Blog Posts by Woman s Day

  • 12 Homemade Holiday Decorations


    By WomansDay.com Staff

    Natural Selection

    To spruce up your home for the season, bring the outdoors in by using earthy, eco-friendly materials in unexpected ways.

    Photo: © Paul Whicheloe/Best Ideas for Christmas

    Browse our picks for rustic, chic & metallic holiday accents.



    Joy and Love Pillow Covers

    Washable burlap sewn into covers and stamped with paint-covered wooden letters will send the right holiday message.

    Click here for how-to instructions

    Photo: © Paul Whicheloe/Best Ideas for Christmas



    DIY Tree

    Ring in the season with a garland made from 3-inch cowbells ($16 for 12; WindyCityNovelties.com) tied onto rope every 15 inches. Mix handmade ornaments with store-bought ones (these are from Midwest CBK; MwCBK.com for stores).

    Photo: © Paul Whicheloe/Best Ideas for Christmas



    Owl Ornament

    What a hoot! You can easily whip up this winged creature-made from burlap, felt and twine-using the template and instructions.

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  • 5 Simple Holiday Crafts


    By Woman's Day Staff

    Simply Beautiful

    That can't-wait-until-Christmas feeling you had as a kid? You can have it again, as you glue and sew your way through beautiful, easy crafts-all created by bloggers.

    Photo: © Kate Sears/Best Ideas for Christmas

    Check out 12 eco-friendly homemade holiday decorations.



    Porcelain-Look Wreath Ornaments

    As pearly and flawless as porcelain, this dainty ring-lovely as a gift topper or hung on a tree in multiples-is actually made with polymer clay.

    By Kristen Magee of Domestifluff.com

    Click here for how-to instructions

    Photo: © Kate Sears/Best Ideas for Christmas



    Toilet Paper Roll Advent Calendar

    All it takes to transform toilet paper rolls into something worthy of displaying in your home: acrylic craft paint, thread, a snowflake-shaped hole punch and numeral stamps. Hung by mini-clothespins from lace on a fabric-covered corkboard, the pockets can hold treats (chocolate, tiny toys) for the kids to discover

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  • 10 Holiday Gift-Giving Rules


    By Brynn Mannino

    Imagine it: Your sister-in-law gives you a Christmas gift you don't like, but fails to include the gift receipt-so you ask for it, making for an awkward exchange. Who's in the wrong, you or her? Perhaps surprisingly, most etiquette experts agree that the blame can be placed on her. The truth is, holiday gift giving can be tricky, and not just because there's money involved. Just as most of us would prefer not to spend our hard-earned cash on gifts that go unloved, we'd also be loathe to offend loved ones by being inadvertently thoughtless in the act of giving. That said, if handled with courtesy and a little etiquette expertise, your kind gesture will be accepted as just that. Here, 10 guidelines to keep in mind so you can avoid sticky situations and reap all the right benefits from exchanging gifts.

    Learn about three websites that let you buy, trade or sell gift cards.

    1. Review your gift list every year.
    The premise shouldn't be "you give, therefore

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  • 9 Christmas Card Ideas


    By Ayn-Monique Klahre

    Card Smarts

    Last year, in the four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the United States Postal Service processed more than 14.9 billion letters and cards-which amounted to nearly 90 percent of its total haul during that period. (Packages made up a measly 10 percent.) With that many cards landing in mailboxes, you'll want yours to be unique. Consider these customizable cards this holiday season.

    Photo: © Len Lagrua/Best Ideas for Christmas

    Make this wreath for a fun way to display holiday cards.

    If You Want to Give Back

    This card, drawn by a child with cancer, benefits Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Paint Box Project Reindeer card, $12.95 for 8; GreatArrow.com

    Other stationers to try: ChildrensArt.org, GoodPaper.com, PeruPaper.com, UnicefUSA.org

    Photo: © Len Lagrua/Best Ideas for Christmas


    If You're a Procrastinator

    A January 1 message won't get lost in the Christmas card shuffle. Raise a glass to that. Vintage Dots

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  • 10 Tips for a Picture-Perfect Holiday Portrait


    By Alexandra Gekas

    One of the great joys of the holidays is receiving greeting cards with photos of your friends and extended family. But taking your family photo is another story. From selecting what to wear to getting the children to cooperate, the process can be filled with anxiety and pressure. Whether you're taking the snapshot yourself or headed to a professional studio, follow these 10 tips to reduce stress and get a frame-worthy photo.

    1. Coordinate outfits but don't match.

    You've seen it a million times: The entire family-from Grandma to the family dog-is wearing the exact same outfit. It's coordinated, but not necessarily sophisticated. Which is why New York City-based photographer Meg Miller of Meg Miller Photography recommends using a more general color scheme. "I tell clients to approach the family's wardrobe as if they were decorating a room. First pick a color scheme, then add different shades, textures and patterns," she says. And remember: "Neutrals, which

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  • 10 Things Party Guests Won't Tell You


    By Amanda Greene

    The holidays are here, and chances are you have your fair share of parties to attend. You know the rules: Bring a bottle of wine and follow up with a thank-you note. But what if you're the one throwing the bash? We talked to partygoers from around the country and found out what they have to say about hosting dos and don'ts. If you're planning to open up your home this season, read on to learn everything your guests are too polite to tell you.

    1. Put some thought into the food you serve-and how you serve it.
    Any holiday party guest will appreciate being served a full meal, but if there's nowhere to sit and eat, it can be more trouble than it's worth. If you're planning to serve a buffet meal, your party guests need enough surfaces to eat on. "How can you cut meat without putting down your plate?!" asks Doug from Atlanta. Maghan from Gainesville, Florida, seconds that: "Not planning the wineglass-plate-fork scenario makes it awkward for everyone. Either have

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  • Prep Your Home to Sell


    By Allison Lind

    Selling a home is never a simple task, but there's one way to up your chances of getting those closing papers signed: Stage your home. Home staging is credited with selling 95 percent of homes within 35 days or less- in comparison, non-staged homes take an average of 172 days to sell-according to the National Association of Realtors. Not only that, but investing 1 to 3 percent of your home's asking price in staging can generate a return of 8 to 10 percent on the final selling price. We asked Sabrina Soto, host of HGTV's Get It Sold, and Starr Osborne, author of Home Staging That Works: Sell Your Home in Less Time for More Money (Amacom, March 2010), for their tips to get your home ready for market.

    1. Know your audience. The average buyer nationally is 32, while the average seller is 57. "That's a huge aesthetic generation gap," Osborne says. Edit out dated items and add trend-forward pieces to attract a younger buyer.

    2. Make a good first impression.

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  • Organize Your Storage Spaces


    By Arricca SanSone

    Closets and cabinets may help keep your house clutter free, but when you can't stash another thing in either, it's definitely time to purge. First step: A little mental housecleaning. "Ask yourself what purpose each storage area should be meeting for you," says Star Hansen, a professional lifestyle organizer. "Then keep only items there that serve those needs." To help you get you started, we've got some pare-down pointers and product recommendations for common household spaces. Read on to learn how to put an end to storage spillover for good.

    Linen Closet
    Purpose: House linens and extra toiletries

    • Keep just two to three full sets of towels (bath, hand and washcloth) per family member and a few extra sets for guests. Use shelf dividers so stacks don't topple over.
    • Recycle raggedy towels with stains or holes in them. "Store these with your cleaning supplies, or donate them to your local animal shelter," says Charlotte Steill, a certified

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  • Prep Your House for Holiday Guests


    By Arianne Cohen

    The guests are on the way, the house is a wreck and you're not sure you have gifts for everyone. here's your 6-step stay-sane plan.

    Step 1: Prepare Overnight Kits

    Sue Maxwell, the innkeeper at Mead House Bed & Breakfast in Nelsonville, Ohio, suggests filling a few baskets with necessities at the beginning of the season. Repurpose or buy good-looking containers, then stock up. The message here-that guests will be well cared for-is just as important as the contents. And you'll save yourself an inevitable trip to the drugstore for forgotten toiletries.

    Step 2: Organize Linens

    Though it may seem counterintuitive, white linens are the easiest to keep clean for guests, because you can bleach the heck out of 'em, and easily replace one piece. Make sure you have sheets, towels, washcloths and pillowcases.

    Step 3: Personalize

    "We do our homework to find out what guests want and need," says Sylvia Muller at the Mill House Inn in East Hampton, New

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  • 8 Things You Didn't Know About Your Vagina


    By Sarah Jio

    Sure, your vagina has been with you your entire life, but how much do you actually know about it? Whether you've been too shy to ask or don't know where to look for information, chances are there are plenty of things that you've wondered about the area "down there." From what to expect after childbirth to normal sexual functions, read on to find out surprising facts you may not know about your lady parts.

    1. It cleans itself.
    Step away from the soap and harsh cleansers, gals. Your vagina keeps itself clean. "It's lined by a variety of glands that produce the fluids needed to both lubricate and cleanse the vaginal area," says Lisa Stern, APRN, a nurse practitioner who works with Planned Parenthood in Los Angeles. "The vast majority of vaginal infections I see in my office are self-induced-generally by women who think they're doing a good thing by washing their vagina with soap and water, or worse, with douche." Bath products, particularly those with chemical

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