Monday, June 17, 2013

REPOST: How To Host a Clothing Swap

Inherit a new wardrobe and clean out your closet by hosting your own clothing swap. Start by following these tips from Good Housekeeping.

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Clothing Swap

A clothing swap is great motivation to do a closet purge (a seasonal necessity) and a fun way to connect with friends and update your outfits--at zero cost. Plus, it's eco-friendly.

Don't worry about guests' being different sizes: A roomy dress can be cinched in with a great belt, and accessories work for every size and shape. Consider opening the event to friends of friends as well, and you'll add to the mix of swappables you get and make things more social.

After all, what could be more of an icebreaker than sipping wine and trying on cute clothes with a bunch of your girlfriends? To be sure your party doesn't turn into a free-for-all, let guests know they can take home only the same number of items they've brought. Then, swap away!

1. Get Ready 

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Create buzz by sending invites (paper or virtual) at least three weeks ahead to give guests time to sort through their closets.

To ensure a successful swap, invite at least 10 women whose style you admire; have each person bring three to 12 things in good condition (including jewelry and unopened cosmetics) to trade, suggests Melissa Massello, cofounder of the Swapaholics, who stage clothing exchanges in the Boston area.

2. Cute Cocktails 

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Fashion and fun are the focus here. Keep the vibe casual with simple invitations and light bites.

Serve non-staining sips such as white wine, fruit-garnished Prosecco, or spritzers, suggests the Swapaholics' Massello.

Provide easy finger foods that wont makes a mess, like fresh fruit and veggies, crackers and cheese, and macarons.

3. Pretty It Up 

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While guests are snacking, turn your space into a chic boutique by laying everything out artfully.

Arrange accessories on a coffee table and end tables; use a tray, plates, or even a bulletin board to display jewelry.

5. Show Your Shoes 

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Display shoes on a shelf. Two guests want the same thing? Do a walk-off, in which each models the item and the group votes.

6. Grab and Go! 

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A swap is the perfect chance to take fashion risks, since there's no buyer's remorse. Mix, match, and experiment.

Place hanging items on a clothing rack (you can rent one from a party store), or use an emptied hall closet.

7. Try It On! 

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Create a try-on area; put mirrors around the room. Guests should be ready to disrobe (a cami and leggings are recommended).

Spread the wealth by bringing leftover clothing to a donation center. Bonus: You can get a tax write-off next April.

Get access to more eco-friendly tips from Ingrid Callot by visiting this Facebook page.

Monday, June 10, 2013

REPOST: 5 Nature-Inspired Crafts for Spring

These simple projects from this Good Housekeeping article will put you in the mood for cheery spring.

Gorgeous Greens 

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Next time you’re browsing the dollar store, keep an eye out for ceramic dishes, river rocks, and artificial plants. Those are the materials the blogger from Craftberry Bush used to make this lush succulent display for only $8.

Stand Tall 

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We’d never guess that a bunch of burlap strips could transform a Styrofoam ball into a thing of beauty. But that’s exactly how the creator of Design Dining & Diapers fashioned this topiary.

Resilient Bouquet 

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For cheerful blooms that will never wilt, make your own daffodils like the ones seen on Live Laugh Rowe. Just grab some colored felt, a vase, and basic floral-arrangement supplies like stem wire and tape before you set up shop.

Pitch Perfect 

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Revive an old kitchen staple with the help of a rubber stamp set and a few paintable clings (optional: a little patience). The woman behind Crafty Scrappy Happy decided to upcycle her pitcher and turn it into a vase.

Bags Aflutter 

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We can’t help but get carried away with this bag from Craftberry Bush. The butterflies were painted on muslin and sewn onto a plain tote, which was painted with a color-block design for extra pizzazz.

Ingrid Callot is a recycling goddess and a nature love. Follow this Twitter page for more updates. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Some of my working friends often ask me: “Ingrid Callot, you work at home and still maintain a ‘cyber-army’ of recyclists. How do you do it?”

How to Make the Most of Being a Stay-at-Home Mom thumbnail
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I answer them the same thing: “I guess I’m few of the lucky ones who are both happy and fulfilled by working at the comforts of home.” But not all moms choose to work at home. There are about 5 million stay-at-home moms in the US, and more and more mothers are caught between deciding to have a regular job or stay at home to become full-time housewives and mothers.

It is a generally accepted belief that stay-at-home moms stay at home because they have the means to support this decision. However, in recent years, moms seem to be staying at home because they don’t have the financial capacity to work outside.

Just take the case of Allicyn Willix, for example, who has two little kids, Conner, 4, and Parker, 1. Since Parker was born, Allicyn has been staying at home. She decided to quit her minimal earning job because she can’t afford to pay for day care. "It was the best decision I've ever made," she says.

Allicyn Willix plays with children, 4-year-old Conner, and 15-month-old Parker. Willix has been a stay at home mom since her second child was born. Sh...
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Experts say that some families find it less expensive for one parent to stay home than it would be to spend for day care. Staying at home lets you save money on transportation and clothing expenses.

“Women who can’t get good jobs anyhow – maybe not enough to cover their child care costs or maybe not worth it in meaning – are the ones who are more likely to, if they have a husband, make the calculation (to stay home).” — Paula England, sociology professor at New York University.

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Are you a stay-at-home mom? Learn more about how you can have fun at home while fulfilling your mommy duties by following me on Twitter.

Therapeutic gardening: Cancer patients grow their own veggies

“Hello, Ingrid Callot! My mom is a breast cancer survivor and I want to share with you her story.”

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This was the first part of the e-mail I got from Helena of Arizona. Her 50-year-old mom, Sandra, was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago. After 17 months of chemotherapy, she realized that time is precious and that it would be a waste to not make the most out of life.

“Okay, I wanna get my old self back!" Sandra told her family.

It was Sandra’s green thumb that allowed her to regain her normal life. She joined a local club where she and other cancer survivors and patients get to use their gardening skills as a form of therapy.

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In fact, gardening helps cancer patients recover from the physical and emotional side effects of cancer treatments. A study also shows that a mentored gardening intervention can offer a promising strategy in improving physical functions of a cancer survivor.

As what Christine Pollard, horticultural therapy participant in Duncan, British Columbia said: “Horticultural therapy is a tool for rehabilitation. It’s also a tool to maintain the health that we already have, to prevent deterioration.”

But cancer survivors and patients are not the only ones who can find solace and joy in gardening. It’s a great way to pass time, plus you can beautify your home yourself and grow your own vegetables and fruits. So come one, let’s get these hands dirty!

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Learn more about the essence of gardening by following me on Twitter.