Spellbinding stories of mystic love and soulful hope . . .

Archive for the ‘menopause’ Category

Advice from “Big Sis” Kat Magendie . . . .

156The farthest thing from a young woman’s mind is that time far off into the future when she will be considered “Middle Aged And Menopausal.” Who has time to think about that when your toddler is crying and your eight-year-old just threw up all the pizza, cake, and, I’m not kidding—sushi (sushi?)—he had at a birthday party where the parents spent more to please Bobby or Suzy than what you spend on two-weeks of groceries? Or your boss has asked you to work late and on the weekend—again. Or you’ve over-extended your obligations to (fill in obligation blank here)—again.

Listen: how you treat yourself and how you ask to be treated by those around you will forever affect the person you will become. Who are you?—I mean, the real you, the Woman You, the one you must face in the mirror from now until, well, until you can no longer look into a mirror, or perhaps not care to (look anyway, for you are beautiful!)? For one day in your future you will gaze at yourself (even if through others eyes) and see the woman you have become from the experiences you have now. As your big sister, I want to tell you to care for yourself. To think in terms of gratitude, and health, and well-being—one decision at a time—in what you eat, drink, behave, grow, and how you perceive the world and react to it (or how you expect it to react to you).

Hair Dryer Antics Update & Oregon here I come. . .Consider the benefits you will receive right away, yes, but also think about two years from now, five, ten, twenty—your body and mind will become healthier and stronger so that you will have more energy for your busy life, and further, when you reach My Age, you will have fared better with such a healthy physical and mental base. You will be well-prepared for the Next Stage, even if that next stage is “simply” to be as good a grandmother as you are a mother. Your future you will thank you. Trust your big sister—she knows.

 

Do love what you do? Do you love yourself?

Do love what you do? Do you love yourself?

Finally, when is the last time you patted yourself on the back for a life well-done? Have you been perfect? I bet not. Has every day been a gloriously sunshine-filled day of joy and happiness? Probably not. Have you lost your temper, been in a foul mood, screamed at your kids/husband/co-worker/the person in line at the grocery who has fifteen items instead of ten in the ten-item line? Maybe. But if you did not do these things on occasion, I’d wonder what you were trying to prove. We’re all human, and we all need to give ourselves a little break now and then to consider just how hard it is to Be Humanly Human. You have permission to love yourself, to have gratitude for your days, to love yourself enough to care what happens to you now and then later and for the rest of your life.

 

 

The Lightning Charmer cover1461250_496657083765127_1387255473_n*note: My friends – The Lightning Charmer $1.99 sale has been extended for a couple more days on Amazon Kindle. It’s been steadily moving up the charts – all because of all of you! Thank you! I am grateful for every single sale. Y’all are awesome! And if you haven’t yet checked out Lightning Charmer, I hope you will.*

Work-out writer: the sneaky hidden world of eating disordered thinking in women over fifty

The photo that started it all . . .

The photo that started it all . . .

Last year I wrote a post entitled: “Does this obsession make me look fat?”

There’s been a lot of talk lately about eating disorders in women over fifty. Well, I would guess that while there are some women who are dealing with this issue for the first time, there are an awful lot more of us who have had eating disordered thinking most of our lives and have just hid it really very well or have had it under control. Then, according to what is going on in our lives, the eating disordered thinking may rear up its ugly head right as we think we are at our most confident and powerful: in our fifties, the time of our lives when we are feeling the most kickass, when we don’t care what people think, when we say what we want and live how we want. Imagine our surprise when eating disordered thinking sneaks up and bites us on the ass. What? Me? Wait a minute now! I’m not that teenaged girl any longer. I’m not that mixed up frightened little thing. I’m strong. I’m sexy. I’m ready to take on the world.

What the hell is going on?

The “experts” will tell you and/or your family and friends to watch out for these signs:

‘. . . there are signs to look out for that may indicate someone has an eating disorder. These include: precipitous weight loss or low weight; withdrawing from family, partner and friends; evidence of binge eating or purging; extremely low self-esteem and body esteem; not eating with the family; avoiding events where there is food.” (Taken from HealthDay by Steven Reinberg)

What goes on behind the eyes of a woman?

What goes on behind the eyes of a woman? Secret secret things.

Sure, those things are true for a certain group of women—but not for us! We aren’t like that. We’re out enjoying life. We’re reaching long-hoped for goals. We’re walking with our head up and eyes forward. We are feeling sexual power. We are power. If you looked at us, you’d see a woman who is in pretty good shape–not too thin at all. We may look pretty danged good “for our age” – hell, maybe for any age.

But there is the sneaky hidden eating disordered behavior that no one may ever know.

We’re told that eating disorder in aging women is because “fifty is the  new thirty; seventy is the new fifty,” and yes there may be some truth to that, for some women. Not us!  We have taken care of ourselves; we feel awesome; we feel sexier than ever; we will be kickass well into very-old-agedom. We are not our grandmothers kind of grandmothers. We strut. We look back over our shoulder and say, “Yeah, you think you can handle this much woman? I dare you to try.”

Though it doesn’t start out that way, it quickly becomes about Control. Think about it: what else is completely under your control? Since the time you become aware that you could tell your mommy, “No! Don’t want it!” you have been able to control what goes into your mouth. And what goes into your mouth, or not, has the side effect of affecting your body size—a double whammy of Control. While the outside world can twirl about you; while people—your boss, your spouse, your parents, your friends, your editor, your colleagues, a stranger on the street—take their pieces of you; well, by golly gee, they can’t force you to eat! They can’t dictate what your body looks like! As your body changes, your power grows. Look at you! Control! Control! It’s both as simplistic and as complicated as all that. Even if you don’t really believe that’s what it’s all about, this is a truth that must be explored.

What you really tell yourself is, “I like myself like this.” And you do. To a point. But the toll must be paid. Tolls always must be paid.

We lose our daddies

We lose our daddies

Sure, our aging bodies can frighten us a bit, and it isn’t only about what we look like, but thoughts about our mortality. Our grandparents die; our parents are nearer to death or they do die—we are next in line. Every line or wrinkle is another sign that life is heading towards death. And not just physical death, but what about the death of dreams? Or desires? Or what about the death of health? Or good looks? Or time to do the things we want to do? And there’s nothing you can do about growing older, kiddies. It’s a fact of life, growing old, and then death.  And when we arrive at Very Old, will we look like ourselves? A fear is: We don’t want to look like someone we don’t recognize. We don’t mind becoming older, just let us look like US! Don’t let our face and body melt into a stranger’s face/body. We want to be able to look into a mirror and see the person we have always been. To recognize our faces as ours.

I suppose for some, gaining weight would mean we do not look like ourselves.

Oh, it’s heady powerful stuff. As the scales lower, there is that thrill—look what I have done! Look at the control I have! I am powerful! I can plan, plot, quirk my food and my body into whatever I want it to be, just by my own strong free will, by will-power.

Will. Power. WillPower.

For many  of us in the fringes, it never reaches the anorexic stage, or the bulimic stage, the binge and purge stage.  The “under weight” stage. We find that stuff distasteful. Yuck. They aren’t In Control. We are! We find the sweet spot of Control just at that edge, just at that spot where people would never know the struggle we are going through. We still are within our healthy BMI; we still eat—we don’t avoid food situations, and in fact, may embrace them, for we can eat whatever and how much ever we want, for tomorrow is another day where we’ll just eat less to make up for it. Ha! Fooled up, sumbitches! We don’t binge and purge—gross! That’s for the “crazy ones.” We don’t starve ourselves into emaciation—why, that’s for those obsessive whiners. Give us some credit, whydontcha. We walk that fine line of eating enough while still maintaining our control. We exercise and we eat healthfully, but we also know how to manipulate food just enough. Just enough.

We are many times highly intelligent and highly motivated and goal driven women–and for some of us, people don’t see this in us, so we give them what they want: A perfect sexy body they can objectify. Then while we have their attention, we kick their ass with our smarts and our insights. WHUPOW! Gotcha! Suck on that!

Will.Power.

007

we have to remember that the jeans we bought to fit our new bodies are supposed to be tight, we bought them that way. They should stay tight.

The danger comes when the weight drops lower than you meant for it to. Oh oh. You tell yourself you won’t go any further. You tell yourself you’ll gain back a few pounds. You tell yourself this, but by then the Control Demon has its claws in you and you must tread carefully now. You don’t want to be one of THEM. You put on muscle, eat more protein, find ways to walk that fine line of “healthy but thin.”

It isn’t always about what we look like—for really, there isn’t a true concept of “what we look like,” for when we look into the mirror, we do not see what everyone else sees–no one really does, it’s just for us, the body dysmorphia is more acute. And, honestly, one day we may feel quite good about ourselves, fit and thin and wonderful, and the very next day we may feel willy nilly bound; oh my god oh my god am I gaining weight(losing control/losing will.power)?

If someone would hear us say, “Oh my god! I’ve gained two pounds,” they may roll their eyes and say, “Get over yourself! Two pounds! Get real!” But what they may not understand is that it is not the two pounds itself that is the problem—it’s the fear of careening out of control. Two pounds leads to three and then four and then six and then ten and where does it stop? If we are not vigilant, two pounds becomes more and more and more, and what if we can’t stop it? What if we gain and gain and gain and gain and gain . . . No! Must.Gain.Control. We do not like the out of control feeling and it must be Stopped.

Because we are better than that. We are too powerful to let something have control of us!

I'm not listening. I'm not listening. (Yes, I am too listening - please shut up).

I’m not listening. I’m not listening. (Yes, I am too listening – please shut up).

People who do not struggle with eating disordered thinking would see that two pound gain as a shrug in their lives. People with eating disordered thinking sees that two pounds as weakness. Are you weak! No! Get back on the program! NOW! Do not relax! Vigilance! You are stronger than this! You can beat this! And when the two pounds releases out into the air and off your body, it’s almost sexual, an orgasmic thrill. Oh yes, yes, yes, yes, oh god yes.

There are many thrills to the eating disordered life. That’s why it’s so powerful. We may start out only trying to lose a few needed pounds. Perhaps we’ve been going through our lives and step on the scales one day and go, “Oh oh. You have let yourself go. You idiot!” We really mean it when we tell ourselves we will lose those extra pounds and be happy with that.  People notice, and we feel better, yes. Good. Done. But . . . wait. Hold up. The little voice cajoles, “Lose a couple extra, just in case. That way, you’ll have a cushion! You can relax some. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?” Hey, that does sound great! So you lose a couple more pounds. The compliments rise, and you feel even better.

There comes the thrill of seeing the scales bow to your power, to your will. You are kicking the ass of those scales. You are In Control. Yeah! WILL.POWER!

I am light. My body is under my control.

I am light. My body is under my control. What else can my lighter body do? Exciting.

You lose a couple more, maybe even accidentally. You think, why not? Your clothes are fitting looser. You feel lighter. Your body is buoyant! Your body can do things it couldn’t do before–move in ways it couldn’t, bend in ways it couldn’t, exercise in ways it couldn’t, have sex in ways it couldn’t; it is pleasing, pleasurable, giddy, heady.

When you lie down at night, your stomach is flat and you can feel your hip bones—and this becomes one of your litmus tests. If you lie down and can’t feel that slight concave belly and those hip bones, then You Are Out Of Control! Oh oh.  You begin to like the way you can feel some of your bones under your skin, not hidden by layers of fat, no, but right there, so beautiful, the body is so very beautiful. Your body is beautiful. The curves and knobs and sharp planes and muscles that you manipulate with your hand. Your partner slides his hand along your body and you hum and shimmer–he can feel it, too. You still have enough body fat to be curvy and soft, but you’ve lost enough that as you explore your body, as he does, you/he feel all the new nuances of it. Your ribs, your hipbones, your collar bones, the tiny waist, the lean muscle. Your cheekbones ride higher and you think maybe it makes you look more knowing; there, those cheekbones below your big dark eyes full of deep dark secrets.

When you work out, your body is light and airy-air-borne. It flies over the treadmill, as if your bones are hollow, yet they are hard as a boulder, unbreakable. You are unbreakable! You feel strong, competent, powerful. People begin complimenting you more and more. Men stare appreciatively, and even younger men wink at you, tell you that you look hot.

You feel a sexual thrill you have never felt before–they are under your control now, helpless–who’s the little bee-otch now, huh? I am in control; you are in my control.

Your clothes skim your body, rubbing against your skin, nothing spilling over, no binding. You could almost float, so light you are!

And meanwhile, (practically) no one is the wiser. No one knows your obsessive thoughts about food and weight. No one knows the fear and anxiety. No one knows your need for control. No one knows that sometimes you go to bed hungry because you “lost control” and ate too much earlier that day or the day before. No one knows how you don’t know if you ate enough that day and because you do not want to become One Of Them, one of The Crazies, you force yourself to eat more the next day.

No one knows that hunger, your growling belly, is so fucking scary, for it means two things: you need to eat, your need to eat.

Sometimes friends will know what's going on because they know you best, and they'll miss the extra you.

Sometimes friends will know what’s going on because they know you best, and they’ll miss the lost part of you.

No one knows that every time you step on the scales you tell yourself not to be happy if you’ve lost weight and not to be sad if you’ve gained weight. Then, if you’ve gained weight, you try to calm the out of control feelings. If you’ve lost weight, you try to calm the tiny little thrill that shimmers up your spine.

In my post I linked to above, I listed how my weight began to drop, and my feelings about it at the time. And now? . . .  No, I did not gain back to 120; no I did not stay at 116. Yes, I am stable where I am now, and I must be, because I will not be one of Them.

I am Will.Power. Stand back. Get out of my way.

Don’t get too close now . . . . that’s right.

People are at all times prone to their own stupidity. We're sorry about that.

People are at all times prone to their own stupidity. We’re sorry about that.

Control. Power.  Isn’t it ironic? Because, really . . . yes. That’s right. You got it. We are so good at justification. We are so smart. We are so stupidly smart.

Work-out Writer: Equipment from your local(or chain) hardware store? Why not . . . ?

a little stretch, and as well this helps strengthen my back

a little stretch, and as well this helps strengthen my back if I hold this position with control

stretch up, and sit back

stretch up, and sit back – I will six back even more to strengthen legs/glutes

Writers sit a lot – too much. It’s what we do.  We need to move our bodies, strengthen and stretch them. It won’t be any easier as you age, so what are you waiting for? Work on that novel, story, essay, poem, fiddle on social networking, do your research, but please, y’all, take care of your bodies! I am 55 and while I am showing signs of aging that I can’t control, I take care of myself so that what I can control I do. Get up off that chair, or wherever it is you work, and MOVE!

With a little imagination and a couple-bucks (and that visit to the doctor you should do before starting an exercise program!), you can find ways to alter your workout, at the gym or in your own home. I bought this piece of tube at the local hardware store and use it in my workouts–for strengthening, stretching, and as well, you can roll it along your spine for a mini-massage (just do not roll on your lower back!).

Balance and control, you can go further down with this (I often do) but be mindful

Balance and control, you can go farther down with this (I often do) but be mindful

The tubing offers lower back support, if needed

The tubing offers lower back support, if needed – notice I roll it up in the mat (I am going to glue matting to it for a permanent solution

I will also put a weight inside the tube and use that to do strengthening exercises, though in these photos I did not do that. Just be careful that you watch what you are doing, and exercise with control and your full attention.

Warm up for at least twenty minutes–I do an hour on the treadmill at varying degrees of mid-to-high intensity. Start off slowly, build to a frenzy, and then do a cool-down. While you are still warm, head to the mat to stretch and strengthen your body. Flexibility, endurance, and strength helps in the bedroom, too – just say’n, y’aaaaalllses!

work on flexibility - but make sure you are warmed up!

work on flexibility – but make sure you are warmed up!

You can do the same moves without tubing

You can do the same moves without tubing

Music of the day for a high intensity cardio session — this version I do is a bit over seven minutes long, but there are shorter versions if you can’t keep up a high-intensity session for seven minutes. I’ll mix in some jogging with my jittery jumpy hopping flailing about when the music slows a bit.

Now! GO!

Moonshine and Santy Claus . . . a timeless Appalachian tale

maggie valley, north carolina blue moon

wrong moonshine, right? – haw!

Moonshine and Santy Claus - yup, chil’ren, it’s that time of year again – time for Moonshine & Santy Claus, that timeless Appalachian tale of Santy, Canadian Reindeer, and drunkenness -

Old Moon shone over the mountains, over the valley and hollows, and over my little log house. Snow drifted willy-nilly, until a sharp wind blew flakes around in an Appalachian clog dance. And on that splendorious Christmas Eve night, I tossed and sweated in my merry old bed. That night, something wasn’t right. I sensed it. Women my age Know Things. I got up and sneaked down the hall to the living room. And there he was. And that red-suited, white-bearded, jolly son of a fat bastard was eating the chocolate-chocolate chip cookies — the ones my spouse in residence baked for his theater friends.

 
I exclamated, “Santy, what the hell?”

He stuck his finger upside his nose and twinkled his eyes, but that stuff won’t work on women who Know Things. We’ve seen men try everything under the Moon and we aren’t tricked one speck. I tapped my foot and glared. He tried the old, “Ho Ho Ho!”

“Don’t get tricky with me, Santy.”

Santy shook crumbs from his beard. “Well, Kitty Kat, most people leave out cookies for me.”

“Not these cookies, buster. Yours are over there.” I pointed to the sad-looking cookies resting on a paper plate I’d baked out of a mix. They were supposed to be reindeer-shaped, but looked like horned elephants without trunks.

Cataloochee Elk, Tobacco Barn & Caldwell houseSanty looked at me as if I were a bit Grinchy.

I grabbed the cookie tin. “Okay, come on, have another cookie. Maybe Roger won’t notice. I’ll make coffee, too.”

“I have rounds to make, you know.” But Santy sat at my table and helped himself to another cookie while I brewed the Deep Creek Blend.

pash the 'shine, *hic*

pash the ‘shine, *hic*

Santy and I chatted about commercialism, and when the coffee was ready, I also added a bit of homebrew in our cups. I sat across from him and asked the same old same, “Santy, I don’t get it. How can you go all over the world in one night? And don’t give me that pixie dust crap. I’m of an age. I Know Things. I’m not easily fooled.”

Santy held out his mug for more, and I filled it with more hooch than coffee. Well, how’d I know about the Santy Claus Handbook (of which I received a copy from Mrs. Santy the very next week — she sure was hornet-mad at me). It reads, “Warning! Never mix alcohol with Santy Claus. If accidental ingestion occurs, please administer the anecdote of two parts elves’ tears to one part syrup of ipecac and then stand back.”

We ate more cookies. We drank more white fire lightning. Santy giggled. Now folks, when a grown man, even Santy, giggles, it sounds sticky, gooey, weird. But I was all full up with how I got Santy to sit down and drink a few with me.

Santy finally answered me. “Ther’sh lotsh of Shanties. I got cou-shins.”

“Wha’ y’all mean?” I splashed us both another dollop.

“An American Shanta, an Italian Shanta (hic) a Frenchsh Shanta (hic).” (You all get the idea with the boozed-up dialect, so I will translate both mine and Santy’s slurs from here on out into regular language). Santy burped and said, “They’re my cousins, twice reproved.”

“Y’allses all cousins? You shittin’ me?”

Santy nodded, grabbed the jar, swigged right from it, held it out to me, and I did the same. I was feeling gigglied up myself by then. I moon-shined my eyes at Santy. His beard had more sweet crumbs in it, and his eyes were toddy-warm.

scrollSanty was strangely handsome in a red-suit-white-beard-I’ve-had-too-much-booze kind of way. I’d also forgotten something important: the Woman of Age Handbook reads, “Consumption of alcohol by a smart, savvy, intelligent, perceptive, all-knowing woman will render her completely idiotic, and worse, she loses all her powers gained from the ages. Plus, it rips through the retina to where even Santy looks hot.”

I asked, “Well, how you allses do it then?”

“It’s the big secret in Santa Land. But, pixie dust?” He brayed and snorted. “How bi-zarre!”

“Well, you got those reindeers flying around, don’t you? Huh?” I grabbed the jar from him and took a good-sized glub. It burned fire down my throat and I began to feel invincible. And by God, if I didn’t feel prettier, smarter, sexier, and to top it off, full of know-it-allism (but I didn’t know it was an ‘ism’ then). “Tell me, what’s that about, Scanty Pause, as if I don’t wanna know.”
Well, Santy fell out laughing. He slapped his knee and his belly really did shake like a bowl of jelly. It was flopping and a-going and looked so cute I had to pinch it, which I did. He said, “Mrs. Santy wouldn’t like that!” But I knew he wouldn’t tell her. They never do, do they? He said, “The reindeer come from Canada!” Then he rolled his eyes as if I should know what all that meant.

Time for Video/Photos No/Few Words: Jingle Dogs Reunion & Secret Places & etcAnd, golly gee, it did make sense. I nodded my head and said, “Oh yeah, Canadian Reindeer!”

He slugged back more and banged the empty jar on the table. Then he let out a big whistle. Next I know, there’s clattering and thumping and all sorts of racket, and I’ll be-damned if his eight not-so-tiny Canadian Reindeer didn’t come tromping into my living room. They knocked over things and sniffed around. Santy said, “There’s Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen.”

And I sang, “But do you re-calll? Where the hell’s the most famous Canadian Reindeeerr of allll?”

Santy just looked at me as if I was stupider than a worm. Then he snapped his fingers and the Canadian Reindeer tromped on out. Now, listen, I know those of you who are still around are thinking, “How come Roger hasn’t woken up with all this noise.” And I’ll answer by saying, “Well, hell if I know. I’m shrugging.” Anyway…

I got another jar and Santy grabbed it right out of my hands and drank it with throat-glubbing sounds to the tune of Deck the Halls. It was pretty cool. I asked, “Hon, how come you and your cousins don’t visit everywhere. Some kids don’t get presents.” I mean, there we were all comfy-cozy sweet, but there was
that problem there. It brought a dark old nasty cloud in the room that wasn’t the Canadian Reindeer’s fault . . . To read the rest, click HERE 

 

 

(Author’s note: I love to read my bio from when that story was published pre-2009- at the time I wasn’t a  Publishing Editor nor was I a published author! kewl! Thanks to VAGABONDAGE PRESS for publishing this silly but fun-to-write story! I will be mostly unplugging for much of the Christmas Holidays until after New Years – y’all have a wonderful season!)

“Anti-” aging, my ass . . .

Who is driving your “car” . . . ? You should be, with your strong capable hands and able mind . . .

an·ti/ˈanˌtī/  / Opposed to; against. A person opposed to a particular policy, activity, or idea.

Ad on Facebook sidebar: “Woman is 53 But Looks 27!”

So, “Madison Avenue” couldn’t come up with a better word than Anti-Aging? What the hell, y’all! I’m tired of the idea that age is something we have to cure. As if it’s a disease, something so horrible we must fight it within every inch of our wrinkles, fear it. Forget the Zombie Apocalypse, we have Night of the Living Old where everyone runs around screaming in terror.

Folkses, we all are going to age until and unless we die. That’s about it. You can practice every kind of “anti-aging” in your arsenal but you are still going to age your ass off. So how’s about we drive our own aging cars where we want them to go, and that’s to Kicking Ass Land.

Instead of being “Anti” aging, why not think of it in more positive terms? There’s nothing wrong with a desire to look good for our age—the mistake people make is when they want to remain forever in their twenties and thirties or whatever that magic number is where one thought one looked and felt ones best or one thought one was at the top of one’s game and now that one isn’t at that age the panic button is feverishly pounded and WAH WAH WAH SOB WAH. *Yawn* I’m bored.

Instead of the negative “anti,” consider instead the “pro” and how you can Kick Ass and be AWESOME where you are in your life Right Now.

Other than normal “wear and tear and aging” in my body, I’m in the best shape of my life. I still can strut me some skinny jeans if’n I want to. I can run and jump and skip and

our bodies are wonderlands . . .

do high-energy plyometrics on the treadmill for an hour and still have enough energy to hit the mat for another thirty or so, and then waltz out the gym ready to take on the day. I’m writing novels. I’m hiking mountains.

And I have sex (Mom, Brothers, Son—don’t read this part:) and it’s more fun and more intense than at any time in my life—that’s right, y’allses, the KABOOM is KABOOMIER. Who says menopause and aging is the end to good explosive sex?—yup, youngermiesters, some of your moms and dads and even your grandmothers and granddads are still YIPPIE YAI KAI YO KAI YAYING in the bedroom, ha! Yeah—picture that all day, wontcha? Haw! You’re welcome.

And what do I do to feel so great? I don’t sit on my ass and moan about how old I’m becoming. I don’t rely on Magic Pills or Magic Surgery or Magic Injections to alter my outward appearance while my inward appearance flails around in Panic Land that I’m growing older. And please, y’all, believe me I’m not being critical of those who decide to go the surgery/injection route, as long as they are realistic about it. Go google “plastic surgeries gone wrong” and there you go. There has to be some realistic acceptance of some aspects of aging, just say’n.

Tips to Pro-Aging:

Eat healthfully. Stuffing our faces with fast food, processed food, added sugar, and bad-for-our body fats, isn’t the way to go out and kick ass at any time of our life, but as we age, we must take stock of our health even more so. Live that way and your body and brain will be sluggish and shitty, and as you further age, the sluggish shitties will worsen—oh, and you may die sooner, and that would suck, wouldn’t it? Does this mean I never have candy or cake or ice-cream? Hell no! But when I do, I enjoy it more because it’s a treat, and it tastes so much better. I also splurge on The Good Stuff because I don’t eat it often.

Women: I wrote a post before about the benefits of testosterone compound cream. When we go through menopause we can lose testosterone, affecting our moods, our “brain clarity,” energy, and our libido. The compound has changed my life—but I feel like myself, not some super-duper-weird altered version of myself. Consult your doctor, always. It’s the only hormone I take into my body and it works for me without any side effects, but everyone is different.

Get your ass off the couch or out of the chair and move. The stronger you feel, the more powerful you are. Being fit and strong means you are able to care for

A walk costs nothing and is easy on the joints if you have tender areas. Walk, it’s a good start.

yourself. Work on strength, aerobic fitness, balance—all these mean that as we age, barring anything that is not in our control (and there is always something that can happen that we cannot control), we should be able to kick-ass and be strong well into our Very Old Agedom. Shame on you if you sit on your ass eating crappy food, smoking, drinking too much, not going for check-ups, ignoring your health, and then possibly “saddle” your spouse/partner/kids/grandkids with your care. Again, I emphasize how this does not apply to those who had something happen that is not under their control. Sometimes sucky things happen to us no matter how much we take care of ourselves. That’s just life. But when we have a CHOICE, how will we choose for ourselves and for our spouses/partner/children/grandchildren?

You know those pesky annoying negative soul-sucking people in your life? The ones who have been hanging on your back and hollering in your ear for years? Well, kick their ass to the curb. See ya! What? Sound mean? Well, if you are around someone(s) who sucks every ounce of joy or energy out of you, constantly whining and crying on your shoulder, constantly a big Pain in the Ass, then why allow that to continue into your Agedom? What’s in it for you? There must be something in it for you or else you’d finally kick them to the curb, right? Riiiigghht. If this PITA is someone you simply can’t walk away from, then find a way to short circuit the Negative Whiny Woe Is Me talk. Take your power back. Take control of the time you have left on this earth. You are an adult now, yeah, it’s true! And adults have choices. This next phase is time to sort through all the people who’ve come into your life and see who makes you happy and content and who tires the unholy hell out of you and needs a wake-up slap upside their pea-heads—you are in charge now. Believe that.

Do something you love.I know that not everyone has the luxury of quitting their jobs to do what they love full time, but, until that day comes, why not go for the here

I’m an author; I love photography; I love fitness – all things I’m passionate about and pursue with joy

and there moments to find your passion and pursue it. To say, “This is time for Me. Go Away.” Your friends and family will only respect the idea of you finding your passion and pursuing it if you respect it within yourself. If someone says, “You’re too old,” or “You can’t,” then sweetly and gently say, “Go fuck yourself.”

Excuses suck. “I’m too old” is an excuse. “I will look silly doing that because I’m old” is an excuse. “I am tired because I’m old” –excuse. If you have a Real Reason for why you aren’t doing what you love, or why you aren’t out there kicking ass, then don’t beat yourself up about it, for we must also respect the tender parts of ourselves, the parts that have served us well but something just went wrong. But if you know good and damned well you are opening that mouth and vomiting out excuse after excuse, then Stop It, goddammit!

Alternatively, we don’t have to live the commercials on TV. What I see on ads/commercials is that Boomers are out there Taking On The World—jumping out of planes, sitting in bathtubs with their significant other while watching the sunset after they’ve just had WHOOP! sex (though, huhn, read above *laugh*), they are faster than a speeding bullet and leaping over tall buildings at a single bound—Super Boomers! Well, part of being kick-ass is recognizing what you are doing because it’s good for you and you are passionate about it versus what you think you ought to be doing because “everyone else is doing it.” Huhn. Naw, we aren’t all doing it all. Who is, really, no matter their age?

I hate to use the old cliché, but it’s so true. When you are lying there dying your ass off, you may just think, “How’d it go so fast? And why didn’t I . . . .”  So, see what you want to fill in the blanks for that . . . and then start finding ways to enjoy or do or be that . . .

Maw Maw – I’m not my grandmothers kind of grandmother . . .

I go by the: Just cause I can wear it, doesn’t mean I should, and, the I’m not wearing Maw Maw clothes even if I am a Granny. You won’t see me in mini-skirts, or jeggings (lawd, those need to go away), or a bikini, or trying to wear clothes a twenty year old (or worse, teenager) would wear. However, if I can rawk out some skinny jeans and boots or stilettos and a form-fitting top, then I am. You also won’t see me in sweat pants or elastic-waist polyester pants suits, either, or sloppy-ass ill-fitting clothes that I am hiding in because I’ve given up—because I haven’t given up and you shouldn’t either.

Take care of your hair and skin. By eating well, and if you like, with “products.” Though I hate the term “anti-aging” what I am happy about is that finally there are products geared towards people over thirty. Some are better than others, but you can be the judge of what works for you, and how far you want to take the producting of your hair and skin—some people wash their face and are done with it, and nothing wrong with that if you Own It, and simply like things, well, simple. Personally, I enjoy pampering my skin and hair because it makes me feel good about myself and I like the results. Men aren’t pressured as much as women are to be “youthful,” but that’s fast a-changing, oh yes it is, if commercials and ads are any indication.

Finally, surround yourself with as much beauty and love and light and positives as you are able to. And as for the crappier stuff, well, learn how to put all of that into perspective—take back your power, do your best, work with what you have, make choices based on what is best for you and for your loved ones. You can be a loving, giving person without letting people walk over you. The two things—being a giving person and being taken from—are not equal.

Now, let’s  take the term “anti-aging” and stomp over it while on the way to kicking ass and feeling our best. Pro-Aging. Yeah. Goddammit, I like that.

Testosterone therapy, really? Yes, really. Menopause don’t gots to suck, y’allses

Pardon us, Men’fo’k whist we talk about menopause–although, maybe you will be interested in reading on for your own reasons, huh?

I was lucky to have had a fairly easy segue to menopause, even though I reached it earlier than I thought I would. And while part of my “easy” experience may be genes, it is also because I exercise and eat healthfully.

Still, reaching menopause sent me into a panic. I remember thinking: I can’t have any more children! Well, I wasn’t planning on it anyway *haw!,* but the idea that this life-giving part of me would be forever gone made me feel “Less than a Woman.” It made me think, “Oh My God! I’m old now! I’m officially OLD! Waaaaaaaah!” Well, guess what? Turns out I feel better and am in better shape than I have been in years. I’m writing and my books are being published. I’m speaking before groups. I hike; I took up photography; I kick my ass on the treadmill and mat work; I travel when I want to; I feel sexy and alive and determined; I am empowered!

Ka-Pow! And we have lift-off!

As with any stage in life, there are changes we cannot stop from happening, so we can either embrace our new lives and bodies and move on to the wonderful moments, find a remedy for what may require remedy, OR, we can mope and sob and whine. I quickly disgust and bore myself when I mope and sob and whine, so I embrace (or ignore -teehee) what I can’t or don’t want to change, and I find remedies where needed.

What I simply could not over-look no matter how much I exercised and ate healthfully were brain-fog and a general lack of energy. You know it when you are there, don’t you? As if your head is wrapped in 2ply toilet paper and your legs have weights attached to them—unnnnghhhh, y’all! And as well, I was just on the edge of disinterest in some aspects of my pre-menopause life, and that, my friends, is a place I did not and do not want to go—naw ma’am.

If you feel this way, have you considered you may be low in testosterone? Yes, women naturally have testosterone in our bodies, um hmmm. Yeah, I know, there’s that commercial for men. Well, I don’t want their medicine, for it’s not right for me; I want what is made for my needs as a woman!

What we shouldn’t do!

I didn’t use hormone replacement therapy when I went through menopause, for I like to do things as naturally as I can. But the foggy brain, lack of energy, and “Meh, whatever,” were finally enough to send me scurrying to my gynecologist. After mumbling and forgetting what I was saying and trailing off in the middle of my sentences, my doctor said, “Let’s try testosterone.”

finding balance

She gave me a prescription that I have mixed together at a local pharmacy—you won’t find this at your CVS  or Walgreens, etc, so do your research and find a pharmacy that does compounds—one you trust. I had to find a balance of how much worked for me—you should strive to feel your Best Self.  You want only to replace what has been lost and find that balance.

Of course, as I did, you absolutely must have a conversation with your doctor to find out if it is a viable option for you. What works for one may not work for another. We are wondrous biological machines that require care and respect.Out of curiosity, after taking testosterone replacement for almost two years, I stopped using it. At first I didn’t notice anything as I la tee dah’ed along. But then one day I noticed I felt “off.” The old foggy-head returned and I wasn’t “me.” I began using the compound again and Taaa Daaaa! All back to normal.

C.M. Harris

I’d planned on doing this blog post this week for quite some time now, so it was interesting to pick up my new copy of Oprah Magazine and read an article by author C.M. Harris titled “Not for Men Only,” where she relates how, due to breast cancer, she entered menopause a decade or so earlier than she expected. She writes, “Exhaustion. Excessive sleep. Aching bones. A 20-pound weight gain. Brain fog. Forgetting that sex can be fun.” And while not every woman will experience menopause in the same way, and while some of these “side effects of menopause” may be remedied by diet and exercise, sometimes we do need a little extra help. C.M. Harris did, and so did I.

finding strength

I was heartened to hear of someone else using testosterone and talking about it. I at first found it hard to admit, “I’m taking a male hormone! Wheeeee!” Even I at first wondered, “Will I grow a mustache, bulging muscles, and develop a deep voice?”—and since I already have a deep voice and can tend to be muscular when I work out hard, I was in Yikes mode when contemplating this therapy.

Of course these things have not happened to me. This compound is not like the testosterone you hear that athletes use, or anything near to that. Believe me, I wouldn’t take it if I were going to look and act like some weird altered version of me. Lawdy!

C.M. Harris wrote, “. . . I wonder, now that I’m back to wondering again: If a ‘male’ hormone can make a female feel like a woman, why are so few of us talking about it?”

BINGO! This was one of my favorite parts of the entire article. Testosterone made me feel more like a woman. More like the woman I was before menopause. It gave me back my best life. And, as she writes and I have often wondered, why aren’t we talking about it more?

I think it’s time to open dialogue about just what women are doing to feel better, even if it seems unconventional. And, as

Fierce women feeling strong!

well, to educate and to help each other to feel our best.

What about you? Ever heard of, or tried, testosterone therapy? What do you do to feel The Best You? Do you have anything to share? Tell us your experiences! And it doesn’t have to be only about menopause, y’all!

I am your personal trainer: Our bodies love to mess with our heads – let’s have an honest talk with our bodies, y’all

Sometimes our bodies “lie” to us > so let’s have a frank discussion with our bodies/minds!

I used to tell clients to “listen to their bodies” to let them know how hard to work, and when to pull back. That advice is mostly true, all y’allses beauties out there. However, I also recognize how this isn’t always the case. And why?

Welp, our bodies don’t always like it when thangs become a little Haaaaaaard. I mean, why oh why would our bodies/minds want to do the Hard thang when it can easily convince us to do the Easy thang?

Folkses, we can re-wire our bodies/minds to accept challenges and accomplish more than we ever thought we could. (Of course, as I always tell you: consult your physician before beginning an exercise routine and honor any limitations that you really do have.)

When I was in Oregon last summer, I jogged with my son. It surprised me how much trouble I was having, because I

Running on the beach – wheeeee – ungh – ungh -ungh – lawd

thought I’d been doing The Difficult Running Workout on the treadmill. I pictured outrunning him, fists raised in a “Yeeehawwww!” Yeah, I’m competitive like that—teeheehee.

Instead, I returned home with my competitive tail twixt my laigs, and when I next climbed upon the treadmill for my run I had an Aha! moment. I’d been doing the same half-assed running workout for months. I’d told myself, “Well, I’m running and running is a good workout.” Right? Riiii-wait—hold up . . . I hadn’t been pushing myself beyond what I’d become comfortable with.

If you aren’t finding results–and results could mean some weight/inches lost, or better endurance, or stronger body/heart, whatever your goal is (and you do not have a goal? well, I’m goal-oriented and thus need some kind of goal–being a Kick Ass Strong Powerful Woman is my goal!).

What to try: I revamped my own workouts to try interval training. When in the high-energy phase of the aerobics-dance treadmill work, I am sweating, breathing hard, and my heart rate rises (I have a heart rate monitor–Polar is my brand–and you may want to invest in one, as well)—this feels like work and it should. Then during the “easier” recovery phase, I catch my breath, check my posture, pull down my heart-rate. Up down, up down–this has been an effective workout for me. Interval training keeps me alert, interested, and motivated, where as straight running would often bore me and thus I didn’t work as hard.

Our bodies will adjust to the idea we aren’t going to let it get by with its slacker ways. The endorphins are yippie yai kai-yaying all over the place. It’s exhilarating and stress-relieving, and we feel a sense of accomplishment.

What not to do: This doesn’t mean you work your wittle selvses to the point of exhaustion or dangerous over-working!  I can’t tell you how many times I see people go full out for nothing in their exercise/eating routines to an unrealistic point–they are so ding-dong-dangity INTO IT at first that they Workout right into Burnout. Find that balance. Listening to our bodies is still good advice, as long as we have an honest discussion with ourselves about just what our bodies can tolerate versus “only getting by.” And, as long as we do not try to make change to our bodies too quickly–did we become out of shape and unhealthy over-night? Nope. And change isn’t going to be as apparent over-night,  either–but it is happening and it will.

how much this chawk-lit have I et? Lawd – *urp*

We have cravings because we often give in to them and our bodies know it! They are like whiny spoiled children unless we set boundaries and guidelines.

I used to crave loads of sweets. My body became used to having lots of added sugar. The more I ate sweets and foods with added sugar, the more my body craved it. Well, dangity it all to dangtown, I felt like crap—tired, sluggish, and sometimes cranky—and I didn’t know (admit to myself) why.

What to try: Create a  new habit by doing it and then doing it again, and then again. Our bodies will accept the routine we set for it. If we switch it up, our wondrous bodies respond to change quite well. We should convince our bodies we mean business and that eating in a more healthful manner will make both body and brain work more efficiently. The more we challenge our bodies with motion and with healthier foods, the better we will feel, and the more we’ll want to continue to do these things to continue feeling our best. Cutting back on added sugars and white flour/processed foods is not easy if your body is used to having them any time it throws a tantrum for them, but I promise if you stick to a more healthful diet, your body will respond positively and soon it will be second-nature to step away from the junk food/processed foods/sweets.

Food is not the enemy: say it with me until we all believe it! We can make better choices

What not to do: Constantly depriving ourselves of pleasures can lead to failure. Yes, of course we can treat ourselves

on occasion—what’s life without something gooey and yummy and deliciously sweet (or whatever your crave is)? When we eat it only occasionally, it tastes all the better. It becomes a celebration, something to look forward to. How many times have you mindlessly eaten an entire bag of M&Ms or potato chips (or whatever) and realized you only really truly tasted the first few bites of it—the rest was mindless eating. Think about this next time you stare into the empty bag.

Our bodies tell us to do our workout and then git the hell out o’the gym (or workout room in our house), pronto-presto-zippo.

Hold up, y’all! Stretching our bodies is just as important as the aerobics and strengthening.

Streeeeeeetccch your bodies – it’ll love you for it

What to try: At the end of our workout, it is important to take the time to stretch our muscles and tendons. To lengthen what we have contracted. It is a time for quiet moments of reflection on how beautiful and powerful and wonderful our bodies are. How they carry us through life—and with better posture, too, which is lovely. Time and distance and wants and needs lift away as we respect our bodies, minds, hearts, in poses of stretch and then release and then rest and recovery. Stretch your hamstrings, quads, your hip-flexors, your chest, your spine–your entire body. There are many reputable sites out there to find stretches — and in a later post, I’ll have photos of some you may try. I do a combination of yoga and pilates, along with some of the time-honored stretches.

What not to do: Never stretch to the point of pain. You should feel some tension that then releases into the stretch. Don’t hurry through your stretches but instead be mindful of them–pay attention. How much of our lives is spent hurrying through tasks we see as “boring” or “unnecessary” . . . ? Take these moments and respect them.

Dreaming . . . dreaming . . . dreamy dreaming

Sometimes our bodies tell us we don’t need no stinking sleep.

Quiet that yappity do dah day mind and twitchery body! Lawdy but I can be jittery. And my brain zingity-flops all over creation. I have the worst music-earworms EV-ER! You don’t even want to be in my pea-head. I sometimes find it difficult to quiet my mind and still my body.

What to try: Rest is as important as movement. A good night’s sleep prepares us for the next day’s challenge. There are many things we can do to prepare for sleep. For example, I do not have a TV in my bedroom. The bedroom is for three things: Sleep, Reading, and—now, y’all! I’m not saying the last one, teeheeheehehee *blush*

I have lavender pillow spray that I mist over my bed linens. The room is dark when I am ready to sleep. There is no clutter in my bedroom, so that my bedroom feels like a sanctuary. And just as there is no TV, there are no electronic devices, other than my Kindle. (I do keep my cell close by, in case of emergency, but I do not have a smart phone so there’s no playing on it or checking email or anything of the sort.) Find those rituals you can do each night to prepare your body and mind to think, “It is time to rest and sleep now.” Some people find writing down worries to “release them” works to quiet their minds.

What not to do: Ever hear people bragging about how they do not need sleep and can get by with only a couple of hours—Bull-crapadoodle-doo-doo. We all need sleep; no one is super-human or alter-human. We are not somehow “better than others” if we “survive” on  little sleep.

There are many tips out there for how to relax into sleep—find what works for you, experiment. But know that sleep is an important part of healthful living. Our bodies and minds need restful sleep.

I know something I feel gratitude for . . .

Don’t let setbacks or worries or fears crowd out the power of gratitude. Don’t let body image obsession keep you from seeing yourself as a creation of beauty—a wondrous biological machine.

 As you all read from my last Wednesday’s post, I sometimes struggle with body image and this is often a challenge for me—admitting it to lots of people was a start and put much into perspective–we must be honest with ourselves and our bodies/minds! I am working on seeing myself as the healthy strong woman I am, so that I can continue to practice what I preach to you.

What to try: Remember to have gratitude for what you have accomplished. Having a heart of gratitude allows us to experience life with peace and hope and serenity. Spend a few moments first thing in the morning and last thing at night thinking about what you have to be grateful for. If you think, “nothing,” then something is terribly wrong–are you alive? Well, there you go!

What not to do: We often look ahead to what we “should” accomplish, or what may come, or what we hope will come, that we forget to find gratitude in what we have already acheived.

Hold on to it, let it come with us into our dreams: “You Did This! Good for You!”

namaste . . . now go do the day


How does your body “lie” and how will you challenge it? Will you have an honest conversation with yourself today?

I am your Personal Trainer: Get on the Ball – exercise ball workout ideas with photos

Hello my lovelies. It’s ever so important to work on our strength and balance. It’s important to try out different things in our workouts. It’s important to move. To see where our bodies will take us and how much they can endure. For women in  menopause and over 50, it is very important to work on strengthening and balance and endurance (I am 55 and want to continue to feel healthy and strong). But, at any age, we must give our bodies what it requires and needs from us.

Below is a series of exercise ball workouts you may want to try, or some version/variation of them. The ball workouts help not only with strengthening (the core muscles are engaged and this is good) but also on our balance and flexibility.

As we age, we can lose strength and balance and flexibility. It’s never too late to start, my beauties. And it’s good to start early, as well!

Now, as I always tell you: see your doctor before beginning an exercise program. As well, modify any exercises if you have any issues with pain or injury, etc. (I often modify for my lower back.) Don’t try to do what someone else does if you aren’t ready for it. Don’t try to “show off” and injure yourself. Push yourself, but safely. Practice. Build on your accomplishments. The more you know about your body, the more you will be able to modify, and as well, to see how much your body can move, how strong it can become, how healthy.

Although I didn’t for these photos, as they were taken before we went to the gym, note also that I do an hour of high-energy “treadmill aerobic dance” before I begin my strengthening and then stretching.   It warms my body and readies it for the next phase. These photos aren’t the best (Sorry GMR, you tried! :-D ) but they will give you an idea of things you may want to try. On another post, I’ll have some other workouts/stretches, etc., for you.

Stretch – lift your body – open those spines – up on toes, abs tight – feel yourself lengthening

Abs/glutes tight, balance strong, your body a line

lower yourself – touch your nose to the mat if you can – keeping body strong, balance, abs/glutes strong! Push up, and repeat -do not lose form, quit when you feel yourself losing that good form

You can also be pushed back on the ball a bit farther back – see where your balance/strength is best.

if you can, curl in with abs pulled in tight, pulling knees in – balance! Strong! and then balance on the ball keeping core tight – be careful -don’t bust your ass!

Uncurl – body strong, balance strong, abs/glutes tight – and push back until you are a long lean line, stretch out

stretch your body, feel your spine (be careful! watch yourself! Don’t over do – don’t over stretch – listen to your own body’s signals!)

now, try some “squat” movements – either two legs, or one leg at a time – core strong, balance – concentrate on your glutes and thighs. I like to keep my knee in line with my lower leg/foot – be careful!

Push back and balance – body strong, leg lifted long and lean and stretching, other leg strong on mat – lift and lower leg if you can – balance!

this one is easier – lift and lower leg – core tight – balance strong – you can lift your body higher on the ball – I like to put my leg at a 90 degree angle and go from there, but sometimes I come up lower or higher

Balance, core tight, lift up with the ball while lifting your leg – hold hold and then release

pull in, curl in, strong, balance, concentrate – if you can, go back to the previous movement.

Balance the ball on your fingers and the tips of your toes, abs tight – hold hold hold

position the ball between your feet and hold hold hold!

lower your legs – abs strong – body strong, hold hold – if you have back issues, put your hands under your hips/low back – I do this when I go any further down, which I do, all the way to the floor and back up-be careful please! Don’t let the back arch!

Pull your knees & arms in, abs tight, then – - -

– - legs straighten, arms back with ball – abs tight – and then go back to the previous position – you can stretch out farther with legs and arms lower but make sure your back does not arch but in its natural curve! Be careful!

stretch again . . . and as well, stretch all of your body – I’ll show you some stretches on a later post.

Namaste

Wednesday Free-for-all: I am your guinea pig – Beauty/Food Products

All right, y’all. I’m back with products I have tried, as your guinea pig. Again, I am not “advertising” these products, and of course I do not receive any compensation. Shoot, they don’t even know lil ole pea-headed me exists. Just thought I’d let you all in on products, or food, I’ve tried and give you a “head’s up.”

On my last post about “products,” I told you about Agadir Argan Oil, for which I put in my hair both wet and then dry- with really great results: shine and smoothness for my baby-fine hair. So, I wanted to try the Agadir Shampoo and Conditioner.

At CVS in Waynesville, the Agadir Shampoo and Conditioner was a little pricey, so I went through Amazon and bought it for less, though free shipping was not available, so I didn’t save as much as I could have, still . . . .

As I shampoo, the scent is almost as if I’ve burned some exotic incense – not unpleasant, but different. The conditioner has a softer scent.  It’s great for color-treated, or high-lighted hair, or hair that’s a bit “fly-away.”

What they say:

Shampoo: Agadir Argan Oil Daily Moisturizing Shampoo is sulfate and paraben free and very gentle on color treated hair. This color preserving formula will keep your hair looking great, even after several shampoos. Hair will feel moisturized, smooth and conditioned with a great aroma that will awaken your senses!

Conditioner: Agadir Argan Oil Daily Moisturizing Conditioner is sulfate and paraben free with anti color fade for long, lasting hair color. It detangles, smoothes, shines and corrects dry, frizzy hair. Protects against heat and chemical damage. The featherweight formula with protective sunscreen helps repair and strengthen damaged hair.

What I loved: soft, shiny, smoothed hair. My baby-fine hair was quite shiny and smooth and I really am pleased with it. As well, the “exotic” scent stayed soft the rest of the day.

What I didn’t like: Some may consider it pricey – if you are used to using “cheaper” shampoos, as I always did when my hair was boy-short. I liked Flex and other “cheaper” shampoos like that because I had my hair cut so often, it was always in great shape. However, now I have to spend a little more to keep my longer, high-lighted (at least for now), hair in great shape.

I’ve been using both for about two weeks now (alternating with another shampoo/conditioner), and so far so good. This shampoo and conditioner should last me a while, and when it’s gone, I will purchase again. And, the price wasn’t as much as some salon shampoos that I like (Aveda, for which I do love these products and will talk more later about them).

On the Dr. Oz Show, a dermatologist or some other “skin person” suggested Josie Maran Organic Argan oil for the face. The Agadir Argan oil that I spoke about in that earlier post is a “blend” of other oils, and I use it only on my hair. But Josie Maran Argan oil is supposed to be pure argan oil, and I use it on my face. I bought it from Amazon, but noticed it came from Sephora, where I could have just ordered it directly.

What they sayA lightweight oil that can be used as a daily moisturizer or treatment for skin, hair, and nails.  This 100% Pure Argan Oil is a legendary oil that’s rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids, and grown organically in Morocco. With its multitasking benefits, Argan Oil can be used for many areas including hydrating and nourishing skin, as a daily moisturizer, skin treatment, treating spilt ends, and softening cuticles. It’s gentle enough to use on all skin types and is believed to help with skin conditions including acne. Argan Oil easily absorbs into skin to give you a youthful, dewy glow, and has astonishing healing, conditioning, and antiaging properties to keep your skin and hair nourished and revitalized and to keep you looking beautiful from head to toe.

What I like about it: It has no real scent to it, which sometimes I want that for my face. And it soaks right on in. The texture feels as if it will be quite oily, but as you apply it, it quickly disappears. Left my face feeling soft. I can’t get over how much it absorbs into the skin when it is so oily! But, it does.

What I don’t like: I had to buy the smallest bottle, for it is pricey. I paid $14.00 for this tiny bottle; however, now that I see how little it takes (it has a dropper, which helps control the amount), I’m fairly certain this little bottle will last me a while, and that will make the cost less stinging. Which is another reason I only use it on my face - it could be pricey to go slathering it everywhere, lawd!

I’ve been using it only for about a week and a half, so I don’t know long-term effects, but I like how it makes my skin feel.

GMR brought home these cookies from Ingles Supermarket in Waynesville, called “WhoNu” cookies because he wanted to have a dessert snack that was “healthier.”

What they say: “WhoNu? Cookies are an excellent source of Calcium, Iron, Vitamins A, B12, C, D and E. They also have 3 grams of fiber and a total of 20 essential vitamins and minerals.

They are touting their products as “healthier” choices than regular cookie products, and perhaps they are healthier than some regular processed snack foods. These are small cookies, and three make a serving for 160 calories. GMR likes them and would buy them again. I tried them, but since they still have 14g of sugar, I won’t eat them often, and when I do, I have 2 or 3 only. The taste is in line with Oreos. GMR finds them a good alternative dessert.

What I liked about them:  I am able to eat only 2 or 3, with some fruit on the side, and am satisfied not to eat anymore. I like the idea they may have more “nutrition” that regular cookies, if what they are advertising is correct.  I’d have these once every now and then as a “dessert alternative.”

What I didn’t like: They were really sweet, but once you cut way back on sweets, things do taste so much sweeter. However, I’d rather have something a little more decadent than these cookies. They had a chocolatety taste, and a great satisfying crunch, but when you rarely eat dessert anymore, you want something more substantial. I almost felt they had an “artificial taste,” but then again, they are a processed food.

Still, for those times I really crave a sweet, 2 or 3 of these little cookies with some fruit does the trick. And, GMR likes them and will buy again.

Olay Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System. This is supposed to be a “system” but after the cleanser that came with it was gone, I just used the brush with whatever cleanser I happen to have.

What they say: Is it time to rethink your daily cleansing routine? Designed by a team of dermatologists along with Olay, the Advanced Cleansing System is as effective as a system sold by skin professionals for nearly $200.* Professionally and clinically designed to cleanse 6 times better**, the Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System also sets your skin up for supersonic anti-aging moisturization.†

What I like: It does feel as if I am doing something, though I am not sure what. I guess it is exfoliating some and going into a deeper cleaner . . . maybe. It can be used in the shower, which is convenient.

What I don’t like:  I believe I can get the same exfoliating from using scrubbing grains or whatever and for less money. The Pro-X brush was $29.99 at Target in Asheville, and for that money, well . . . I am just not convinced. I’ve had it about a year now and find I still use it, but less enthusiastically as time goes by. I’d love to try the Clarisonic, but for $200.00–ouch! I can’t justify that unless someone out there can tell me it is SO worth that price (ungh). Yet, I spent $29.99 for a product I’m less than happy with. I wish it were rechargeable, though the batteries have lasted. I don’t like to worry about changing batteries–that’s not good for the environment, either. (Apparently, the Clarisonic is rechargeable, which appeals to me . . . but again, $200.000 – ungh ungh!)

I really wanted to like this, for I love Olay products. But, well, I’m just not confident about it.

For the first time ever I finally tried a milk that isn’t a milk, and it was: Silk Pure Almond Milk.

What they say: They talk about all the reasons to try it on their website, for example, lower in calories, great source of vitamin E, “calorie-friendly.

I first tried the sweetened vanilla kind (bought at Ingles Supermarket) in a little sample-sized one-serving “bottle.” I poured it over my Cheerios. Cheerios (bless them) have very little sugar and that’s why I love them – plus their nutty taste, but this isn’t about Cheerios, is it?, teeheehee. The sweetened vanilla almond milk was very sweet with 15g of sugar, and tasted good with the Cheerios, though I did have to “not think about” the idea it isn’t milk. But, it was more like a dessert, almost, kinda-sorta. Too much sugar, though, for me.

Next I bought the regular unsweeted Silk Almond from Greenlife in Asheville. I poured it over my cheerios and . . .

What I like about it: I feel as if I’m doing something good for my body, though that isn’t to say regular old milk isn’t good for our bodies! But, I love almonds and their nutritional value, and this is a great way to get that beyond the nuts. Sometimes, too, I just do not like milk, or rather it does not like me. Sometimes milk will feel as if it is sloshing around in my belly and doesn’t want to go away -ungh – I feel heavy. And, well, I have a quirk – yes, me! can you imagine ME with a quirk (shut up! don’t judge me!) . . . I cannot stand to drink milk that has been opened for more than, say, two days. If I open a new carton, I can drink it or pour it over my cereal, but if it has been opened for longer than a day or two, I feel it is “soured” even if it ain’t. Um, that’s just me! But with the almond milk, I don’t have that feeling, and will use it beyond the 1-2 days.

What I don’t like about it: it does have an “odd” flavor that I must get used to–I tell myself “it’s milk” but it isn’t. I find it works well in smoothies to kind of hide the flavor. I know I am not drinking “real milk” so there’s that weirdness I have to get over. Yes, I know, I said I don’t really like drinking milk, but milk is still my buddy in many ways – if it’s fresh – teehee.

I will buy this again, and I’m sure I will become better used to it as I acclimate myself to its taste!

Okay, that’s it, folks, for now, with the Guinea Pignessess. As always, feel free to talk about anything you like or do not like. See you Friday with Linky Love! Have a great day!

Me, the future You: R E S P E C T! Your life

The furthest thing from a young woman’s mind is that time far off into the future when she will be fifty(+) and menopausal. Who has time to think about such things when your baby is crying, your toddler is reaching for a sharp object, and your eight-year-old just threw up all the pizza, cake, and, I’m not kidding—sushi (sushi?)—he had at a birthday party where the parents spent more to please Bobby or Suzy than what you spend on two-weeks worth of groceries? Or when she’s heading out the door to work, tossing down a piece of toast and a hot cup of coffee. Or whatever it is this young woman is doing to Live Her Life and do what she must do because so much of our lives is spent doing “what we must do.” (And I’m not leaving out the guys here, you can take out “menopausal” and add your own lists and dos and etcs here just as well!)

However, what I wish a big sister had told me in my teens, twenties, and thirties is this: how you treat yourself and how you ask to be treated by those around you will forever affect the person you will become—Me, the Future You. Who are you—I mean, the real you, not the Mommy You or the Wife You or the Worker You or the Partner You, but the Woman You, the one you must face in the mirror from now until, well, until you can no longer look into a mirror. For one day in your future you will look into that mirror and see the woman you have become from the experiences you have now. As your big sister, I want to tell you to care for yourself. To expect more of yourself, yes, but to expect more from others as well. That Respect should be a part of your daily diet—both taken in and given out—physical and mental/emotional respect.

When is the last time you patted yourself on the back for a life well-done? Have you been perfect? I bet not. Has every day been a gloriously sunshine-filled day of joy and happiness? Probably not. Have you lost your temper, been in a foul mood, screamed at your kids/partner/husband/coworkers/boss/employees/parents?, stomped around as if you were the two-year old? Maybe. But if this didn’t happen at least some time in your life, I’d wonder what you were trying to prove, or hide from yourself and others. We’re all human, and we all need to give ourselves a little break now and then to consider just how hard it is to raise a family, work to make a living, be married, be single, be independent, be dependent, caretake, be caretaken, etc etc etc, in other words: Life. Since you will one day be me and then beyond, I give you permission to love yourself, one day, one choice at a time.

And if you are already at the Me stage, it’s not too late to take everything I wrote and apply it liberally. Never too late to make a change, or go for that goal, or let go of one, etc etc etc, yup, in other words: Life ain’t over after 50, 60, 70, 80, beyond. I promise. We can make every excuse in the book—and they are all written down, believe me, in one fashion or another, nothing new under the moon—but ultimately this is our only life and how we decide to live it and how we decide to treat ourselves and others will determine how satisfied and at peace we are, how much respect we gain and give out. And when we fall on our ass, well, get up, brush the dirt off, and go on, who cares if someone saw you fall on your ass? You can betcha they’ve fallen on theirs but only you weren’t around to see it!

And remember, friends and family aren’t perfect either . . . they fall on their asses regularly too! But we can help them up just as they can help us up.

here is the only perfection:

Now go do the day!

PS – This is the LAST day of the Summer Sunshine Deals at Amazon (that page takes you to where TG happens at this moment -and that can change and does -to be No 1 on a list-which as I said below, if you put in enough criteria, you just may end up No 1 on a list *laugh*). After today, Tender Graces, and the other 600ish titles will revert to their regular prices. Thank you for your support! I guess we’ll see where all this leads. I have also found I am terrible at “self promo” – I suck at it – I become so uncomfortable talking about these things that have to do with “buying my books” – ungh ungh! But, happy to pass on savings, yes, that’s always a good thing!

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