Getting Fierce

How to Get Your Winter Glow On

How to Get Your Winter Glow On

You want to know a great way to beat the winter blahs? Glow your way through those gray days and skin-drying frosts! A little less sunshine and indoor exposure to heat blasts through vents doesn’t have to leave you looking dull. Here are some simple ways to get a winter glow going!

Sun up. I’ve mentioned before that I love Maybelline’s BB (Beauty Balm) foundations and the numerous reasons why, which include the dewy finish, its 30 spf skin protection, and its moisturizing effect. So, for me, it was a natural transition to the Bronze BB for my summer make-up routine. I ended up using it long after summer was over because of the sun-kissed look it gives.  For the winter glow (versus I-just-got-back-from-my-virtual-tropical-location look), stick to the shade that is closest to your natural skin tone.

Baby kisses. I realize Maybelline isn’t the first brand that pops to mind when we’re talking about more mature skin, but the same qualities that make it a more youth-oriented product are the qualities that make it a great choice to add glow at any age. Baby Skin Instant Cheek Flush is a favorite of mine because of the sheerness and, well. . . the instant flush you get with a quick swipe! This isn’t all-day hearty color, it’s more of quick pinch to the cheeks without the ouch-factor!

How to Get Your Winter Glow On

Sassy scarves. Adding a pop of color around your neck can reflect up and warm your skin tone. Try one with some metallic threads, sequined fringed, or a bit of sparkle to get the winter glow to grow!

Hair Dare. Balk at the notion that only summer hair can shimmer and winter hair needs to have warmer hues. Add some traditional highlights for a sun-kissed look. Feeling a little more adventurous?  Add a playful glint with a few strands of hair tinsel or hair flare!

Effervescent earrings. I’m not talking about serious bling here – we’re going for a glint. A bit of eye-catching sparkle that seems like a dusting of new sparkly snow.

How to Get Your Winter Glow On

Pop eyes. We’ve been told for years that women of a certain age shouldn’t wear eyeshadow with frost in it. Pishaw! Well, maybe that baby-blue frosted eyeshadow concoction that seemed to circulate through every junior high in America during a particular decade should be avoided, but don’t shun the metallic shimmer. My favorite for a little sparkle is the bronzed Loreal duo pictured below (color 910).

Eye additions. Speaking of eyes, reading glasses come in some fun options. Bring on the glow with a smattering of sparkle across the top of the frames or a glint of glitter on the sides.

How to Get Your Winter Glow On

Shimmering smiles. I love Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick. Excuse me for sounding a bit like a commercial here, but it really is moisturizing and comes in great colors with finishes that range  from a soft gleam to pearlized. And all for a reasonable drugstore price. I didn’t realize how many different colors I have in this line until I was rummaging through my stash looking for the correct names of my favorites to pass on to you. So, my personal top two go-tos are Rosewine (for a neutral gleam) and Toast of New York for a bit of bronzed pizzaz!

Let’s celebrate winter! Ready? Set? GLOW!

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5 Ways to Reduce Stress with a Blast-From-Your-Past

5 Ways to Reduce Stress with a Blast From Your Past!

I have the perfect combination for you! Doctors have been telling us for years how stress can cause all sorts of bad stuff – health issues, emotional issues, psychological issues. Finding ways to diffuse stress is a million-dollar business (squeezy ball anybody?). But worth it, right? Because less stress equals a happier, healthier us. But you don’t have to spend big bucks to get big relief from too much stress. Studies show that thinking about positive memories can have the stress-reducing effect that many of us are in need of. So here’s that perfect combo I  promised you: take a little a stress-reducing trip down memory lane with one of these nostalgic stress busters. Bonus: each one costs under five dollars!

  1. Bubbles. Blow your irritations away. The act of dipping a wand into soapy suds and waving it through the air, leaving a trail of delightful bubbles is sure to put a smile on your face. The 5 Ways to Reduce Stress With a Blast-From-Your-Pastdrifting bubbles soothe as they glide around you. Try naming a few of the bigger ones: Guilt Trip, Rude Person (you get the idea) and watch them pop into oblivion! (Under $2)

2. Silly Putty. Yes – it’s still around! Remember how it works? We used to press it on to comics, then roll it off and the comic image would transfer to the putty – just waiting to be stretched and distorted. Newspaper ink doesn’t lift like it used to, but pencil lead still does. Grab a pencil and make a list of those stress-inducing aggravations. Roll your putty over them. Then stretch them until they are unrecognizable and do a final blot-out by squishing the mass into a ball. Now smooth out your not-so-silly-putty and return it to its egg until it’s time to take on the next stresser! (Under $2)5 Ways to Reduce Stress With a Blast-From-Your-Past

3. Jacks. The perfect rhythm-building distraction. For a more authentic youthful experience, sit on the floor, legs crossed in the universal kid-sit way. For those of us who might never be able to get back up from such a position, a desk top works just fine for the bounce, scoop, bounce, scoop-more stress-busting activity! (Under $5 for the metal ones – even less for plastic)5 Ways to Reduce Stress With a Blast-From-Your-Past

4. Paper airplane. Fly your worries away! Write down those irksome issues that are causing you anxiety on a nice cool piece of paper. Take a trip back in time and fold up your paper, creating a calming rhythm as you smooth your creases, creating your paper-problem-navigator. Once you have that nose nice and pointy, 5 Ways to Reduce Stress With a Blast-From-Your-Pastsail your problems into the closest wall for a satisfying crunch. For the grand finale? Sail your plane into a bucket or sink full of water and watch the problems literally breakdown. Now, doesn’t that feel good? (Free!)

5. Play-Doh. Craft some shapes that represent your time-wasting worries. Got them all lined up and ready for destruction? Now aggressively flatten each one with a hand, rolling pin, or (remember Mr. Bill?) your car. When those Play-Doh stressers see you coming at them, full speed ahead, they’ll say:

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10 Ideas to Care for the Caregiver

10 Ideas to Care for the Caregiver

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!

  1. Let them chunk the chore. Some things just have to get done whether we want to make time for them or not – like walking the dog or cleaning the house. And sometimes less-crucial chores get put off to the point where they become crucial – mowing the lawn, weeding a garden, repairing a broken step. Pick a chore, any chore, and get it done. You may have to coordinate something like cleaning their house, but weeding, mowing, bringing the trashcan up to the house after pick-up and the like can just magically happen. And you get to be the magician!
  2. Send flowers. A delivery of something lovely gives a momentary escape. Who thought of me? How beautiful! What a fresh scent! And thereafter provides a week or so of color that will be a reminder that someone appreciates their efforts. Now notice I said flowers. No plants, please. And no handfuls of flowers handed to them that they have to go find a vase for and take time to arrange. The whole point is to give them a mini break, not create another obligation to provide care.
  3. Provide respite. If it is possible for the caregiver to leave the house if their charge is supervised, volunteer your time to do the supervising so your friend can get out of the house for a few hours and take care of some needs or wants.
  4. Provide mini-respite. If the caregiver can’t leave their charge in the care of someone who is not specially trained, you can still provide respite right in their home. Have your pal pick a time when his charge is occupied by a favorite program or napping, and come hang out while your friend takes a luxurious bath, reads for an uninterrupted hour, or hangs out with his dog in the backyard. You will have provided him a miro-vacation!
  5. Dub yourself Sir Secret Pal. Send anonymous little gifts or uplifting notes randomly, signed Your Secret Pal. Sure it may drive them a little crazy, but in a good way – a way that will have them looking forward to the run to the mailbox! I’ve been on both sides of the Secret Pal relationship, and I can tell you first-hand that sending the loot will put a smile on your face, too. And to receive unexpected pick-me-ups such as a fun mug with a box of tea, a refrigerator magnet with an inspirational saying, or a good-for-nothing-but-a-chuckle bobblehead bird provided more than one well-needed smile!
  6. Be the entertainment. Caregiving can be a lonely job. While telephone and social media provide outlets for other human contact, verbal or written exchanges are no substitute for some face-to-face time with someone who’s willing to listen, distract, or provide opportunities for laughter – whatever is needed. Schedule a time when a visit would be appreciated and bring a little fun – a humorous DVD (with some movie-food, of course!) or new boardgame you can figure out together.
  7. Organize meals on wheels. Or meals on heels. However the group wants to get them there. Get a few volunteers – maybe friends, church members, book clubbers – to each drop off one meal a month. Have a designated day so that your care-giving friend can count on Mondays “off.”
  8. Create a Spa Day. If they can’t get out for a little pampering, how about sending a credentialed massage therapist to them? There are beauticians, manicurists and facialists who can be hired for housecalls, too.
  9. Give the gift that keeps on giving. Whether you’re up for a splurge or have a group kicking in on it, a gift-of-the-month club can be a perfect answer to the question: what can we do to help? From fruit to bacon, coffee to beer, knitting to puzzling, there’s a gift-of-the-month-club match no matter what your friend’s favorite food, beverage, or hobby is.
  10. Provide special thanks. Help the recipient of care thank the caregiver themself. Guiding them through a simple craft, assisting them with writing a note, or taking dictation or cues from them to memorialize their thoughts can have multiple benefits. You may provide an outlet for the charge to express appreciation. And your favorite caregiver may receive a tangible  expression of appreciation that would not otherwise have been possible.

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.

 

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5 Ways to Lose 5 Pounds – Instantly!

5 Ways to Lose 5 Pounds - Instantly!

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!

  1. Breakdown and bra-splurge. I know –  getting a bra fitting falls so low on your “want to do list” that the only two items under it are “pap smear” and “colonoscopy.” But if your girls leave off where your stomach starts, you need a hoist – and that doesn’t happen just by tightening up straps. As important, a  better-fitting bra can also leave you free of back-bulge and under-arm-overage –  resulting in instant visual slimming.
  2. Cardigans are your friends. There’s nothing like a straight-cut cardigan in a quality, non-clingy fabric to visually smooth out hips, thighs and tummy. Length choice depends on the length of your legs, but you want something past your tush and the fullest part of your thighs. Get a couple in basic, non-seasonal colors like navy, khaki, or taupe, and you have an instant body-smoother for every outfit without the need for spandex body-squeezers!
  3. Go boating. Many of us gravitate toward turtlenecks in an attempt to lessen the focus on loosening skin. But the strategy can backfire. Not only do they end right under the chin (potentially emphasizing a slack jawline), but they can actually contribute to a bulky, thicker appearance. A better alternative is a flattering boatneck. With a wider cut neckline, the neck often looks slimmer and elongated. A square-shaped or wide-V-neck have the same flattering effect.
  4. Soldier on. Head up, shoulders back. Something as simple as good posture takes visual pounds off. And, in addition to looking better, exercising (whoops, sorry about that word choice!) good posture actually makes you feel better – both physically (hunched shoulders and slumped form take a toll on your body) and emotionally (studies show a connection to confidence level and ability to focus).
  5. Get bigger. Really. This is the most effective tip I can offer: Go up a clothing size. Forget about the number. Our bodies change shapes as we mature and the fit is more important than the number. For me, the scale numbers were the same, but the fit was different. So I bit the bullet. I, with dragging feet, bought the next size up. I was amazed at how many people commented on my “weight-loss” and how good I looked! Who knew that going bigger could leave me smiling?!

If you have a “lose-5-pounds-instantly” tip, please share it with us in the comment section below!

5 to Try for Breakfast on the Fly

5 to Try for Breakfast on the Fly

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!

5 to Try for Breakfast on the Fly

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!

5 to Try for Breakfast on the Fly

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.

5 to Try for Breakfast on the Fly4.  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 to Try for Breakfast on the Fly

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.

5 to Try for Breakfast on the Fly

5 to Try for Breakfast on the Fly

Friday Flash – Motivation

As you head into the weekend, keep heading toward that goal you have set for yourself. Don’t let slow progress discourage you. Little steps add up for big results! It’s about always moving forward – you can’t achieve a goal without first moving toward it. The thing to remind yourself is to

Friday Flash - Motivation

3 New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Want to Make – and Keep!

3 New Year's Resolutions You'll WANT to Make - AND Keep!

There are two types of New Year’s Resolutions. First, the ones that you are making again (lose weight, eat healthy, exercise, get organized, stop procrastinating, blah, blah, blah) Second, the ever popular I-resolve-NOT-to-make-New-Year’s-Resolutions resolution. Both categories are so tired, they should be permanently retired! We are ready for a new-and-improved New Year’s Resolution category – resolutions we look forward to keeping! Here are three that fit nicely into our new category.

  1. The Jar. This idea has been circulating in various forms for the past couple of years and I expect it will be around for years to come – because the results are so positive. The simple premise is you leave a container in a place that you see often and drop in notes throughout the year to commemorate moments, events, thoughts  – whatever you want. At the end of the year you read your notes. I did it this year for the first time, and my husband and I will read through the notes as part of our stay-at-home New Year’s Eve celebration. Our jar was a simple quart canning jar that I left on the kitchen counter – in spite of the fact that it matched nothing! I put a couple of mini notepads inside as well as a pen so that it was convenient to write our notes. I remember some of the notes I dropped in over the past year – a surprise visit from a dear friend, a stupid joke that had us laughing until our eyes watered, the trio of goats that showed up in our back yard. What I’m really looking forward to is reading over the notes I forgot about – and appreciating the moments all over again! As the months went on we found ourselves talking about “a laugh that will make the jar” and referring to events as a “jar moment.” Writing the notes not only magnify the appreciation of what is good or special in the moment, it records a memory to be enjoyed again later. And all for zero cost and a time investment of occasional minutes!

3 New Year's Resolutions You'll WANT to Make - AND Keep!

2. A year of Christmas Spirit. One of the wonderful things about the holiday season is it seems to soften hearts and promote generosity. Giving and acts of kindness are at an all-time high during the month of December. Soup kitchens are overrun with volunteers wanting to help serve and an abundance of carolers cheer up nursing home residents. Then comes January, and everyone is all niced-out. But the needs of others don’t get put on hold until the next holiday. And our own need to get outside of ourselves and help others (which can put our own problems and challenges in perspective) doesn’t end when the last holiday decoration is boxed up. Calendar in a monthly act of kindness, generosity, or encouragement. Whether it is twelve months of support for a specific charity (rocking babies, sorting books, serving food, . . . ), twelve different selections (sending a note of encouragement to somebody, mowing another’s lawn, putting a potted plant on a neighbor’s porch . . . ) or something in between, it’s all good. Not only do others benefit from your resolution, but studies show that such acts of kindness benefit the doer physically, spiritually, and emotionally. The ultimate win-win!

3 New Year's Resolutions You'll Want to Make - AND Keep

3. Blast back to your past. Commit to a year of lightening up, letting your inner child have a playdate, and go retro. Make a monthly date with yourself (or with a pal) to take a step back in time with something you enjoyed from the past. Whether you  schedule an activity (bowling? swinging at a playground?), watching a movie from “the day” (anybody remember Parent Trap?) or indulging in that blast-from-the-past treat (helloooooo Sander’s Bumpy Cake!!), be intentional about staying young at heart!

3 New Year's Resolutions You'll WANT to Make - AND Keep!

Set yourself up for success and productivity by making a New Year’s resolution (or three!) that you will look forward to keeping!

 HERE’S WISHING YOU YOUR BEST YEAR EVER! HAPPY NEW YEAR, FRIENDS!

12 Ways You’ll Know I’m Close to Goal Weight

blog2 goal weight

I thought I’d beat the New Year’s rush and get started on a weight-loss program before the holidays. I’m not one of those people who tries every diet that comes along. No – I know exactly what works. It’s as simple as less calories in, more energy out. So what a rude awakening it was to discover that knowing what works isn’t enough – apparently one has to actually do what works. Ugh!

I am a grown woman – I can “just do it,” right? Well, that is what I kept telling myself. The mantra works in so many other areas of my life, but no matter how much I mentally beat myself up for not having more “willpower,” I could not “just do it.” It was quite humbling to have to admit that I need external assistance if I’m going to change things. So I mentally reviewed my distant past, when I looked my best, and asked myself what was different back then. It didn’t take me long to figure it out. Accountability. The buddy system. Having someone who counted on me as much as I counted on them to keep heading toward the goal. But I don’t have close friends nearby, I no longer live in a neighborhood where I can recruit a neighbor to walk, nor do I have a schedule that allows for driving to a gym 2-3 times a week. By necessity, I got a little creative. I called a professional friend who had recently had a total knee replacement and worked in an office a few blocks from my own office. Having had two total-knee replacements myself in the past couple of years, I pitched the idea of doing something to protect our new knees.

I am a life-time member of Weight Watchers – a feat achieved three decades ago while in my twenties. Not that the organization would claim me as a spokesperson at this point, mind you. One of the reasons the habits learned back then may not have really taken is because I had a bad attitude. Well, maybe more arrogant than bad. My twisted logic included premises such as on weigh-in day I could splurge because I had six days left to “fix it” before the next weigh-in.

12 Ways You'll Know When I'm Close to Goal Weight

But I’m older and wiser now, with  a new and improved attitude! I know the program really boils down to making wise food choices that include variety and moving more. It has the built-in accountable-to-self component with the weekly weigh-in and I  had found somebody who had a common goal, thus creating that mutual accountability component. So now I am ready to head, once again, toward the feeling-my-best coveted “goal weight.” I remember well the excitement felt as clothes became loose, energy increased and I closed in on that reasonable number that both my body and wallet (no more payments when you maintain goal weight) would thank me for. I also remember how those last few ounces seemed to mockingly hang around, delaying the big day, and the weigh-in-day creativity of members who were mere breaths away from “goal weight.” So I’m already planning ahead for success. Here are twelve ways you will know that I am ounces away from the magic number:

  1. My eyebrows are plucked into commas;
  2. My legs are shaved despite the fact that there’s snow on the ground;
  3. My short hair just got shorter;
  4. I turn down coffee on weigh-in day;
  5. There’s only a white stripe where the wedding ring I hadn’t taken off for 38 years used to be;
  6. My skin is hot pink from having the top layer loofahed off;
  7. My fingernails have been trimmed to almost nonexistence;
  8. I seem to be flossing my teeth excessively;
  9. My face is make-up free;
  10. I’m going sockless in spite of my mother’s lifetime warnings about how doing so ruins your shoes;
  11.  I refuse to put a band-aid on a profusely bleeding papercut;
  12. I’m pulling lint out of my pockets.

So if you run across me and I’ve got a smile and a swagger, don’t let the pink skin and the funky eyebrows fool you – it will mean that I’m enjoying some sweet success!

What weight-loss program, plan or tips work for you?

Motivational Monday #24

One of the mottoes that became popular in our generation is “Plan your work and work your plan.” So many of us set a goal and tried to work our plan diligently – only to meet with rejection from a third party who seemed to have the power to thwart that goal. The job that wasn’t offered, the submitted writing that was declined, the invitation refused – such obstacles to attaining a long-term goal can leave us with an overwhelming feeling of frustration or failure. We may be tempted to ignore the obstacles or force a  path through them because we are so intent on working our plan. But sometimes an unforeseen event, a perceived obstacle, can be a significant opportunity. Motivational speaker Steve Maraboli  certainly sees it that way; he said:

Motivational Monday #24

Stop Trying to Save Toads

Stop Trying to Save Toads

I see them flailing from my kitchen window. I know if I don’t help, I’ll find them lifeless in the skimmer later. So I stop what I’m doing and head out to save more toads. One would think I’d be a Toad Hero, right? But no. They actually fight my attempts to save them, diving toward the pool bottom or skittering away across the water surface. They dodge the life-saving shallow net I dip in to carry them to safety.

Each successful save is lifted out of the pool and gently turned out on the grass. Yet I receive no grateful croaks. Some of the toads, without even taking a few minutes to enjoy their new lease on life, head straight back toward the enticing water. They’ve already forgotten their panic-stricken flailing from moments before – they only have eyes for the sparkling surface ahead. You just can’t save a toad that is determined to jump back in the pool.

If you have a toad in your life, one that races back to the water no matter how many times you have scooped it out and laid it in the gentle arms of safety, you have two choices. You can either scoop until your arms finally give out, or you can acknowledge and accept the fact that toads have no heroes.

Albert Einstien probably had toads in mind when he said the following: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.