December 2, 2013 at 8:30 am , by Amanda Wolfe
We love the annual Build-A-Bear Workshop Toys for Tots Toy Drive, which will take place December 6 – 8. You can donate new, unwrapped toys at stores across the United States or make and purchase a stuffed animal to donate. Throughout the weekend, volunteer members of the U.S. Marine Corp will be on hand at select stores to collect the toys, which will then be distributed to local kids in need.
You can also make a monetary donation to support Toys for Tots at checkout registers and online at buildabear.com throughout the holiday season. The donations will be used to provide toys for children who might not otherwise receive a gift on Christmas morning.
August 28, 2013 at 12:14 pm , by Amanda Wolfe
Okay, so they probably won’t last forever. But buying a new pair of boots is a big investment—even cheaper boots aren’t usually cheap, especially if they’re real leather. (For the record, they should be leather if you want to wear them for more than a season.) After you fork over your hard-earned cash for a cute new pair, there are some easy steps you can take to keep your boots looking like new, or at least aging gracefully. So we asked David Mesquita of Leather Spa in New York City to spill his secrets. Busting out the shoe polish isn’t the most exciting way to spend a Saturday afternoon, but getting years of wear out your sexy boots is definitely worth it.
The rules for general upkeep: Condition the leather periodically (2-3 times per season) and finish with a water and stain repellant spray. FYI: Water-proofing your boots once when you buy them, or at the beginning of the season, isn’t actually enough if you wear them all the time. For tall boots, you really do need to get inserts (or stuff with paper) to keep them upright and prevent weird creasing. We like these genius blow-up boot shapers that deflate (and don’t take up tons of space) when you don’t need them. And always be sure to store your boots in a well-ventilated area.
When your boots get dirty or worn: First you want to clean the leather by wiping off any dirt or dust. Use a slightly damp (not wet!) sponge or leather cleaner. If the color is faded, try using a colored cream or polish. Some creams also condition so you can skip the leather conditioner if you go that route. If you use polish, go old school and brush and buff your shoes after wiping off polish to get that new-leather shine. For non-leather boots, use a sponge to clean them with water and a mild detergent. If your boots get creased, you can’t actually de-crease but you can make them look less worn by using your leather polish in the same shade as your boots to fill in the color.
What if your boots get totally soaked in a snowy, salty, slushy winter mess: You have a one-to-two-day window to clean them before the stains set in. Never dry leather boots with a hair dryer or any other heat source! Instead, stuff with newspaper to help absorb the water (replace as needed) and air dry. For salt and stains, combine 1/3 cup white vinegar with 1 cup water and apply with a sponge or paper towel. If your at-home triage doesn’t work, it’s time to call the professionals but take your boots in asap. The longer the stains sink in, the less chance you have of saving them.
What to do about stinky boots: Always wear socks or tights if you can. If you do go barefoot in your booties, sprinkle powder (we like Gold Bond) in the shoes before wearing them. If they’ve really gotten smelly (hey, it happens), try Leather Spa’s Odor Bloc which helps kill the bacteria that make your shoes smell.
July 24, 2013 at 4:13 pm , by Amanda Wolfe
We say you should never feel guilty about watching random YouTube videos—they’re for stress relief, obviously. Here are three of our faves.
We dare you not to laugh when this pint-sized team loses their rhythm and their workout goes completely astray.
Yup, it’s exactly as ridiculous as it sounds, but it’s so mesmerizingly funny you won’t even care.
Hilarious and charming: Jimmy Fallon convinces the former Office star to lip-sync to Boyz II Men and Katy Perry.
July 16, 2013 at 2:03 pm , by Amanda Wolfe
It’s been a while since we tackled your email questions and comments so here we go. Some of them were a little … er, unique? Oh well. Our job as Your Straight Male Friends is to simply answer the questions as honest as we can. You’re allowed to ask or present any dating situation you can think of — no matter how oddly out of place it seems. Here it goes…
In today’s society, do you still feel you have to be the “provider?” —Pamela, Santa Barbara, CA
The question is, do you still feel that your man, whoever he may be, has to “provide” for you? I mean, that’s such a loaded question. Look, every guy has the built in societal pressure, fair or not, of having to be the primary provider for his family or girlfriend or wife. Is that fair? In this day and age, probably not. We believe that an independent, smart, resourceful woman like yourself can and should be able to stand on her own two feet, and that no woman or man should expect that anyone is going to take care of them. It’s 2013 not 1948. That said, if a woman seeks that in a relationship and she finds a guy who seeks the same traditional set up, then more power to them both. Whatever works. I will say this though — if you want that type of relationship, the traditional man-hunt/woman-cook set up — make that clear to your guy sooner rather than later.
Read the answers to 5 more questions you’ve always wondered but never asked at YourTango.com: What Men Really Think: Your Questions Answered!
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- 10 Celebrity Sex Tape Scandals You May Have Missed
- Sexting: Examples, Tips & Expert Advice
July 11, 2013 at 11:55 am , by Amanda Wolfe
Enjoy the beach while you can! Soon enough we’ll be heading back to school and the office. If you’re a busy woman who wears many hats (of course you are), you likely need a wardrobe that can effortlessly go from work to play and season to season. Who has time to change out a closet four times a year?! I’ve gathered some grown-up pieces that can also work at a soccer game, pot-luck dinner, or conference.
Here are the five wardrobe essentials every woman needs going into fall.
Nicole Feliciano is the Editor and Founder of Momtrends.com, where moms head for fashion tips and style advice. Nicole is also the Co-Founder of the Fashion Forward Conference, a one-day blogging event for women who want to use style as a means to build a business, harness social media and connect with other women. Click here for more information on the September 11th event in NYC.
July 3, 2013 at 3:03 pm , by Amanda Wolfe
Ahh July 4th weekend: Backyard BBQs, pool parties, beach days… and bad hair because the heat and humidity will just not cooperate with your look. We can’t wait to have some fun in the sun this holiday weekend, but (don’t judge) we’re already sad about the gross, greasy-looking ponytail that will inevitably end up in every Facebook photo or Instagram of all this festive fun. (To be clear, it’s not cute in person either.)
That’s why we’re loving AnnaSophia Robb’s braided bangs with a twist. It’s the perfect no-fuss updo: You’ll get your hair off your neck but the easy braided bang is fun and fresh from the front.
Here’s how to steal this hairstyle: First, part your hair to one side. Section off the hair in the front (your actual growing-out bangs if you have ‘em, or what would be bangs if you don’t). Braid your “bangs” along the crown of your head, down to your ear, and then all the way to the end. Follow our how-to video if you need some help. Secure the braid with a clear elastic. For extra credit, take the front section on the other side of your part and twist that back. Now gather all of your hair, including the braid and twisted section and pull it back into your favorite bun or twist. Done! We promise the braid is super-fast once you get the hang of it, and you’ll be able to rock this way-cuter-than-a-pony style all summer long.
January 29, 2013 at 9:05 am , by Amanda Wolfe
You won’t even miss the alcohol in these totally tasty mocktail recipes. (But of course you can sneak in the hard stuff if you want.) Give them a try for your big game day bash!
Salted Rim Limeade
½ cup sugar
2½ cups water
Zest from half an orange
½ cup fresh lime juice
1 tsp kosher salt, plus additional for garnish
Crystal sugar, for garnish
In a small saucepan heat sugar, ½ cup water and orange zest, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cool and strain sugar mixture to remove zest; mix with remaining water, lime juice and salt. Rim glasses with a mixture of kosher salt and crystal sugar. Serve limeade in rimmed glasses over ice. MAKES ABOUT 3½ CUPS
1 cup seltzer
2 tbsp simple syrup (sugar syrup)
2 tbsp Grenadine
½ tsp rum extract (optional)
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 cup passion fruit juice (we used Ceres brand)
2 cups crushed ice
Maraschino cherries, orange and lime slices for garnish
In a pitcher mix selzer, simple syrup, grenadine, rum extract and juices. Serve over crushed ice, garnished with Maraschino cherries, orange and lime slices. SERVES 2
The Hail Mary
2½ cups (20 oz) tomato juice
1 tsp prepared horseradish
Dash Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp celery salt
1½ tsp Sriacha hot sauce
Bacon, Celery and Slim Jims for garnish
In a pitcher mix tomato juice, horseradish, Worcestershire, salt, celery salt and Sriacha. Serve over ice, garnished with a stalk of celery and a strip of bacon, or a Slim Jim. MAKES ABOUT 2½ CUPS
1 cup crushed ice
8 mint leaves
3 tbsp simple syrup (sugar syrup)
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
¼ cup club soda
Mint for garnish
Combine the ice, mint leaves and simple syrup in a glass and use a wooden spoon handle to muddle. Add the lime juice and club soda and stir. Garnish with mint and serve. SERVES 1
¼ cup cranberry juice
¼ cup orange juice
½ cup mineral water
1 tablespoon lime juice
Lemon zest twist for garnish
In a cocktail shaker combine the juices and mineral water with ice. Mix, then strain into martini glasses. Serve each drink with a lemon twist. SERVES 2
Spring Cider Punch
2 cups apple juice
2 cups pear juice or nectar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups seltzer
Thin green apple slices
Thin lemon slices
In a punch powl, mix juices and selter. Add ice and apple and lemon slices for garnish. MAKES ABOUT 6 CUPS