Exercise is an essential part of healthy living and self-care. If your goals for the new year include finding a new workout, consider these easy places for beginners to get started.

LOWCOUNTRY THRIFT STORES OFFER GREAT FINDS AND GREAT ADVENTURES

Thrifting is like a treasure hunt. As we explore thrift shops’ often eclectic offerings, it’s easy to get lost in a maze of our own curiosity. You enter the shop on the hunt for one thing — say, a used set of golf clubs — and leave with something else entirely — maybe a binder of vintage stamps. Without thrift stores, shopping would be linear, curated, sterile. Because, let’s face it, we don’t always know what we want, really. It might surprise you to find that you actually look great in that vintage 1970s print dress you found on an impulsive thrifting adventure. Maybe a rainy afternoon spent browsing makes you realize you’re fascinated by back issues of Vogue.

WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR BRAIN POWER THIS YEAR

The new year is a time for starting over, for setting new goals and for resolving to be better humans. Some of us decide to start exercising or to stop smoking. Some resolve to save money. Others decide to sharpen their minds.

Here are a few ideas to get your brain in gear.

Whether you’re hoping 2019 will be the year that you improve your fitness, get organized, minimize stress or track your finances, your devices can help you — you just need the right apps.

Lowcountry locals have recommended nine apps they think you need in the new year:

It’s easy to say you want to make changes to your life in the new year, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to figure out how to make those changes. Think small at first — maybe try a new hairstyle — and then work up to bigger-picture makeovers like weight loss or cosmetic surgery.

 

We’ve got a sleigh full of the hottest presents this side of the North Pole. It might not all fit under the tree, so we recommend getting a bigger tree.

FOND MEMORIES OF TIME WELL SPENT OFTEN MAKE THE BEST GIFTS

The thing about giving a gift is that eventually that very thoughtful, one-of-a-kind, must-have item will one day become a thing. As in, “put it over there with the rest of my things.” Eventually, that thing will become stuff, as in “why do we have so much stuff?” And it’s only a matter of time before it ends its lifespan as clutter, as in, “I’m making a run to the dump to clear out some of this clutter.” 

 

MONTHLY CELEBRATES LOCAL BUSINESSES AND COMMUNITIES WITH THE 2018 READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS.

Are you looking for the best of the Lowcountry? You’ll find it here. These are the “best of the best” places to shop, dine, live, party and more, as voted by you, our readers. If you don’t find your favorites here, make sure to cast your ballot next year. Congratulations to this year’s winners, and special thanks to all who voted.

FEEL-GOOD GIFTS SUPPORT LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS 

This holiday season, look beyond the usual gifts of gadgets and gizmos in favor of something with a little more meaning.

‘Tis the season for the age-old question: What to give the person on your list who has everything? Here’s one idea: The great feeling that comes from supporting local nonprofit groups in the valuable work they do all year. 

BERKELEY HALL CHARITABLE FOUNDATION HELPS BLUFFTON KIDS

Many students who attend Neighborhood Outreach Connection’s after-school programs are behind in reading and math, but not because they and their parents don't care about education. Some of the children struggle in school because their English is limited, while others have parents who only speak Spanish and can’t help with homework. But a new grant from the Berkeley Hall Charitable Foundation will help the Bluffton locations of this Lowcountry nonprofit group better help these at-risk students.