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Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show:The Best Look from the 2015 Runway

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Why You Get Stressed When Your Partner Is Stressed

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When you’re in a relationship, it’s no secret that you share the highs and the lows. You feel elated when your partner is happy, and you can feel completely destroyed when you see them in pain. But it’s actually a more complicated phenomenon than just picking up on and feeding off of someone else’s emotions; sometimes, we actually internalize those emotions and can start to feel them ourselves. Because the truth is, emotions are contagious.

The bad news? Some emotions catch easier than others—and anxiety and stress can catch like wildfire. If you find yourself feeling stressed and anxious when your partner is stressed, you’re not alone—and it’s not in your imagination. There’s actually a lot of science behind it. Here’s why you get anxious when your partner is anxious.

The Power Of Anxiety Contagion

You might worry about catching your partner’s flu or cold, but you probably don’t think of yourself as catching anxiety. But when you start thinking about emotions as being contagious, it makes a lot of sense. Elaine Hatfield, a social psychologist at the University of Hawaii, has done a lot of research into relationship science and emotion consignation. In a relationship, it’s actually really easy to see why we pick up on each other’s emotions.

“In conversation, people automatically and continuously mimic and synchronize their movements with the facial expressions, voices, postures, movements, and instrumental behaviors of others,” Hatfield explains. “Consequently, people tend, from moment to moment, to ‘catch’ others’ emotions.” And though those emotions can be happy ones—a friend’s good mood has been proven to boost our mood by 25 percent—it’s the more unpleasant emotions that tend to transfer. “We catch happiness, but sadness, anger, and fear are a lot more contagious,” she says. So when your partner is unhappy at work or stressed with family issues, there’s a good chance you’ll start to feel it.

In fact, research has shown that we can smell the difference between sweat that results from stress and sweat that results from physical activity. There are so many different ways that the body manifests stress, before you even take into consideration the way your partner is acting or speaking. It’s no wonder that we start to absorb and mimic some of their anxieties.

A Gendered Issue?

One thing that the research hasn’t looked into, but many of us have experienced anecdotally, is that women often seem to pick up on anxiety and stress in the people around them more than men do. This isn’t because men are intrinsically more obvious, it’s because we, as a society, put a specific pressure on women. “Women are often socialized to be caretakers, so in a way, we sometimes feel like their stress or problems are actually our responsibility to solve,” relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW, tells Brides. “So if this is the case, in a way their stress actually is our stress.”

It may not be true for all women, but many of us feel the pressure to help people, especially men, deal with and process their anxiety—even when the situation is far beyond our control. And we simply don’t put the same expectations on men. The social burden that women feel to be emotional caretakers, mixed with the power of emotional contagion can make it really easy for your partner’s anxiety to really affect your life.

See more: What is Mirroring, and What Does it Mean for Your Marriage?

The Importance Of Perspective

It’s important that you can empathize with your partner and be compassionate toward their anxieties—but it won’t do either of you any good if you let their problems take over your life. You need to be able to get some distance. If you feel like you tend to take on your partner’s anxieties to a fault, it’s important to take a step back. “A good way to solve this is to recognize that you and your partner are separate people,” Hartstein says. “They can be stressed, or sad, or depressed. You can empathize with them, but do not have to take on their feelings.” Remembering that you are separate people—and recognizing your limits and your inability to solve all of your partner’s problems—can help keep their stress from having a debilitating influence on your life.

We’re always going to pick up on and be affected by the emotions of people we care about—it’s totally natural and, in many ways, a good thing. But when we start to let the stress and anxiety of someone else become our own source of torment, things can get out of hand. Try to get some perspective and remember that there’s a difference between being a compassionate support system and becoming embroiled with someone else’s anxiety. If you can protect yourself, it will make you a happier person—and a stronger partner.

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Wedding

Meghan Markle Is Reportedly Finding Some Royal Rules “A Little Frustrating”

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For 36 years of her life, Meghan Markle was a regular American citizen, free to do whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted. It makes sense, then, that ever since the former Suits star stepped into her new role as a full-fledged member of the British royal family, she’s reportedly had a bit of trouble getting used to all the nit-picky ins and outs of royal etiquette.

In this week’s issue of People, a royal “source” said that the Duchess of Sussex “has found certain rules in the royal household difficult to understand, like the fact that the queen prefers women in dresses or skirts rather than trouser suits, and is often asking Harry why things have to be done in a certain way.” The insider added, “I think she finds it a little frustrating at times, but this is her new life, and she has to deal with it.”

Indeed, though Meghan has yet to put away all her pants for good—she wore a black Givenchy pantsuit while on her royal tour of Ireland with Prince Harry last week and, just this past weekend, opted for Ralph Lauren trousers while attending the Ladies’ Singles Final at Wimbledon with sister-in-law Kate Middleton—she does appear to be following the “rules” and only wearing dresses and skirts when she’s in the presence of the queen.

Karwai Tang/Getty Images

Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Additionally, as royal photographer Mark Stewart told People, Meghan has her husband to rely on to help her out with tricky royal etiquette. “You can see Prince Harry’s hands-on approach, steering her, helping her,” Stewart said. For example, when Meghan and Harry joined the rest of the royal family in attending the Trooping the Colour celebration in June, Harry could be seen telling his wife when to curtsy. At the same event, lip readers noticed that, at one point, the prince checked in on Meghan, asking if she was “okay,” as he’s sweetly done several times before.

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Wedding

The Bachelorette's Rachel Lindsay Knows When She'll Finally Marry Bryan Abasolo

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Pop the rosé! Rachel Lindsay just announced that she knows when she wants to tie the knot—and has revealed a few more details about her big day, too. On Monday, Lindsay spoke to Entertainment Tonight about her relationship and all her plans for the coming year. She told the publication that in addition to a spring wedding, she wants to start a family with fiancé Bryan Abasolo—pronto.

“Yes, ideally—I wanted a winter wedding,” Lindsay shared. “I wanted it in December, but as it’s getting closer and plans haven’t been put in place, it’s looking more next year, the spring, because I want to have kids. I really want to start next year. I want more stability. We’ve been traveling so much and I want to create this family unit and a home for us. We’ve been having a great time, traveling, we live together, so we’ve already done the things, ‘Oh, I’ll wait two years once I get married’—we’re already doing that. So, it’s like, why wait?! Let’s have kids!”

The reality star also noted that staying out of the spotlight has helped strengthen her and her fiancé’s relationship, despite the franchise’s not-so-stellar relationship retention rate. “I think you have to take a step back. A lot of people asked me, ‘Are you going to do Dancing With the Stars?’—for me that wasn’t even a question because I wanted to build a foundation away from cameras, just the two of us,” she explained. “It helped that Bryan moved to Dallas and Dallas isn’t a hot spot for media, so it’s really great. We traveled together, spent time visiting each other’s families—did real-life couple things, things you do in the real world!”

The bride told ET that if they choose to have a televised wedding, they’ll likely opt for a Dallas or California venue. If it isn’t televised, Lindsay said they would probably opt for a destination wedding, potentially in Colombia.

See more: Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay Is Already Picking Out Her Wedding Dress

“I definitely want a lot of flowers,” Lindsay also shared of her wedding-day vision. “I’m more big on the reception than the actual wedding. I don’t want it to be that long—short and sweet! I want to write our own vows, but also say traditional vows. The reception—just good music, good food! I’ll be on the dance floor the entire time.”

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Wedding

Watch Mariah Carey Help Her Backup Dancer Get Engaged

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Mariah Carey makes fantasies come true, and this was certainly the case for one of her backup dancers last weekend. During a performance of her Las Vegas residency “The Butterfly Returns” at Caesars Palace on Saturday, July 14, Carey took a break from scheduled programming to give her dancer, Manwe, the surprise of a lifetime.

Wearing a white gown herself, Carey called Manwe up to take center stage and introduced him to the audience. She asked him if there were any additional guests, and Manwe called up his boyfriend Sumeet.

“I’ve heard a lot about you,” Carey said to Sumeet. The “We Belong Together” singer played it cool even though she and Sumeet were already acquainted since he reached out about the surprise proposal. He had some fun with the moment and responded, “I’ve heard a lot about you, too.”

Carey left Sumeet to get on with the show and wished them luck as she fled the stage. “Manwe we’ve been planning this for a long time and you didn’t know about it so hopefully you are surprised in a very big way,” she said.

Sumeet picked up where she left off saying, “Manwe, it’s been a really crazy year.” His speech continued, but cheering from the crowd drowned out the sound in the video. The next thing you hear is Sumeet saying, “would you do me the honor,” as he drops to one knee. Manwee nods yes the two share a long hug and kiss.

“He said yes!!!” Carey wrote on Instagram sharing the video with her fans. “Congratulations Manwe and Sumeet!!”

Sumeet and Manwe also took to social media and used Instagram to thank the Grammy award winner for the opportunity. “Thank you @mariahcarey for letting me steal the show for a minute to profess my love to @according2manwe #engaged,” Sumeet wrote.

Sharing the video again Manwe said, “The video that went viral. Thank you to my boss @mariahcarey thank you to @bryantanaka and everyone who was in on this. And above all thank you to my future husband @sumeetnpotatoes love you with all my heart and can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.”

See more: Watch Maroon 5 Help a Fan Propose at Their Concert

We can’t help but wonder: Will Mimi do them the honor of performing at their wedding? Guess we’ll just have to wait and see!

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Wedding

Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank Just Announced Guest List Details for Their Upcoming Royal Wedding

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Listen up, royal wedding fans—with less than 100 days (86, to be exact) until Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s nuptials at Windsor Castle, the couple just shared some exciting new info regarding their guest list. While we still don’t know for sure which members of Eugenie’s A-list posse will land an invite, we do know that the betrothed pair wants to follow in Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s footsteps by inviting members of the general public to partake in their big day.

“Her Royal Highness Princess Eugenie of York and Mr. Jack Brooksbank will invite members of the public to join in the celebrations of their wedding on Friday 12th October,” a Buckingham Palace statement announced earlier today. The Palace added via Twitter that “1,200 members of the public will be able to view the arrival of the congregation and Members of the Royal Family, listen to a live broadcast of the Marriage Service and watch the start of the procession as the couple depart at the end of the Wedding ceremony.”

But, before you book your flight to London to catch a glimpse of Princess Eugenie and Brooksbank, there is a catch—interested members of the public must fill out an application in order to be considered for this privilege, and only citizens of the United Kingdom will make the cut (sorry, guys). However, if you do happen to meet the criteria, you can fill out the electronic ballot here.

The royal statement also revealed that locals from the Windsor community and schools, which Eugenie attended, will be watching the royal cavalcade from the Castle Grounds. Brooksbank and his future bride have chosen to invite members of the charities they both condone, as well.

Following the couple’s vows at St. George’s Chapel, the same spot Harry and Meghan were married, Eugenie and Brooksbank will begin their traditional post-wedding carriage procession. “The carriage will process through the grounds of Windsor Castle, departing via Castle Hill to proceed along part of the High Street before returning to the Castle via Cambridge Gate,” the Palace press release added.

See more: Princess Eugenie Wears Over-the-Top Fascinator to Queen’s Garden Party

Now that Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank are officially taking more cues than one from their recent royal wedding predecessors, here’s hoping these lovebirds will also mimic Meghan and Harry with a televised ceremony. An American can only dream…

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Wedding

The 3 Most Common Sex Problems Newlyweds Face

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There is a lot of pressure placed on the honeymoon and post-honeymoon sex couples “should” be having. It’s like if you’re not doing it 24/7, each time putting the Kama Sutra to shame, there is something wrong with your relationship. This isn’t true at all. It’s not always incredible, lusty, mind-blowing orgasms right after a wedding. Just because you’ve been having sex for years and feel like you’ve perfected every technique in the book, doesn’t mean your sex life will suddenly magnify X100,000 now that you’re married and dripping (pun intended) in newlywed bliss.

According to psychologist and author of The Men on My Couch, Stories of Sex, Love, and Psychotherapy Dr. Brandy Engler, newlyweds should focus on a few key problem areas to ensure they keep their sex life poppin’.

If you’re finding yourself in a sexual bind and are worried, don’t be. There are a few common problems almost all newlyweds experience from when it comes to sex. Chances are, everything is perfectly normal. Here are three common areas where you might be finding trouble—and how to get around them!

Timing

When you’re newly married, the pressure is on to be getting down all the time. It can be super annoying getting those winks and questions from friends and family alike: “I’m sure the sex is amazing!” “You guys must be all over each other!” If you’re not doing it three times a day, it may feel like you’re not doing this whole “newlywed” thing right.

“We live in a culture that tells us we’re supposed to be super sexual all the time — but that’s not the reality for most couples,” Engler says. “However, couples should consider shorter sexual encounters during the week — think 15 minutes — and encounters that aren’t necessarily intercourse. Kissing, touching, oral sex, keep connections going.”

Instead of allowing yourself to succumb to BS feelings of inadequacy, remember that the amount of sex you have isn’t what’s important, it’s about what makes you and your partner happy. Focus on intimacy and reminding each other how much you love each other on a daily basis. If you want to have more sex, try things other than intercourse. Penetration is not the end-all-be-all of sex. Masturbate together or watch each other masturbate. Give your partner a sensual massage. Be together in ways that allow you to feel close, but don’t add unneeded obligations.

Too busy to get busy

“Our daily routines often don’t leave room for sex,” Engler explains. “Most couples are sure to make room for work, exercise or certain social activities, but refuse to think about sex as a scheduled activity.” While people desire spontaneous sex — the kind that takes place on the kitchen floor or right after a hot shower, “our lives don’t really allow for sexual energy to brew because we tend to exhaust ourselves by the end of the day,” says Engler.

Don’t push sex to the back burner. Consider it as important as any other part of your daily life. It brings you closer together and strengthens your pair-bond. Never stop flirting and being sexy with each other. You may be married, but that doesn’t mean things need to get boring. “Think little flirtations — grabs, kisses, whispers in the ear about what will be done later,” says Engler. “These things need to happen in a non-demand manner, meaning they don’t lead to intercourse right there on the spot.”

Keeping the spark alive doesn’t necessarily mean setting aside 20 minutes per day to get it in, it means being sexual and loving with each other as a means of conscious practice. If you or your partner feel like anytime the one of you is being flirtations and it needs to lead to sex, have a conversation about your insecurities. Sex is great, but your relationship should have room for flirtation that doesn’t always lead to getting naked.

See more: How to Keep Your Sex Life H-O-T Even After Years of Marriage

Unrealistic sexpectations

The biggest culprit to sexual dissatisfaction in those first few months after marriage is giving into unrealistic expectations of what your sex life is going to look like. If you think that just because you have a ring on your finger you’re going to suddenly have sex in 90 new positions a week, against every surface on planet earth, you’re going to wind up disappointed.

It’s also not particularly realistic to think that being married erases any lingering sexual concerns you may have faced pre-nuptials. If there were concerns before, they will remain if they aren’t addressed. Whether that be a difference in libido, trouble with lubrication or ED, getting married is not going to fix everything. It’s wonderful that you found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, but marriage takes work. Be ready to do that work if you want to improve your sex life.

Gigi Engle is a sex educator and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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