Tag Archives: holidays

Man walking blurred

5 Ways to Sneak Fitness Into This Holiday Season

Man walking blurred

Parking at one end of the mall and walking to the opposite end to shop is a good way to work some fitness into your busy holiday schedule.

Personal fitness can be the first thing to go when your holiday schedule starts filling up. Keep it a priority with these helpful hints.

Let’s face it: Sticking to a fitness routine during the holiday months can be tough. We’re traveling, shopping, playing hostess and serving as taxi while the kids are out of school. Three miles on the treadmill at the end of the day is the last thing on my mind right now.

But there are ways to sneak activity into the day if you can’t schedule time for the gym. We’ve all heard some of the tricks–for instance, skip the drive-thru and actually walk into the restaurant–but I’ve got five more ideas for you to consider.

  1. Park at the opposite end of the mall. Sure, you can park at the edge of the parking lot, but that could just make you cold as you head toward the doors! Park at one end of the mall and do your shopping on the other. Those extra steps–inside, where it’s warm–will add up!
  2. Play flag football with the kids. Cousins, nieces and nephews all gather around during the holidays, and they’re always looking for something fun to do. Get outside with them for a few games of red rover, dodgeball or flag football. You’ll have so much fun you won’t even realize you’re burning calories.
  3. Walk dogs at your local shelter. Give back to your community by walking dogs at your local shelter. I wore a pedometer doing so not long ago and walked more than 6,000 steps before I knew it. You might even find puppy love while you’re there.
  4. Volunteer in a soup kitchen. Doing so is another great way to give back to your community, and it’s hard work.
  5. If you’re on the phone, walk. Make it a rule this month: If you’re on the phone, you’re walking, whether in the office, at home or on the go. Again, those steps will add up. And you’ll probably be more engaged in the conversation than if you were lounging on the couch staring at the TV.
Magazine wreath tutorial 5

How to Recycle Magazines to Make a Holiday Wreath

Follow this tutorial to turn some excess magazines into a unique wreath for the holiday season.

It seems that wreaths have been moving beyond their historic evergreen-and-pinecone stereotype of late, and we’re seeing wreaths assembled with everything from ornaments to book pages to yarn to–you guessed it–magazines. Pull out your subscriptions from this past year and recycle them by creating something new and beautiful.

This magazine wreath does take some time, so I recommend either spacing it out or making it with a couple friends in an assembly line fashion (one person cutting, one pinning, one gluing, etc.)


  • Magazines
  • A Styrofoam wreath form
  • Pushpins (I recommend using pins with larger heads than those pictured here)
  • Scalloped scrapbooking scissors
  • A cardstock circle
  • A glue gun with glue sticks

magazine wreath tutorial 1


Step 1: Use your cardstock circle and your scalloped scissors to cut out enough circles for your wreath. You may have to cut as you go to get a feel for exactly how many you will need, as it depends on what size wreath you are making. As far as colors go, you could choose to do one or two colors for your wreath, but I just used any magazine pages I had for a more multicolored effect.

magazine wreath tutorial 2

Step 2: Once you have your circles cut, place a pin in the center of each circle. Then fold the circle in half loosely and create an S shape, shown in the the photo below. Cinch it at the bottom with your fingers.

magazine wreath tutorial 3

Step 3: Once the paper is folded, go ahead and push your pin into the Styrofoam wreath form. For extra support, I recommend placing a dab of hot glue on the wreath and pushing your pin into that. This will keep your paper from falling out later or ripping away from the pin. Begin pinning these shapes as close to each other as you can, and you will start to see the ruffle effect take place on your wreath.

magazine wreath tutorial 4

Step 4: Follow this pattern around the front and every other visible part of the wreath–you don’t have to go all the way around the back–until you can’t see any more of the white Styrofoam peeking from beneath. Add a pretty bow and hang inside or give as a gift for a unique, magazine-inspired look.

Magazine wreath tutorial 5


red apple wrapped in measuring tape

How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain (Hint: Start Now)

Whole Living magazine November 2011

Whole Living magazine, November 2011 issue

It’s November. That means we’re probably still snacking on leftover Halloween candy, planning the family’s Thanksgiving menu and being bombarded by Christmas ads already. By some estimates, we’ll gain 5-7 pounds between now and the time we ring in the New Year.

I don’t want to gain 5-7 pounds. I don’t want to gain a single pound after losing 15 this year! So I’m starting now. While magazines like Whole Living are touting “Thanksgiving Sides—6 Dishes You’ll Want to Eat All Year” and “Healthy Holiday Desserts You Can Indulge In,” I’m going a step further with my own plan to survive the next two months in the same size jeans I’m in today. Going down a size would be fine too.

Here’s my plan:

  1. I will take more walks with the dogs. We go on a long walk every morning to kick the day off right, and now that the temperatures are staying under 100 degrees, I can add an evening walk to our routine. That could mean walking 7-10 additional miles each week!
  2. I will steer clear of alcohol. I’m not a big drinker anyway, so this one isn’t really that difficult for me. Plus, my friends will be happy to always have a designated driver!
  3. I will seek out fruit and veggies. Holiday party tables are beautiful things, overflowing with gravies and chocolate and potatoes. I make a promise to myself to fill my plate with vegetables and fruit first.
  4. I will keep a healthy snack in my purse. Lots of miles are put on my car this time of year–shopping, errands, traveling to see family and friends. And it’s so easy to just eat on the go. Instead of hitting the drive-thru, I’ll keep a bag of almonds in my purse for emergency snacking.
  5. I will schedule fitness. Just like I add important phone calls and meetings to my calendar, I will schedule trips to the gym too.
  6. I will focus on friends and family instead of the buffet table.

What about you: Do you have a plan, and what’s included in it?

Eduardo Xol Answers Readers' Questions

Eduardo Xol Answers Your Holiday Party Questions

Hi Magascene readers! We got some great blog, Twitter and Facebook questions on how to make your holiday parties amazing this year. Thank you for taking the time to ask them and now let’s get to some answers!

Eduardo Xol Charlie Brown Christmas tree

I've been putting this Charlie Brown-style Christmas tree on display for the past five years.

Question: What is your opinion on re-using holiday decorations from the year before? Kayla

My Advice: Kayla, I think that it’s always appropriate to re-use holiday decorations. In fact, I believe that it’s fair to say that most people do. What I usually do is re-use some of my decorations. I’ll give you an example: This year I’ve decided to go with red and gold as the colors for the holidays. I don’t have any gold decorations, so I’ll have to go out and buy those, but I do have red balls for the tree that I plan to re-use. Also, I have a “Charlie Brown” Christmas tree that I’ve been putting out for the past five years.

When it comes to any sentimental decorations, you should re-use them for as long as they last! But if you are talking about décor specific to throwing a party, you’d better be sure that the décor you are going to re-use will serve the purpose this year as well. Really think about what kind of party you plan on throwing.

Thanks for the great question Kayla and we’ll get your $25 Magazines.com gift card to you ASAP!

Eduardo Xol holiday dinner party table settings

The amount of food, guests and space should dictate the size and other aspects of your table settings and food platters.

Question: I actually have a couple of questions. First, what is the appropriate way to let your friends know that children are not allowed to attend your holiday party? As a parent myself the typical “ADULTS ONLY” print on the invitation can seem a bit offensive. Second question: When serving finger foods and small desserts is it best to display them on large fancy platters or smaller, more quaint-style plates? I don’t want it to seem that I am trying too hard to impress my guests, but I do want the final product to be beautiful. Thank you Eduardo! Christine

My Advice: Christine, perhaps it’s the language that you want to consider. Maybe something fun like: “Have a Parent’s Night Off! Please ask someone to take care of your kids and join us for a Big People’s Holiday Party!”

It creates a theme and makes it fun, not offensive.

As for how to serve finger foods, it really all depends on space. I like the idea of smaller plates for each different type of food you would want to serve, but the amount of food, guests and space should really dictate that choice! Just the fact that you’re thinking about these details tells me your a great hostess! Thanks for your question Christine. We’re sending you a $25 Magazines.com gift card.

Thanks again for the questions! We’ll be doing this again next month so keep an eye on Magazines.com for details on how you can ask a question and possibly win a valuable gift card! Meanwhile, you can keep up with me on Twitter or my Facebook page.