Attending someone’s formal get together in their home is a fun experience that allows you to socialize, enjoy good food and drink and even make new friends. Although such an occasion may seem simple to put together, being the host of such an event can be an overwhelming challenge. If this is your first time having guests over to your house for such a get-together, you may be frantically worrying about every aspect of the process. Luckily, there are some helpful tips you can follow to give you peace of mind, organization and the ability to host the perfect formal get together.

There is no rulebook you’ll need to follow in order to put together and host a successful formal get together in your home. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about the process. The first tip to take is to plan in advance. Communicate with your guests and find out what date and time frame works best for everyone. It is also important to keep in mind that not everyone you invite will be able to make it. As long as the majority of your guests are able to agree on a date and time, this will make it easy for you to figure out how many people to expect. Once you have the schedule set, you can focus on the details of the event. Most formal get-togethers take place in the evening and involve appetizers, dinner, and dessert.


Happy guests are those that are well fed so make sure to make the necessary arrangements when it comes to the food and drink department. Before finalizing the menu, find out if your guests have any food allergies or other conditions (vegetarians, vegans, etc.). Do your best to make sure that there will be something for everyone available on the table so no one feels left out. One helpful tip is to require your guests to bring their choice of wine or mixed drinks to the get-together. This will be one less factor for you to worry about.

Perhaps one of the best tips to follow when putting together your first formal get together is to ask for help when needed. Include your family in the event, especially your spouse or significant other. Just because you are the host does not mean you have to do everything yourself. This is a common mistake made by many first-time hosts. Having additional assistance will simplify your to-do list and will dramatically decrease your stress levels. If you have areas of planning and organization that you are not very strong in, assign those duties to your sweetie, sibling or best friend.

Making a checklist is a great way to keep everything on track. The main tasks that should appear on your checklist include, but are not limited to: locking in a date and time, sending out invites, managing RSVPs, organizing the menu and decorating the house for the event. It is also helpful to have a backup plan in case something goes wrong. While you can’t predict the future, having alternatives to work with will make your life a lot easier.

No one said being a teenager was easy. For some reason, these years are filled with a lot of emotional and physical changes, which can be difficult to handle. Parents of teens may feel overwhelmed and/or helpless as to how to make their teen son or daughter feel more confident about themselves. However, the good news is that there are some ways parents can connect with their teens to give them that much-needed boost of self-esteem.


It is vital to keep an open line of communication with your teen. Be observant. Notice a change in your teen’s mood lately? Is he/she more withdrawn or quieter than normal? This is an obvious sign that something may not be right. Don’t be afraid to ask if something is wrong. Even if your teen isn’t ready to talk about it, make sure to reassure him/her that you’re there to listen when they are ready to talk. Avoid being too nosy, however, since this will only push your teen away. As long as they know they can turn to you, they’ll more than likely seek you out when they are ready.

Find the Cause

A lot of what teens go through deals with emotional and/or physical changes. For example, does your teenage daughter feel insecure about her acne? Then take the steps necessary to help her not only get her complexion back on track but feel good about herself as well. This entails more than simply going to the store and buying acne skin care products. It helps to educate your teen about her skin, how to properly treat her complexion and what she can do to keep her breakouts at bay. Not well versed in skincare? Then go online and do research together to learn more about this common skincare issue and what options are available. Taking these steps together with your teen will show true concern and help them feel like they have someone in their corner.

Don’t Just Say…Do

Similar to what has been explained above, teens have a higher chance of being successful at feeling good about themselves if they have one or both parents helping them through tough times when they are feeling less than confident in themselves. While having the support of their friends is a great help, when the parents also show an interest, this can make any teen feel good – even if they don’t show it at first. Parents of obese teens should go above and beyond to take the steps necessary to encourage healthy weight loss. In addition to buying more fresh fruits, veggies and explaining the importance of exercise, parents should also strive to set an example by working out with their teens and eating the same healthy meals. Not only do such actions help teens feel better about themselves, it will also make them more comfortable with opening up and talking to their parents about what they’re going through.


Don’t Always Act Like a Parent

Aside from the physical changes, teens also go through emotional changes, especially when it comes to dating. A first crush and/or relationship can be scary for any teen. Instead of being too parental, show interest and support when your teen talks to you about his/her relationship. In the event of a bad breakup, argument or another mishap, don’t lecture – your teen will simply tune out and become distant. Instead, make an effort to listen and offer words of encouragement. This form of support will be appreciated more by your teen and make the transition through the rough patches in their relationship much easier to handle.

As a parent, you may have been dreading or eagerly planning for the day when your children leave your home. Empty nest syndrome is one that many parents experience every day. However, your experience with having an empty nest doesn’t have to be a negative one. More and more parents are finding ways to make the most of this new stage in their lives and there’s nothing wrong with celebrating.

One of the first steps towards dealing with an empty nest is to let Nature take its course. Allow yourself to emote freely, whether the feelings are good or bad. You are human after all and there is nothing wrong with taking some time to yourself to reflect and let the idea sink in that you’ve now got an empty house. However, you’ll want to do your best to not let your emotions rule you. You may be feeling a bit sad or depressed after the first week but if you’re still feeling this way after the first few weeks or a month, then you’ve got to make some serious changes to bring you out of your funk.


Once the initial shock has worn off, start making plans. Get together with your significant other and figure out what you both want to do that you weren’t able to do before when the kids were home. Maybe you’ll finally be able to renovate and redecorate now that you have rooms that aren’t being used. This is a great project for you and your significant other to work on together. Remodeling your home can also signal the start of a new stage in your lives. Now that you don’t have extra mouths to feed, you can save up some money and take a vacation. Getting away for a week or two is a wonderful way for you to do something you enjoy – not to mention that you’ll no longer have to deal with finding a babysitter.

Find a new hobby to pursue. Or if you have a ton of hobbies that you put on the backburner, bring them out and tackle them with renewed vigor. You’ve now got all the time in the world to do things that you want to do and you’ll be on nobody else’s schedule but your own. Think of it as a rightfully deserved reward for the years of time and effort you put into parenting and raising your kids. Another way to enjoy your empty nest is to invite over other parents that are in the same boat as you. Host a brunch put together a fancy dinner or plan an outing with another couple. It’s always helpful to have the company of people that can relate to your situation. The possibilities for enjoying your newly empty nest are endless so make the most of it while you can.

In the end, if you’re still having trouble grasping the idea that your children won’t be returning home, remind yourself that you did a great job raising them. There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. Replace those feelings of sadness and loss with pride and joy and you’ll look forward to creating new memories in your home for many more years to come.

Being in college for the first time is a new experience that many young adults look forward to. However, many don’t realize what a lifestyle change it is and not being properly prepared can make or break not only your school life but your personal life as well. The good news is that it isn’t impossible to manage a college life and still maintain a healthy lifestyle. All it takes is a little know-how and practice.

Life for a new college student tends to be more of a challenge if you happen to go to school out of state or aren’t able to commute to and from school from your parents’ house. Living in dorms or on your own off campus requires a lot of changes in your lifestyle. Dormitories tend to take care of everything for the student but because of the close living quarters and the number of student bodies crammed into these living accommodations, sticking to a fairly healthy lifestyle can be difficult. If you find yourself in this situation the best thing to do is stick to a daily routine that works for you.

Once you’ve figured out your schedule of classes, breaks, etc. talk to your roommate and make sure you are both clear on when you’ll need quiet time in your room for studying, taking a nap, etc. It helps to communicate with your roommate so that you both can establish guidelines that will allow you to live together without any problems. If your dorm is too busy or noisy, then learn to find places on campus where you can study in peace.

A library is a great option. As difficult as it may be, do your best to get plenty of sleep each night. Or schedule your classes with long enough breaks in between that will let you squeeze in a cat nap so that you are able to attend the rest of your classes refreshed and better focused. Avoid eating at the cafeteria or sticking to takeout. Instead, go grocery shopping and get a mini fridge filled with healthy snack foods like fruits and vegetables you can easily munch on during or after classes.


Living off campus in an apartment or house with roommates? Then you’ll want to make sure to establish house rules and create a daily routine for yourself that you can handle. Talk with your roommates to make sure it is understood when quiet time is needed and when it is okay or not okay to have visitors over or throw a party. When grocery shopping, learn how to make healthy choices and try your best to avoid only eating meals that come in a can or box.

Take advantage of your new lifestyle experience by purchasing ingredients and learning how to cook meals for yourself. Even if you aren’t a chef, you’d be surprised by how great it feels to eat a meal you’ve prepared yourself. Carry a bottle of water with you to class and stay away from too many caffeinated drinks as well as snacks filled with sugars and fats.

Being a college student often calls for late nights, little sleep and a lot of stress. Instead of opting for easy solutions like junk food, energy drinks, and other unhealthy lifestyle choices, seek out healthier alternatives. You can find many natural approaches to common lifestyle issues (lack of sleep, stress, poor diet) online. Give these a shot and see how your body responds. If your college has a gym, start using it to keep your body in shape and your mind clear and focused.


Are you a workaholic? One in four people say work is the last thing they think about before going to bed and over 40% say it’s the first thing they think about when they wake up. It’s becoming harder and harder for people to disconnect from the office more than ever. Why? Technology is definitely a huge part of staying tethered to the office since we can connect remotely almost anywhere.

An expectation is often set that we are reachable and available at all times, especially if you have a company phone. I also think job security also plays a big part for many people. If you don’t respond to an email, text or phone call immediately, especially if it’s from your boss or someone senior in the company, you may have anxiety and fear.

I’ve witnessed so many people that are slaves to their job; they put so much internal pressure on themselves based on perceived external expectations.

We have allowed work to bleed into our downtime with family, friends and even our “me” time. I work with a lot of people that stay connected because they want to; it’s a choice, rather than an obligation. And from some of the articles and research I’ve read, these folks are also more stressed on any given day.

So why do it? I think the economy is still unstable and employees continue to feel insecure in the future of their jobs. Additionally, they put the expectation on themselves. Work becomes their life.

Not disengaging from work can have some huge health risks, including a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and depression. Scary! It also isn’t good for work in general since research has shown that overwork causes a decrease in cognitive skills, leading to mistakes and errors in decision making.

So how can you break the workaholic habit? It’s all about setting boundaries and expectations. From my own personal experience, before I set my own work-life boundaries, my continuous connection, thoughts, and stress about work not only hurt my relationships, but also made me sick more often.

I believe working longer hours also made me less productive and prone to making more mistakes. It ended up being a downward spiral since being less efficient and making mistakes, led to working more to make up for it… which then led to more stress and anxiety about making additional mistakes, and wanting to maintain a good reputation with my boss and co-workers. (However, I’ve since learned everyone makes mistakes and you will remember your own mistakes more than anyone else will.)

You almost have to start over with a clean slate. For me, that was getting a new job. I took a significant pay decrease and a lower level position, and in doing so set internal work boundaries immediately, which I try to follow the majority of the time.I will only work 8 to 5, unless there is an urgent need to stay later.

I will not stay late to “be seen” by others or to work on random projects.I will create timelines, to-do lists, and deadlines to ensure my due dates for projects are met.I will not take a work computer home or login to work from home, unless absolutely necessary.

I will create a routine that helps me disengage from work. (I will either go to the gym or go running after work almost everyday, and I always take Coco for a walk and read for pleasure for 15-20 minutes when I get home.)

Start small with little things that will help you disengage at the end of the day. For example, create a to-do list for the next day, so you aren’t thinking of it on the way home, at night, or when you wake up in the morning. Once you start setting boundaries and creating new habits, you will see the benefits, such as:

  • enjoying your workday more knowing you have a finite amount of time at the office
  • feeling more confident in the work you dobeing physically and mentally healthier

It’s always about replacing bad habits with good habits.

What do you do to disengage from work? What obstacles stand in your way?