bandages; for scabies, prescription creams; for fifth disease, acetaminophen or ibuprofen as needed.

Head lice

Cause: Red-brown insects about the size of a sesame seed that live and lay whitish eggs (nits) in human hair. Unpleasant as they are, lice don’t spread disease, and having them doesn’t indicate poor hygiene.

Symptoms: Itchy scalp, especially around the ears or nape of the neck.

Spread: Head-to-head contact.

Prevention: Discourage children from sharing hats, combs and other hair gear. Tie back long hair in braids or ponytails.

Treatment: Ask your doctor to recommend an anti-lice shampoo and follow instructions carefully. Use a fine-tooth louse comb daily for a week to remove any remaining bugs and nits. Wash clothes, hats, bedding and stuffed animals in hot water and dry on a high setting. Ask your school nurse when your child can return; some schools have a “no-nit” policy, but the AAP says there’s no need to keep children home if they have no active lice in