How to Tie a Tie

Even if you are a jeans and T-shirt kind of guy, every once in a while you are going to have to get dressed up. You know, when you go to a funeral, or get married, or go to that job interview. In those situations a clip-on tie just doesn't cut it. You could have your friend (or your mother if you're lame) tie your tie for you. Or you could just learn how to tie your own tie. This one is called a single Windsor.

Step 1 - Button your shirt all the way up to your neck. Turn your collar up. Drape the tie around your neck with the seam on the inside and the skinny end on your right. Hold the skinny end with your right hand and the fat end with your left hand. Pull the fat end down until the skinny end stops just above your belly button.

Step 2 - Move the skinny end toward the left. Cross the fat end to the right over the top of the skinny end with the cross about three inches from your neck. Change hands and hold the skinny end with your left hand and the fat end with your right hand.

Step 3 - Fold the fat end around the skinny end back toward the left and up through the V created by the cross. Hold the skinny end with your left hand and let the fat end dangle down toward the right side. Hold the fat end with your right and and give a little tug. You should have a tight little developing knot where the two sides crossed.

Step 4 - Hold the skinny end with your left hand just below the knot. Fold the fat end behind the knot to the left. Hold the knot between the thumb and forefinger of your right hand. Release the skinny end with your left hand and take hold of the fat end with your left hand. Pull the fat end to your left and give it a little tug to keep the knot taught. Tuck the fat end down through the V and let it hang down. The seam on the fat end should be showing. The seam on the skinny end should not be showing. Release the knot with your right hand and grasp the skinny end just below the knot with your right hand.  Grasp the fat end with your left hand and give a little tug to keep the knot taught.

Step 5 - Release the skinny end with your right hand and grasp the knot with the thumb and forefinger of your right hand. Your right thumb should be keeping the fat end securely in place. Release the fat end with your left hand. Move your left hand under the fat end. Place the thumb of your left hand on the back of the knot. Place the first two fingers of your left hand on the top of the knot. Release the knot with your right hand. Reach across the knot and grasp the left side of the fat end with your right hand.  Pull the fat end toward the right, wrapping the fat end loosely over the fingers of your left hand creating a loop. Wrap the fat end behind the knot and straight up through the V. Tuck the fat end down through the loop that is on top of the fingers of your left hand.

Step 6 - Hold the skinny end with your left hand just below the knot. Hold the fat end with your right hand just below your left hand. Give the fat end a little tug to snug the knot. Grasp the fabric on either side of the knot with each hand and tug outward to arrange the knot. Grasp the skinny end with your left hand. With your right hand positioned at the bottom of the knot, push the knot upward until it rests comfortably at the top button of your shirt. Turn your collar down.

Leave yourself plenty of time to repeat this process as you'll probably need to do it more than once to get it right. If properly executed the fattest part of your tie should lie at the top of your belt.

Don't snug the tie too tight or you will be in for an uncomfortable night.

How to Pack for Travel

A journey over the river and through the woods doesn't mean you have to haul a caravan of luggage with you. Before you try to stuff your kitchen sink into your luggage, consider packing just a few versatile things. By dressing in layers and only packing a handful of travel-friendly items, your baggage will be less burdensome, and your weary back will thank you.

No-Iron Shirts
Never has there been a more travel-friendly invention than the no-iron shirt. These Oxford-style shirts are produced by dozens of manufacturers and designed from traditional to curvy with various sleeve lengths. Even if your no-iron shirt comes out of the suitcase with a wrinkle here or there, a couple of hours on a hanger will take the creases right out--no iron needed.

Zip-Off Pants
Sometimes called "convertible" or "two-in-one" pants, these casual trousers feature a zipper just above the knee. It wraps around the circumference of the leg so pants convert to shorts with a simple zip. Even though zip-off pants have always had a hiker look to them, new designs are more tailored with less conspicuous zippers.

Waterproof Jacket
Jackets made from lightweight waterproof fabric are invaluable. Look for something with a mesh lining. The mesh keeps you warm in chilly temperatures and allows air circulation when it's warmer. Zipper vents along the underarms or back are ideal, as well as inner and outer pockets and a hood that stows away in the collar.

Packing shoes is tricky, especially if you have various events to attend that require different dress codes. At the very least, pack a pair of black loafers and a pair of trail sneakers. Black loafers come in versatile designs that can be both dressy and business casual at the same time. Trail sneakers are good for urban treks and bushwhacking alike with their durable soles, breathable fabrics and water-resistant uppers.

Bring one or two totes to carry your belongings in. While a backpack might be good for a day of sightseeing, it isn't appropriate for a night at the theater. Check your itinerary and your outfits to see what works best.

How to Choose Acne Skin Care Products

Thanks to hormones, family history, environment and side effects from medications, acne can be tough to prevent. And as soon as one blemish clears up, out pops another one. Dermatologists have plenty of solutions for chronic acne, but for many, over the counter acne treatments can improve annoying spots and splotches.

Step 1
Choose a face wash that contains either benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Benzoyl peroxide is the ingredient in products like Oxy and Proactiv and has been used to treat acne for nearly a century. It kills bacteria, dries up oil and promotes sloughing off of dead skin cells. Salicylic acid is found in products like Olay Blemish Control and Neutrogena Oil Free face washes. It works by slowing the sloughing off of skin cells so they don't have the opportunity to clog pores.

Step 2
Use astringent toner to remove even more dirt and oil from the pores. Since most astringents contain alcohol or acetone, they can irritate the skin and cause a burning sensation. Use astringent conservatively to avoid irritation. Unfortunately, astringents can work against you if they're overused. They can dry out the skin so much that pores go into overdrive, producing more oil to rehydrate the skin. More oil means more clogged pores, which leads to more acne.

Step 3
Use a spot treatment to target individual blemishes. Typically, they come in cream or gel form. Because spot treatments are used in small areas, they're can be reapplied during the day without having to go through the cleansing process.

Step 4
Choose a moisturizer that suits your preference. Because any skin type can be acne prone, there isn't one moisturizer that suits everyone. Whether your skin needs a light moisturizer or something more heavy duty, always be sure to apply a product that contains SPF 15 or higher every day--no exceptions.

Facial cleanser
Astringent or toner
Spot treatment

Chemicals can be too strong for some people to stand. If benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid cause redness and itching, consider using products that contain natural acne fighters like tea tree or rosemary oil. Strong astringents can be replaced with witch hazel or toners containing rosewater.

List of Baby Accessories

If you ask a dozen parents what the ultimate baby accessories are, you'll get a dozen different answers. While one mom might think a wipes warmer or diaper pail is a necessity, another will tell you it's a waste of money. By keeping your family and your budget in mind, you'll figure out just what baby accessories you need.

Technology has made parenting infinitely easier. Baby monitors allow parents to listen or even watch their little ones as they sleep (or not) in another room. Their clarity and portability has improved over the years as has their range of use. Electronic thermometers are a wonderful invention, too. They accomplish the task of taking the temp of a squirmy baby in a matter of seconds with spot-on accuracy. Breast pumps are life savers for nursing moms, especially electric ones. Pumping and storing breast milk takes the stress out of outings and leaving the baby with a sitter.

A variety of blankets are must have items. Newborns will need receiving blankets to be swaddled in, as well as an extra blanket to keep them warm while snoozing. Those bigger quilted blankets will be useful even when your little one outgrows his receiving blankets.

Bottles and Pacifiers
Babies are oral creatures, and some of them turn into little demons if they don't have something in their mouths. There are a ton of bottles and pacifiers on the market but you'll probably have to try a few different styles to get a sense of what your baby prefers.

Resting Places
A car seat is a must. After giving birth, hospitals won't discharge you unless you have a proper car seat installed in your vehicle. Choose either a smaller infant car seat or a convertible car seat that baby can grow into.  Different styles of swings, bouncy seats, and wearable slings are options that allow parents to put baby down while they free up their hands.

Travel systems are a convenient all-in-one tool. They're large strollers designed for a car seat to snap into with ample storage under the seat. Umbrella strollers are the most affordable option and they take up very little space. Unfortunately, they're not a very good choice until baby is able to sit up on his own. Jogging strollers are designed to allow a parent to get some exercise and navigate irregular terrain on inflatable tires.

Whether you're using a crib, co-sleeper or play yard as a bed, you'll need at least a couple of sheets. Accidents will happen--often in the middle of the night--when you'll find yourself changing the bedding unexpectedly. Lay down a waterproof protector sheet beneath the crib sheet to protect the mattress. Optional items to include are musical mobiles and soft bumpers.

How to Wear a Scarf in 5 Different Styles

Incorporating scarves into your wardrobe is a fast way to make boring old outfits cool again. Adding a scarf to your ensemble adds a touch of zing to Oxfords and makes scoop necks snappy. Adding a little silk, chiffon or a cozy knit scarf can even make you feel a little bit glamorous.

Step 1
Use a slipknot to create two fabulous looks. It's not the kind of slipknot you'd use to tie a horse to a hitching post or, but rather an easy, sophisticated way to secure a scarf. This works best with long scarves. Fold it in half, place it around your neck and pass the two loose ends through the folded end. Tighten it on the side to achieve a cosmopolitan flight attendant look, or loosen it in front for an oversized necklace effect.

Step 2
Use a bandanna sized scarf to create a smart looking choker. First, either roll the scarf like a cigar or fold it flat like a headband so it's about 1/2 to 1 inch wide. Lay the scarf across the back of your neck and pull the ends forward. In front of your neck, twist the two ends around each other completely so the end that was originally in your left hand goes back to your left hand, and the right end goes back to the right hand. Wrap the ends around back and tie them snugly. The result will look like two links of a chain on the front of your neck.

Step 3
Accessorize a jacket by draping a square scarf over the shoulders. Select a scarf that's somewhat large, fold it in half diagonally so it makes a triangle and drape it so the folded edge lays over the shoulders from back to front.

Step 4
Achieve a carefree look by wrapping a rectangular or long skinny scarf around the neck once. The two ends can fall forward, be swept behind you, or you can choose to wear one to the front and one to the back.

Step 5
Use a brooch to secure the ends of a scarf to the front of one shoulder. The rest of the scarf can be draped loosely around the neck and opposite shoulder to create a cowl.

Scarves can be used in a variety of ways, not just around the neck. Consider tying one around a ponytail, using it as a belt, wrapping it around your wrist like a cuff or wearing it as a headband.

How to Pack for Business Travel

Packing for a trip always introduces unexpected chaos to an otherwise typical day. But when it comes to business travel, the added pressure of meeting new people and making a good impression can lead to absentmindedness. Leaving important items behind only adds anxiety to important business trips. Don't forget to pack some of the most commonly left-behind items.

Since we're all attached at the lobes to our mobile phones, leaving them behind is unlikely. But don't forget the charger, the USB cable to sync the phone to your laptop, or your headset. Then there's the MP3 player, cables and headphones. Thinking of bringing your digital camera? Don't forget to pack extra batteries. You might want to include your own GPS navigator so you won't get lost in unfamiliar territory. Pack your laptop, of course, and make sure you have the charger and any extra storage devices you may need.

Making a stellar impression requires attention to detail. Don't forget to pack jewelry, hair accessories, scarves or neckties and a shoeshine kit if you need it. Make sure to bring a briefcase or bag that coordinates with your clothes and don't forget climate-appropriate items such as gloves or an umbrella.

Don't get caught empty-handed. Check and double-check for your glasses or contact lenses, contact lens solution, toothbrush and toothpaste, razors and shave gel, hair products, makeup, perfume or aftershave and deodorant. Although it isn't usually necessary, packing your favorite shampoo, conditioner, face wash and moisturizers can help you avoid that fish-out-of-water feeling.

Always pack your meds. If you're traveling by plane, always keep them in your carry-on luggage. Business travel is hectic enough without having to track down a pharmacy for emergency prescription refills when your luggage gets lost. It's good practice to take some Tylenol, anti-diarrheal pills or other over-the-counter meds just in case.

When you're busy packing, it's easy to overlook items as de rigueur as underpants, pajamas, socks and hose. While hotels can easily provide basic toiletries and a lost-and-found cell phone charger, they might find requests for unmentionables off-putting.

Tips on Teen Fashion

Teens spend a great deal of time and effort on fashion. This is true of boys as well as girls. While it may seem to adults that teens dress alike, the reality is that teens spend a great deal of time differentiating themselves by their choices of clothes, shoes and accessories. Teens are very trend-conscious and like to both fit in with their peers and add a unique twist to their fashion style.

Seasonal Trends
Plaids are back in style for the fall season in 2009. Not the preppy plaids, but the grungier look that harkens back to the '80s. Long-sleeved plaid shirts on jeans is a popular look on school campuses. Girls also are fond of animal prints, and these can be found on sweaters, dresses and tops.

The ubiquitous T-shirt remains popular. Boys are especially fond of graphic T-shirts this season. The T-shirt is often layered under a plaid shirt and a hoodie for both boys and girls.

Neon is  a hot color for the season. Neons can be found in solids, plaids and even striped clothing. Girls sometimes select a bright neon scarf as an accessory to their standard jeans and top outfit.

Shoes are one the biggest fashion statements a teen can make.Shoes with neon or plaid or even argyle patterns are very popular. Teens like shoes with patterns on them, and this season some of those patterns stand out even more because of the bright neon colors.

Teens often are cost-conscious, and while they do follow trends, they often are happy with less costly knockoffs of popular products. They prefer to have lots of different clothing that they can mix and match to a few costly pieces.

How to Find a Dress to Wear to a Beach Wedding

As more and more couples elect to have destination weddings or wait until summertime to have their wedding on the beach, finding a dress to wear to the wedding is relatively easy to do regardless of the time of year. All it takes is a little imagination.

Step 1
Recognize that beach weddings are much more casual than weddings that take place in more formal surroundings. Because it is likely that at least part of the time will be spent on the sand, consideration should be given to the temperature, wind and your comfort. Whether you are the bride or a guest, you can wear a dress that is strapless, has thin straps or ties around the neck. If you want more coverage, you can choose a dress with sleeves. The fabric should be lightweight and appropriate for beach wear. That includes fabrics such as linen, gauze, silk chiffon or organza and the style of the dress should flatter your figure. The length of the dress doesn't really matter, as long as you can walk without tripping on the ends of your dress. When deciding on what length you want to the dress to be, also consider whether or not you wish to wear hose or go bare. A light sweater or wrap is handy in case of wind or cool evening breezes.

Step 2
If the bride chooses to wear a white dress, guests should choose a dress in another color. Light, summer prints and designs or a single bold color all make lovely choices. A pretty skirt and top in lightweight fabric and pretty colors also makes for  pretty beach wedding attire.

Step 3
Quite possibly, you already own a summer dress that with the addition of some pretty accessories, will be perfect for a beach wedding. Department stores, beach shops and online are good places to do your research to decide what kind of look you want to achieve. You will also learn that shopping for a pretty beach dress is generally much less costly than shopping for other types of wedding dresses.

Step 4
Shoes to wear with your dress are an important consideration. This is not the time for those 4-inch spike heels. Instead, select a low-heeled or flat open-toed shoe or sandal. Strappy sandals, or those decorated with jewels or pretty flowers look attractive with a pretty, lightweight dress. Your bag should be a slim clutch, holding just the bare necessities. A large, heavy handbag will detract from the light and airy feel of beach attire.

Step 5
Choose pretty jewelry to accent your dress. Earrings and a pretty necklace can dress up even a simple beach dress. Bangles and bracelets can decorate an otherwise bare arm.

Because beach weddings are held outdoors, you may want to consider a pretty hat.
Be sure to apply sunscreen if you are going to be outdoors for any length of time.
Sunglasses may be desirable depending on where you are sitting or standing and the time of day.

A beach wedding, while casual, is not the time for jeans or shorts.