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Life Hacks: A Woman’s guide to mid life

Being a woman (or living with women) can be complicated. No offense to the men of the world, but the personal things women have to deal with on a daily basis tend to be more confusing and stressful than what mean encounter. (Seriously, have you ever attempted making a waterfall braid?) That’s why these life hacks are so amazing. Whether you’re a woman or not, they’ll bring a sense of organization and accomplishment to your life. Loose bobby pins, makeup cases and weird stains are a thing of the past. These tips are seriously epic!

BEAUTY:

As much as we love our elaborate beauty routines, sometimes we want to spend less time laboring over our faces and more time out enjoying life. And that’s why we turn to beauty life hacks: not only do we admire their sheer genius, we love that they make our hair and makeup routines just that much easier.

1. Attach a magnetic strip to the bathroom wall so that your bobby pins can stay in one place.

2. Hide a manicure that’s growing out by creating a glitter ombré effect starting at the base of your nails.

The best way to distract from a chipped or overgrown manicure is, well, glitter. It’s pretty and will last for what feels like for-ev-er.

3. If you love winged liner but don’t have the hand-eye coordination to do it perfectly, no big deal: You can clean messy edges with a cotton swab coated with petroleum jelly.

Making the perfect free-handed flick on the first try is hard. Erasing your mistakes is easy.

4. If you’re out of liquid or gel eyeliner, borrow some mascara instead of going to the store.

Use a small liner brush to grab the formula on your mascara brush.

5. If curling your hair takes too much time, tie your hair in a loose, low braid before bed for mermaid waves in the morning.

If you have thin hair, don’t tie the braid too tight. A loose braid will give you softer, less obvious waves.

6. Mix brown sugar, olive oil and honey to create a nourishing DIY lip scrub.

7. Clean up your makeup brushes with baby shampoo and hang them to dry to avoid mold.

8. And if you’re looking for a new summer ‘do, just squeeze some lemon juice on your hair for natural highlights. Lemon juice + the sun = natural highlights!

FASHION:

We’re not saying that these fashion life hacks will change your life, but they’ll definitely change your closet.

1. Use a pumice stone to get rid of little lint balls on coats.

2. Ice Cube Tray Organizer

Organize your jewelry with an ordinary ice cube tray.

3. Rubber Bands on Hangers

You can also use pipe cleaners instead of rubber bands, or make a zig-zag pattern with a glue gun and wait for it to dry.

4. Sunglasses on a Hanger

Hang your sunglasses on a hanger for easy storage.

5. Unstick a Pesky Zipper

Rub Vaseline, crayon wax, or the end of a graphite pencil along the teeth of a zipper to help it slide smoothly.

6. Banish Deodorant Stains

Get rid of yellow deodorant stains by applying a mixture of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and water to the pesky spots.

7. Dry hand-washed clothes with a salad spinner.

8. Avoid fading your dark wash jeans by adding distilled vinegar to the last washing cycle.

9. Use a mixture of vinegar and cold water to scrub water stains off of leather.

HEALTH:

Ladies, you don’t need us to tell you that finding the motivation to always eat clean and regularly hit the gym is hard work. While we’re not advocating always talking the easy route, there are times when health-related life hacks come in handy. You know, small tips and tricks that don’t require much effort but that make staying healthy and fit a breeze, and can make your life better, more balanced and possibly even longer.

1. Kickstart your morning with lemon water

Start every morning with a glass of water with fresh-squeezed lemon or lemon oil! (Just make sure it’s an edible, 100% natural-grade oil and not anything synthetic if you go the essential oil route.) There are so many benefits of lemon water, but the main reasons to drink it are that it flushes your system of toxins, alkalizes your body, and keeps your digestive system working as it should. This gives you more energy, fights off inflammation, and provides you with an all-natural health boost that’s easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

2. Soothe a sore throat with a marshmallow

Sore throat? Bust out a bag of marshmallows. Sap from the marshmallow plant has been used for hundreds of years to help treat coughs, colds, and sore throats. But the fluffy little guys we know and love from everybody’s favorite campfire treat may help ease throat pain thanks to the coating and soothing properties of the gelatin according to Health magazine.

3. Whiten teeth with a banana peel.
It might sound odd, but used banana peels can whiten your teeth! Rub the inside of a peel along your top and bottom teeth for about a minute each, and let sit for around 10 minutes. From there, grab a dry toothbrush and start brushing. Doing this a few times a week can significantly lighten teeth as well as any whitening kit, without any of the added chemicals.

4. Cover a blister with duct tape.
When you feel the symptoms of an impending blister, apply duct tape over the irritated spot as smoothly as possible, taking care to avoid creases. It cushions the blister and won’t peel off—lots of power-walkers and runners swear by this method when Band-Aids aren’t cutting it. 

FITNESS:

Can’t seem to make it to the gym these days? Stop with the excuses, and let these  lazy-girl-approved tips keep you on track all season long.

1. Get it out of the way: Start your day with a workout so you don’t have a chance to skip it later. This one is great for all the procrastinating lazy ladies out there.

2. Fancy up a water bottle to guzzle more

If you struggle with drinking enough water throughout the day, a permanent marker and a clear water bottle might just be the cute but effective health hack you need. Divide the bottle into 200 ml intervals that coordinate with every hour in the day. If you stay on track, you’ll reach the magic eight glasses by dinnertime!

3. Use yoga to heal a headache

If you have a tension headache that just won’t go away, try yoga poses that are inversions, meaning they place your head below your heart. Yoga poses for headache relief  include downward facing dog, child’s pose, and legs up the wall pose. These poses will improve circulation, stretch out tense neck and shoulder muscles, and help you relax—all of which can help your headache go away faster.

4. Work out too hard? Chow down on ginger.
If you pushed yourself too much at the gym, try eating ginger, which can be added to stir-fries, juices, smoothies, or tea. Researchers at the University of Georgia found that consuming 2 grams of raw or heat-treated ginger per day can reduce post-workout muscle soreness by 25 percent. Why? Ginger contains anti-inflammatory compounds and oils called gingerols that have shown painkilling and sedative effects in animal studies, according to Men’s Health. 

5. Add weight while blow drying.
A life hack every girl can try: Add wrist weights to your arms before you start blow drying your hair, or using other hot tools. Depending on your hair length and thickness, it could take over 20 minutes to completely dry. By adding weight on your arms, you’ll be challenging your muscles as you style with your (probably heavy) dryer and a hairbrush.

6. Make your playlists as long as each workout.
Do this, and you won’t be glancing at the time the whole way through. You stop when the music stops.

7. Track your meals with a printable (or digital) food journal.
Studies have shown logging what you eat is an effective method for weight loss and management.

8. Sleep in a cold room to boost metabolism.
Who knew sleeping in a cool bedroom may to increase your percentages of brown fat — a type of fat that acts more like muscle, helping to burn other fat and increasing metabolic rate — according to a 2014 study conducted by the National Institutes of Health.

9. Need a boost? Take a shot of liquid chlorophyll.
Chlorophyll is the dark green pigment found in plants, but it also has amazing benefits for humans. It has a similar molecular structure to hemoglobin (the substance that’s responsible for transporting oxygen around the body), and just one tablespoon a day can boost red blood cells, improve oxygen, increase energy, help body odor, protect from cancer, help regulate bowel movements, and increase  magnesium, vitamins, folic acid, iron, calcium and protein. Oh, and it’s available in all health foods stores, and some supermarkets.

10. Pay yourself every time you exercise.
Leave $1 in a jar each time you workout and you’ll end up looking and feeling great—and having money to splurge on something fun.

11. Find a Park / Playground

Unless you live in the boonies, you are likely pretty close to a school or park that has a playground for local children. I have found this my go-to choice for adding in extra exercises to a workout when on travel. If you can, jog to the playground and get after it. (Though you will have to wait until after school if it’s a public school and not a park). Monkey bars can be used for pullups. Benches can be used for dips.

12. Stairs and Stuff

Looking for a leg workout but have no weights? A flight of stairs and a weight vest, backpack or any weighted piece of gear is all you need. First of all, just walking up and down steps or running up and walking down is a great leg / cardio mix. Add in weights, hand carried, head carried, or shoulder carried, and you have created a challenging leg and cardio workout that will push very advanced athletes.

13. Go slow: You don’t have to look like the Energiser Bunny during every workout. Turn up the resistance, slow things down, and you’ll feel the burn big-time.

14. Drink up: More water helps your body burn more fat, and being properly hydrated improves your workout performance. Sip on H2O all day long.

15. Stay caffeinated: Too tired to hit the gym? Turn up with a few sips of coffee or green tea. You’ll get your energy back on track, and caffeine has been linked to better workout performance.

16. Reward yourself: All work with no reward does not suit the lazy girl. Whether it’s a piece of chocolate, new gear, or one hour of pure relaxation, give yourself a gold star after you put in the work.

17. Stay in bed: You need those seven to nine hours every night to keep you energised throughout the day and during your workout — just another good excuse to linger a little longer.

LIFESTYLE: HOME

Sometimes it’s the smallest tweaks that make the biggest difference at home. These decorating hacks solve common dilemmas while also elevating your home’s style — a double win! Trust us, you’ll want to clear out your weekend schedule for these.

1. Use baking soda as a natural produce scrub

Combine a few teaspoons of baking soda to 1-2 cups of water and you have a natural produce scrub! You can add the mixture to a spray bottle or combine it in a large mixing bowl. Either way, use the solution to get pesticides, dirt, and other unwanted goodies out of every nook and cranny in your produce. Make sure to rinse your veggies and fruits thoroughly afterward for a fresh, clean taste.

2. Use essential oils to clean more naturally

There are so many uses for essential oils, but making natural cleaning solutions top our list. Plus, who wouldn’t prefer natural lemon and lime over smelly chemicals and cleaning products? Combine baking soda, vinegar, and a few drops of lime oil to scrub out the tub or sink; freshen your kitchen sponge with a few drops of lemon oil between uses.

3. Baby your spices

No, we don’t mean coddle your spices. For the parents of little ones out there, transform your odds and ends spice collection into uniformed-sized leftover baby food jars. Cover with cute fabric, give it a label, and pop on a magnet to attach to the side of your fridge for easy access.

4. Smells Be Gone

Dryer sheets or baking soda will also do the trick!

5. Make toothbrush holder

6. Tackle a stinky garbage disposal with lemon

Add a fresh scent to the kitchen by cutting up a lemon and running a couple of small slices through the garbage disposal. (This is also a great trick to use just before guests arrive!)

7. Clean your sponge

Sponges can pick up a lot of bacteria, especially if they’re left in the sink. So you want to make sure you clean it frequently.

It’s so easy: just pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds to remove any bacteria! Just wait a minute or two before pulling out since it’ll still be hot.

You can also put your sponge in the dishwasher to get it nice and clean again.

8. Safely clean your computer

There are certain chemicals you should never use on or anywhere near your computer, including:

  • Acetone
  • Ethyl alcohol
  • Toluene
  • Ethyl acid
  • Ammonia
  • Methyl chloride

As a general rule of thumb when cleaning your computer, avoid using paper products, don’t use harsh chemicals and never spray product directly on the screen.

Here’s a safe and easy way to clean your computer:

  • To clean your keyboard, pour some white vinegar on a microfiber cloth and scrub the keyboard thoroughly. 
  • Use a cotton swab soaked in vinegar to clean areas that need more attention.
  • To clean your screen, take a microfiber cloth and wipe gently in a circular motion.
  • Apply a mixture of light water and vinegar if necessary. 

9. Remove common household stains

Most of these will work on furniture and carpet, too!

  • Juice: Blot with solution of 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid (like Ivory) in 1 cup warm water. Red-dye remover works on red fruit punch.
  • Gum: Dab with extra-strength Bengay, heat with hair dryer, scrape with press-to-seal bag. Blot with detergent solution and rinse.
  • Gravy: Pretreat with a paste of Fels-Naptha soap, then wash. Repeat if necessary. Don’t put item in the dryer until the stain is gone.
  • Mustard: Apply repeated applications of detergent solution to remove solids. When stain is reduced, rinse and dry in bright sunlight.
  • Lipstick: Blot with acetone-based nail-polish remover, followed by the detergent solution, and rinse.
  • Wine: Blot with water. If stain remains, try detergent solution. 3 percent hydrogen peroxide is effective on red wine.

10.Baking soda and bleach can clean the grimiest grout in your bathroom.

LIFESTYLE: TRAVEL

Here are some travel tips that will make your next adventure a little bit easier.

1.  Use a fitted sheet on the beach to keep sand out.

2. Use baby powder to remove sand from skin quickly and easily. Baby powder removes moisture from your skin allowing the sand to basically fall off your hair, feet, legs, etc.

4. Bring several pairs of underwear in your carry-on—just in case your luggage winds up lost.

5. Roll your clothes

If you’re not doing this already, you’re wasting a lot of valuable real estate in your suitcase. Always roll and layer, never fold and stack, and you’ll double your wardrobe for your next cross-country outing. It’s a total space saver.

6. Scan your passport, identification card, and itinerary and email them to yourself. This provides an extra copy of each in the event of loss or theft. As an iPhone user, once I email the documents to myself, I usually open the email on my iPhone and save them onto iBooks. This provides me with an offline record.

7. Pill containers make great organizers for jewelry.

LIFESTYLE: GIRLS NIGHT

Grab the gals, wine glasses and yoga pants because you deserve a girls night!

Having a get together with all of your girlfriends is definitely fun! Sometimes, girls’ night out gets old and you may want to have a girl’s night in. A girls night in can be just as fun if not more fun as a girls night out. With these ideas, you’re sure to have a great night with the girls!

1. Make wine ice cubes so your drink is never watered down.

2. Use frozen grapes to chill white wine.

3. Open Bottles

No bottle opener around? Use an eyelash curler to take off bottle caps.

4. Make cheap wine taste better by adding berries to your glass.

5. Genius hosting hacks

Keep your ice bucket chilled for hours by adding a big splash of cold water and a dose of table salt to the mix. The salt lowers the temp of the mixture, so the ice doesn’t melt as quickly. Chemistry 101 was useful for life.

6. Make memories with a DIY photo booth

Set the scene: Hang a line and use clothespins to attach a sheet, then tack up a garland. And you need props: a large picture frame, funky hats, glasses, dress-up clothes. Bonus points for the neighborhood dad who’s man enough to wear the princess dress.

7.  Cook a Meal

Making a simple meal together is great bonding time. You can make something simple like tacos or chips and dips, or try a more elaborate meal if your friends like to cook. It’s definitely fun and the end result will be delicious!

8. Play a board game

Take a trip back to your childhood and play your favorite board game with you gal pals! Whether it be Monopoly, Life, Trouble, or Candyland it is sure to be exciting and have lots of laughs.

9. Pick a theme.

Themes can be a ton of fun. It can be as simple as game night, pajama party, lip sync battle, craft night or wine/beer tasting. Dawns party was ‘game night with chocolate.’  She had game stations set up at different tables and all things chocolate (covered strawberries, martinis and more). Some game ideas include: spoons, poker, 31, chutes and ladders or whatever! Anything that creates excitement and fun! We played for dollars. I’ve never seen so many women excited to win a dollar! Last summer I hosted a ‘crabs and kabobs’ party by the pool. This was a fun event because everyone put on their creative hats and came up with some really great kabob ideas! The possibilities for party themes are endless.

10. Polaroid Camera!

Have one available to take silly pics. Set up a homemade Photo Booth with props. Take a group photo and send them home with your guests as a ‘Thank You’. Dawn had a guest record a game of spoons using her phones’ time lapse feature. It was so much fun to watch the craziness after a game of spoons!

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