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3 Stylish Ways to Wear a Blazer by Forever 21

Nowadays we crave convenience and versatility in our everyday lives, and your wardrobe shouldn’t be an exception! There are a few staple items that you need in your closet that will fit almost any occasion. You might have it sitting there right now and not even realize what it can do! We’re talking about the blazer! Blazers are no longer exclusively just for menswear or for professional business attire. You can easily turn what is typically reserved for a serious workplace atmosphere into a women’s casual blazer by just switching up a few elements.

Dress it Down with Denim

Move seamlessly from desk to dinner by complementing your blazer with a pair of mid-rise skinny jeans. Keep it simple with a subtle faded wash or create contrast with a distressed design. Adding jeans into the mix is the perfect way to achieve a dressy casual look. Next, slip on a cute pair of pumps with a pop of color to complete the look. Don’t forget to accessorize with a pendant necklace and a pair of rhinestone drop earrings!

BYOB: Bring Your Own Blazer

It’s the classic Friday night dilemma. You are invited to a party, but you just can’t seem to figure out what to wear. Your usual choices seem tired and unexciting. Instead of rushing to the mall to buy a new outfit (or canceling your plans altogether), why not mix and match what you already have? A pair of paperbag shorts with a sport coat will give you a break from your normal party attire and give you a preppy yet dressy ensemble that even Serena van der Woodsen would be jealous of! Wear a form-fitting top underneath for a sleek look, or be bold and daring by sporting a lingerie-inspired cami. If you’d like the crisp look of a blazer but the ease of a dress, opt for a double-breasted blazer dress!Complete this look with a pair of chunky ankle booties and a cute clutch.

Leggings to Seal the Deal

Even for days that you crave functionality and comfort, the blazer will fit right in. For a casual day out with friends, dress up your typical oversized graphic tee and leggings combo with a sleek blazer. Complete the look with a cute pair of slouchy boots and eye-catching duster earrings and call it day!

You’ve been holding that sports jacket hostage in your closet for too long! It’s time to shake things up and breathe life into your wardrobe. You can have new outfits without spending any money just by creating new looks with clothes that you already have. The options are endless! Whether you’re a denim fanatic, a party fiend, or leggings lover, that blazer will become your go-to piece for every occasion! 

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Calling All Foodies: 4 Trends Shaping Home Cooking in 2019

Changes in the way people are sourcing and preparing their food

(BPT) – Today’s chefs and home cooks alike are seeking more meaningful food experiences, with smart, intuitive technology that’s high-performing and saves time. This year, leading brands are changing the way culinary enthusiasts source and prepare their food, emphasizing a heightened level of respect for all ingredients throughout the process. The result? Delicious food and healthier lifestyles. Here are four trends driving the evolution of home cooking in 2019:

1. Farm fresh, locally sourced food. More than ever, home cooks strive to use fresh, locally grown or raised organic products, both in the interests of sustainability and to achieve the best tasting, most nutritious dishes. While some at-home chefs grow their own produce, others turn to sources like farmer’s markets and community-supported agriculture for the freshest ingredients in an effort to consume less processed food. Luxury kitchen appliance brands are starting to recognize this and educate consumers on how to stay “true to food.” For instance, Signature Kitchen Suite is producing short films that highlight food experts around the country who can help guide others to get the best out of everything we cook.

Food journalist, author, educator and True to Food film host Mark Bittman says, “Cooking with consciousness is a lifestyle philosophy I live by. It gets people thinking about the food they’re consuming, where it’s sourced and how it’s prepared. That’s why I believe so strongly in the True to Food mission.”

Creativity, efficiency and sustainability are keys to today’s kitchen, according to Bittman, who recently led a panel discussion of culinary and wine experts to amplify the True to Food conversation at the new Signature Kitchen Suite “Experience and Design Center” in the heart of culinary-centric Napa Valley, California.

2. Waste reduction. Along with a growing interest in food sourcing comes the need to properly store and preserve it, not only to maintain freshness, but also to reduce waste. Important tips like decluttering your refrigerator and freezer, and making sure food is stored in the correct place are good first steps, but what about the quality of your appliances? Many new built-in appliances like integrated column refrigerators and freezers are purposefully designed, from their spacious capacity to their ability to preserve fresh food through optimum temperature control, thanks to innovative features like a linear compressor and engineered all-metal interior.

3. Smart technology and modalities. Many of today’s home cooks represent a new generation of forward-thinking individuals called “Technicureans,” or those who have a passion for food and appreciation for innovation. Imagine preheating your oven remotely or having the opportunity to use a go-to cooking method used in the world’s best restaurants. Take, for instance, the versatile new 48-inch Dual-Fuel Pro Range, which is the first on the market with built-in “sous vide,” directly on the cooktop, along with induction and gas, delivering the ultimate in precision cooking.

“Sous-vide is a revolutionary professional cooking technique that is now making its way to the home kitchen,” said AJ Schaller, executive chef at Cuisine Solutions and the Culinary Research and Education Academy.

“Sous-vide allows food to cook at a precise temperature to enhance flavors and maintain moisture, consistency and nutrients that are typically lost through conventional cooking methods,” she explains. “It requires more planning for the home chef, because you increase the time you cook when using lower temperatures, but it makes life easier since it’s such a simple process that when done well can increase conservation.”

4. Food and wine pairings. Interest in wine culture is always evolving, and many at-home chefs have an affinity for curating their collections. Investing in proper storage is also key, especially for wines that are best served chilled. New integrated wine column refrigerators are bringing unique “wine cave” technology to wine connoisseurs. This technology from Signature Kitchen Suite significantly reduces vibration — a primary impediment to wine preservation that can cause chemical imbalances affecting the quality, flavors, aromas and texture. It also minimizes temperature fluctuations, limits light exposure and locks in humidity so aspiring sommeliers will have their sparkling wines, whites and rosés at the ready.

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Home For the Holidays!

Home for the Holidays

(Family Features) As another busy travel season approaches, road-weary parents and families can hold on to holiday cheer a little longer by counting on tech as their preferred travel companion.

Every year, tens of millions of travelers brave planes, trains and automobiles to celebrate year-end holidays and exchange goodwill with family and friends. Consider these ideas for using tech to make this year’s travel a little easier.

Electronic Entertainment
Nearly every parent is wary of excess screen time, but holiday travel is a good time to set aside those concerns. Hours of chaotic travel, unfamiliar scenery and overall disruption to typical daily schedules can wreak havoc on kids. One way to keep those stressful feelings at bay is entertainment, and there are plenty of options that can serve as aides to keep kids calm and collected when travel gets tiresome. Handheld video games, portable DVD players and tablets can all be customized with kid-friendly content to make it from point A to point B with your sanity intact, or to simply enjoy an uninterrupted hour catching up with loved ones.

Savvy Smartphones
It’s a trend on the rise: More than 70 percent of U.S. travelers responding to Google Consumer Insights agreed they “always” use their smartphones when traveling to research activities or attractions, locate shopping areas and restaurants, or look up directions.

For value-conscious travelers, a smart­phone like the Alcatel 7 offers robust talk time, nonstop streaming and lightning-fast charging. Up to 28 hours of talk time makes it ideal for connecting with family and friends down the street or around the globe, and after just 22 minutes of charging, it can be used for up to six hours. With more than 10 hours of nonstop streaming in a single charge, kids won’t have to miss out on any social media stories or updates from their favorite vloggers while waiting for grandma’s pecan pie to cool. Sleek and compact, the phone also features a large six-inch Full HD+ display and dual cameras that let you shoot in portrait mode. Learn more at

Get Organized
Technology isn’t just for fun or capturing memories, or even for finding a late-night diner when you’re on the road. With the right apps and tools, you can turn your smartphone or tablet into a virtual file folder filled with all your travel details, from an itinerary mapping out each step of your journey to confirmation codes for reservations, e-tickets and more.

Power Up
You’ve heard the tongue-in-cheek adage that technology is great when it works. One thing is sure: it won’t work if it isn’t properly charged. Take time to lay out all your devices and their respective charging equipment before you pack your bags. Fully charge all devices, install new batteries and, when you’re done, stash the cords and extra batteries in your carry-on bag where you can access them easily later.

Connectivity Crashes
If you’re planning to rely heavily on your tech devices while traveling, be sure you’re aware of any potential connectivity issues that may limit your access to certain apps and features. Remember that in certain areas signals can be spotty. If there’s essential info you may need, download it directly into your device so you can retrieve it with or without a good connection.

Protective Care
Away from home, you’re likely to encounter situations and environments that put your family’s tech devices in precarious places. Even a suitcase with liquid toiletries can pose a hazard, but a simple plastic bag can prevent damage from spills en route. Before you embark on your trip, also take steps to safeguard your tech devices with screen protectors and snug-fit covers or cases.

Give Gifts that Matter without Regretting the Price

Holiday cheer turns into financial fright for many people every year. According to MagnifyMoney’s annual post-holiday debt survey, Americans rang up an average of $1,054 in debt during the 2017 holiday shopping season, an increase of 5 percent from 2016. However, buying gifts and spreading cheer doesn’t have to come with a giant price tag that screams regret.

Shop the sales. Tech gifts top wish lists for recipients of all ages, and that makes them popular items for holiday specials. Preview ads for great offers and look for bundles or other perks that make the purchase price even more attractive.

Focus on function. Tech devices come in different sizes and colors, and in every price range. For example, an Alcatel 7 smartphone provides the same connectivity, talk time and display as phones that cost up to four times as much. Plus, multiple camera modes allow for standout photos. With dual rear cameras, portrait mode allows you to focus on a subject in real-time with blurred background effect.

Set a budget. If you determine up-front how much you can afford to spend, there won’t be a reason to second-guess your purchases. Make a list of everyone you’ll be buying for and determine how much you’ll spend on each person. Think about gifts each recipient will appreciate that fall within your threshold for a fool-proof, debt-proof approach to holiday shopping.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (main image of children with presents)


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Holiday Travel

Practical Tips to Prep for Holiday Travel

(Family Features) Planning travel around the holidays is rarely simple. Coordinating flights or ground transportation is often just the beginning, and safely arriving at your destination may feel like a gift in its own right.  

During the hustle and bustle of the holidays, concerns about health and safety can fall by the wayside, but some medical emergencies – whether it be an unforeseen accident, food reaction or chronic condition – are more prevalent during the holiday season. For example, the American Heart Association notes the highest incidence rate of cardiac mortality for the entire year occurs between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Food poisoning, intoxication, traffic accidents and injuries related to burns and decorations, among other incidents, also result in higher amounts of emergency room visits during the holidays.

This year, with holiday travel volume projected to be its highest since 2005 in the United States, according to AAA, take heightened precautions to prepare for the unexpected and protect your health and safety.

Schedule a safety net. During the holiday season, disruptions to your travel schedule are practically a guarantee. Plan for the inevitable by creating a travel schedule that gives you ample cushion for interruptions like traffic delays and late flights.

Carry your health history with you. While medical emergencies may not be predictable, having pertinent medical information for everyone in your party can make an unexpected medical event less problematic. Particularly for caregivers, whether your charges are children or aging adults, a tool like the Backpack Health app can help you get organized. The free mobile app provides secure access to personalized, comprehensive medical information and documents, including wellness, illnesses, injuries, chronic health conditions, physicians, prescriptions, allergies and treatments, in one central location on your mobile device. It is also multilingual, providing peace of mind even if traveling abroad and information needs translated for a medical professional.

“Especially for people living with chronic, serious and rare conditions, holiday travel often disrupts health routines – like skipping or rescheduling medical appointments and treatments or forgetting to refill, pack and take medications – and can rob people of enjoying time with friends and family,” said Jim Cavan, president and CEO of Backpack Health. “If you’re traveling across the globe or across town, having extensive medical history, for both you and your loved ones, at your fingertips offers assurance to enjoy the holidays with more peace of mind without the burden of carrying medical folders.”

For more information and to download the app, visit

Pack for the unexpected. Plan around delays by ensuring you have snacks and entertainment to divert antsy children (and adults). Be sure to keep medications in your carry-on bags or where you can easily access them in the car. If you’re traveling by car, carry an emergency kit with items such as extra blankets, a first-aid kit and roadside flares.

Watch the weather. If you’ll be traveling to an area that experiences severe winter weather, or if you live in an area that could have wintry weather when you return, it’s a good idea to keep close tabs on the forecast. Timing your arrival differently by hours or a day can make a major difference in your travel time and safety.

As you embark on this year’s travel adventures, keep the spirit of the season alive and focus on all the good that awaits when you arrive.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Backpack Health

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If You Need A Little Help Shopping This Season, Shop Macy’s

Thoughtful, Stress-Free Gift Giving

(Family Features) When in need of inspiration during gift-giving season, focusing on thoughtful presents that align with the personalities and interests of your intended recipients can be a surefire way to delight even the hard-to-buy-for friends and family on your list.

If you need a little extra help this holiday season, though, these ideas curated by the experts at Macy’s can help you hand out on-trend, versatile gifts.

“The holidays are our favorite time of the year,” said Durand Guion, group vice president, Macy’s Fashion Office. “As the gift destination, we believe in the wonder of giving and are excited to help our shoppers find the perfect gifts. Our fashion directors have highlighted the best selection of fashion, beauty and home with trendy pieces that are not only versatile but also inspiring, whether they’re for gifting, dressing or entertaining.”

Find more thoughtful gift ideas that can make your loved ones smile at

For the Home Decorator

Bring the holiday cheer home this season with cozy throws and decorative pillows that are perfect for gathering around the fireplace. A variety of options are available, including a Basket Weave Faux-Fur Pom Pom Throw, a Snuggle by the Fire Pillow, a Holiday Truck Pillow and a Stand Out Scottie Pillow. Featuring touches of faux fur and velvet, these throws and pillows from the Martha Stewart Collection can add warmth to a room on chilly nights.

For the Beauty Lover

For the woman who is beauty-obsessed, give her a gift of relaxation with the Tony Moly sheet mask set. The set includes 19 masks in total, including pulp sheet masks, layering sheet masks, gel face masks and gel eye masks, and is a perfect reason for a girls’ night in. Featuring ingredients such as red wine, which helps tighten and purify skin, and lemon, which helps brighten skin tone and combat hyperpigmentation, among others, there is a mask for nearly every skin need.

For the Modern Host

Essentially every host knows entertainment should be a focal point of the party. Bring family and friends together with the Studio Mercantile Stacking Game, a vintage-inspired twist on a classic made to be played while sharing a round of drinks. The set includes 40 wooden blocks engraved with prompts that can make things more interesting as well as 14 blank blocks so you can create your own entertaining tasks.

For the Luxurious Lounger

This holiday season, you can combine the cozy and glamorous sides of nearly any woman in your life with sparkly slippers from I.N.C. International Concepts. These comfy, round-toe, moccasin-style slippers are faux-fur lined and available in four vibrant colors – Rose Gold Glitter, Black Glitter, Navy Glitter and Silver Glitter – that can put a luxe finish on lounging around during a night in.

For the Go-Anywhere Man

Perfect for the office or a night on the town – and nearly anything in-between – a Tommy Hilfiger watch is a lasting and versatile gift for the special man on your list. Completely focused in black stainless steel with a matching minimalist dial, this sophisticated timepiece is also water-resistant to 30 meters. The black-on-black design is a modern upgrade to classic watches, and can keep your man in style for seasons to come.

For the Classic Entertainer

Savor your favorite spirits with loved ones and add an elevated touch to your entertaining this holiday season with a set of two whiskey glasses from the Hotel Collection. Accompanied by black marble coasters, this modern set of 14.7-ounce glasses can help protect your furniture and surfaces from cup marks, drips, spills and condensation while also impressing guests at any size gathering.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (main image of family opening gifts)