Dealing with a Long-Distance Relationship

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The hardest thing about a long distance relationship is not being able to share in the big and little moments of everyday life. When you want to go out at night or need someone to help you take the grocery bags into the kitchen, they aren’t there. Learning to deal with the distance is a process that doesn’t happen overnight. Here are the biggest things I’ve learned so far.

  • Communicate everything. Talking about even the small things builds trust and allows the other person to be apart of your life in little ways
  • Use Skype on a weekly basis. Seeing a person, even through a camera, makes the relationship seem more “in person” as opposed to just texts and calls
  • Compliment each other often. Because a lot of long-distance-communication is verbal, you miss out on being able to give nonverbal cues indicating your attraction to the other person.
  • Send letters. Yeah, old school stuff I know. It honestly, makes a huge difference being able to hold something tangible from the other person.
  • Know when the next visit is. Having a date on the calendar for the next time you’ll see each other gives you both something to look forward to and is a great reminder that separation doesn’t last forever.
  • Send pictures throughout the day. Similar to Skyping, it makes them seem more apart of your daily life.

Comment below with your personal stories and tips to share!

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Protecting Your Skin From the Winter Cold

A few months back, I got in touch with an amazing blogger who just so happens to be a dermatologist! Wiggin Lee of Prescription for Style, shares with us some winter weather skin care secrets!

Skin Care for the Chilly Air

The key to keeping your skin smooth and soft is to keep it moisturized. Unfortunately, this can be really difficult for anyone with naturally dry skin or any degree of eczema (atopic dermatitis). During the winter time, especially, your skin is also more prone to becoming dehydrated, itchy, scaly, and even crack. So what is the best moisturizer out there?

With so many different brands (Aveeno, Cetaphil, Aquaphor, etc) along with the many types of moisturizers (lotions, creams, ointments, etc), choosing an over-the-counter product can be extremely confusing and daunting. In this post, I will try my best to help you decide on what moisturizer to use and the best way to protect your skin from the cold winters.

Basics:

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Diagram courtesty of http://www.womens-health-advice.com

Our outer layer of our skin (the epidermis) is made up of several different layers and types of skin cells. The epidermis is responsible for retaining water, thermoregulation, and protection from trauma and infections. However, when this protective layer is under harsh conditions such the winter wind chill, frigid temperatures, blasting heaters, and dry weather, microscopic damage (tiny cracks, if you will) is made and water is loss more readily. Dry, damaged skin is then more prone to more microscopic damage and this can cause inflammation (redness) and itching. In order to keep the skin hydrated and smooth, it is important to 1) replenish the water and 2) seal the cracks and seal in the water. This is where moisturizers come into play.

Types of Moisturizers:

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The different types of moisturizers (lotions, creams, ointments) actually ARE different. They are each unique percentages of water vs. oil. Determining which type of moisturizer works best for you is more important than any specific brand you use. **Sometimes creams are advertised as lotions and ointments as creams-this does not matter too much as long as the consistency works for you**

Lotions: >50% water, <50% oil 

Lotions are thinner than creams and usually come in a pump bottle or tube. They are light in consistency and quickly absorb into the skin after applying. While they aid in rehydrating the skin, they are less effective in sealing in the moisture. Most over-the-counter (available without a prescription at drugstores) moisturizers are lotions and they are great for mild to moderate dry skin. Many also have added fragrances which make them smell great, so if you are allergic to fragrances, please avoid these as a rash may result.

Suggested lotions: Aveeno daily moisturizing lotion, Cetaphil Restoraderm skin restoring moisturizer

Creams: 50% water, 50% oil

Creams are much thicker than lotions and usually come in tubes (where you squeeze it out like toothpaste) or jars because they are too thick to pump. Creams are a great option for moderate to severe dry skin as it works to 1) rehydrate by replenishing water to the skin and 2) seal it in and prevent further moisture loss. This is probably the best type of moisturizer for protecting your skin during the winter.

Suggested creams: Aveeno skin relief moisture repair cream, Neutrogena hand cream, Philosophy-Hope In A Jar for Dry Skin

Ointments: 20% water, 80% oil

These products also come in tubes and have the consistency of Vaseline. They are the thickest type of moisturizer and can often feel greasy. Because they are only 20% water, they do not absorb well into the skin and also do not rehydrate the skin as much. Ointments are used more for the purposes of protecting the skin. It is best used to protect a wound (also decreases the formation of a scar), severely cracked skin, or chapped lips.

Suggested ointments: Aquaphor healing ointment (also great for chapped lips), plain Vaseline, Vaniply ointment

Last few tips:

1. Drink water

In addition to using products to hydrate your skin, don’t forget to hydrate your body! Drinking the recommended 8 cups of water a day (yes, that’s in 1 day!) is not only important for skin hydration, but also important for the rest of your health including your kidneys, heart, gastrointestinal system, and much more.

2. Take warm (not hot) showers

Don’t take super hot showers as they can end up damaging and drying your skin more. Warm water showers are recommended.

3. Apply your moisturizer after you shower

After you take a warm shower, pat (not scrub) dry with a towel, and apply your preferred moisturizer. This allows the water from the shower to be absorbed to its maximum capacity and seals it in. Hope this information helps keep your skin hydrated and smooth through the winter!

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please feel free to contact me through the “contact and collaborations” tab on my blog, Prescription for Style.

Thank you for reading and Happy New Year!

Wiggin Lee, MD

Taking Photos for Instagram or a Blog? Here are 8 Things You Need

Do you want to know one major thing I’ve noticed amongst all big-time bloggers, Instagrammers, and Etsy-ers? They all know how to take great photos and use props to enhance them. If I had a dollar for every time I saw a photo on Instagram using something sparkly or something with texture I’d be driving a convertible.

Seriously though, what makes some of their photos so great? It’s how they set them up. Here are 8 props you can add to your blog/Instagram pictures right now!

Props for Pictures

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The number one thing people seem to be using is sequins or glitter! As annoying as those little things can be at times (they stick to everything), they really make a photo look pretty! Sprinkle them around the key items in your photo for an added pop of cuteness.

Another thing I’m seeing is colorful paper straws. This was especially popular over the summer. Etsy store owners are laying them beside their prints and artwork as a way to enhance the colors in the art.

To illustrate the business of their day, bloggers are using stationery and notebooks. You’ll see these items on their desks laid out as if they were mistakenly left there.

Flowers, particularly Peonies, are being included in photos as a natural way to enhance and add color to an otherwise neutral palette.

Candles have been making appearances in many Instagrammers “lounging around” type photos. You know the pictures I mean- where the picture includes the bottom half of her pj pants, socks, coffee, laptop, twinkly lights, and a lit candle.

Expensive make up is also being haphazardly laid on a desk or vanity. If the item the blogger wants to highlight is pink, then she’ll use pink lipstick. If it’s gold, she might use red lipstick.

Finally, macarons are here to stay and for good reason- they photograph nicely. With this pastry, there isn’t much to capture other than the edges of these delicate treats. They sit in a picture to fill up space but they look awfully darling doing it!

Lately, I’ve also been using coffee mugs, jewelry trays, and jewelry in my pictures for Instagram. It seems to work depending on the quality of the image. A key element is having natural light. No fluorescent lighting! Ever. It adds a yellow glow to the image instead of a nice white one. A white background is also best.

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A Thanksgiving To-Do List

Good morning to all who are reading this in their pjs with coffee before noon! To the rest of you, get up and smell the fresh brew and feel the sunshine! As I’m sitting here writing, there’s a million little things buzzing around in my brain and one of them is how Thanksgiving is only a few weekends away. Honestly, show of hands how many people are prepared? Yeah, none of us. I’ve compiled a list of things that you can save to your computer consisting of to-do’s that you might not have thought of yet. I’ll illustrate each bullet point beneath the list. To save the list, simply right click on the image and then select “save” in the options that come up.

Thanksgiving Preparation

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First of all, have you planned your menu? Maybe you have. That’s great. For those of you who haven’t, figure it out. You’ll probably want a big turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, mac and cheese, cranberry sauce, gravy, green beans, rolls, a salad of some sort, and lots of pie. Also, don’t forget that if you’re having house guests that you’ll need food and a meal plan for breakfasts, lunch, and dinner the rest of the time they’re staying.

Moving down the list, you need to finalize the guests who are coming. Is Uncle Bob still coming from Pittsburgh? You might want to check on that.

After you have finalized the head count for the big day, you can make your grocery list based on what your recipes call for and how many people are coming. Go through the cabinets and refrigerator to make sure you have everything the recipes call for.

Check out Pinterest for centerpiece ideas for your table. It can be simple candles with a few small pumpkins sitting around them or more elaborate, just make sure you have what you need ahead of time.

Next, write down the overall plan for the weekend. What time will you serve dinner? Will there be Black Friday shopping? Having a general idea of when things will take place is going to ease your mind.

If you’re having overnight guests, then make sure you have enough towels, air mattresses, sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, and toiletries. Pick up a few extra tooth brushes and travel sized items for the forgetful people. You also might want to consider having a small coffee bar in your kitchen for the coffee addicts that way no one is running out to Starbucks for their java fix.

An important part of getting ready is dealing with all the cleaning. Take a few hours every week to deep clean the house. Start with the kitchen and wipe down cabinets, stove, and anything that shows finger prints. Move on to the bathrooms and clean the toilet, shower, and wash the walls if you can. In the living room, clean any furniture that might have stains. You might also want to dust given that electronics tend to be magnets for it. Clean around switch plates where dirt marks tend to show up overtime.

For the outside of your home, make sure the entrance that will be most used looks welcoming. Put out fresh mums and a few pumpkins. I’m convinced that flowers of any kind make an entire home look a hundred times better.

Next, consider what personal things you need to get done. Make your hair appointment now if you need a color or trim.

Do you plan to go all out on the decorations? If so, then go ahead and start putting out the decorations. It’s one less thing you’ll need to do.

If your dinner will be a little fancier, then polish the silverware and clean the china off.

Last but not least, make sure you have enough seating and table space for the guests that are coming. You can rent tables and chairs from party stores if necessary.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that has so much work put into it. We expect everything to be perfect. It won’t be, but we want it to. Growing up, Thanksgiving wasn’t picture-perfect. My mom tried so hard though! She never burnt any of the food or forgot the pumpkin pie; however, there are some things you can’t control. For instance, until I was 16 every major holiday was spent with my parents, sister, grandma, and I. After Grandma died, it was usually just the 4 of us unless I brought friends home from college. However, without any grandparents or extended family around, it made it difficult to accomplish the “perfect Thanksgiving”. Moral of the story, don’t expect the day to go off without a hitch. Some things are out of your control.

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How to Get in the Mood to do Homework

Good morning loves! Today is a busy day of homework for me as I try to cram everything in before my weekend starts. If you’d like to know what I’ve got on my plate for this week’s assignments I have 3 discussion forum posts and 10 responses, 2 quizzes, and one paper due by Sunday. I, quite honestly, would like to hide underneath my blankets and pout about the work I have to do instead of actually doing it.

I’ve determined that a strategy like the one I suggested just doesn’t fly with professors. Let’s pray my Thursday is as productive as it needs to be. Here are a few things I’m doing to get in the homework mode!

Brewing my coffee:

morning_coffeeIs there anything better than a fresh cup of coffee in the morning? I think not. I’m going to be drinking quite a few cups of it I think. That wonderful aroma that fills the kitchen just makes me smile. When I pour it into a favorite mug of mine, it doubles that happy factor. My final touches are French Vanilla creamer or whatever seasonal creamer is in at the moment (cheers for Pumpkin Spice) and whipped cream. Suddenly, sitting down at my desk isn’t such a big deal anymore.

Study music:

I get my best studying done when I don’t have anything to distract me- including sone lyrics. Turn on the easy listening station on the radio or create a station on Pandora. No lyrics whatsoever if you want to be successful in your work endeavors!

Comfy clothes:

No, I don’t mean your pajamas! Something you can sit for hours in and still feel at ease and be productive. In other victorias_secret_pinkwords, sweatpants are acceptable as long as they aren’t ones you sleep in. I enjoy wearing ones I got from Victoria’s Secret Pink with a little hoodie or something. They just make homework less unhappy!

Light a candle:

Seriously, do it! I like scents that have vanilla or lavender in them. They calm and relax your mind while also making the room smell pretty. I also am loving the Bath and Body Works collection this fall.

Give your desk a make over:

work_spaceHaving a pretty desk makes sitting at it much easier. I’m trying to create a space for myself that is relaxing but makes me feel like I can run the world (think Beyonce’s song). Adequate lighting is probably the most important thing you can have too. Also, add a collage of things that inspire you to a bulletin board that hangs on the wall behind your desk. Clip images from Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar for chic pretty things. Check my Pinterest board for my personal desk inspiration!

Do you have any tips for getting in the homework mood? Comment below and share with friends!

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