Lifestyle

7 Tips To Help You Stay Warm This Winter


If you live in the south, winters aren't unbearably cold, but they can still get pretty uncomfortable at times. If you're further north, you might have more tools to deal with frigid temperatures, but you've also got even colder temperatures to contend with. Regardless of how cold it gets where you live, we can all agree that we'd like to stay warm during the chilly months. Here are some easy ways to combat the cold.

1. Buy a space heater.

This one seems like a no brainer, but it's often overlooked. Older houses don't run very efficiently, even with a new heating unit. This means colder downstairs areas, freezing floors, and draftier rooms. Fortunately, you can combat this by heating up a particularly cold area with a space heater. Your energy bill might take a small hit, but it's worth it for the comfort.

2. Use a heated blanket (or multiple blankets).

Whether you're curling up on the couch for that movie, trying to stay warm at your computer, or going to bed, blankets are always welcome. Pile tons of them on top of your bed to save on the heat at night, or use a heated blanket at the office to stay warm. It really works.

3. Block doorway and window gaps.

Poorly sealed doorways and windows can lead to higher energy bills, cooler temperatures, and draftier homes. Fight this by placing cloth near the gaps, and make sure all gaps are properly caulked. Your home and your bill will thank you.

4. Have a hot drink.

Break out that coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. Seriously, if you're too chilly, nothing warms you up as well as a hot drink. Keep a supply of ingredients around for different hot drinks, and sip something warm on the next cold night.

5. Do housework.

We know, it's not particularly exciting. But staying busy around the house can warm your body enough to avoid being huddled under a million blankets. The bonus? Your house is clean and relaxing when you're done.

6. Use thick curtains.

Thick curtains can help fight poorly insulated windows (which happen often in older houses). We usually only think of thick curtains during the summer, when we're hoping to shut out sunlight for a movie or for afternoon naps. But those thick curtains can work wonders for keeping the warm air inside your house. Try them out.

7. Use a ceiling fan.

Contrary to popular belief, ceiling fans can actually help to warm your home during the winter. If you've got fans, make sure they're running clockwise for cold months. This helps to blow the warm air down and into the room, rather than encouraging it to swirl around the ceiling. You should be able to change the direction with a small switch, usually located near the light bulb sockets. Turn it on low and reap the benefits.

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Fashion

8 Ways To Wear Your Favorite Fall Scarf In 1 Minute


Fall is back, and that means pumpkin spice lattes, chilly school mornings, and most importantly, scarves. We've been waiting far too long to break out our favorite scarves again, but as the weather finally cools down, we have a chance to be reunited with our true love at last.

Unfortunately, scarves aren't always the easiest to arrange. Most of us know just one or two ways you can fashionably and comfortably wear a scarf, but there are actually tons of functional and fashionable ways to wear your favorite fashion piece. This video shows you 8 of them. Check it out.

Lifestyle

5 Yummy Soup Recipes Perfect for Those Cold Winter Nights

Just because we have to deal with the cold weather winter brings, that doesn’t mean we can’t warm ourselves up with delicious food -- and soup is pretty much the best thing ever when it comes to lessening the winter chill.

But there are so many soup recipes to choose from that it can get overwhelming. Well fear not, my fellow winter warriors, we have five incredibly delicious soups that will warm your hearts and your tummies.

5 Yummy Soup Recipes Perfect for Those Cold Winter Nights:

1. Classic Tomato and Basil Soup

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 Roma tomatoes, with seeds removed
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken broth (low-sodium tastes best)
  • ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • ¼ cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups fresh basil, diced

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Place tomatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and salt, and roast in oven for 45 minutes. In a stockpot, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add in onion and red pepper flakes, and sauté until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Then stir in crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, and sun-dried tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Add in roasted tomatoes and allow soup to simmer for 12 minutes. Stir in cream cheese and basil, and continue to stir until cheese is fully melted. Finally, using an immersion blender, or regular blender if you don’t have one, blend soup until smooth. Bon appetite!

2. Slow Cooker Creamy Tortellini and Mushroom Soup

Ingredients: 

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 ¾ cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (1.6-ounce) package alfredo sauce mix
  • 1 (8-ounce) package mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 (8-ounce) package fresh cheese tortellini
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 5 ½ cups fresh spinach

Directions: In a slow cooker, whisk together water, vegetable broth, and alfredo sauce mix until smooth. Add mushrooms, onion, garlic, basil, salt, oregano, and cayenne pepper, and stir to combine. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours. Then add tortellini and cook on low for another hour. Stir in evaporated milk and spinach, let cook for another minute or 2, and enjoy!

3. Spicy Black Bean Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • ¼ cup cheddar cheese, shredded, for topping
  • avocado slices for topping

Directions: In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Once hot, add in onion and garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Stir in bell pepper and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Using a fork or spoon, crush some of the black beans to help give the soup its texture, and add them to pot. Stir in vegetable broth, balsamic vinegar, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes. Pour into bowls, top with cheddar and avocado, and dig in!

4. Baked Potato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12-ounce) package bacon, diced
  • 1 ¼ cup onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 4-5 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth (low-sodium tastes best)
  • 1 cup cream (half-and-half is best, but any will do)
  • ¾ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: In a large pot, cook bacon over medium heat until done, and then move it to a paper towel to cool. Keep 3-4 tablespoons of bacon fat in pot. Add in onion and garlic and sauté until onions are translucent, about 7 minutes. Slowly add in flour, stirring constantly, and cook until a roux forms, about 2 minutes. Stir in potatoes and chicken broth, and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Then turn heat down and let simmer 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Stir in cream, cheese, scallions, bacon bits, salt, and pepper. Let simmer for 5-7 more minutes, or until cheese is melted. Now the best part: eat up!

5. Minestrone Soup with Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1-2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pesto
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 cups canned tomatoes
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • salt to taste
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas
  • 1 cup green beans, trimmed and chopped
  • ⅓ cup pasta
  • 1 ½ tablespoons bacon bits
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • parmesan cheese for topping

Directions: In a stockpot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add onions, carrots, and pesto, and cook until onions start to soften. Add water, tomatoes, sweet potato, and salt, stirring to combine. Bring to boil, cover, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15-18 minutes. Stir in chickpeas, green beans, pasta, and bacon bits, place cover back on, and simmer for 8-10 minutes longer, or until pasta is done. Remove from heat, stir in spinach, and cover just long enough for spinach to wilt. Top with some parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Image Source: BigStock

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Lifestyle

7 Hot Cocktails to Get You Through the Winter

Nothing helps keep a person warm than a little whiskey, brandy, or hot buttered rum. And with the cold weather rolling in, there is nothing we need more than a little help warming up.

These classic drink recipes that will definitely warm you up and definitely please your tastebuds.

7 Hot Cocktails to Get You Through the Winter:

1. Bourbon-Spiked Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate with a little booze for good measure. If you’re not a bourbon fan, Kahlua works just as good.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 ½ cups milk
  • 1 ounce Kahlua or 1/2 ounce Bourbon
  • whipped cream and caramel for topping (optional)

Directions to make:

  1. In a saucepan over low-medium heat, melt the chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of the milk, whisking often (about 3 minutes).
  2. Once melted, add the rest of the milk and stir vigorously to incorporate.
  3. Pour a small amount of the hot chocolate into two serving glasses, add one ounce of Kahlua OR one-half ounce of bourbon (bourbon is much stronger in taste).
  4. Top off with hot chocolate, stir and then top with whipped cream and caramel sauce.

2. Hot Bourbon-Orange Tea Toddy

An excellent cocktail that can be served before or after dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 3 regular-size orange pekoe tea bags
  • 1/2 cup bourbon

Directions to make:

  1. Bring first 4 ingredients and 1 qt. water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Remove pan from heat.
  3. Add tea bags; steep 10 minutes.
  4. Remove and discard solids, using a slotted spoon.
  5. Whisk in bourbon, and serve hot or warm.

3. Spiced Irish Coffee

What better way than do start a cold winter day than with a little whiskey and coffee?

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups freshly brewed hot coffee
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 tablespoons whiskey
  • whipped cream (optional)

Directions to make:

  1. Divide all ingredients between two glasses.
  2. Pipe the whipped cream onto each drink, if desired.

4. Winter Old-Fashioned

A spicy take on a rightful classic.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 12 ounces sweet bourbon (or whiskey)
  • 1 orange, cut into 8 wedges
  • 8 maraschino cherries
  • 4 cinnamon sticks (optional garnish)

Directions to make:

  1. Place first five ingredients into a saucepan and simmer over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil then cover and remove from heat. Allow the mixture to steep for 30 minutes. Strain the spices from the simple syrup.
  3. Allow the mixture to cool completely before placing in the fridge for an hour to chill.
  4. Divide an orange wedge and two cherries into each four glasses and muddle together.
  5. Place the chilled syrup, bourbon and ice into a large shaker and shake until well combined.
  6. Divide the mixture into each glass and top with an extra orange wedge, squeezing the wedge before dropping into the glass.
  7. Garnish each glass with a cinnamon stick, if using, and serve.

5. Hot Pumpkin Buttered Rum

I can’t think of a better cocktail to curl up with on a cold, winter day.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin butter
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • pinch salt
  • dark rum
  • hot water
  • whipped cream, to garnish

Directions to make:

  1. Cream together the butter, brown sugar, pumpkin butter, pumpkin pie spice, and salt using a mixer on low setting.
  2. Add approximately 2 tablespoons of butter mixture to the bottom of a heat-proof glass or mug.
  3. Add 2 ounces of dark rum.
  4. Fill the glass with boiling water.
  5. Stir to mix.
  6. Top with whipped cream and garnish with a dusting of spice (optional).

6. The Martinez

It's the kind of martini you can drink in front of the fire.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 1 bar spoon of maraschino
  • 1 dash orange bitters

Directions to make:

  1. Stir ingredients with ice.
  2. Strain into a coupe glass.
  3. Serve up and garnish with an orange twist.

7. Sour Green Apple Margarita

The jalapeño will help keep you warm.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lime wedge
  • kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup jalapeño simple syrup
  • 1 cup sour green apple juice
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3/4 cup tequila
  • 1/4 cup triple sec or grand marnier
  • ice
  • jalapeño simple syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
  • lime wedges for garnish

Directions to make:

  1. Use the lime wedge to rub around the rim of the glass, then dip the rim in the kosher salt. Set aside.
  2. Next make the syrup: In a small pan, combine the sugar, water, and jalapeno and bring to a simmer for a few minutes.
  3. Add the contents to the jar of a blender and puree on high until smooth.
  4. Put the syrup in the fridge to chill.
  5. Fill the salt rimmed glasses with ice cubes.
  6. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, simple syrup, mix sour green apple juice, lime juice, tequila and grand marnier.
  7. Shake vigorously and pour over the ice- garnish with lime wedges.

Image Source: BigStock

Lifestyle

How to Defrost Your Car Windows in Mere Seconds

A frosty car window is one of the most unfortunate and annoying parts of the winter season. Especially if you leave your car outside overnight. Defrosting or scraping your frosty windows and windshield can add minutes to your morning that you typically don't have.

Thankfully, Meteorologist Ken Weathers (his name is literally Weathers) from Tennessee has shared his brilliant solution for defrosting your icy windows in mere seconds.

His solution only requires a few simple ingredients that you most likely have in your home and will save you time, money and gas.

An EASY way to clear frost off your windshield if you have to park outside at night!

(**Make sure all chemicals are labeled and kept away from small children in your home**)

Posted by WATE Ken Weathers on Tuesday, January 5, 2016

 

The solution is made up of 1/3 water and 2/3 rubbing alcohol.

Image Source: Facebook, BigStock

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Fashion

What To Wear to a Winter Country Music Concert

Nothing transports you to a carefree summer day like a great country song… but the cold hard truth is that it’s January. Unfortunately, cutoffs just aren’t going to cut it. We’ve put together a cozy winter country concert outfit that’s just as fun.

So, whether you're headed to Luke Bryan's big-time Kill the Lights show or a local act just down the street-- you have options.

What To Wear to a Winter Country Music Concert:

Multi Stitch Long Sleeve Sweater Dress by HYFVE

This simple dress is as comfy as it’s flattering. The belt cinches in your waist to create a balanced hourglass shape.

Shawl Collar Cardigan With Aztec Trim by HYFVE

Layer this fun cardigan over the sweater dress for some extra warmth and texture.

Layered Necklace With Gray Glass Beads And Crystal Pendant by Turkish Delight Jewelry

This gorgeous necklace is so Carrie Underwood. Take a note from the country singer’s book and layer, layer, layer!

Ambrosia Bracelet by Elise M.

This gold triple-wrap bracelet is too precious to pass up.

Celeste Ring by Elise M.

This 18k gold-plated single jasper-stone ring is the perfect final touch to the outfit… and a compliment magnet.

 

Melissa Button Boot by Frye

Finally, what’s a country concert without boots? These soft vintage leather Frye boots are guaranteed on-trend.

Image Source: Country Outfitter, Jeremy Scott for Country Outfitter

Lifestyle

How to Make Insanely Delicious Mulled Wine

What’s your go-to winter time drink? Essentially, what pairs well with frigid temperatures and days that are dark by 4:45 pm in the afternoon? It’s easy to rattle off summertime cocktails, but wintertime cocktails seem to be a little more challenging. Hot toddies and Irish coffees are great and all, but this mulled wine recipe is a game-changer. After just one glass, we think you won’t mind the cold weather so much.

How to Make Mulled Wine:

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle dry red wine (merlot or cabernet sauvignon are great)
  • 7 whole cloves
  • 3 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 1 orange sliced into rounds
  • ¼ cup honey

*For an extra kick, add in ¼ cup brandy.

Garnish:

  • orange slices
  • cinnamon sticks or a star anise

To Cook: Mix all the ingredients into a saucepan and cook on a stove top on a low setting. Be sure not to boil the liquid, lest you cook out the alcohol. Cook on low for 15 minutes, or until warm, and strain before serving. If you plan to have this at a party or gathering, we recommend transferring the liquid into a crock pot and putting it on the ‘warm’ setting.

Image Source: BigStock

Fashion

4 Dresses That Will Transform Your Bland Winter Wardrobe

Winter style is all about layering and one of my favorite looks for the chilly weather is dresses paired with tights. Not only is this look incredibly comfortable, it's stylish and makes you look extremely cute and put together without much effort -- win, win, win.

There are four basic dress styles that will completely transform your closet and give unlimited options for pairing, layering and accessorizing without any hassle.

4 Dresses That Will Transform Your Bland Winter Wardrobe:

1. A Striking Neutral

A tan or camel-colored dress will go with almost any color of tights, coats, scarves, hats -- you name it. The Kori America Baby Doll dress is incredibly versatile and can be paired with an endless array of accessories.

One dress, one million looks.

 

2. A Bold Pattern

The Angie Bell Sleeve dress is the perfect dress for when you want to make a statement. Paired with a basic pair of tights and a cool pair of boots, you have a complete, hassle-free look that gives you class and style.

 

3. A Comfy-Cute Pattern

This Umgee dress will provide you comfort and style. With no inhibiting ties, elastics or zippers, you have endless mobility without having to wear your favorite pair of sweatpants.

Look good without trying, who doesn't love that?

4. A Structured Denim

Denim dresses have the ability to make any outfit look super polished, yet casual. When a pair of jeans just won't do, grab your Angie denim dress, a pair of tights and some boots and you're good to go.

Denim for the win.

 

Didn't find exactly what you're looking for? Click here to shop all Country Outfitter Women's Dresses.

Fashion

7 Ways to Annihilate Staticky Winter Hair

Winter is a great season. It allows you to play around with fun layered styles, it gives you more reasons to drink creamy hot chocolate and mosquitoes (demons) have retreated from the cold weather.

But, there is one massive thing about winter that I hate -- staticky, clingy, flat hair. There's nothing worse than spending 30 minutes fixing your hair and then putting a sweater on only to have it look like you've been electrocuted by a light socket.

Thankfully, there are some decently easy ways to improve this problem, thus, making winter the perfect season.

7 Ways to Annihilate Staticky Winter Hair:

1. Stop using a plastic comb.

Using a plastic comb only makes your hair more staticky. Try using a metal comb to cut down on the static.

?taken-by=metalcombworks

2. Use water.

Yes, it's that simple. Dampen your hands with a little water and then rub your hands through your hair for immediate static relief.

This is not a long-term solution, but will help cut down on static throughout the day.

3. Utilize your dryer sheets.

Rubbing dryer sheets on your hair can help eliminate static. Keep one in your purse and reuse when static attacks again.

#bounce #itdoesexist #costco #柔軟剤シート #dryersheets

A photo posted by Alex Michaelson (@kusunokitsune) on

?tagged=dryersheets

4. Rub a light lotion or moisturizer on the ends.

When you're moisturizing your hands, use the tiny bit of residue left over at the end to help reduce static. Just rub it on the ends to avoid making your hair look greasy.

5. Try wearing a tight braid.

There are plenty of ways to make braids look stylish. Opt for a simple tight braid (or a fancy one) to cut-back on annoying static.

I can't get enough of French fishtail variations lately. #braids4days #braidybunch #frenchfish #hairbyclaire #theclairenecessities

A photo posted by Claire Edwards (@theclaire_necessities) on

?taken-by=theclaire_necessities

6. Brush or comb hair with hairspray.

Simply spray your brush or comb with hairspray and run it through your hair. Spray lightly to avoid crunchy-looking hair.

7. Pin the front of your hair down/wear a half ponytail.

The most annoying part of your hair is the front, especially when it's staticky. To eliminate annoying fly-aways and hairs that tend to stick to your face, pin down the front or where it back in a half ponytail.

#50shadesofgrey #halfponytail 🐀

A photo posted by Laura Mancewicz (@mancewicz) on

?tagged=halfponytail

Image Source: BigStock