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 ...