27 December 2012

To Resolve Or Not to Resolve ...

Every year at this time, I start debating with myself whether or not to organize some New Year's Resolutions.  For a long time, I would decide on two or three things, and without fail, fail to meet any of them!  Eventually, I admitted to myself that a large part of the reason was because they were unrealistic.  At the first indication that they were not going to "work," I'd get all depressed and chuck the whole idea.

Realizing the truth about my resolutions, I decided to skip any formal declarations of things I wanted/hoped to do in any given year.  But I always felt like I was taking the easy way out.

Last year, I decided that I would try something slightly different, and rather than calling them "resolutions," I would tell myself they were reachable goals.  They included things like eating better, exercising more, trying to do better at work - you get the picture.  And the good news is, that I was able to keep them in mind all year, and even if I didn't accomplish exactly what I'd hoped, I felt like I'd been trying, and that was definitely a good thing.

I also tried the One Little Word challenge, choosing "kindness" for my word of the year.  It seemed like this would be an excellent thing along the way to trying to bring myself into the more positive aspects of things.  I'm happy to say that for the most part, it worked.  I may still not be the kindest person you'll ever meet, but I'm a lot better than I used to be, and a lot more conscious of trying harder to be kind.

Thinking of this, I have decided that for me at least, this approach to things works a lot better.  I have a tendency to be really hard on myself if I have specific expectations set in stone and I fail to meet them 100%.  Whether or not they are realistic doesn't  matter - I get frustrated and angry with myself and figuratively, take about 10 steps backward.

So in 2013, I'm going to work on my "personal goals" as opposed to my New Year's Resolutions.  Some will be relatively mundane, but all of them will be things that will make me *want* to accomplish them.  At the moment, I'm still floating things in , my brain, deciding what will be the main focuses (foci?), but to be perfectly honest, I think the fact that I'm giving it all some serious thought is a step in the right direction, and I'm pretty happy about that.

In the meantime, there's still plenty of Christmastime to enjoy, and I plan to do just that!

12 December 2012

Holiday Time!

I just realized it's been too long since I've posted here.  But I didn't want to pass up the chance to post on 12-12-12, the last symmetrical date we will ever see in our lifetimes!  And it's happening right in the thick of holiday time, with Hanukkah underway, Christmas very close, and the end of the year within sight as well.

I absolutely love Christmastime.  And though I haven't been as diligent about my exercising as I would like, at least I have not abandoned it altogether.  If I can even go to the gym once a week between now and the end of Christmastime (in our house, January 6 is the last day of Christmastime), I'll consider it a success.  Though I haven't really lost any weight since we got back from Ireland in early November, I also haven't gained any - I'll take that, thank you very much.

I know for a lot of people, the time between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day is when they lose their motivation, time, and desire to remember to stay healthy.  It's so easy to do, since even if you don't go crazy with parties and celebrations, there's usually something on your calendar that keeps you running around.  I'm doing better this year than I have for quite a few years, and it's actually making me more thoughtful about eating and exercising.  I grab some steps whenever I can at work, and on days when the weather cooperates, I try to walk around the block at least during lunchtime, or take the slightly longer route walking home.  I haven't made myself give up any goodies, but I try to not eat as much and/or have a smaller meal next time.  I enjoy this time of year too much to become a martyr.

And tomorrow, I have my annual mammogram.  I don't look forward to it, but I know it's necessary, and have been fortunate to have been able to avoid even more drastic measures down the road since my cancer was caught early.  Every year, I think my luck is gonna be up again, but so far I've had a good report each time.  Hopefully tomorrow will be the same result.

In the meantime, I'll be right here, enjoying myself.  Why don't you do the same???

26 November 2012

MAC Matters

Well, hello again - sorry to be such a slow blogger recently.  Between my husband's birthday and Thanksgiving almost back-to-back, I was doing a lot of different things and running around to be ready.  The birthday celebration was a success, and we had a lovely Thanksgiving, so it was all worth it.

Anyway, I was cruising around some of the beauty blogs I read, and came across this post.  I will admit to being a makeup fan, and had on occasion wondered if I should sign up for so-called "Beauty Boxes," through Birchbox, etc.  The only thing is, as much as I love makeup and skincare products, there are a lot of things I don't ever use, and some brands that just don't seem worth the money to me.  So why spend a certain amount every month and maybe get lots of stuff that I don't want?

I like most of the MAC cosmetics that I've tried.  I don't have luck with the foundation usually, but I do love their eye makeup and lipsticks that I've bought in the past.  They are pretty decently priced, and they are a cruelty-free company, which is a big thing to me, as well as being environmentally aware.  And, I admittedly probably waste $21.00 a month on random stuff which I likely also forget about soon after.  So I decided to join Pammy and some others in the MAC Matters project, where you build your own core cosmetic collection, spending only $21.00 a month.  I am always intrigued to see if I can follow these kinds of challenges, be it cosmetic, books, or exercise.

My first MAC purchase in this challenge was the Penultimate Eye Liner.  I am currently experimenting with eyeliners, and the person who cuts my hair was wearing this the last time I saw her.  She looked amazing, and said she loved this particular product.  So I decided to give it a try.  I haven't fooled with it a whole lot yet, just a couple of times, when I've managed a very fine line.  Which I like, and am happy to start with, since it's better than suddenly having two black eyes!  The cost was $18.50, so even with tax, it was well within the price limit.

I think I'll enjoy this - no subscription, no pressure, and if I happen to miss a month, or decide to quit, there's no long process involved.

I'll keep you posted.  :-)

15 November 2012

Well, I Didn't Mean to Be Away This Long!

Time has gotten away from me since we have been back from Ireland.  For the most part, in a good way, so I'm not complaining, but I meant to post sooner than this!

So, a week from today is Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays.  I like it because it's a cozy holiday, when staying home and relaxing is not frowned upon.  I know for some it's stressful, if they are cooking for a large group and everything has to be perfect, but fortunately, that's never been the case for me.

Growing up, my dad was the holiday cook.  He made enough for 28 people even though there were usually only the 5 of us.  But he loved to cook, and I used to love to help him - which I realize now consisted of probably 1 helpful thing, along with constant chatter and being in the way.   To his credit, I didn't realize it then ...

Anyway, now there is just us and the pets at Thanksgiving, and much to people's surprise, that's just fine.  We make everything except the turkey, since we are vegetarians.  But since stuffing is my favorite part of the meal, I never feel like I'm missing out on anything.

I'm pretty happy this year, since I've done so well with my exercise and diet.  I like to be able to enjoy the holidays, not dread going to the gym once they are over, like so many other people seem to do.

Speaking of the gym, I do plan to get there this weekend, but I haven't made it back since we returned from our trip - aaagghh!  Though I have been doing a LOT of extra walking so I don't feel like I've lost motivation.

I do want to remember, though, to keep moving forward actively throughout the holiday season, and not let myself think I'm too busy with other things.  The new habit I've developed is one I want to stick around.

That's really it for now.  I just wanted to check in and say I'm still here, still moving, and looking forward to everything holiday.  :-)

06 November 2012

Well, That Was Longer Than Intended ...

as far as when I would post again!  A couple of times during our trip, I thought about posting, but to be perfectly honest, we were so busy and having so much fun, I really didn't communicate with anyone much at all.

Our trip was fabulous - good food, good drink, nice people, beautiful places, good weather.  The longest, most annoying part was actually when we returned.  Our flight arrived at JFK 45 minutes early.  We waited ten minutes until they could find a slot for the plane.  Not bad.  But apparently a lot of other international flights arrived about the same time, because it took 1 1/2 hours to go through Customs!  Then, the mini tram that takes you to and from Long-Term Parking to the terminal was put out of service by Hurricane Sandy, so it took another hour or so to get to our car.  I think the fact that we were actually just heading home made it bearable!

I must tell you - I drank a lot of tea with cream, a lot of beer, and ate a lot of brown bread and scones with butter while I was there.  It was delicious, and I was on vacation, so I didn't feel one bit worried or in any way guilty.

Now that we are home, I am more than ready to get back to my healthier routine.  Fortunately, even though we failed to actually go to the gym in any of our hotels, we did tons of walking around, so it wasn't a lazy or sedentary trip by any means.  I even lost more weight, which I have to say amused me greatly.

I did, however, come home with a cold.  My husband had one when we left, but after a couple of days seemed to feel better.   Then a couple of days later, I woke up, and there it was, glomming on to me.  I have tried to actively head it off, and though I don't feel a lot better, I don't feel worse at all.  I'm taking that as a good sign.

So anyway, onward and upward to see how I do between now and the end of the year.  I don't think my optimism is unrealistic.

25 October 2012

Short-Term Goal Deadline Arrival!

When I first got started on this blog, I posted about my short-term goal here. Well, later today, the reason for my short-term goal will be a reality - I will be getting on a plane to go to Ireland until November 2!  And the best part is (well, actually, the best part is that I'm getting to go in the first place), is that I have accomplished my goal of being fitter and healthier by now.  In six weeks since I started, I've covered  a total of 43.41 miles more than my "normal" everyday activity, by walking, bicycling, and staying focused.  I did get myself into the gym  at least twice a week, and also during that time, I've lost 4.9 pounds, a change which I can actually feel and see in my clothes and my energy level.

And I've done all of this without doing anything crazy or desperate.  I'm actually kinda bummed because I haven't been able to make it to the gym this week so far.  However, the places we are staying all have gyms, and needless to say, we'll be doing A LOT of walking, so I have confidence I'll be able to keep things going well while I'm away.  (My gym clothes and sneakers were the first things I packed.)

I'll try to post while I'm away, but if I don't get the chance, I'll certainly post when I return.  Bye until the next time!

18 October 2012

Hair Today

I will now admit that I am obsessed with my hair.  I don't have great hair, but I have always been obsessed with it.  Which is one thing if I had long, lustrous locks.  But I have fine, s-t-r-a-i-g-h-t hair.  Always have.  When I was a little girl, my mother - whose hair was so thick she used to get it cut because when it started got grow after a couple of weeks went by since a haircut, it was so heavy that it hurt her neck, used to give me home permanents, after which I would look like a fuzzy poodle for about a week, until my hair returned to its usual state.  I never had long hair until I was old enough to take care of my own hair, and it didn't take me long to accept the fact that my hair would never be what I longed for it to be.

So, my hair and I started to get along better.  But if you don't have short hair, you cannot possibly know how hard it is to get a nice short haircut.  Most stylists don't really know how to cut and style short hair, and some won't because they are afraid it looks "too mannish."  I have had two stylists that I thought were great during my entire adult life.  One moved to Florida.   The other quit working when she had her second kid.

Anyhoo, for my entire life up to about age 30, I was a natural blonde.  I would often get highlights over the summer, because I liked the way they looked.  But when I would find people to cut my hair short, it was a waste of $$ to get highlights, since my hair grows quickly.

Then, my light blonde hair started getting darker and ashy.  Then I started getting gray hair.  Pretty, shiny gray hair.  Which made the not-gray hair look extremely dull and dirty.  Now, I've gotta say, if my hair was mostly gray or all gray, that would be fine with me.  But the in-between dirty-looking hair is driving me crazy.

So, I found a stylist that I went to about 4 weeks ago, and she cut my hair in a reasonable, if not perfect fashion.   But she seems very willing to experiment, and when I mentioned that I wouldn't mind coloring my hair, but didn't want weird roots when it grew out, she had me talk to a colorist there.  The colorist suggested a really pretty shade of light auburn, and said that the roots would probably not even really show up.  I figure it's worth a try, you know?

But here's what really amuses me.  The colorist said to me, "It won't be the same red hair you had growing up" etc.  I mentioned that I had blonde hair growing up, and she said, "But you have the coloring of a redhead!"  I was repeating this story to a co-worker, and she said, "Do you mean your natural hair color isn't red?"

So, besides all of the other issues I've had with my hair over the years, now it has an identity crisis!  I have an appointment for another hair cut and color in a couple of weeks, so we'll see what happens ... 

14 October 2012

Fall, Arthritis, Exercise

It finally feels like fall here in the Philadelphia area!  I've been enjoying the cooler, more pleasant weather.  This is such a great time of year - besides the weather, it's a time when so many things are coming up - our trip, our anniversary, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmastime - and I love them all!

This week, my osteoarthritis on my right hand has really been acting up.  I've been wearing the brace I have, but it's not really helping that much.  Of course, it probably hasn't helped that I've been going to the gym and also knitting quite a bit.  Usually, exercise helps, but I think that I just haven't been careful enough with other activities, so OUCH!  I'm going to try to baby it a little bit extra this week - since the last time, the doctor told me that if it didn't let up, only surgery would help.  And I'm not anxious to have surgery anytime soon.

I've been able to keep my gym time going, and even got in some extra walking this week.   Having said that, I've apparently also gained 1.6 pounds.  Sigh.  Though I like to think that maybe at least some of it is muscle weight, since my eating has been much better this past week.  Time will tell.

So there have been some small bumps in the road this week, but I still feel like I'm on the right track, and doing well.  Since I'm the only one I have to please, it puts things in a much more reasonable perspective.

That's it until next time.

11 October 2012

Diet and Dermatology

Besides my efforts to move more, and go to the gym on a regular basis, I realize that my diet plays as big a part in health and fitness as exercise does.  For the most part, I do pretty well.  Probably my biggest vice is 1-2 glasses of wine on any given evening or possibly a bit more on weekends.  And every once in a while, my will power goes AWOL and I get carried away on sweets.  I try really hard to not beat myself up over it, but at the same time I get really annoyed with myself.

I have noticed though, that my sweet binges are fewer and far between than they used to be.  One thing that has helped me is my weekly weigh-ins, and my "record keeping" such as it is, but also there have been a couple of times when I would decide to have something, and then it was underwhelming.  As in, not as yummy as I was expecting.  It's made me a lot more conscious of what I want to have when I decide to have a treat.  So I am pleased that I am no longer just eating junk for the sake of it.  And I've also found that if I want a snack during the work day, that a serving of Whole Foods or Barbara's Vanilla Animal Crackers, or a Mojo Bar, do the trick quite nicely.  And they're not quite as bad as other things.

Another benefit I've noticed from my attempts to be healthier is that my skin is doing pretty well.  I have extreme photosensitivity, sensitive skin, and rosacea, so on any given day, one or all can be living it up (so to speak).  But I've noticed that lately my skin looks and feels better, and I think that my activity level, diet, and the efforts I've made to take care of my skin better (i.e., my Clarisonic, for one) have made a noticeable difference there.  (Well, noticeable to me!)

This coming Monday morning, I have my six-month check-up with my dermatologist, and I'm really curious to see what she'll have to say.  I think she'll be pleased, and if for some reason she isn't, she's the type that will just come right out and say what I should/should not be doing, which I think is great.

Today was one of my cheating eating days, to be honest.  But then I came home, went to the gym and did my workout, and fixed myself a small but healthy dinner.  In a little while Dug the dog and I will go for a walk, and probably when we get back I'll have a cup of tea before going to bed.  So even though my day started out pretty poorly, I think by the end I'll feel like I turned it around!

03 October 2012

Meet the BMST

I don't remember where I read it, but I remember reading a magazine article that said if you wanted to keep track of how old your makeup/skincare is, you should mark the container with the date you started using it.  That way, it's easier to know if you have really and truly had something for too long.

I thought that was a great idea, so I started doing that.  But then - because I get obsessed with some things quite easily - I decided to take it a step further.  I mark things with the date I start using it, and then when it's used up, or I'm ready to throw it away for whatever reason, I calculate the approximate cost per use.  Then I can compare it to similar products to determine - all other things being equal - which product is actually less expensive in the long run.

I have explained this many times to friends, some who find it just weird, and others who have started doing the same thing or a version of it themselves.  My friend Lisa christened this the BMST, or Bridget's Mathematical Spending Theorem.

Let me give you an example of an actual comparison between two products.  A few years back, I treated myself to a [somewhat] high-end foundation that was supposed to be good for people who have rosacea (which I do).  It was $40.00 for a 1-ounce bottle.  I generally use foundation every day that I go to work, so for the sake of argument, say that I used it approximately 250 days over the course of the year.  That turned out to be $.16 per use.  Pretty good, right?

Well, then I bought a drugstore foundation, which was $12.00 for a 1.7-ounce bottle.  Certainly that is a better deal, right?  Well, it was gone after 5 months (approximately 100 work days)!  Turns out that I had to use more of it to get the same coverage I had with the other stuff.  (Basically I like my face to look evened out once I put on foundation, to give you an idea of how much I do/do not use.)  That turned out to be $.12 per use - which appears to be a better price, but - I had to buy another bottle to finish out a year, so that's nearly$.24 per use, which means that it was actually more expensive.

I have to tell you, I was really surprised to learn this!  It proved to me that cheap is not always cheaper all around.  And expensive can be more economical.

Granted, there are some things where the result is even.  There are also some things that I use that even if they are slightly more/less economical, I stick with them for other reasons, i.e., they work the best for me.

If you are trying to figure out where your money is well-spent, though, you may want to give the BMST a try.  I'm willing to bet that you are in for a surprise, or at a minimum, a better awareness of how you are spending your hard-earned money.

**The first year I belonged to a gym, I would mark on the calendar each time I went for a workout.  Then at the end of the year, I was able to determine how much I was paying for each visit, and decide if I wanted to continue.  (Yes, I need a life ...)

30 September 2012

Fall Inspiration

I'm the first to admit that when it's hot - and then particularly when it's humid - I am about as interested in physical activity as I am in jumping off a cliff.  The heat does make me less hungry, but even just walking back and forth to work, or doing errands on the weekend make me feel like I'll collapse from heat exhaustion!

But fall inspires me.  And this past week, the first full week of fall, has been a good one that way.  I managed to go to the gym twice (working on at least three visits per week), and yesterday I went bicycling.  Granted, it was a short trip, since I got a flat tire, and my lungs felt like they were on fire, but it was still such a good feeling, both from being active, and because I got an idea of what I need to do.

I think the reason my lungs reacted so dramatically must be because of the pneumonia I had this past winter.  I haven't been doing anything extra to get exercise, and as a result, my bicycle outing showed me that I need to work them as much as my own body in order to get fit again.

So this week:  5.29 extra miles covered, and two full workout trips to the gym.

And, if I can get my chores done that I wanted to do today, I'll treat myself later to a nice walk along the river.

See you again soon!

25 September 2012

Another Week and Slow But Steady Progress

I am really feeling like my plan to be more active and get healthier is taking form.  Admittedly, last week I didn't get any extra walking in of note, but I did go to the gym twice and completed my workout!  That is HUGE for me, since of course I thought well, maybe I was too tired, etc.  So I'm really pleased about that, and maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but I think this time I may be able to stay with it.

Right now, my plan is to go the gym whenever possible to do my workout on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and then once on the weekend.  Then if I take a class, or walk, or ride my bicycle (or even finally start seeing if jogging works for me), it will be icing on the cake (and I do love cake, though I will try to not eat it just because I can).  I so hope I can keep this going, it feels good to know I've stayed with it this long ...

Today at work I picked up this week's CSA order, and there were leeks and potatoes among other goodies.  I think that calls for homemade leek-and-potato soup, of course not using cream, a) because we usually only have cream in the house for holiday baking, and b) but also because I don't want to make it a "bad for you" soup.  I'm thinking this weekend will be the time to do it.  The weather is supposed to be nice and conducive to both making and eating soup.   And soup - homemade or otherwise - is a favorite of mine.

So I'm not setting the world on fire, but as it says in the title of this post, I'm making slow and steady progress.

I'll take it.

22 September 2012

Truth in Advertising

Every once in a while, I am sucked in by advertising to try something I didn't realize that I "needed."  Sometimes it's good, most often, not so much.  But recently, I had one of my good experiences, which I think is worth sharing.

Two of my nieces purchased Clarisonic sets last year.  At the time I figured that, well, they were always trying the latest thing, and I couldn't be bothered.  Plus, I have rosacea, so I assumed that the brush would just make my face redder, no matter what else the device did or did not do for my skin.

Well, the one niece that I see quite often could not stop talking about how wonderful it was - and she is not easily impressed.  Then, a beauty blogger mentioned that she tried it, even though she had rosacea, and it did wonders for her skin.

Enter a trip to Nordstrom's (one of my favorite stores) and a coupon to use there.  Then add in a special promotion on Clarisonics, and "bonding" with the rep who was visiting the store.  The result is this:

Yep, I bought a Mia, which is the smaller package.  I knew that if I didn't like it, or had buyer's remorse, I could return it, so I decided what the heck - I've spent more money on dumber things in my life.

It's now been about two months, and I use this every single morning to wash my face (I use the light blue brush, and use the black brush about once a week on my neck and shoulders), and at least for me, it's been worth Every.Single.Penny.  My skin has never looked better, and it has required very little, if any, extra effort on my part in the morning.  At first, I used it morning and evening, but was grossed out in the evening when the brush would have makeup on it.  So I clean my face the way I always have before in the evening, and use this every morning.

My skin is softer, healthier-looking, and more even since I've been using mine.  Any sensitivity or redness has not occurred, which is truly miraculous in my case.  It all comes in a nice portable package, and one charge lasts for a whole month.

If you have been thinking at all about buying a Clarisonic, and you've been on the fence, I say - go for it.  Depending where you purchase it, you can take it back if you don't like it.  But if you are like me, you'll love it.  And your skin will look better than you could have imagined.

And that, my friends, is my beauty suggestion for the day.

16 September 2012

Week Two and a Link for You

Here I am at the end of Week 2, and though it was not as committed a week as the first one, I still managed to do OK.  I went to the gym for my fitness assessment and beginning workout program this past Thursday.  The guy who helped me was really nice, and really encouraging, and seemed to "get" what I wanted to do.  He gave me a workout program that he wants me to try and do at least three times a week for the next six weeks.   Of course, I didn't do the whole thing on Thursday, just "samples" and though I was sore on Friday, I wasn't as sore as I expected to be.   So I ended the week with 1 trip to the gym, and an extra 5.35 miles walked!  (I forgot to weigh myself, but will be happy if I stayed the same - I'm pretty sure nothing was lost this week ...)

I had planned to go to the gym today, but woke up feeling like I was coming down with something, and could barely drag myself around to take a shower and do laundry, so I stayed put.  Hopefully, I'm just really tired from my extra long work day on Friday.  I had the option of a shorter work day, but wanted to work the longer day so I would be able to have some comp time.  Anyway, I have been extremely tired, and then today felt crummy.  I'm hoping that tomorrow I'll feel back to normal, or at least close.

On another note, one of the beauty blogs I read talked about a new site that will be offering beauty products, which sounds similar to Sephora, but maybe with a few higher-end things as well.  It's called Coterie, and I went ahead and signed up, because, well, what the heck.  Even if I don't buy anything, I do enjoy looking, you know?  If you would like to sign up, here is a link I got when I signed up to pass along.  We'll see what it's like, I think it is supposed to go live pretty soon.

And that's that, I guess.  Here's hoping this week will be a good one!

12 September 2012

Beauty Bit - "Stickey Sandwich"

One thing I always notice about people are their hands and nails.  I think this is largely because my mother had beautiful hands, and her nails were always clean, shaped, and painted.  She was a secretary at a time before computers, when you had to pound on typewriter keys, and rifle through paper files in a cabinet rather than on a drive on the server.

And you know what?  She seldom got chips on her nail polish!  Besides her work, she cooked, did dishes, etc. - all of the things most of us do, and she would usually change her polish because she was tired of it, rather than because most of it had chipped off.

My oldest sister is the same way.  My middle sister has only started wearing polish on occasion in the last couple of years, and she wears clear or light polish like I do, because her nails chip quickly too.  I could paint my nails one afternoon, sit for an hour to make sure they were dry, and by the time I would go from one room to the next, there would be a chip in the polish. AAAACCCKK!!

A few years ago, I got my very first manicure at a salon, and it lasted about the same amount of time.  Which was even more annoying, since I'd PAID for it.  One of my nieces, who has been getting the new gel manicures, convinced me to try one.  It did stay nice for about 2 weeks.  But when it was removed, my nails were a mess, really flaky, and took about a month to recover.

Now don't get me wrong.  I do not always have my nails painted.  But I like my nails to look nice, and when they actually are painted, I tend to not pick at my cuticles like I do otherwise.

Among the many blogs on several topics that I read, one introduced me to a concept that I'd never heard of:  the "Stickey Sandwich."  Huh?  Well, it's outlined in this post, once you get past the review of the Chanel nail polish.  (Which is interesting in and of itself, but not what I'm talking about here.)  Recently, a Beans Beauty store opened here in Philadelphia, and I thought maybe they would have some of the products.  Sure enough, they had the CND Stickey base coat.  They also had the top coat, but since I had just bought a new bottle of something else a couple of weeks before, I decided to just give that a try.

Well, guess what?  Even if you don't use Chanel polish, the Stickey Sandwich seems to be a success - at least it was for me!  I mean - YAY!!!  I've used the process with inexpensive polishes as well as a couple of the pricier ones that I have, and each time, I've had my home manicure last with few or only very tiny chips for four days.  For me, four days was not even a remote possibility as far as a manicure was concerned.  Ever.

As they say, your mileage may vary.   But if you have always had trouble with your nail polish before, I would say give it a try.  Few beauty-related tips have really turned out to be true in my experience, but this is one that has.

So, polish away!  And let me know if you have any luck if you give it a try.

08 September 2012

One Week Later ...

Well, at the end of my last post, I said that next time I would talk about my plan to exercise.  It's not anything amazing or new, but if I "write it down" here, I probably have a better chance of following through.

As I mentioned, we are going on a trip at the end of October.  I would like to feel enough in shape by then that if I want to enjoy an extra pint, or a dessert, or some potatoes, I won't have defeated myself right off the bat.

Every day of the week, here is my regular activity:

Early a.m. = I take our dog for a 15-minute or so walk before showering, dressing, breakfast

A little later = I walk to work, which is slightly over a mile away.

At the end of the day, I walk back home, another little bit more than a mile.

I am not counting these, since I do them all the time, and my body is used to that. What I want to do, is keep track of other activity, or out-of-ordinary activity. So, for instance, if I have a chance to get in a bike ride, or go to the gym, that will count.  On Thursday evenings, and weekends, I walk the dog for a longer amount of time, and we go a lot farther, so I'll count that.

This week, I didn't make it to the gym.  However, I did manage to walk an extra 6.8 miles, and I lost 1.6 pounds!  I watched what I ate more carefully, and resisted the urge to just "junk out" on things.  I'm actually really pleased about this, because it's what I want to do - go back to a more active routine, and eat reasonably, with only the occasional treat or splurge, not every day.

A couple of summers ago, my husband and I did the Eat-Clean Diet together, and it was great.  But he didn't want to stay on it permanently, and it's one of those things that is just truly difficult if both parties aren't involved.  So I'm trying to apply some of that to what I'm  doing now, and adding more activity.

Time will tell, but my results from the past week have really encouraged me.

01 September 2012

A Fresh Start

Well, it's September 1st, and Labor Day weekend here in the U.S.  The time of year when schools are starting again, lots of people are finishing their vacations, and thoughts of fall weather and cooler days are welcome.  Well, they are welcome to me, at least - I do not like hot weather and/or humidity, so I am one of the few people in the universe who is not sad when summer winds down.

But, why another blog, when I have a perfectly nice one already?  Well, this one will have a different slant, so to speak.  There are several things going on with me, and I have decided to start things anew today.  This blog will be where I can talk about health, exercise, fitness, aging, and beauty.  At least as I see it.

Years back, in the course of 18 months, I had several major surgeries and spent a year afterwards going to physical therapy and exercising regularly. My recovery time was greatly helped by this.  And I felt better, looked better, and was probably healthier than I'd ever been.  After the physical therapy ended, I joined a gym, and would go at least twice a week, as well as exercising every morning after I got up for about half an hour, 4-5 days a week.

After a couple of years, the gym raised their fees to where I couldn't afford it anymore.  I hurt my knee pretty seriously, and was out of commission for a few months.  And, well, after that, I just never caught back up to myself.

In the past year, I've had pneumonia twice, torn a ligament in my foot and had to wear a brace, and lost and gained approximately the same 5-6 pounds several times.  I feel like a slug.

So today is the day to say NO MORE OF THIS!  Time to get myself back on track, and make myself accountable to myself.  That's one of the things I'm hoping this blog will do for me - give me a place to record the highs and the lows.

In late October, we are going on a vacation for about a week to Ireland. I.Cannot.Wait.  But I am determined to be in better physical and mental shape, on my way to my healthy self, by the time we go.  It's doable, and I know I can do it.

I hope you'll join me, as a reader here, and/or as a fellow fresh-starter.  Look at it this way - everyone makes a fresh start on January 1st - we'll just be slightly ahead of them already!

Next up - one of my short-term fitness goals revealed ...