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 ...)