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!

Favor Your Mother’s Day Table

Favor Your Mother's Day Table

If you want to set a fun Mother’s Day Table and leave each guest with a special memory and a smile on her face, check out guest blogger Natine Abreu-Shaw’s fantastic favors for inspiration!

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.

Favor Your Mother's Day Table

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.

Favor Your Mother's Day Table

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.

Favor Your Mother's Day TableTwo 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!

Favor Your Mother's Day Table

It’s an enjoyable challenge to come up with a new idea every year! Here’s a sneak peek at this year’s…

Favor Your Mother's Day Table

Wishing all moms a very HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

*A variety of shelf-sitters can still be found on-line from different distributors.

Favor Your Mother's Day TableGuest 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!

More Friday Five Funnies (Vol. 4)

More Friday Five Funnies (Vol 4)

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!

More Friday Funnies (Vol 4)


More Friday Five Funnies (Vol 4)


More Friday Funnies (Vol 4)


More Friday Funnies (Vol 4)


More Friday Five Funnies (Vol 4)

If you haven’t had a chance to check out our Facebook page yet, drop by for a visit. We hope you LIKE it!

If you want to catch up on Friday Five Funnies you may have missed, here are the links for the first three:

Facebook Funnies             More Friday Funnies          More Friday Funnies (Vol 3)


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

5 Last Minute No-Eat Treats for Your Valentine

5 Last Minute No-Eat Treats for Your Valentine

Whether you lost track of time or you just added a new Valentine-recipient to your list, you are not stuck with sugary snacks or overpriced flowers as gift options. It doesn’t matter if  your Valentine is 5 or 50, there’s a little something on this no-eat sweet treat list that you still  have time to get!

  1. Gummy Bear Scented Blueberry Earbuds. Toys R Us sells them for under $8.

Last Minute Valentines

2. Conversation Heart Pillow. The one pictured was found online (click picture for site), but variations can be found at Barnes and Noble, Target, Claire’s, and Nordstroms.

Last Minute Valentines

3. Cupcakes that serve a purpose. Memo pads, sticky notes, and notepads come in a variety of cupcake options that are perfect for some sweet notes! Shop party supply stores, dollar stores, toy stores and big box stores. While you’re at the party store, pick up a bag of Valentine pencils. Gift alone, add a few to accompany your memo pad offering, or divide into ribbon-tied bundles to be presented to multiple Valentines.

Last Minute Valentines


Last Minute Valentines

4.  Sweet socks. Not to be confused with “sweat socks.” The pictured trio is from Kohls.

Last Minute Valentines

5. Soaps that look good enough to eat.  You can find delicious-looking soaps in stores that sell bath and kitchen supplies, but if you’re feeling crafty, check out this video to whip up your own batch of not-to-eat sweet treats!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Fat-Bottom-Fifties Get Fierce

Last Minute Valentines

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

National Pie Day – January 23

National Pie DayThere are actually two annual pie days in our calendar – how lucky are we!!! Pi Day, the celebration of the mathematical constant π, takes place on March 14 as 3, 1 and 4 are the first three digits of π. OK all you Math Lovers – mark this day on the calendar for some wacky Pi fun!!!

The other national pie day is celebrated tomorrow, January 23 and was created simply to celebrate the edible pie. As near as we can tell, this day became a ‘holiday’ in the mid-1970s when Charlie Papazian, from Boulder CO declared it so. The American Pie Company took up sponsorship of this national day in 1986.

For more pie history, check out these two sites for starters – Time’s history of Pies and the Pie Council. You may find yourself wandering all through the annuls of pie history if you are part-time foodies like we are.

January is a perfect time to enjoy the comfort of either a savory or a sweet pie. The weather outside (at least here in Michigan) is frightful! A warm, delicious smelling and tasting dinner, or dessert, is welcome relief.

022I recently made my first homemade, from scratch, pie crust and all, chicken pot pie. I was going to be out-of-town for the weekend and this was something that could be re-heated for those left at home. I was surprised at how wonderfully delicious it was. The kitchen was an absolute disaster, but I learned a few things that will make it easier next time – because this pie was fabulous and there will definitely be a next time!!

I used Ina Garten’s recipe with a few adaptations. She also has a version that uses lobster – yes please!!! You can personalize your pie as well and include veggies you know your family will enjoy if they turn up their noses at peas and carrots (although Forest Gump believes they are a natural and perfect combination – just like him and Jenny).

Here are a few other ideas for celebrating whether savory or sweet suits your fancy! Click on the pictures to get recipes from the sites in which we found these delicious items.

  • Fried Green Tomato Pie: Made the summer before last when I was left with way too many unripe tomatoes in my garden. This was WONDERFUL!!!Fried Green Tomatoe Pie
  • Classic Sour Cherry Pie : I usually have some cherries left over from summer time picking to allow for out of season enjoyment.

Classic Sour Cherry Pie

  • Empanadas: Some would argue that these are not true pies as they are fried and not baked. However, they do involve dough and filling and could even be baked if one desired so….pie it is – say we!

EmpinadaPicture by Stu Spivak

  • Greek Chicken Phylo Dough Pie: I believe this would also be good with beef or pork – yummy!

Greek Chicken Phyllo Pie

  • St. Patty’s Apple Pie: This one could be saved for use in March for a Pi Day Celebration in combination with St. Patty’s Day!

St. Patty's Day Apple Pie

With the variety of pies listed above, it would seem that pies really do allow for creativity and ownership. As we start the new year, we certainly encourage celebrations of each of those traits.

Enjoy your weekend and may you find time for pie eating at its finest!

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!


5 Fast, Fit and Festive Edible Christmas Trees

blog2 edible christmas trees

Looking for a festive addition to your holiday buffet that offers a tasty alternative to sugar-laden treats? Here are 5 colorful options that are fast, festive and easy on the calories. Presenting: EDIBLE CHRISTMAS TREES!

The kiwi tree comes complete with ornaments – with very little assembly required!

5 Fast, Fit and Festive Christmas Foods

If you want a little more drama, start with a styrofoam cone and some toothpicks to have your tree go vertical. Berries, melons, kiwis – plenty of fruit options to make your own masterpiece!

Fat Fit and Festive Edible Christmas Trees

For those impromptu gatherings, you probably have the ingredients for a vegetable tree in your fridge already. Sliced pepper stems, cauliflower tree lights, broccoli floret greens all make great substitutions for the cucumber/carrot/tomato version shown. While a click on the picture gets you to the site it originated from, I couldn’t find the specific link for this  tree. I suspect you’ll be okay on this one without specific instructions!

Fast Fit and Festive Edible Christmas Tree

Does it get easier than a one-fruit tree that’s naturally decorated in Christmas colors?? Click on the picture for Eating Vibrantly’s suggestion on attaching the “tree trunk.”

Fast Fit and Festive Edible Christmas Trees

These pita trees are a great choice for an appetizer to contribute to the office party or family potluck. You will arrive knowing that no matter what is on the buffet, you have a great choice to snack on. They look artful and the recipe is an easy mix of seasoning, fat-free sour cream and guacamole. This substantive finger-food is a calorie bargain at only 30 per tree!

Fast Fit Festive Edible Christmas Trees

Christmas Trees never tasted so good!

5 Books for Your Christmas Stocking Stuffing

Five Books that Could Make Great Christmas Stocking StuffersI think we can all agree – books make great gifts and great gifts make great stocking stuffers! There is so much more to a book than the actual book. A book says an adventure awaits; cozy is just around the corner; make time for yourself; etc, etc, etc. Really, if you are fortunate enough to have some time off during the holidays, the anticipation of curling up with a good book and getting your winter time cozy on is such a treat! Here are a few suggestions for books we would love to find in our stocking this year!

Writers on Knitting1) Writers on Knitting – Ann Hood: Just looking at this book makes me want to both open it up and get started reading, and it makes we want to touch all the yarn in my craft room  – and then get started on a project! Think about how much writing has in common with knitting. Writers and knitters are both weavers, one of stories and one of projects. Also, there has to be a reason why good stories are often referred to as good ‘yarns.’ I found this as way of explanation : The difference between story and yarn is that whereas story is the conventional word for a fictional account, yarn often has the idea of a story told by a colourful character and it has a lot to do with the storyteller’s personality. When you hear the word “yarn,” you imagine a group of people gathering round to hear a story from someone who has had interesting experiences over a long time. and Merriam Webster defines a yarn as an interesting or exciting story.

I had not heard of this book before El tossed it my way, but I can’t wait to settle in and get my ‘yarnin’ on!

642 Things to Write About


2) 642 Thing to Write About – San Francisco Writer’s Grotto and Po Bronson: Now that I’ve got my yarn ‘yarnin’ on, I could use a little nudge to get my word ‘yarnin’ on. Just like a ball of yarn can get me going on a project, a clever prompt can get me going on a story or blurb or post. I would imagine not all the ideas are going to generate fantastic tales, but what a great way to exercise our writing muscles. For the ‘writer’ in your life (we all know of at least one), stuff their minds with ideas for writing in the new year.



All the Light We Cannot See



3) All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr: This one I have actually read and absolutely LOVED. I had recently returned from an unexpected and perfectly wonderful-in-every- way trip from Paris, so it was even more fun to read about the neighborhoods in which the story took place because I could think of them as they are now. But I digress. The story is told from two different vantage points – a blind girl in Paris and a young boy in Germany during World War II. Their stories briefly intersect and tell such amazing tales of hardship, loss, love, courage, and integrity that I was quite sad to end the book and thus my interface with their lives. Isn’t that always the way with a good book? This book won the Pulitzer Prize for 2015. It is just stuffed with wonderful imagery!


A Confederacy of Dunces4) A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole : This title came to me by way of an NPR (National Public Radio) episode. I didn’t hear the title of the book, but came in as they were explaining it was initially being considered for publication by some ‘house’ in NY but it fell through and the author at some point committed suicide. His mother then took up the crusade of getting this book published which it eventually was – six years after Mr. Toole’s death. AND then it went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1981! What a testament of a mother’s love!!!  The NPR episode was actually about a cookbook that was published based on some of the food the characters stuff themselves with during the course of the story. I’m curious enough now to want to pick up this book at my local library (although Barnes and Noble is selling the hard copy for $1.99). Here’s the Barnes and Noble overview: Set in New Orleans, A Confederacy of Dunces outswifts Swift, one of whose essays gives the book its title. As its characters burst into life, they leave the region and literature forever changed by their presences – Ignatius and his mother; Miss Trixie, the octogenarian assistant accountant at Levy Pants; inept, wan Patrolman Mancuso; Darlene, the Bourbon Street stripper with a penchant for poultry; Jones, the jivecat in space-age dark glasses. Satire and farce animate A Confederacy of Dunces; tragic awareness ennobles it.

H is for Hawk5)  H is for Hawk – Helen McDonald: This is definitely not a M is for Murder style book.  A New York Times review describes it as: Heart-wrenching and humorous, this book is an unflinching account of bereavement and a unique look at the magnetism of an extraordinary beast, with a parallel examination of a legendary writer’s eccentric falconry. Obsession, madness, memory, myth, and history combine to achieve a distinctive blend of nature writing and memoir from an outstanding literary innovator. That overview seems perfectly stuffed with intrigue! It came up on several top book pics for 2015.


I would love to have any of these books tucked away in my stocking to delight me on Christmas morning! I get excited about almost any book – couple that with the thrill of a new book (when I may actually have some free time to devote to the indulgence a good yarn brings) and I can’t believe my good fortune!

Here’s wishing you find all the stuff a great read can deliver!

What book would YOU like to find tucked in your stocking?