Monday, December 12, 2011

What Your "Drink" Says About You On a Date

Martini: If you're a guy, you're trying to impress (and it's probably working). If you're a girl drinking a dirty martini, you're a hot mess: the dirtier, the messier, the hotter.

Vodka on the Rocks: Too self-conscious to actually order a martini.

White Russian: Obsessed with The Big Lebowski, and probably The Daily Show. Or, you just like to drink dessert.

Bud Light: You're easy going, laid back, and at home at a sports bar. If you're a girl, you know how to hang with the guys.

Stella Artois: You have no particular knowledge or affinity towards beer so you just order "Stella" cause it's familiar.

Lillet/Campari/Aperol: You're twee, and possibly like to throw around words like "mixology."

Vodka Cranberry: When in doubt, you stick to what you drank in college.

White Wine: You're definitely a woman. You're possibly a little uptight.

Prosecco: You're often a little uptight, but tonight you're looking to party.

Whiskey, neat: You're hot. Regardless of gender.

Jager: Secretly wishing you were hanging out with your buddies.

Vodka Gimlet: You're a huge dork, but you hope sort of in a cool way?

Appletini: You've left the kids with a sitter and you're ready to have fun!

Pimm's Cup: You're an Anglophile.

Old-Fashioned: Mad Men is your favorite show: you either want to be, or have sex with, Don Draper.

Margarita, on the rocks: You've decided to have a good time tonight.

Margarita, frozen: You're in Cabo.

PBR: You're drinking quickly on your way to a non-profit fundraiser, followed by a poetry reading in a former industrial warehouse.

Tequila Shots: You're either getting laid, or just getting through it.

Long Island Iced Tea: You have a drinking problem.

A beer, while at a Cocktail Bar: Overprotective of your manhood or unadventurous.

A cocktail, while at a dive bar: Insufferable.

Via How About We

What Your Bra Says About You

Bandeau Bra: You’re confident.

Underwire Bra: You understand compromise.

Built-In Bra: You value convenience.

Convertible Bra: It’s important to you to keep your options open.

Padded Bra: You’re pragmatic.

Sheer Bra: People fall in love with you too easily.

Push-Up Bra: You’re very, very tricky.

Hanes Racerback Bra: You didn’t expect to hook up tonight.

Victoria’s Secret Racerback Bra: You wanted it to look like you didn’t expect to hook up tonight.

Demi Bra: You’re hot.

Front Hook Bra: I’m not saying it means anything. I’m just saying that the ease with which another person can take it off might have crossed your mind.

Minimizer Bra: You’re modest.

T-Shirt Bra: You’re just, like, casually chillin’. It’s whatevs. (Except not really, because then you would have just worn a regular bra and not cared that the seams showed.)

No Bra: No one's going to tell you what to do. Not even your breasts.

Corset: You’re a biter. And kind of a nerd.

The Playtex 18 Hour Bra: You’re one of the pretty ladies who works at the bank. It’s also 1986 and I have a giant crush on you.

Bullet Bra: There is such a thing as being way too into Mad Men.

Maternity Bra: You’re, um, pregnant?

Shelf Bra: You’re kinky. Or you just didn’t know they were supposed to cover your whole boob.

Water Bra: You don’t really know about... stuff.

Seashell Bra: If it’s Halloween, you’re dressed up as the Little Mermaid. Hot! If it’s not Halloween, you had terrible parents.

Coconut Bra: You’re a virgin. Who narrowly escaped sacrifice by way of being-thrown-into-a-volcano and didn’t have time to change.

Adhesive Bra: You live your life like you’re on the red carpet--ridiculously.

Via Glamour

How To Make Yourself Attractive To Anyone

1. Grooming
Dr. Nicholson says that grooming is the most important variable when it comes to attractiveness, and can really make or break your chances with someone. Brush your teeth. Comb your hair. Shower. Keep your fingernails neat.

2. Clothing
Again, no matter what your personal clothing style is, neatness is of the utmost importance. “The research says that three aspects of clothing are required to be attractive – neat, well fitting, and more formal. Put plainly, your clothes need to be clean, pressed, and well maintained.” Additionally, when it comes to attracting someone, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.

3. Posture
The easiest, cheapest, and best thing you’ll ever do for your dating life is to simply stand up a little straighter. As Dr. Nicholson say, good posture is sexy.

4. Fitness
Don’t worry, you don’t have to run out and get a personal trainer for a total body overhaul. You just have to, again, take relatively good care of yourself, which can be achieved with moderate exercise three times a week.

5. Attitude
One of the most surprising finds of the study was that “pleasantness” rated pretty highly among both sexes. This means being happy, positive and friendly in attitude. In the immortal words of the little orphan Annie: “You’re never fully dressed without a smile.” (But seriously: just being nice shows way more self–confidence and ease than being shy or sarcastic does— and it’s really attractive.)

So, see? You’re already way hotter than you probably give yourself credit for. It’s easy to maximize your physical attractiveness through small changes.

And as for the things you can’t change? They really don’t matter.

--Written by Chiara Atik for

Via Glamour

Going Out Dresses When It's Cold

Dresses with Longer Sleeves Mean More Opportunity to Sparkle
Here’s a super-festive dress that covers your shoulders and upper arms.

Packs Well, Easy to Wear
This stretchy, packable dress in an awesome neutral gray hue will take you effortlessly from work to dinner to cocktails.

A Muted Plum Dress Goes From Day to Night
A rich purple hue won’t look out of place at the office but can easily be gussied up for evening. Long sleeves and strategic pleating make this dress practical as well as partyworthy.

A Jewel-Tone Dress Will Never Go Out of Style
The long sleeves, asymmetrical hemline and waist-defining twist make this day-to-night dress ultra-flattering.

When in Doubt, Wear Red
This straight-cut minidress flatters a broad range of figures—and its bright lipstick-red hue can be dressed up or down with warm, woolly tights and statement accessories.

Think of Mesh as Pantyhose for Your Arms
For nights when it’s nippy outside and you’re looking for a little coverage, mesh sleeves are the perfect option for getting that not-quite-bare look.

Via Glamour

Nail Polish Ideas for Holiday Parties

Party Nail Polish Idea: Glam Glitter
Glitter-on-glitter might be overload in regular life, but during the holidays it’s practically a requirement. Even if you’re not wearing a sequined top like Selena Gomez is, you’ll still feel festive and seasonally appropriate.

Party Nail Polish Idea: Pitch-Perfect Black
Emma Watson’s pitch-black pedicure and sparkly platform-sandal combo is the right way to do exposed toes during the colder months. Still can’t bear the thought of wearing open-toe shoes when it’s chilly out? This nail color is just as pretty on a short, sweet mani with a warmer dress in a similar fabric.

Party Nail Polish Idea: Icy Blue
It’s a nontraditional choice for holiday party season, but when the rest of your look touches on all the hottest trends like Blake Lively’s here, why not add something unexpected?

Party Nail Polish Idea: Allover Sparkles
Ruby slipper-ish manicure is a fab idea for party-hopping season. Just choose your favorite wintry color and apply a topcoat with matching sparkles for instant glam.

Party Nail Polish Idea: Daring Lace
Lace dresses and shoes are all the rage for holiday party season, but if you didn’t score the perfect one (or just prefer a more subtle take on the trend), try lace nail art like this look from Fashion Week.

Party Nail Polish Idea: Silvery White
Keep your black-and-white holiday party outfits looking classic with a bright, almost-white silver manicure. Follow Kate Beckinsale’s lead by amping up the glam factor with a bling-y bracelet.

Party Nail Polish Idea: Almost-Black Jewel Tones
The deep, dark jewel-tone nail polish trend is ideally suited for holiday parties. Try Rumor Willis’ purple shade for a vampy but not-too-crazy alternative to your basic shades.

Party Nail Polish Idea: Solid Gold
Mika Newton’s bright gold manicure from the 2011 VMAs is evidence that getting matchy-matchy with your nail polish is a lot to look at…in a good way!

Via Glamour

New Holiday-Party Hair Ideas

Gwyneth Paltrow
Separate your hair into three-inch sections and use a large round brush to give yourself a smooth blowout that's slightly curled at the ends. "Create a deep side part, throw all your hair to one side, and let it evolve throughout the night," says hairstylist Matt Fugate of Sally Hershberger Downtown in New York City. Add a silicone-based shine serum (like Sally Hershberger Star Shine) to the ends. "Mist from far away so it just barely lands on your hair and makes it sparkle," says Fugate.

Kristen Stewart
To get Stewart's roughed-up look, "drive around in a convertible for a half-hour," says Fugate. A more practical alternative: Flip your head over and blast your roots with your favorite volumizing product (try John Frieda Luxurious Volume Blow-Dry Lotion Root Booster). Once it's as big as you can get it, wrap random sections (but not the ends) around a one-and-a-half-inch-barrel curling iron, then shake it all out. Finish with a light-hold hair spray, such as Suave Professionals Touchable Finish Hairspray Lightweight Hold.

Kirsten Dunst
Apply mousse to wet hair, blow it completely dry, then set with medium-size hot rollers, starting at your ends and working up toward your scalp. When the rollers cool, take them out and add a deep side part. "Use your finger or the tip of a wide-tooth comb to separate the curls so they're not piecey, but don't look too done," says hairstylist Tommy Buckett of the Marie Robinson salon in New York City. Finish with a light finishing spray, like Oribe Hair Care Superfine Hair Spray.

Elizabeth Banks
"Day-old hair is best to start with when you want soft, cascading waves," says hairstylist Adir Abergel, who created this Veronica Lake–esque look for Banks. Spray two-inch sections of hair with a light-hold hair spray (Abergel likes Fekkai Sheer Hold Hairspray), wrap each section around a one-and-a-quarter-inch curling iron, and pin each rolled section into place. Once the entire head is set, let the sections cool before removing the pins, then use a nylon-and-boar-bristle brush (like a Mason Pearson or a Sonia Kashuk Hair Brush) to brush it into place, letting it fall into perfectly cascading waves. "Make sure one side is totally clean so it has a more modern vibe," says Abergel. Finish with a shine spray, like Sebastian Professional Trilliant.

Emma Stone
To get Stone's sexy retro look, "Create a deep side part, apply mousse, and blow-dry hair with a small round brush," says Mara Roszak, Stone's hairstylist. "Then pin-curl small sections and set the entire head with volumizing hair spray." Let it cool for five minutes, brush out curls with a soft boar-bristle brush (like a Mason Pearson or a Sonia Kashuk Hair Brush), then gently mold hair to form a classic soft wave. Finish with a shot of hair spray, such as Bumble and Bumble Spray de Mode.

Amanda Seyfried
Prepping your hair is key to this look, says hairstylist Juan Carlos Maciques of the Rita Hazan Salon in New York City. He suggests starting with a straightening balm for curly hair (like Shu Uemura Satin Design), or a volumizing spray for straight hair (Bumble & Bumble Thickening Spray). Blow hair dry with a medium-size, round, boar-bristle brush, like the Spornette G-36XL Porcupine Brush—this will create a full, finished look that's straight with a good bend on the ends.

Nikki Reed
For Nikki Reed, hairstylist Kristin Ess premade a fishtail braid from a hair extension and pinned it in from ear to ear to make it look like a headband. "This allows you to do a blowout or a chignon and then pop it in as an option, but there's no commitment," says Ess. To finish the look, wrap two-inch sections of hair around a one-inch-barrel curling iron, gather and twist it into a low chignon, and separate the front pieces so they frame your face.

Nicole Kidman
To make a chunky three-strand braid look as fat as possible, Fugate suggests pushing the bottom elastic up toward the top of the braid. "This diffuses the end and opens up the rest of the braid," he says.

Kirsten Dunst
Loosely curl your entire head with a large-barrel curling iron. Create a low side ponytail, then braid half of it and wrap it around your crown so it looks like a headband. Pin it into place, and twist the other half of the ponytail into a bun. Finish with a light hair spray, such as Aveda Air Control Hair Spray.

Kourtney Kardashian
"This seems like it would be difficult because it looks so cool, but it's just two French braids pulled straight back into a twisted bun," says Fugate. Start with a light pomade or wax, such as Garnier Fructis Style Pure Clean Finishing Paste—anything that's too sticky like a gel or hair spray will be harder to style.

Ashley Tisdale
Roughly blow-dry hair with hands, then create waves with a one-and-a-half-inch curling iron from your ears down, leaving the last two inches of your hair uncurled. Back-comb the hair at the crown, then smooth and pull back loosely, using the top of your ears as your guide. Let the face-framing pieces hang loose. "Pull out pieces around the front hairline as desired to create softness," says Maciques.

Nina Ricci, Fall 2011
Hairstylist Guido wound hair into large pin curls for soft volume. After releasing them, he teased the roots at the crown "for a feminine feeling," he said. He pulled back a section above each ear, crisscrossed the two, and fastened them behind the head with pins.

Hoang's tips for getting this sexy side-swept ponytail: Apply a light styling cream to wet hair before blowing it completely dry. Roll the ends under with a medium-size round brush, and create a deep side part. Using a one-and-a-half-barrel curling iron, set hair on the top with pins, let them cool, and brush out with a soft-bristle brush. Using the brush and your hands, also mist with Oribe Hair Care Royal Blowout Heat Styling Spray to shape the S wave in the front. Secure a low ponytail on one side with an elastic or a silk ribbon. Finish with a light spray, like Oribe Imperméable Anti-Humidity Spray.

Olivia Wilde
Start with a salt spray on damp hair, says Roszak. (Try Oribe Après Beach Spray.) Tease the crown slightly, and pull hair back into a mid-height pony. Use an elastic band to secure the ponytail and wrap hair around the elastic to conceal it. Take a one-inch-barrel curling iron and gather random sections of hair, waving the hair around the barrel gently, then break up the pony with fingers for a naturally piecey look. Spray all over with a light spray, such as Leonor Greyl Voluform Hairspray.

Ralph Lauren, Fall 2011
Apply a styling spray, such as Redken Fashion Work 12, then blow hair out and pull it into a low ponytail at the very nape of the neck. "This creates hold and some texture," says hairstylist Guido. Finish with a shine spray, like Redken Shine Flash 02 Glistening Mist.

Kate Winslet
Tease hair from the front of the hairline to the crown, using the outer corners of each eye as a guide for the width. Finger-brush hair into a ponytail, then smooth the teased section into it and secure with an elastic. Wrap a small section of hair around the ponytail to cover the band, and pin it into place. As a final step, curl random sections of the ponytail so it doesn't fall into a big clump but instead has more separation, says Maciques.

Emma Stone
Apply gel to damp hair and gently sculpt into an S shape. Let the hair dry completely. Comb it out to loosen it up, gather it to one side, and tuck it under to create a low bun. Spray all over with a light hair spray to keep the wave around the face, says Roszak.

Lauren Conrad
"Topknots look more current with a little texture," says Ess. Build it up with a spray, like Oribe Texture Spray, then flip your head over and wrap hair with a thick ponytail holder around the base. Tease and back-comb the ponytail in sections, then roll and wrap each section, pinning it into the base to form the topknot.

Minka Kelly
Tips for getting this look from Mark Townsend of Sally Hershberger Los Angeles and New York: Loosely gather your hair at the nape of your neck, braid it, and then loop the braid back up and pin it at the nape in a messy chignon. Allow some face-framing layers to fall out for a soft, romantic feel. Use Sally Hershberger Star Shine Spray to give your hair incredible shine before finishing with Dove Extra Hold Hairspray all over to keep your hair in place all night.

Taylor Swift
Maciques suggests blow-drying hair smooth and then adding texture by wrapping two-inch sections around a large-barrel curling iron. Gather a section of hair just behind one ear, place it into a loose ponytail, and wrap it into a soft bun, pinning it into place. Take the remaining front portion of hair and gently brush into the existing bun, pinning pieces into place. Finish with a firm hair spray, like L'Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray. Twist and turn the loose strands and tuck them into place.

Via Allure

14 Ways to Fake a Good Night's Sleep

When you look exhausted, it doesn't matter whether you were up all night working or dancing—dark circles, puffy eyes, and wan skin look the same either way. Try these easy ways to fake it until you wake it.

Scrub right
The repair work that's supposed to happen in the skin at night includes the natural whisking away of dead cells that leave your complexion looking dull and ashen. A good face exfoliation in the morning can do much the same thing quickly (and inexpensively)—just be sure to choose one with soft round grains rather than a chemical agent such as glycolic or lactic acid, which can increase sun sensitivity and leave you a little blotchy.

Chill out
It may not sound appealing, but it works: A cool shower stimulates circulation in your body and can have a toning effect on your face, says Jeannette Graf, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City—and research has shown that lowering the temperature just a few degrees can make you feel more awake. (Consider using a peppermint body wash, too, since multiple studies have shown that its scent increases alertness and even improves performance on cognitive tasks.)

Moisturize well
Lack of sleep can compromise your skin's barrier and make it tough for it to retain water. "That dehydration then accentuates any fine lines you already have, which just makes you look even more tired," says Ranella Hirsch, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Boston University Medical Center.

Subtract puffiness
The old tea-bag-on-the-eyes trick works for a reason: The caffeine constricts blood vessels, the tannins reduce inflammation, and the pressure tamps down the puff. But if that sounds like a pain (or a mess), a chilled compress is just as effective. "Cucumber slices, an eye gel you keep in the fridge, or a bag of frozen peas all work the same way," says Anne Chapas, assistant professor of dermatology at New York University Medical School. "It's really the cold that shrinks the capillaries and stimulates lymphatic drainage." (She uses the peas on patients to take down swelling.)

Get moving
Still bloated? Try ten jumping jacks followed by ten deep breaths (then repeat). "It sounds kind of hokey, but I swear, it really works," says Leslie Baumann, professor of dermatology and director of the University of Miami Cosmetic and Research Institute at the Miller School of Medicine. Because vessels in the lymphatic system lack their own muscles, the body relies on external movement and breathing to keep fluids from pooling in areas like under the eyes. "Because of the emphasis on your breathing, yoga is great for dispersing these fluids, too," Baumann says. "But when you're already running late, jumping jacks will only take a minute."

Don't OD on foundation
When skin is looking lifeless, the answer is actually less foundation rather than more. "Choose a creamy formula that contains light-reflecting particles and apply with your fingers, so it can really melt into the skin," says makeup artist Aaron De Mey. "And be sparing—your face will look much more awake if you can still see you skin." If you wear powder, he recommends applying it only to the chin, forehead, and the sides of the nose. "Having a little glow on your cheeks and the center of the nose is more natural," he explains.

Curl your lashes
Makeup artists are pretty much unanimous about the best way to wake up your eyes. For the most fresh-eyed look, "hold the curler as close to the base of the lashes as possible," says makeup artist Chrisanne Davis. "You only need to squeeze once to maximize the curve and length."

Lighten up
While there are a zillion eye creams that promise to help dark circles, none of them offer an instant fix. Concealer, on the other hand, is a sure thing—so start by choosing a creamy formula that is slightly lighter than your skin (but be careful: Go more than one shade lighter, and it can look ghostly). Davis recommends applying it after foundation—"since you want to use the bare minimum, and your makeup will have already given you a head start." Cover just the dark areas, not the entire under-eye, and resist the urge to overblend.

Pop a pill
If your eyes look bloodshot and puffy even if you went to bed by 10 o'clock, the culprit could be allergies. "I've probably recommended more Claritin than any pharmacist," jokes Hirsch, who advises her patients with recurrent puffy eyes or dark circles to consider taking an antihistamine as a preventive measure; you should know in a week or two if it's working on circles.

Don't skip your lids
If you're focused on undereye circles and puffiness, it's easy to look right past another dead giveaway of exhaustion: pink eyelids. Baumann tells patients to dab them with a cotton ball soaked in (of all things) Afrin. "Nasal sprays contain something called oxymetazoline, which addresses both redness and swelling," she says—and notes that it's particularly effective when you've been crying. If they still look pink, makeup artist Troy Surratt recommends applying an eye-shadow base. "One that's peachy will neutralize blue, purple, and gray tones," he says. In a pinch, yellow-based concealer will work on purple circles—just be sure to pick a formula that isn't thick or drying.

Add sparkle
While makeup artists agree that you generally want to avoid iridescence around the eyes when you're tired ("It just draws attention to the area," says De Mey), there's one exception: "Put just a tiny touch of shimmer cream right in that little hollow in the inner corners of the eyes. Use a golden color if you have dark skin, silvery or pearlescent if you're pale, and then blend well with a Q-tip," instructs De May. "It instantly makes you look refreshed."

Draw the liner
Once you've done everything you can do for the skin on and around the eyes, pull out your eye pencil. "Take a nude-colored pencil and line the inside rim of the lower lid—it will cover any redness and brighten the eye. It's an old Hollywood trick that really works," says Giordano. To define your upper lashes, "go with something a little less severe than black, like a charcoal or a chocolate brown, and push the point into the lash line as you go," says Davis. "Then wing it outward and upward just the tiniest bit at the end—it really does have the effect of opening up the eyes."

Blush brightly
When you consider that another synonym for tired is "drained," adding color to your face with blush makes perfect sense. Makeup artist Susan Giordano likes cream formulas in shades like sheer wine, which, when blended, will "create a transparent flush like when you pinch your cheeks. A light layer of bright blush that has melted into your skin looks more natural than lots and lots of a lighter pastel," she says. De May recommends applying the color slightly higher on the face than usual when you need to look more awake. "Use your fingers to rub it on the highest point of the apples, right over the edge of the orbital bone," he says. "Blurring that line a little will help draw attention away from any darkness or puffiness there."

Whiten your eyes
The most artful makeup in the world won't do squat if your eyes are bloodshot. Usually caused by dehydration, it's easily treated with drops like Visine, which contain ingredients that will shrink the blood vessels. If you're willing to spend a little more (and you don't wear contact lenses), Graf swears by Collyre Bleu from Alcone. "They have the slightest blue tint that also counteracts any yellowness you may have in the eyes and makes them incredibly white," she says. "I use them before I go on TV." Just don't use whitening drops every day—opthalmologists warn that over time, they can have a rebound reddening effect.

Via Allure

Rude Awakening

As many as 70 percent of us don't get enough sleep—and have the dark circles to prove it. The 27 most effective ways to wind down at night, rev up in the morning, and feel your best all day long.

In a perfect world, we would never need alarm clocks. Not only would we effortlessly conk out the moment our heads hit the pillow, our eyes would spontaneously open at the same time every day, and we would spring enthusiastically from our beds as chirping bluebirds alighted on our fingertips. As if. In reality, less than 30 percent of people in one survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported getting the rest they need every night—not that this statistic is anything to lose sleep over. Experts have a wealth of tips for the chronically fatigued. This is your wake-up call.

A few tweaks to your evening ritual will make mornings a whole lot easier.

• Snack yourself to sleep. Eating a small carbohydrate-heavy snack with a bit of protein one to two hours before bed will trigger your brain to produce the calming neurotransmitter serotonin, says New York City nutritionist Joy Bauer, author of Joy Bauer's Food Cures (Rodale). Her favorite sleep inducers: a scoop of light ice cream with berries, or a rice cake with a slice of turkey or a teaspoon of peanut butter.

• Chill out (for real). Keeping your body cool at night signals it to fall into a deeper, more restful sleep, says psychiatrist Sara Mednick, author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life (Workman Publishing). Turn down the thermostat in your room to 68 degrees, she says.

• Ditch your beeping alarm. "The loud sound that wakes you up from deep sleep is too much of a transition for the brain and body," says Mednick. "Your brain is still moving very slowly and can't adjust to the fast, bright waking world. It can take 30 minutes to an hour to fully clear your head." She recommends replacing a conventional alarm clock with one that "wakes you up gradually, either with light or with gongs that start very quietly," she says. (Most come with quirky names like Peaceful Progression or the Zen Timepiece.)

• Don't light up. Keep digital clocks out of view, urges Mednick—who adds that lights blinking on your BlackBerry, computer, or television can also disrupt slumber. Even worse, a visible clock can be a stressful reminder of how much time you've spent tossing and turning, which can make it harder to sleep peacefully. So can exposure to bright light during your two-minute trip to the bathroom. "Even a little light can decrease melatonin levels, making it difficult to fall back to sleep," says Mednick.

• Watch out for Sunday night insomnia. Yes, it can be caused by workweek dread. But more often it's the result of erratic sleep behavior on the weekends—when you're more likely to stay out until 2 a.m. and lounge in bed past 10 the next day. The solution, says Michael Thorpy, director of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, is to put yourself on a sleep schedule and stick to it seven days a week. "It's the single most important thing you can do to improve your energy level," he says.

Waking up is hard to do—not even the kindest alarm clock will change that. When throwing the covers over your head isn't an option, these tricks will propel you up and out.

• Don't procrastinate. Slapping the snooze bar only postpones the inevitable— and leaves you with the kind of fragmented sleep that makes you feel groggy. Set the alarm for the time you really have to get up, and place the clock across the room— so you're forced into the vertical position.

• Hit the gym. "Exercise increases blood pressure and heart rate and activates the whole sympathetic nervous system,"says Thomas Plante, professor of psychology at Santa Clara University in California. For those with no major cardiovascular problems, "this wakes you up and gives you a healthy boost in the morning." The most energizing workouts, according to Plante's research: solo outdoor activities, which expose you to energy-boosting sunlight and "aren't so draining, because you don't have to worry about keeping up conversation."

• Give yourself goose bumps. We weren't very excited to learn that a cool shower is better than a warm one. But Mark Mahowald, professor of neurology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, says that simply making your shower a few degrees cooler will increase alertness. And if you're daring, some neuroscientists theorize that taking a truly cold shower (68 degrees) could increase levels of betaendorphins and produce a sense of well-being, says Orly Avitzur, a neurologist in Tarrytown, New York, and editor in chief of the American Academy of Neurology website. Adding a peppermint body wash or shampoo to the mix puts even more spring in your step, says Rachel Herz, author of The Scent of Desire (William Morrow) and visiting professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University Medical School. (She cocreated Scentology Endurance Enhancer, an energizing peppermint-based fragrance.) "Numerous studies have shown that people are stronger, faster, and more attentive after exposure to peppermint," according to Herz. One such study, at Wheeling Jesuit University, found that athletes exposed to the scent could do more push-ups.

What we eat and drink in the morning is extra-important because breakfast can provide either a long-lasting energy boost—or just a short-lived jolt that leaves you yearning for bed by noon.

• Start drinking. Down two eight-ounce glasses of plain water as soon as the alarm goes off. "We all wake up dehydrated," says Susan Kleiner, a dietitian and author of The Good Mood Diet (Springboard Press). This is a problem, considering that every biochemical reaction—all of our thinking processes and our muscle contractions—depend on us having enough water.

• Get your omega-3's. These fatty acids "are critically important in improving brain function, energy, and mood," says Kleiner, who has been known to add omega-3-rich salmon to her morning omelet. Taking a 1,000- to 1,500-milligram supplement every day may also produce energizing benefits in a week.

• Resist the baseball-size bagel. After providing a quick spike in blood-sugar levels, simple carbohydrates leave you even more sluggish than before. Instead, try a protein shake or a slice of whole-wheat toast with fruit and cottage cheese or Greek yogurt, or have the toast with an omelet, says dietitian Susan Bowerman. Eggs are also rich in choline, which helps the brain make the concentration-boosting neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

• Try some caffeine. The stimulant not only inhibits the body's chemicals responsible for drowsiness, but it also prompts the release of adrenaline, which speeds heart rate, opens the lungs' breathing tubes, increases blood flow to the muscles, and causes the liver to release sugar into the bloodstream. An eight-ounce up in the morning (or about 50 milligrams of caffeine) is enough to kick-start most people into the land of the living, according to Thorpy. Just steer clear of those fat- and sugar-laden milk shakes masquerading as coffee. The best brew is a latte, says Kleiner: "The protein and carbohydrates in milk are ideal for fueling the brain and muscles."

If you fight off sleepiness in the morning only to have it return full force after lunch, you've got company—The New York Times reported that an estimated 15 to 20 percent of us take a daily catnap. (The body's circadian rhythm shifts into rest mode around 2 or 3 p.m.) Taking a 20-minute nap can restore energy without leaving you feeling groggy. Then again, it could also get you fired. Here, some ways to wake yourself up instead.

• Take a walk…and not just to the coffee machine. The energizing benefits of exercise apply at any time of the day, says Plante, who claims a brisk stroll around the block can reinvigorate your mind and body as well as a double espresso. (The former is arguably even more effective, because its rousing effects last longer and won't impact your sleep later that night.) "Our studies show that even ten minutes can give you the boost you need," says Plante.

• Hit the (water) bottle. Mental and physical energy plummet when you're even mildly dehydrated, says Kleiner. Drink more water than coffee, which in excess can act as a diuretic. As for those colorful energy cocktails of taurine, ginkgo, and creatine billing themselves as rocket fuel, "they're expensive candy," Kleiner says. "It's probably the sugar and caffeine that give you the jolt—and will also cause you to crash a few hours later."

• Snack smarter. "When you're tired, it's best to choose foods that give some carbohydrates to lift your blood sugar, plus some protein to sustain you," says Bowerman. Her top picks: a carton of yogurt, a piece of string cheese with whole-grain crackers, or a half-cup of cottage cheese with fruit. Even the office vending machine offers a few options. Trail mix will keep you going until dinnertime, provided you "eat just the nuts and dried fruit, not the coated raisins or chocolate chips," says Bowerman. "The next-best bet is an oatmeal cookie—at least you'll get a few whole-grain oats. Have one with some low-fat milk."

Yet another reason to abandon your vices: They can help prevent you from getting a good night's rest.

• Too much caffeine. This one's obvious. But what may be surprising is exactly how long the caffeine from coffee, tea, and cola stays in your system. You need to cut yourself off at least eight hours before bedtime to be safe, says Bauer. And keep in mind that eating a lot of chocolate late in the day can also keep you hopped-up at night.

• Nicotine. If you must smoke, have your last cigarette of the day at least four hours before bedtime, says Thorpy.

• Alcohol. The drink that helps you drift off is likely to make you toss and turn hours later, says Mahowald. For some, even one glass of wine can corrupt sleep quality. But for most, it's downing several drinks that will lead to increased alertness as the alcohol leaves the bloodstream—which could be at 3 a.m.

• A big meal. "A food hangover is almost as bad as an alcohol hangover," says Bauer, who cautions that the bloating caused by eating a plate of steak frites at night will leave you feeling sapped the next morning. A high-protein meal can make the body feel more alert, too, says Bowerman, who advises having a high-carb dinner instead.

Via Allure

The 10 Commandments of Anti-aging

Forget praying for younger-looking skin. These rules—handed down by the top dermatologists in the country—are guaranteed to deliver brighter skin and fewer lines.

Rain or shine, "liberally applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen that contains both UVA and UVB protection every day is the single most important thing you can do to prevent sun damage and skin cancer," says New York City dermatologist Doris Day.

In addition to causing cancer and bad breath, smoking cigarettes "destroys collagen and elastin and decreases levels of estrogen, which is necessary to keep skin firm," says New York City dermatologist Fredric Brandt.

It's the best way to slow down the clock with a cream. "Retinoids minimize the appearance of existing age spots and fine lines and prevent new ones from forming," says New York City dermatologist Heidi Waldorf.

No, Diet Coke doesn't count. "The more hydrated your skin, the better your wrinkles will look," says Montclair, New Jersey, dermatologist Jeanine Downie. "Drink lots of water, cut back on coffee and soda, and moisturize regularly."

The expression "beauty rest" actually has some science behind it. "Not only does your skin require downtime to repair itself, but sagging skin and puffiness around the eyes make wrinkles look much worse," says Great Neck, New York, dermatologist Jeanette Graf.

Not surprisingly, yo-yo dieting isn't great for your skin. "Skin loses elasticity over time," Waldorf says. "The more your weight fluctuates, the harder it is to snap back into shape."

"Your skin receives nutrients not only from creams and treatments, but also from the food you eat," Waldorf says. "The more balanced your diet, the younger you'll look. And if you're not taking a multivitamin, start now." To keep skin happy, eat more fatty fish (such as salmon), dark green vegetables (like broccoli and spinach), almonds, and walnuts. Drink lots of antioxidant green tea. And lay off the refined sugar and booze—both cause aging inflammatory reactions in the skin.

"Exercise increases blood flow to the skin and promotes a glowing, healthy-looking complexion," Downie says. "Working out for just 30 minutes four or five days a week can make a huge difference."

The mind-body connection is a powerful one. "Do whatever you need to do to decompress," Waldorf says. "Stress causes cells to age faster, which absolutely shows on the skin."

You got the same advice when you were a teenager. "Sun damage causes dark spots as you age, but so does picking at your blemishes," Waldorf says. "And since the skin takes a lot longer to repair itself as you age, the spots won't disappear right away.

Via Allure
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