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Skip Jet Lag and Start Your Honeymoon Out Right - SleepHelp.org

Thank you to Ellie P. from SleepHelp.org for contributing this wonderful post on how to skip jet lag on your honeymoon!


Skip Jet Lag and Start Your Honeymoon Out Right

Imagine this; your wedding day went as planned and you’ve arrived at a beautiful honeymoon destination. You think you’re on your way to honeymoon bliss only to discover you’re both too exhausted to enjoy the first three days for your six-day honeymoon. Why? Jet lag. But, a little pre-trip planning goes a long way to reduce the effects of jet lag so you can enjoy some one-on-one time with your spouse.

What is Jet Lag?

Jet lag wasn’t even a word until humans achieved the ability to move through several time zones in one day. Excessive daytime sleepiness and insomnia at night are signs of jet lag. These symptoms are due to a misalignment of your circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are a series of 24-hour biological and physiological cycles the body uses to do everything from control your sleep-wake cycle to correctly time the release of hormones. These rhythms as are largely controlled by your exposure to natural light. Light receptors have a close link to the part of the brain that controls your circadian rhythms. However, when you travel through several time zones, your circadian rhythms get out of sync. You experience jet lag until your circadian rhythms catch up. However, some advanced planning can help you adjust your circadian rhythms before you get on the plane.

Prepare Before You Travel

  • Adjust Your Sleep Schedule: You can start adjusting your bedtime and wake-up several days in advance to more closely match that of your honeymoon destination. Change your schedule by 30 to 60 minutes earlier or later, each day, depending on your destination. Make sure you’ve got a comfortable sleep environment to support your new sleep schedule. Keep the room cool, dark, and quiet and make sure your mattress supports your preferred sleep position.
  • Shift Your Meal Times: While natural light heavily influences your circadian rhythms, so does your meal timing to a lesser degree. Adjust your meal times so that you’re eating more closely to when you’ll eat while on your honeymoon.
  • Consider Melatonin: If your destination has more than a four-hour time difference, you might consider over-the-counter melatonin supplements. Melatonin is a natural sleep hormone and can help you feel tired when taken an hour before bed.

On The Plane

  • Stay Hydrated: Adequate hydration won’t help you adjust your circadian rhythms, but it can keep you more alert. Dehydration can cause headaches, dizziness, and fatigue, none of which help you overcome jet lag. Try to drink at least eight ounces of water for every hour your in flight.
  • Sleep (or Not): Depending on the time of your flight, you can use your travel time to adjust your sleep schedule. If it will be morning when you arrive at your destination, use your flight to sleep. However, if you’re landing at night, skip the nap on the plane to help yourself feel tired once you arrive.

When You Arrive

  • Get Outside: Get as much exposure to natural sunlight as possible. The light will help your brain and body adjust to the local time zone. If the weather doesn’t let you get outside, try to be near a bright artificial light, which can help suppress the release of sleep hormones.
  • Nap Wisely: A well-timed nap can help you keep going when your body is ready to quit. However, you don’t want to sleep the afternoon away. Set an alarm (or two) to make sure you only sleep 30-60 minutes.

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10 Mistakes to Avoid When Shopping for a Wedding Dress

Shopping for a wedding dress can be a very exciting time for a bride-to-be. But it can also be a nightmare if they aren't prepared for the process. There are many common mistakes that many brides-to-be make that can affect finding the perfect wedding dress. We've compiled a list of the 10 most common mistakes and what you can do to avoid them. If you want to test your knowledge, you can take our quiz here.

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Shopping for a Wedding Dress

1. Start Your Shopping Early

Shopping for a Wedding Dress - Start Early When it comes to shopping for a wedding dress, brides should ideally start looking at least 10 months prior to their wedding. You want to be sure you have enough time to order and receive your dress if necessary. When ordering, it should be no later than 6-7 months out from your wedding date. Bridal gowns are typically made-to-order, so if your lead time is less than 6 months, you may incur rush fees or risk not getting your dress in time. On the other side of the argument, you don't want to start shopping too early, either. If you start more than a year in advance, you may end up looking at too many dresses and not choose the perfect dress. It's important to note that new styles are released around October and April, so it can be worth it to wait to avoid buyer's remorse.

2. Choosing Your Entourage

Shopping for a Wedding Dress - Choosing Your Entourage We all know that buying the perfect wedding dress can be an overwhelming experience. Most brides-to-be want to include as many people as they can in the process. But it's important to keep your group small and intimate when shopping for a wedding dress. It only takes one Negative Nellie to destroy the positive tone. Take time to really think about who you want to take to your bridal appointment with you. You want to be sure you're surrounding yourself with people who will tell you the truth without being hurtful, and who understands your personal style. It's important for you to have your best group there to make the process a little less stressful. And hey! If you can't think of anyone who fits this description, or if it's too tough to decide, it's perfectly okay to go alone, too!

3. Defining a Budget

Shopping for a Wedding Dress - Define a Budget A common mistake that brides-to-be make is not determining a wedding dress budget. It seems simple, but if you don't have a solid budget going in, you may end up paying way more than you need or want to for your dress. Decide how much you want to spend, then go into your bridal appointments with a game plan to stay in budget! Having a budget will not only help you save money, but will help anyone who is assisting you show you dresses within your range. You should never feel forced into trying on a more expensive dress just because someone thinks it may be "the one". You also have to remember that the price tag on the dress doesn't include alterations, accessories, or any dress preservation. It's important to calculate these into your budget so you know exactly how much you can spend when you go shopping for a wedding dress.

4. Incentive Shopping

Shopping for a Wedding Dress - Incentive Shopping Every bride-to-be says the same thing: "If I buy it smaller, then I have to lose weight before the wedding!" We're all for you working towards having a healthier lifestyle, but if you're doing it just to fit into your dress, chances are you will never reach your goal. Buying a dress based on what you think your future body will look like is a mistake that many brides-to-be make. While your alterations may end up being more intensive than you originally planned, it's always easier to alter your dress to your body than the other way around. Purchasing a dress to force yourself to lose weight is a dangerous game plan that we don't advise for any reason.

5. Trying on Gowns

Shopping for a Wedding Dress - Trying on Dresses Believe it or not, there is such a thing as trying on too many dresses. If you try on too many, chances are that whites and ivories will begin to blend together and the attention you should put into your dress gets lost. Some of the most common problems brides encounter when they try on too many dresses include:
  • Forgetting what you really loved about the style that should have been
  • Re-appropriating details from past try-ons and fittings
  • Losing the wow factor of finding "The One"
As a rule, try to keep the number under 20 to avoid being too overwhelmed.

6. Giving Others Too Much Power

Shopping for a Wedding Dress - Giving Power It seems like such a simple thing, but a lot of brides-to-be can get caught up in the opinions of others. Ultimately, it's your wedding dress and you should have the final say on the style, look, and feel. When you bring others to your bridal appointment, it's important to remember that those you brought along are there to support you and your decision. They should help you in the process rather than hinder you. You should always as yourself how the dress makes you feel first, and use them as a second opinion. When you find an opinion is opposite from yours, ask yourself which one you trust more. Be wary of anyone who is too quick to offer their opinion or speak too quickly before hearing you out.

7. Keeping an Open Mind

Shopping for a Wedding Dress - Open Mind As the bride, we know you probably know exactly what you want in a wedding dress. But it's important to keep an open mind when you go into your bridal appointment. The style you've chosen may no do your body justice the way another silhouette might. You might have a style in your head, but that style may not exist the way it does in your mind. On the flip side, if you go in with zero idea of what you want, your mind may get muddled when it comes to narrowing it down to the perfect wedding dress. Have answers to some of the basic questions, including:
  • Do you like a full skirt?
  • How do you feel about lace?
  • How do you feel about strapless styles or sleeves?
Having the answers to these questions will help your consultant find the best styles to show you.

8. Shopping Without Context

Shopping for a Wedding Dress - Context Unfortunately not enough brides-to-be take things like their venue or time of year into consideration when choosing their wedding dress. But it can make a difference in the style based on your comfort. Ask yourself questions to determine the context for what setting your gown will be placed in. Are you looking for black-tie formal or something more casual? Are you getting married in a grand cathedral or have you opted for a backyard ceremony and reception? All these things can affect what you consider for styles, as what you had in mind might not fit the aesthetic of the wedding you're planning. We suggest taking along notes or images when shopping for a wedding dress to help make the task easier!

9. Custom Dresses

Shopping for a Wedding Dress - Custom Dress While not for everyone, some brides-to-be may want to consider a custom dress for their wedding. If you're set in your ways and know you can only have one dress, you may want to consider collaborating with a designer to make a one-of-a-kind dress. One thing you need to keep in mind when it comes to a custom dress is that it will take time. First you need to find a designer and meet with them to ensure it's a good match. From there, you will need to discuss style, budget, etc. Your designer will then sketch some designs for you to look at, and finding "The One" can take a few rounds of sketches. Once that step is done, the designer will make a mock-up for you to tweak in fittings. Only when you've approved the mock-up and fabric choices will the designer make your dress. This whole process can take months, so you want to make sure you decided early on if custom is what you want.

10. Buying Everything at Once

Shopping for a Wedding Dress - Accessories It's common practice for bridal consultants to try and match accessories to your wedding dress during your bridal appointment. They will usually try to pair a veil, jewelry, and shoes to try and help you envision the completed look (and make that sale!). But should you feel obligated to buy these accessories just because she showed them to you? The short answer? NO! Well, at least not right away. Yes, they may look good, and yes, they may work with your dress, but they may not be what you had in mind. Chances are that whatever accessories were grabbed aren't exactly right for your look. You need to focus on making sure that your accessories compliment your dress, not overshadow it. The add-ons can be a distraction from one of the largest fashion purchases you will ever make. Trust us when we suggest waiting it out until closer to the wedding! We hope that this list will help you avoid making some of the most common mistakes when it comes to shopping for a wedding dress! Are there any other mistakes that you've seen or heard of being made? Let us know!

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Castle Hopping in Scotland: 8 Awesome Historic Sites to See

Thank you to Lara Zarum and the Alberta Motor Association for providing us this guide to castle hopping in Scotland!


Castle Hopping in Scotland: 8 Awesome Historic Sites to See

In Scotland, history isn’t some far-off notion reserved for schoolbooks—it’s something you inhabit with every step you take, especially when you step into one of the country’s countless castles. When the Normans conquered England in the 11th century, Scotland’s King David I invited them to settle on Scottish land. They did—and they brought their castle-building techniques with them. It’s estimated that thousands of castles were built here over the next few hundred years. More than a thousand are still standing today as picturesque ruins, hostels and luxury hotels, or fully functioning places of residence. Begin castle hopping in Scotland in its capital city, Edinburgh. Then wind your way through six different Highland districts—a.k.a. “council areas”—and end your tour in Glasgow, the country’s largest metropolis.

EDINBURGH

Perched high atop a 350-million-year-old volcanic crag, Edinburgh Castle, occupies a huge tract of land. It includes St. Margaret’s Chapel—built around 1130 and considered the oldest building in the city—plus Scotland’s National War Museum and the Crown Room, which houses the Scottish Crown Jewels. Pack a lunch and hike up Arthur’s Seat, a 250-metre-high hill in the centre of the city. Formed by an extinct volcano, it’s a gentle climb and leads to a panoramic view of Edinburgh. If you prefer to go the cultured route, visit the Scottish National Gallery or the National Museum of Scotland, both of which offer free admission. You’ll be visiting small Highland towns for the next few days, where traditional Scottish food reigns. So in the city, try Mother India’s Café, a tapas-style Indian restaurant nestled in Edinburgh’s Old Town. Dine on chili king prawns and creamy chana dal.

STIRLING, ANGUS & ABERDEENSHIRE

On your first full day of castle-hopping,  your first stop should be Doune Castle near Stirling, once the home of Robert Stewart, the first Duke of Albany, who ruled Scotland from 1388 until his death in 1420. Located on the banks of the River Teith—the historic natural boundary between the Highlands and Lowlands—the ruined castle makes a cameo in Sir Walter Scott’s 1810 poem Lady of the Lake, in which he writes of “the bannered towers of Doune.” Glamis Castle in nearby Angus is a far cry from the rugged ruins of Doune. Home to the Lyon family since the 14th century, Glamis in its present state largely dates from the 17th and 18th centuries—by Scottish standards, it’s positively contemporary. Located in Aberdeenshire—which boasts more castles per hectare than any other area in the U.K.—Dunnottar Castle is a ruined fortress perched on a steep cliff overlooking the North Sea.
Castle Hopping in Scotland - Dunnottar Castle

Stop off at Gloagburn Farm Shop, between Doune and Glamis castles. Owned and run by third-generation farmers, Gloagburn offers breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea service. Nibble on smoked ham or farmhouse cheddar sandwiches made with homemade bread, or go full Scottish with the traditional afternoon tea.

Dunnottar Castle is a short drive from the chic Tolbooth Seafood Restaurant, which is nestled on a scenic harbour in a 16th-century building in the town of Stonehaven. Try Scotland’s famed salmon, poached in a lemon-vegetable broth and served with shaved fennel and saffron potato salad.

MORAY & HIGHLAND

Cawdor Castle as it stands today was built in the late 14th century. Though the name suggests a connection to Shakespear's Macbeth - the title character was named Thane of Cawdor before coming king - the real Macbeth never lived there. It still belongs to the Cawdor family, who are probably fed up with Macbeth questions by now. The fifth Earl of Cawdor once famously said, "I wish the Bard had never written his damned play!" From Cawdor it's a 15-minute drive to the most historically significant sight in the Highlands: Culloden. In 1746, it was the site of a bloody battle between British troops and the Highland clansmen of the Jacobite army. outnumbered, the Jacobites lost, and the British enacted laws-including a ban on tartan-to integrate Scotland with the rest of the kingdom. Today, Culloden stands as a monument to the end of Highland clan culture. You can’t visit the Highlands without touring a whisky distillery—there are nearly 100 active malt distilleries in Scotland. The Glenlivet Distillery is en route to Cawdor Castle from Stonehaven, and you can enjoy a guided tour with a dram of the spirit. From there, head to Inverness, considered the capital of the Highlands, for a night of dancing at Hootananny. The tavern features live music and a menu of Scottish fare like cullen skink (a smoky soup of haddock and potatoes in a wine broth). If you’re feeling brave, try classic haggis, neeps and tatties—a minced-meat dish made with sheep or lamb lungs, onions, oats and seasoning, served with mashed turnips and potatoes.

HIGHLAND, CONTINUED

Eilean Donan Castle is often described as the most photographed castle in Scotland. Located on its own little island (Eilean Donan means “island of Donan”), the castle lay in ruins for hundreds of years before being rebuilt in the early 20th century.

Castle Hopping in Scotland - Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle, Eilean Donan IslandTreat yourself to a stay in the luxe Inverlochy Castle Hotel. The 19th-century Gothic Revival mansion has been operating as a hotel since 1969. The ornate rooms overlook the magnificent castle grounds and striking mountains in the distance. Pack your Sunday best: Gentlemen still require jackets to dine in the castle’s upscale restaurant.

The village of Drumnadrochit, near Inverness, is known as the center of the Loch Ness Monster phenomenon. Visit “Nessieland,” a charmingly corny exhibition dedicated to the mystery, or enjoy a scenic cruise through the dark waters of Loch Ness. Drumnadrochit is also home to the quaint 300-year-old Benleva Hotel Pub. Here you can fuel up on the likes of locally farmed mussels and scallops, a confit duck leg or perhaps Highlander venison chili.

ARGYLL & BUTE

Inveraray Castle is home to the 13th Duke of Argyll, who lives on the 26,000-hectare estate with his wife and three children. The castle opens to the public from late March through October. Aside from offering tours of the mansion and gardens, the castle hosts regular summertime events. Most notably is the Inveraray Highland Games in July, which features sporting events, Highland dancing and, of course, plenty of bagpipes. Castle Hopping in Scotland - Inveraray Castle Loch Fyne Restaurant There’s no better place to bid farewell to the Highlands than Glencoe, a spectacular U-shaped valley (glen is derived from the Gaelic gleann, meaning valley). This is Scotland we’re talking about, so the beauty of the valley is inevitably marred by its bloody history. Glencoe is the site of a 1692 Scot-on-Scot massacre that left 38 members of Clan MacDonald dead at the hands of the Campbells. Stop off at Loch Fyne Restaurant & Oyster Bar, a quick 15-minute drive east of Inveraray Castle, for fresh oysters, scallops, crab, lobster and salmon.

GLASGOW

With rural Scotland in your rear-view mirror, head to Glasgow. It's a bustling city full of galleries, shops and plenty of pubs. Order a pint and toast Scotland’s long history—sometimes tragic, often bloody, but never dull.

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Just Moved In: Tips to Transform Your New House into a Home

Moving into a new house is a joyous milestone, you now have the opportunity to call a place your very own! Your new house is a space where you can feel most comfortable, creating many lasting memories and even enjoying it for future generations to come. However, you’ll still need to transform your new house and personalize it soon after moving in. It does not matter if you recently had a wedding and are moving into a traditional home or even downgrading to a tiny apartment, there are many ways to make your new abode a cozy home.

3 Tips to Transform Your New House into a Home

#1 Painting Your Space

The colors of your walls and even your home’s exterior have significance when it comes to transforming your home. Paint color helps to display your personal preferences but it also creates an ambiance for your space, making each room in your home come alive. For this reason, choose colors that delight your senses and that create a welcoming vibe for your personal enjoyment. From neutral colors to bold shades that are unexpected, there are various ways to highlight the different rooms in your home. You can even opt for fun wallpaper in innumerable patterns, prints and colors for an even more personal touch, coinciding with your own impeccable home décor style. Transform Your New House - Yellow Paint on Walls

#2 Consider Your Personality

Your approach to home décor is a direct reflection of who you are and your unique personality. For example, if you prefer a stronger or masculine vibe you may like simple, streamlined décor with clean lines. On the other hand, if you are more aligned with modern fashion and style, then you may prefer a grand piece of abstract artwork in your living room, a conversational piece that amazes visitors and guests. For someone with a relaxed and easy-going personality, a boho chic style with plenty of natural elements may be preferred. Alternatively, if you are high-spirited personality type and would like your home to reflect your personal charm, then luxurious finishes, filigree mirrors and romantic chandeliers are just some of the choices you can consider when turning your house into a home. But no matter your personality type, choose home décor that is personalized, making you feel most comfortable as you provide your own definition of beauty for your new home’s décor. Transform Your New House - Decor & Personality

#3 Personal Items & DIY Decor

As a final tip, incorporate personal items that have meaning to you into your home. This will help to create a strong sense of belonging in this new abode. For instance, do you have something that reminds you of a major life event or someone special? Is it an old photograph that brings back memories or some other special item from childhood? Be sure to integrate such items into your house’s décor. If you have personal photos, place them in beautiful picture frames. Hang them in places where they will be easily visible to you while relaxing. This is a great way to personalize any room within your new home. Transform Your New House - Family Hanging Painting There are also various projects you can take on for a do-it-yourself approach. These can also make the home uniquely yours. For instance, I you have old or not-so-appealing furniture, you could repaint it for a fresh new look. You could also repurpose items to give your space even more personality. Why not try turning old dressers into bookshelves? How about using old wood to create floating shelves? You can even reupholster chairs in fun fabrics. Such DIY project ideas are endless! So, it does not matter if you are moving into a modern smart home or a more traditional dwelling. There are so many ways to transform your new house. Add personal flair so that you can proudly call this new house the home of your dreams.  

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