Tag Archives: tips

5 Ways to Instantly De-Stress During the Holidays

For some, the holidays are an exhilarating mix of adrenaline and shopping. Some feel that it’s a type of marathon they’ve been training for all year, and meet it with a wild exuberance that is both hypnotizing and slightly terrifying. For most, however, the joys of the season can quickly become mixed with extreme stress. The noises, the parking, the crowds can all lend a lot to a very tense time of year. On top of the shopping situations, you can also have to deal with family drama, burned baking attempts, and bills. SteerList wants you to add the following things to your to do list so you can unwind ASAP.

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1) Stop and breathe. It sounds obvious, but because breathing is second nature, you may not realize when you’re allowing yourself to get worked up to the point of hyperventilating. When you start to feel your heart beat start to rise, take a deep breath through your nose and exhale through your mouth. I recommend a count to five for each to regulate it, but you may have to adjust that for your personal comfort level. It should feel calming, not like you’re suffocating! Repeat three or four times.

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2) Close your eyes. For most, our eyes are the way we take in information, so when you’re feeling overwhelmed, shut out all the things that may be sending you into a panic. Super long line at the mall? Don’t have a meltdown, simply shut your eyes for a little bit and let yourself calm down without the stimulation.

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3) Run yourself a bubble bath or take a long shower. There’s something about bathing that makes us stop and do nothing but relax… mostly because we’re surrounded by water. Unwrapped presents can’t bother you and bills simply have to wait. Lean back in your tub or let the hot water cascade down your back, and just let your problems float away with the steam.

4) Stress means tensing up without even realizing it. If you’re standing in line and you realize your shoulders are up to your ears, let them fall. Take time to roll your neck and shoulders, and shake out your arms and legs.

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5) Take a walk. Walks have been proven to help people clear their minds, relax, and let themselves be distracted by nature. Sometimes our holiday drama can just build and build in our minds, but as soon as we step outside, we see a world outside ourselves. Problems will seem smaller and solutions become more obvious when you give you allow yourself time to decompress.

Adding these tips to your free SteerList app are crucial for your sanity this holiday season. If you’re going somewhere you know will be stressful, add a tip or two among your regular list of things you need to do. In addition, you eliminate the stress of forgetting or needing to remember things from the store, SteerList is here to make the holidays easy with our location-based app that reminds you of what you need to do as you go!

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Tips for a Safe and Happy Halloween

Halloween gets most of its allure from the feeling of being one with the night. Taking to the streets collectively under the protection of a dark sky can feel like wicked fun no matter what age you are, but whether you’re going out with kids this year or on your own, there are a lot of safety precautions everyone needs to take to ensure a happy and safe Halloween.

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The first thing to do is arm yourself against the darkness. No, that’s not a line from the new “Star Trek” movie, but it should be your motto. Parents should always carry flashlights on Halloween (always pointed downwards so as not to blind or aggravate neighbors). Have kids wear glow sticks or glow necklaces. In addition, add reflective tape to their costumes. Understandably, kids may be resistant to adding tape to their costumes, so if yours looks like he or she is going to have a little meltdown at the thought of sticking things to their costume, then just put it on their trick-or-treat bag. As long as it’s somewhere on their person, there’s more of a likelihood that they’ll be seen even if there’s no moon.

Secondly, you want to bundle up. I was lucky enough to trick-or-treat in California all my life, so I never had to experience the dismay of having to wear a snow coat over my beautiful costume (though there was the infamous year where I cried about having to wear a sweater over my Cinderella costume and my mom compromised by letting me wear it over my shoulders. If you’re worried about your little one getting cold and refusing to put on a jacket, try layering under the costume as much as possible. Of course, if it’s already snowing where you are, you’ll probably need the snow jacket, but try to make the costume as visible as possible.

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If you plan on driving to a party Halloween night, drive with caution. This also goes for pedestrians crossing the street. Use cross walks, and be as visible as possible. Both parties need to understand that on a night like Halloween, everyone is responsible for being aware. Don’t started walking and assume you have the right of way or that the driver will see you. Remove any masks before crossing the street for better visibility/ability to see.

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Finally, the topic of candy. If you’re worried about your kids eating too much of it and getting sick, be sure that they have a good, filling dinner to keep them from going into a sugar frenzy later in the night. It’s a sad reality that every year, the news reports on yet another terrifying candy encounter. It’s a sad fact, but some people take advantage of the trick-or-treat tradition to do unspeakable and dangerous things. First, get rid of any candy that could be unwrapped and re-wrapped without notice (such as foil peanut butter cups, tootsie rolls or “Dum Dum” lollipops that feature the wrapper simply twisted around the stick). Secondly, be sure that your child knows to show you each candy before they eat it. Inspect it thoroughly, make sure it’s sealed properly and there are no small holes or unusual glue spots keeping the candy closed (may have been tampered with). Though you may caution them against eating too much, it’s very important that they not resort to sneaking candy. To be really safe, inspect all the candy on Halloween night just in case.

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Be sure to use SteerList, the free to do list and grocery list app to remember to pick up any last-minute candy to hand out or the glow sticks and reflective tape mentioned above. SteerList is also free, so consider it a special “treat” from us to you!

Website: http://www.steerlist.com/

Download our app for FREE in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steer-list/id661605663?ls=1&mt=8

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No-stress Travel Tips

We all know that the start of the Holiday Season is almost upon us. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or whatever you may personally celebrate, all mean travel plans that are probably being booked as we speak. Often, traveling also means the dreaded, white-knuckled horror that is braving a trip to the airport. No need to stress, SteerList is here to help.

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The number one rule of traveling is to be prepared ahead of time. This means that you go through your closets or immunization records at least a month before your trip so you can make a note of what you have and what you may need to pick up (such as Dramamine, a new bathing suit, snow shows, or a flu shot). The free SteerList organization app allows you to program these items by location so you remember to get them when you drive nearby, so you don’t have to run out on a twisted scavenger hunt the night before your trip.

IMG_0432Packing is the next hurdle you have to overcome in getting ready for your trip. If you’re checking a bag, make sure that anything you may need on the plane isn’t packed inside! Bring a oversized bag, purse, or backpack for the items you need within arm’s reach. To help you remember what is where, keep a list of important items by bag so you know exactly where everything is and don’t accidentally pack something important away. You don’t want to have to open your carefully packed carry on luggage for a show of your personal belongings as you frantically dig through it on the plane. If you’re checking a bag, store your liquids in it to avoid the whole 3.4-oz.-security-zip-lock mess. Tip: When planning an outfit to fly in, include a jacket with pockets. I’ll get into this later in the security portion.
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If you’re flying to visit family or going on vacation, my biggest, most important and golden rule is to get to the airport early. Remember that the time of your flight isn’t when you need to “be there by.” That’s the time the plane is saying “bye-bye.” Boarding time is commonly half an hour before the flight time, and before you even get there you need to check your baggage/check in and get through security. Don’t make it hard on yourself. Blood pressure rises when you panic, and running late is something that will make your pulse skyrocket. Plan to be at the airport about two hours before your flight. At worst, you’ll get to your gate early and have to relax before your flight!

Security is the reason most people hate flying nowadays. Standing in line makes people reminisce about being able to wave goodbye at the gate, but the reality is that this is the norm and the best thing you can do is be prepared for it. I recommended a jacket with pockets earlier, because it is easy to take off. No rooting through your jeans and holding up the line, simply put everything in the jacket pockets so you don’t even have to scramble to take everything out of the metal detector bins and cram them back into your pockets afterwards (risking accidentally leaving something behind). Be ready to slip off your shoes (varies at different airports) and items like computers need to be easily accessible to take out of your bag if you plan on flying with one.

Just feeling prepared can make travel a lot easier than when you’re running around at the last minute. Flying doesn’t have to feel like you’re being chased or in a race, it can be easy and feel like second nature if you’re ready for it.

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Baking A Pie Isn’t As Scary As You Might Think!

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Now that it’s autumn, it’s time to let the baking bug take over. It’s wonderful to fill our homes with the scent of freshly made cookies, loaves, and pies… To smell the sweet perfume of some delectable treat just waiting to be cooled on the windowsill. Making your own pie from scratch may sound daunting. Today, a lot of people may go to the store to get a pie, or even get a frozen one from the grocery store. There’s no shame in admitting it! But making your own pie can be a lot easier than most people realize, and you’ll feel really proud of yourself.

The first step to making a great pie is a great crust. You can get frozen crust from the grocery store (we won’t consider this cheating as long as you make the filling yourself), or you can make your own. Again, it’s surprisingly easy and you only need flour, unsalted butter, salt, and ice water. I’ll explain how to make your own crust below, but I just want to remind those of you who may opt for crust from the grocery store to read the directions. Frozen crusts need to be thawed to roll out properly or they’ll break or crumble. If they fall apart though, don’t panic! You can kneed it back together into a ball and roll it out flat again.

Make your own pie crust:

(This recipe comes from “Dana” on Allrecipes.com, and I’ve personally used it many times.)

Ingredients:

½ cup unsalted butter, cubed (one stick)

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup ice water

Remember to use our free grocery list app, SteerList, to help you with your shipping list!

Directions:

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter until the mixture looks crumb-like (you can use your hands to achieve this too). Cutting the butter into the flour is what makes those yummy flakey layers. Stir in water a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture forms a ball. Don’t just dump all the water in! You might not need it all, and then your dough will be too wet. Finally, wrap the pie dough in plastic and refrigerate. You need to use ice water and refrigerate the dough to keep the butter in the crust cool.

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Next comes the filling. You can look up any recipe you want (I always recommend checking out Allreceipes.com because the recipes are rated by people who have tried making them, so you get a good idea of the best recipes out there), whether they be sweet or savory. The best part? You can pretty much put anything you like in a pie. I once read about a family that makes “Thanksgiving leftover pie’ with turkey, mashed potatoes, vegetables, and cranberry sauce. I personally opt for a vegetable pot pie, where I just sauté whatever vegetables I want with garlic and onion, add seasoning, and pop the whole thing in the oven. Unless otherwise advised, it’s usually best to at least partially cook your savory filling before putting it in your pie, to ensure that everything is cooked properly when the pie is done (especially if you’re using meat).

When your filling is ready, get your dough and divide it in half to roll flat. A rookie mistake is rolling out all the dough, filling your pie, then realizing you forgot the top!If your filling looks very wet, you can bake your crust a little (about ten minutes) before you add your filling so it doesn’t come out gooey, wet, or under-baked. Some people brush egg white over the top of their pie before putting it in the oven so they get a glossy top, but you don’t have to.

Bake at 425 degrees for half an hour, and sit back and enjoy the wonderful smells that fill the house!

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