We wanted to send you into the weekend with a smile on your face and this important reminder:
We wanted to send you into the weekend with a smile on your face and this important reminder:
“Getting Fierce” doesn’t mean “total deprivation.” It’s about being strong – being our best. And sometimes our best us needs a little splurge. Let me be clear: this isn’t about health food. I’m not going to tell you about something wonderful and follow that with how you should cut out some of the good stuff from it to make it “better.” I’m not going to talk about carbs, calories, or sugar counts. Nope – we’re just talking about that once-in-a-while-I-don’t-care-no-holds-barred SPLURGE. Here are 5 of our summer favorites:
2. Coffee gets cooler. Is that even possible? Yes! With a frosty java option such as Panera’s Frozen Mocha or Starbucks’ Frappuccino. The latter offers a mini-version for those who are just wanting to dip a toe in the splurge waters; you know – kind of a splurge-lite!
3. Fair Food. I’m always on the lookout for a good Strawberry Newport. Custard on a flaky pastry bed, robed with fresh sweetened strawberries, and topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream. If there’s no fair in sight, my quick at-home version not only works, it makes a great company desert! The ingredients are (1) puff pastry (thawed and cut in rectangles) (2) sweetened strawberries (we often stir in a little amaretto or raspberry liquor for an adult version) (3) French Vanilla Instant Pudding (use a little less milk than called for so it’s thicker) and whipped cream. Cook your puff pastry per box directions, and split in half when cool. Just before serving: spoon in the pudding, ladel on your strawberries, and blast with whipped cream. Mmmmmm!
4. Time travel. Delicious summer treat meets blast-from-the-past with a root beer float. But not just any root beer will do here. For a true taste of yesteryear, we need the vanilla notes of A&W’s draft root beer. Add some creamy vanilla ice cream for the perfect marriage!
5. A little adult time. You don’t have to be poolside to put a tropical twist on a hot summer day. Swap out the lemonade for a fruity cocktail that will cool you down – kind of like an adult Slurpy. But make sure you avoid the adult-size brain-freeze that can come with it if you drink it too fast! Click HERE or on the picture for some fun recipes from Serious Eats – with options from the basic (frozen gin and tonic) to more the exotic (frozen Mezcal Paloma, anyone?) there’s something for everybody!
We have been absolutely remiss! Can’t believe it’s been almost five months since we sent you into the weekend with a few chuckles. Well, to make up for that we’ll add a couple of extra smile this go-round. For today’s Friday Five we’ve plucked seven of our favorite Facebook posts from the past few month that are sure to send you into the weekend with a smile on your face!
If you want to catch up on Friday Five Funnies you may have missed, here are the links for the first four:
There are great eyeglass choices out there these days – studious, whimsical, retro – something for every personality. But no matter how much pizazz your frames have, your eyes should still be the stars of your face. Often the eyes end up with a facial supporting role, the sparkle dimmed by a layer of glass and lashes that disappear behind frames. It’s time to get those orbs back to center stage! Here are 5 tips to get those peepers to POP from behind glasses:
2. Go nude. Don’t go off topic here – we’re still talking make-up, people. (Remember, we’re trying to keep the focus on the eyes.) Many of us adopted the tried-and-true Hollywood-habit of lining the inside of our lower lids with white pencil to brighten the appearance of our eyes. Unfortunately, donning glasses can turn soft emphasis into racing-stripes. To avoid the harsh effect, trade your white pencil for a nude shade like this waterproof pencil from Rimmel.
3. Modify mascara. All my make-up-wearing life I purchased only mascara that promised to add yards to my lash-length. If the lashes didn’t tickle my eyebrows, the mascara wasn’t doing its job! I hung onto that goal long after eyeglasses became part of my daily wardrobe and lash-tips were hidden behind frames. The only evidence of the impressive length was the less-than-impressive smears across the glass where my lashes bumped up against it as the day wore on. Then I saw a tip from a make-up pro who suggested focusing on lash thickness rather than length. What? That would require a whole-new mindset! Remembering my commitment to embrace change, I plunged right into a brand new way of doing things. Just take your mascara up to the half-way point of your lashes, then wiggle the wand left and right a few times. That action bulks up the middle of the lashes and creates a natural-looking frame for the eye that can be seen through the glass!
4. Tame the brows. To aovid the Groucho Marx effect, smooth scraggly brows. You don’t need to invest in brow wax or a specialized product – you’ve already got what you need for this lightweight job. Dot a little hair gel, dab a little petroleum jelly, or give a quick once-over with chapstick to smooth away anything that distracts from your smiling eyes!
5. Set the light. A shear touch of color on top of your cheek bones, directly under each eye, gives off a glow that sets of your popping peeps beautifully! I liked Maybelline’s Baby Skin Instant Cheek Flush – the name says it all!
My husband and I recently discovered a Bald Eagle’s nest on a visit to check out some hiking trails. Well, didn’t actually discover it – it has been there and been monitored, celebrated, and photographed for several years now. We had noted signs posted at the park’s entrance asking hikers to jot down any sightings of bald eagles and/or osprey spotted while hiking. Cool, I thought – but, realistically, what are the odds of seeing a bald eagle and its nest? As we walked, the bam-bam-bam of the ‘next door’ rifle range negated any peace and quiet of a nature hike. Well, there goes any chance of seeing bald eagles I mused – they certainly aren’t going to nest in an area with guns being fired.
We wove in and out of a rather large group of hikers (?) set up on the trail with tripods and spotting scopes etc. We paid them very little mind other than to think they must be hopeful bird watchers who obviously were not realists! On our way out of the park, we happened upon a man with some ‘taxidermed’ eagles and osprey in the back of his open van. Again, I made an assumption thinking probably part of the field trip of fledgling-bird watchers back there on the trail. I, of course, have to strike up a conversation when confronted with such a unique opportunity! Steve was wonderfully knowledgeable about eagles and osprey and the history of the eagles and osprey that reside right there in the park where we had just hiked. In fact, we had walked right past the Osprey tower with adults and chicks in the nest. And those optimistic bird watchers that we so casually dismissed were looking at an eagles nest with an eaglet in the nest!!! Holey Moley!
Real. Live. Actual. In the wild. Bald Eagles!!!
I may be of an advanced age, but I have never seen a bald eagle in the wild before. I was so geeked about it! While standing there absorbing all this information, we were joined by a local bird expert and a local photographer who is the ‘official’ photographer for these eagles. Plans were set to return in the evening (optimal viewing time) with some binoculars and scopes of our own.
Let me just say that I have returned almost every other day since our ‘discovery’ to check on this soon-to-be fledgling eaglet. I don’t want to miss a single thing! I can hardly bear the thought of his/her taking that first fledgling flight without my being there to witness. I have seen him/her doing its ‘wing-ercizing’ (flapping very impressive baby wings and hopping around). I have seen an adult return to the nest with dinner to share with the eaglet (did you know eagles do not regurgitate food into their little one’s mouths, not even when they are new hatchlings?) and then soar back out of the nest.
I feel like a fledgling in a way.
Like a school kid again, about to embark on a learning journey about something so cool that I want to tell the whole world about it! I have this new information, this new skill, this new urge to discover more about this eagle family that I have somehow become quite vested in.
I love the feeling!
This is just one example of things we ‘pass by’ each day unaware of the opportunities missed by our ‘blinders-on-trek’ through our days. We should all continually look for those fledgling opportunities out there waiting to be embraced. Discover a new interest, a new challenge, or a different way of doing something that energizes us and makes us ask question after question after question and seek information from as many sources as we can imagine.
Let’s go be fledglings! It just might make you feel lighter than air!
Whether it’s for aging parents, special needs children, or relatives with health issues, providing substantial care for another can take a toll on the one providing the care. Some of you have walked – or are walking – this path and have experienced the physical, emotional, or financial challenges involved. Most of us know someone who is a caregiver and stand in awe of the commitment that goes into providing such care regardless of whether it is by choice or necessity. And many of us wonder if there is a way we can help ease the burden, even just a little, for someone we care about who is caring for another. Here are 10 ideas to give your favorite caretaker a break and put a smile on his or her face!
NOTE: AARP offers a free download of its e-manual The AARP Guide to Caregiving that can be very helpful. The manual covers topics such as health, housing, legal matters, emotional transitions, and available resources. You can also do an on-line search of the title to find a pdf version that can be downloaded directly to your computer.
It usually takes weeks – months for some of us – to drop 5 pounds. But why wait to actually lose weight when you can look 5 pounds slimmer today? I offer, finally, options for looking slimmer that exclude the crazy suggestion to don ankle-breaking high heels and wear pants long enough to give the illusion your legs are an unnatural foot longer. I’m all about looking lean – but not at the expense of comfort! Which is why I’m also not going to talk about shapewear. And, just when you think it can’t possibly get better, as an added bonus you will not see the words exercise, pill, or broccoli uttered below. Here are 5 easy ways to get your slim on – instantly!
I love Mother’s Day! Each year I treat a group of moms to a special meal and a bit of fussing over.
When I began this event 15 years ago, it was just for my mom, two aunts, and a dear friend, all of whom lived in the neighborhood. My cousins and my friend’s son lived out-of-state, so I filled in the gap. Then I began inviting other ladies whose children lived away, and now the annual number of guests is 8-10, ages 60+ to 90-something. I usually try out new recipes for the occasion, and I make sure there are options for everyone’s individual dietary needs. But my favorite thing to do is to provide some kind of inexpensive party favors, so they can take a bit of the fun home with them! Following are some of the fun finds that put a smile on my guests’ faces!
Early on, when the number of guests began growing, I bought shelf-sitters from a home décor catalog. A set of six was about $15, or $2.50 per guest. One year they were all fruit-related; another year they were different flowers.
Then shelf-sitters disappeared from the catalog,* so I began haunting dollar stores. One year I bought little glass vases for $1 each, and put a bloom in each one. There was the year of miniscule tea pots, the year of faux ceramic baskets of flowers, the year of faux tulip and daffodil planters.
One year I filled little gift bags with travel sized hand creams, tissues, and lip balms. Another time I gave each lady a small jar of artisan jam.
Two years ago, I made homemade linen spray, which I put into colorful dollar store spray bottles that also served as place markers. (Mom still requests refills when hers runs out!) And last year each guest got a flat plastic vase filled with tiny marbles and water. The marbles inflated to help keep the vases stable when flowers are added; they made the table look quite festive!
It’s an enjoyable challenge to come up with a new idea every year! Here’s a sneak peek at this year’s…
*A variety of shelf-sitters can still be found on-line from different distributors.
Guest blogger Natine Abreu-Shaw is a recalibrated woman of the Sandwich Generation, who enjoys writing and occasionally mines her mind, flexes her fingers, and publishes her pith at Write-MindedWoman.com – when she is able to take a break from some of her other pet (pun intended!) projects – such as writing as the persona of her fur-kids at their Facebook home Corgi Characters!
If knowing the weekend is right around the corner isn’t enough of a reason to put a smile on your face, let us give you five more reasons! We picked 5 favorites from our Facebook page to send you into the weekend with a chuckle!
If you want to catch up on Friday Five Funnies you may have missed, here are the links for the first three:
A healthy-hot breakfast and crazy-busy schedule are no longer incompatible concepts. Fast food chains have heard the cry of the multitudes and there are more options available than ever before to eat well – even when you’re in a hurry. So if you don’t have the time, or the ingredients, to put together something warm and tasty before you head out the door, here are 5 breakfasts to try from one of the fast-food chains you pass on your way to your busy day. Click on the pictures for the nutrition details.
1. Starbucks – it’s not just for coffee anymore. Skip the sugary beverages and filler-up with the Egg and Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich. A whole-wheat English muffin with egg and cheese satisfies for about 280 calories. Add a plain cup of coffee or tea and breakfast is served!
2. Fast doesn’t have to equal sandwich. McDonald’s offers Fruit & Maple Oatmeal. Ordered without the brown sugar, it’s still sweet from the fresh and dried fruits as well as the light cream. It’s a great vegetarian option!
3. Coffee and no donuts. But you won’t feel deprived with Dunkin’ Donut’s Egg White and Cheese Wake-up Wrap. Amp it up with an iced Caramel Latte Lite on the side and you’re still under 360 calories! The wrap is just one of the under-400 calorie options on the new DD Smart menu.
4. Get your sweet on. If you’re looking for something sweet without breaking the calorie bank, try the French Toast Sticks at Burger King. With it’s 1-oz syrup mate it comes in at about 350 calories and a surprisingly low (275mg) sodium count.
5. If you have a bit more time, Panera has some good choices. An interesting 300-calorie option is the Almond Quinoa Oatmeal. Steel-cut oats are topped with quinoa, honey, cinnamon and the satisfying crunch of toasted almond slices.