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Kate Donovan

Wedding

7 Anti-Inflammatory Herbs and Spices for Dealing with Pre-Wedding Stress

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Wedding stress getting you down? It’s all too easy to get caught up in the planning and let your well-being (that usually means your sleep and eating habits) decline when you’re burning the candle at both ends. The other thing that tends to happen when stress levels skyrocket: inflammation kicks in. Ever had a sore neck, a migraine, or other bodily ailment when you’re feeling drained and overextended? Inflammation is our body’s natural response to irritants, whether it’s stress-related or a product of your environment.

Acute inflammation (spraining an ankle or getting a bruise) is totally normal response, albeit painful, that should go away under proper care. But low-level inflammation over a period of time is a little bit more under-the-radar and insidious—and can potentially cause or exacerbate many chronic diseases, from to diabetes to cancer. The good news is that a lot of this type of inflammation can be avoided by making changes in your diet and by steering clear of sugary drinks, processed foods, and other not-so-healthy habits like smoking and excess drinking.

In the days, weeks and months before your big day, it’s a good idea to load up on healthy fruits and veggies that will keep your energy high and your stress levels down. Dark, leafy greens, Omega-3-loaded fish like wild salmon, and low-glycemic, antioxidant-rich fruits like blueberries will help your body deal better with whatever is thrown at it (this includes boosting immunity during flu season). And while nutrient-rich foods are great to help with stress and inflammation, there are a few other secret weapons that might just be sitting in your panty. We’re talking herbs and spices. In addition to amping up the flavors in your food (remembering that a little goes a long way), adding some of these powerhouse seasonings to your diet can really help your heath over time.

Here are some of our favorite herbs and spices to reduce inflammation and take your meals—and your health—to the next level.

See more: 6 Foods to Eat When You’re Stressed

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27 Products You Need for the Perfect Bar Cart

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It’s time to get the party started. It’s also time to stop spending $18 per cocktail when you meet up with friends. Invite them over—and put your home bar to use! You don’t even need that many supplies or bottles to mix the perfect drink. Just be sure to round out the hardworking hard liquor with a few favorite accessories so your bar cart is a marriage of the practical and personal, whether you’re hosting a crowd or making mojitos for two.

So what else do you need to turn your bar cart into entertaining central?

Your bar cart is also a spot where you can show off your decorating style. “Make it personal,” says Vanessa Dina, author of The Art of the Bar Cart: Styling & Recipes. “I like to add framed photos, vintage matches, bowls of citrus, and potted herbs or flowers for color.” When it comes to the drinks themselves, Tyson Buhler, beverage director of Death & Co. in NYC, says to simplify things and complete these steps ahead of time: “Make a batch of simple syrup, juice citrus, and decant liquids into decorative bottles for easy pouring,” he says. “When guests arrive, you’ll be all set.”

Think about everything you might need, and then all the things you actually want to display. Some items that are useful for cocktails aren’t super pretty (like that old bottle of coconut rum you got at the airport on the way back from vacation), and might be best left behind cupboard doors. Choose the prettiest or most unusual bottles to keep on display and put the other ones away. If you have a favorite liquor that you like to have on-hand at the end of the day, decant it into a lidded carafe so it’s easy to access.

When it comes to decor items as well, it’s good to be selective about what you put on the cart. It’s a small space, after all, and you’ll want to keep things easy to find. Stash smaller items like bottle openers, wine stoppers, and other useful tools in decorative boxes or bowls. If you have space, you might want to keep some glassware on-hand, but chances are you’ll have more space for for that set of eight champagne flutes in a cupboard where there’s a bit more space. Don’t forget some purely decorative items like a flower in a bud vase, a candle or a vintage objet that you picked up at a flea market.

Stock these spirits on your bar cart

“The vast majority of classic cocktails can be made with just a few bottles,” says Buhler. In addition to the hard stuff, make sure to have on hand ice, bubbly (we love Veuve or Moët), and soda water (LaCroix, anyone?).

Dark: Bourbon, Whiskey, Rum

These essentials are the foundations for classics like the Manhattan, mint julep, and piña colada.

Light: Vodka, Gin, Tequila

For a refreshing cocktail like a citrus-spiked gimlet or margarita, go with one of these tried-and-true liquors.

Sweet and Bitter: Campari, Aperol, St-Germain

These herbaceous varieties are great for guests who like lighter drinks. “You can make an excellent spritz with just Campari, orange zest, and soda water,” Dina says.

To get you started on the bar cart of your dreams, we’ve rounded up everything you’ll need to stock up on!

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Wedding

Get Inspired by This Couple's Lush, Plant-Filled Loft

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The loft of newlyweds Hilton Carter and Fiona Vismans is both a home and a garden. Overlooking Jones Falls, a stream that runs through Baltimore, the light-filled apartment reflects Hilton’s love of plants (follow him @hiltoncarter). He’’s an artist by day, and Fiona is a dentist with her own practice in the city. Together, they make a cozy home that works for both of them (and it proves that you can never have too many plants).

Fiona: We first met when we were neighbors…

Hilton: She knocked on my door to ask me to turn down my music.

Fiona: Dating your neighbor fast-forwards the relationship. He was at my place, or I was at his. Basically, it was like we were living together.

Hilton: After dating for a year, we moved into a new place together. At that point I was fully into my plant obsession.

Fiona: I had a few plants of my own before I met him, so it wasn’’t too hard to adjust. And he does the heavy lifting when it comes to the watering!

Hilton: Even our wedding was surrounded by plants. We got married this past spring in Tulum, Mexico. Knowing that we could have our ceremony in a jungle made it the perfect choice.

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Wedding

6 Foods to Eat When You're Stressed

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Ahh, stress. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle of work and life—especially if you have a big life event like, um, a wedding to plan! The first thing that tends to go when you’re burning the candle at both ends is your eating habits. While junk and comfort foods may be totally appealing when you’re on the run (or just wiped out at the end of a crazy day), excess sugar, carbs and dairy are not going to help the situation. In fact, processed foods that are loaded down with tons of salt and calories might feel good in the moment, but will actually make your blood sugar spike (which means an eventual crash) and make anxieties rise —definitely not what you need when wedding planning.

Instead, reach for some superfoods. They don’t have to be rare Amazonian berries or hard-to-find Ayurvedic remedies (although those won’t hurt either!). So many great stress-reducing foods just can be found in the aisles of your grocery store, and they’re super easy to prepare, or even to just pick up on the go. It’s all about just looking out for some key ingredients, and keeping those processed foods (including caffeine) at a minimum. The result? More energy to tackle that to-do list.

Here are some great foods to grab to keep your energy up and your stress levels down when you’re wedding planning.

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Wedding

12 Products For the Outdoorsy Couple

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Are you the type of couple that has a bucket list filled with adventurous excursions? Hikes in the Himalayas, maybe? Sea kayaking in Baja? Road tripping through all the national parks? Or maybe the two of you love to spend summer evenings on the side of a lake, roasting marshmallows over a fire, and curling up to sleep in a cozy tent. Or perhaps you’re city dwellers that just have a hankering to dip your toes into some outdoor adventures (low key and relaxed, thank you very much).

If you’re a newbie to the outdoor aisle, one of the best times to try out activities and gear is when you’re registering for your wedding. Thankfully, registries these days are more than just fancy china and silver (as much as we do love a pretty table setting). It’s all about how you really want to spend time together. And if that means pitching a tent in the wilderness, then by all means, go for it!

Outdoorsy gear can range from the totally practical (shelter from the elements) to the cutest, highly Instagram-able accessories (fireside panini maker, anyone?). The main thing for a romantic outdoor getaway is to be comfortable and cozy. That means a tent that will keep you warm and dry and fun cooking gear for those nights around the fire. And it’s not just limited to accessories. Consider putting that pair of snowboards or canoe on your registry. Even if it’s more on the pricey side, some of your guests might love to chip for a group gift that’s really reflective of your true loves and interests.

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15 Amazing Ceramics You Can Buy on Etsy

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Etsy is definitely one of our favorite spots for one-of-a-kind decor pieces. It’s a literal treasure trove of unique home pieces, from artwork and accent lighting to pillows and throws. And if you’re searching for good tabletop items, you won’t be disappointed. Handmade ceramics are one of the very best things to find on Etsy; there are so many gorgeous pieces to choose from, and often times at really affordable price points.

When it comes to ceramics, it’s good to look for pieces that might work well in your everyday lifestyle. Love your morning coffee ritual? Then there’s nothing better than a pair of matching handmade mugs to share with you S.O. in the am. If the two of you are big entertainers, a mix of serving platters in different shapes and sizes will make sharing meals “family style” so much more enjoyable.

Handmade ceramics can sometimes be more of an investment than regular, run-of-the-mill pieces, but adding a few handmade statement pieces is really going to help make your tabletop feel special. It’s also great to know that you’re supporting small businesses and artisans in their craft. If you’re just starting out and are on a budget, you might want to go with a set of classic, matching white plates for the bulk of your dinnerware, but add color and texture with handmade accent pieces like platters, dessert plates and other pieces. You can gradually add to your collection as time goes on. Your dinner table vibe may be slightly mismatched, but will have totally authentic and creative look.

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6 Yummy Frozen Cocktails to Get You Through the Rest of Summer

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It’s true, fall is right around the corner (😭). But it’s still a heat wave out there, and there are lots of opportunities to soak in all the fun summer has to offer. During these last few weeks of summer, it’s imperative to squeeze in as a much sun, sand, BBQs, and day drinking as possible. And what better way to do that then bring out the trusty Vitamix or Magic Bullet and whip up some frozen cocktails for a crowd (or for just the two of you!)?

Frozen cocktails are refreshing treat—almost like getting a popsicle when you’re a kid (and if you’re a popsicle fan as an adult, there are tons of boozy options out there to choose from). Frothy, frozen drinks are super refreshing when temperatures rise, and fresh fruit adds some health benefits if you’re going for more of a spiked smoothie kind of vibe. Many recipes tend to be on the sweeter side so it can sometimes be like having your drink and your dessert too (perfect combo in our book). The best thing about frozen cocktails? They’re SO easy to make and to clean up after. Just throw all your ingredients together, turn on your blender, and you’re ready to go.

Here are some of our favorite frozen cocktails to ride out the rest of the summer!

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Wedding

News Flash! Zola Just Launched Wedding Invitation Suites

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If you’re planning a wedding, it’s hard to find a better resource to help with all the many details than Zola. From an ever-expanding registry selection to an easy-to-navigate guest-list manager and customized checklist, this site really has it all. And now, they’re taking it to the next level with a super exciting new launch: Zola Invites + Paper. With over 150 invitations suites to choose from (including a huge range of cute save the dates), you can literally streamline the whole invite process in just a few clicks. Because all the tools are integrated, it’s so easy to personalize every aspect of your save the dates and invites. And the Zola guest list manager ensures that recipient addressing and RSVP management is a million times easier than before.

The wide range of designs, from modern, graphic patterns to romantic florals, means that there’s literally something for everyone. There’s also a free wedding website template that matches each design in the collection. What?! To make these new paper goods even more of a wedding must-have, the paper goods are also super affordable, with prices starting at $1.35 per save the date and $1.99 per invitation (that includes free recipient and return addressing). Add amazing designs and the ability to really personalize your paper, and you have a winning combo.

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12 Products You Need for Instagram-Worthy Meals

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We’ll admit it—sometimes styling out a pretty table is as fun as eating the delicious food you’ve prepared. This is especially true in the age of social media; we love to share our tabletop setups and culinary creations with friends, family and all our other followers. And while we all agree that pretty tableware is important for life in general (it’s all about bringing joy and a creative touch to everyday life!), it’s great to stock up on some extra-photogenic pieces to accent your feed.

Sometimes the smallest details make a huge difference. Overhead shots tend to be more successful, as are photos taken in natural light. It’s also good to have a range of interesting textures in both the backgrounds and the serving pieces, from rustic wood boards to marble slabs and delicate ceramic platters. Soft linens add movement and color, and metallic accents brighten up a muted palette. It’s all about a laid-back, but elevated, farm-to-table look with lots of natural materials and simple shapes to let the food itself shine.

Another essential prop for killer Insta food shots are oven-to-table cookware pieces. We’re talking a cast iron frying pan that’s perfect for cornbread or a frittata, a heavy duty dutch oven for crispy roast chicken, or colorful enamel bakeware for bubbly fruit crisps and savory casseroles. These beautiful heritage pieces come in so many colors, shapes and sizes and will totally complete your table. They can sometimes be a bit of an investment, but it’s worth it (and they’ll last forever!).

Here are 12 totally Instagrammable tabletop pieces to take your food posts to the next level.

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The 15 Best Sofas You Can Buy Online

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Ahh the sofa (or is it couch?!). It’s the place where you and your S.O. are most likely to spend the bulk of your time at home. That is of course, if it’s super comfortable and cozy! It’s also probably one of the bigger and bolder statement pieces in your home (by the nature of its size), so you’ll want to make sure it’s something you love. Seeing as it’s essentially ground control for both chill time and entertaining friends, there are a lot of things to consider when shopping for the perfect couch.

As one of the bigger ticket items you’re likely to buy or register for (hooray for group gifting!), make sure to carefully consider your space and lifestyle before diving in. Do you love opening up your home to out-of-town guests for the weekend? You might want to go with a sleeper style. Pressed for space in a tiny apartment? A smaller-scale love seat is going to be right up your alley. Cocktail parties and low-key dinners for a crowd more your thing? A modern-style sectional configuration is guaranteed to give you the seating and conversation space you need.

See more: The 10 Best Mattresses That You Can Buy Online

To make a sofa feel extra inviting (and worthy of evening-long Netflix binges), you’ll want to add lots of cushy accessories like accent pillows and throws. Start with a great base for your sofa in a solid color fabric or leather, and then add it patterns and textures with all that extra gear. While it’s fun to go with a color for your sofa, it’s better to stick items with that can be easily swapped out if you get tired of them. It’s a lot more pricey (not to mention annoying) to switch out the sofa itself!

From slipcovered to sleeper-style, here are the 15 best sofas you can buy online.

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10 Amazing Decor Products for Small Spaces

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We get it—sometimes your home or apartment’s living space is tiny, especially when you’re based in a big city. But just because you live in an apartment that’s the size of your childhood bedroom doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice style for function. The key to decorating small spaces is to keep your stuff edited and clutter tucked away as best as you can. This is easier said than done, of course, but there are a lot of products out there that can help!

When it comes to furniture for small spaces, it’s all about finding double-duty pieces that transform (fold out bed, anyone?) and pieces that fold up and stash away until you need it again. If you’re short on space, try to make use of the assets you do have. High ceilings and lots of wall space? Go up! Style out some tall bookshelves and mount racks or hooks as high as you can go but still staying accessible (your stepladder will become your new best friend). Make sure you leave some space free on exposed shelves so the whole thing doesn’t feel too overwhelming (this is where editing comes in handy). We’re big fans of hiding smaller utilitarian items away in pretty bins and boxes so the overall look is calm and put together.

It can take a while to find just the right products that fit your specific space (sometimes it takes a little trial and error to find the best storage solutions). Once you’ve got them in place, though, we guarantee that your small space will be so much more organized and easy to live in—and look good while you’re at it.

Here are 10 pieces of furniture for decorating small spaces that you can get your hands on now!

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Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2018: 13 Home Decor and Kitchen Items You Need

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It’s that time of year again: the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2018! And we are so excited. While you’re shopping for cute shoes and killer beauty deals, don’t forget to check out the store’s awesome home and kitchen selection. From cozy throws and plush towels to gorgeous serving pieces (there’s even a chic bar cart!), there are tons of great (and even useful) items to choose from. The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2018 is the perfect time to pick up all those cool decor and kitchen accessories you’ve been eyeing and stock up on gifts for down the road. It may seems like the holidays are far away, but you will save so much money (and stress!) if you can score some thoughtful presents ahead of time.

It can get a little overwhelming to shop this massive sale (along with Amazon Prime Day, it is literally the shopping event of the season) so we’ve gone through and picked out our favorite home decor and kitchen items from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2018.

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale starts today and goes through August 5th—get ready to shop!

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Wedding

The 10 Best Mattresses That You Can Buy Online

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Back in the day, shopping for a mattress meant hours of testing (by awkwardly lying on each one) and talking with aggressive sales people in badly-lit showrooms. Budget was always a concern (is it really worth it to shell out an extra $300 for bells and whistles that don’t make any sense?). Needless to say, it could sometimes be an overwhelming and confusing process to find a mattress that was both well-made and super comfy in a span of an afternoon’s shopping.

Luckily, in the age of the “bed in a box” mattresses, it’s gotten so much easier (and infinitely more pleasant) to buy a bed. First of all, you can do it right from your laptop. Many bed companies offer free delivery to your doorstep, and at-home trial periods (available with many of the models available today), meaning you can test them out for real—in the comfort of your home no less. And direct-to-consumer pricing on many models eliminates the middleman, keeping prices lower than before.

See more: How to Make the Perfect Bed

Shopping with a partner adds another layer to the mattress-purchasing process. One of you might tend to sleep on your back, while the other is a die-hard side sleeper. Snorer? Tosser and turner? There’s a mattress for you. With all the options out there today (and there are so many), you’ll definitely be able to find model that satisfies both of your sleeping styles.

Here are our 10 favorite mattresses you can buy online NOW!

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10 Decorative Mirrors To Instantly Brighten Your Home

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A wall mirror is more than just a place to check your makeup and tidy up your messy bun as you run out the door. Of course, it’s a must-have for all those day-to-day touchups and quick outfit checks before work or a hot date, but a decorative mirror can also be a important accent in the overall decor of your home.

First of all, mirrors reflect light, which is super important if you live in a tiny (or dark) apartment. Place two mirrors across from each other in a dimly lit room and you’ll be surprised how much lighter, airier, and larger the whole space seems as a result. Or hang a mirror in a narrow hallway and it will catch light from around the corner so the space feels more expansive.

Even a small mirror can make a difference in a space. Unusual shapes add visual interest to a gallery wall, and metallic or painted finishes can add a pop of brightness to a neutral room. A graphic mirror breaks up the square and rectangular shapes of framed artwork and can bring in texture through natural materials like wood, leather, and rope. Whether it’s above a vanity, in your entryway, or propped above a mantel, a decorative mirror is the perfect statement piece you’ll want to make sure you have.

Here are 10 decorative mirrors we love (all of which you can buy now!).

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14 Essentials You Need for Your Next Beach Trip

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Summer has officially arrived and we couldn’t be happier. And what better place to head for on a steamy weekend than the beach? If you’re lucky enough to live near a coastal spot, the beach (or anywhere on the water) is 100% the place to be when the temps start rising. If the seaside is a little more of a hike or not easily accessible, getting to any body of water, be it lake, stream or river, will help cool you down during the heat waves of summer. It also provides the perfect place for hanging with friends for some impromptu outdoor entertaining. There’s nothing better than laid back, al fresco dining with friends in a gorgeous outdoor spot.

When you head to the beach with your S.O. or with your crew, you’re going to want to be prepared. If you’ve got all your gear organized, you’ll be able to relax and spend as long as you want in the sand and sun. That means lots of beverages, coolers for keeping everything chilled, and protection from the elements (as much as we love sunbathing, dehydration and sunburns are definitely not our faves). Once you have the basics covered, it’s time to bring out the fun stuff: games, floats, tunes, and everything else that makes your beach gathering (even if it’s just a excursion for two) feel festive.

Here are 14 essentials you need for your next trip to the beach!

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