Friday, May 27, 2016

Memorial Weekend--it's Not Just For Picnics

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Friends are Like Flowers in the Garden of Life

Gail and her husband Dave

 A while back I came across a lovely gift book at a garage sale all about friends. It has pages to record memories, important dates, and attach photos. I thought this would be the perfect gift for my best friend,Gail. 
     Gail and I became fast friends as college roommates. We had similar backgrounds and were pursuing the same major-- education. Gail was a year ahead of me so she was a great source of which classes to take and which instructors to avoid. We roomed together for three years until she graduated. 
      Gail is a little taller than I am, 6'0 or as she likes to say 5"12! I was dating a fellow (who I later married) who was tall and Gail always asked if he didn't have a brother for her. As it turns out, he had a tall, good-looking cousin. My husband didn't want to introduce them though because he didn't think they would be a good match. As luck would have it, the girls went to a dance and the guys just happened to be there too. One thing led to another and now Gail is married to my husband's cousin! We knew we never wanted to lose touch! 
     We have been friends for over 30 years. We've been through good times and not so good times. Gail has always been there for me. I consider her one of my greatest blessings. I hope we both live long healthy lives (Gail found out this year that she had breast cancer but after radiation treatments is doing well.) and end up being spunky old ladies together. 
     Thinking about Gail made me think about my mother. She has had just the opposite experience. She doesn't have any good friends, much less a best friend. My mom came from a very large family and for the most part they were her friends. I feel bad that she has never had anyone her age to confide in, laugh with or just be herself. She told me once how much she envied my friendship with Gail. 
      So think about your best friend(s). When was the last time you let them know that you truly appreciated them? Don’t lose touch, you’ll lose so much! post signature
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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Monday, May 23, 2016

Is Your Skin Ready for Summer?

These tips will help your skin get a healthy glow in time for those upcoming sunny days -- and with results designed to last through Labor Day and beyond. 

Exfoliate to Get Rid of Dry, Dull Skin 
Experts say the best way to get your skin ready for summer is with regular exfoliation. This gets rid of dead, dry skin cells Use a washcloth, loofah or buff puff, Wet your entire body in the bath or shower. Apply exfoliating cleanser to your loofah or washcloth, and scrub, using gentle, circular motions. You should exfoliate no more than once a day or a couple of times a week. Get started before Memorial Day and keep the regimen up throughout summer. Added incentive: exfoliated skin will help self-tanners go on more smoothly, making them less likely to streak and prevent your glow from fading prematurely. 

Moisturize to Hydrate Skin 
After you exfoliate, moisturizing your skin is key. Use it after you exfoliate, shave, and shower. 

Apply Sunscreen 
Use Enough!   The most important thing you can do for your skin is sun protection so you never get a burn. How high a number of sun protection factor (SPF) you need depends on how fair you are. People with fairer skin, lighter hair, and lighter eyes often need stronger sun block than their darker counterparts. Everyone should wear a sunscreen with SPF of 15 or higher with a broad-spectrum agent that protects against UVA and UVB rays. Apply it generously. Put on enough to cover your entire body, no matter how much it takes. Apply it before you reach the beach or outdoors. Sunscreen takes 15 to 20 minutes to kick into high gear, so apply it before you leave the house. Reapply it frequently. Remember that it only lasts for about two hours. 

Shave Away Unwanted Hair 
A good shaving strategy also helps. Shave in the opposite direction from which hair grows. In places where hair grows in different directions and in hard-to-reach areas such as underarms and the bikini area, try pulling the skin slightly, making it more taut and easier to shave. You could also try waxing, Waxing lasts longer than shaving. But remember that when you go to rewax, you have to let hair grow to a minimal length first. 

Treat the Skin on Your Feet 
Don't forget your feet this summer. People often complain of dermatitis, peeling, or callous on their heels. Using a /pumice stone will help to get rid of some of that. Use after a bath or shower when feet are softened up. Make sure that your toenails are cut straight across.

If you follow these tips you should be ready to head into summer looking and feeling your best!
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Monday, May 16, 2016

Five Minutes Away From Happiness

Is there such a thing as a happiness fix? I think so and I think you can get your "fix" in just a few minutes. Here are some things to try when you need to boost your spirits. 

 1. Blog. It can give you a place to journal about life, your family, whatever is important to you. You can also get a boost from positive comments that other people leave you. 

 2. Get outside and soak up the sun. (I know that I get very crabby when it is rainy or cloudy for too long.) Even standing in the sunlight coming in through a window can brighten your spirits. Sunlight also gives us Vitamin D which keeps serotonin levels high. (This is a feel-good hormone.)

 3.Exercise. Just being able to move your body and work up a sweat can make you feel better. Running is hard work but finishing a run puts me in a good mood. I know I've accomplished something good for my body.

 4.Listen to music. Your favorite tunes can make you feel happier right away! Music activates the part of our brain that's hardwired for pleasure. 

 5. Garden. It's hard to have your fingers in the dirt nurturing something and stay feeling blue. Studies have been done that show being around flowers can relieve stress and increase calmness. It works for me!

 6. Be generous. Once in awhile leave a bigger tip or pay for coffee for the person in line behind you. I tried the 29 Days of Giving Challenge where you had to give something away every day for 29 days. It made me feel good every time I gave something away. 

 7. Volunteer. There are nursing homes, shelters and other charitable organizations always looking for help. Knowing that you're helping others will make you feel good too. 

 8. Spend time with your kids, grandkids or the neighbor's kids. Experiencing little joys through the eyes of a child will cheer you instantly. 

 9. Pamper yourself. A new shade of nail polish, a good haircut, a new pair of earrings...little treats for yourself will definitely improve your mood. 

 10. Look at photos displayed in your home or in your photo albums. You can't help but smile when you look at your favorite people and remember the good times spent with them. I have photos in every room of my house!

 These are just a few ideas to bring about happiness. Which of these would work for you? (Can you tell I love taking photos of flowers and spending time with my grandchildren? These bring me so much happiness!) 

What's your favorite thing to do when you're feeling down? post signature
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Treat Yourself to a Spa Experience at Home

   How often do you relax? Really relax? Relaxation is something you do, not something that just happens when you aren’t busy. It’s a gift you give yourself and it’s also a necessity of life. Here’s how to get spa-like pampering at home.

1. Choose just one room in your house where you can be alone and quiet. The bathroom is the usual choice, but it can be anywhere. Prepare your space ahead of time so you can relax during your spa time. Clean, declutter, and dust the space. It doesn’t have to be perfect; but your mind needs to be at peace, not looking around at reminders.  

2. Set yourself up with a pile of big, fluffy towels and a couple of washcloths. You'll want at least one extra large towel for your body and another towel for your hair. If your towels are looking a bit shabby, invest in a few new ones. There is nothing like a good, luxurious towel for your home spa experience. 

3. If you don't already have one, invest in a plush bathrobe and nice slippers. This is a one-time expense that will make you feel pampered each time you treat yourself to your at-home spa. 

4. Decide on a theme (relaxing or energizing, for example), then set the mood with music and lighting. Choose a tranquil or energizing CD, depending on the mood you wish to create. Light several aromatherapy candles in a scent such as lavender (for relaxation) or citrus (for rejuvenation.) When you set the right mood, you will intensify the effects of your other spa treatments. 

5. Put aside at least 20 or 30 minutes to fully enjoy your luxurious home spa. Fill the bath with hot water and turn on the shower for additional steam Add bubble bath, bath confetti, or aromatherapy bath salts for a softening effect. The bath salts help to cleanse and detoxify your body.

6. Turn off the overhead lights, light the candles and turn on the music. Wash your face with a warm face cloth and apply your facial mask. Then take off your robe and slip into your hot bath. While your facial mask is working, start with your exfoliating scrub or pumice and let yourself relax. The entire body should be scrubbed at least weekly. Exfoliation should be done in a circular motion, beginning with the feet and up the legs, then hands up the arms, down the back finally up the front to the heart. It is usually best to rinse with tepid or cool water after the scrub to further activate circulation.

8. When the time for your home spa has come to an end, rinse off the facial mask and dry off with your luxurious towels. Then take time to moisturize from head to toe. 

 9. Conclude your experience by wrapping yourself in your soft robe and enjoying a cup of your favorite relaxing or invigorating herbal tea, selected to compliment your homemade spa experience. Choose peppermint or citrus tea, for example, to end a relaxing home spa or select jasmine or chamomile tea for a relaxing home spa. 

Creating a home spa is so simple and affordable that you will have no excuse not to indulge at least once a week.  post signature
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Friday, May 13, 2016

Get Rejuvenated for Summer

Here in Minnesota the weather has seem summer-like (a bit early for us!)  So I wanted to share top ways to rejuvenate, renew and refresh yourself just in time for summer. 

1)     Tub time - drink a cup of tea while soaking in a hot bath with your favorite fragrant bath soak. 

2)     Take a mini vacation in your head - visualize yourself on a warm, sandy beach soaking up the sun as you hear the waves crashing. 

3)     Make Some Daily Personal Time - take some time each day just for yourself, even if it's just 15-20 minutes. Meditate, sit quietly or say affirmations. Just 20 minutes will energize you and help you maintain a better frame of mind. 

 4)     Express gratitude - remind yourself of all the things you're thankful for: your family, friends, your home, sunshine and your work. Remember to say "thank you" to those who help you. 

5)     Perform small acts of kindness - Performing acts of kindness will help you to feel better about yourself too!

 6)     Remember to laugh - laughter can be great medicine. Watch a funny movie, make plans with your funniest friends, or just laugh out loud at nothing! (Look up the joke of the day on the internet.)

7)     Breathe deeply - after an especially stressful situation, take a few minutes to breathe deeply. Inhale and count to five and then exhale slowly. As you exhale imagine all your tension leaving your body. 

 8)     Permission to be you - Take a break from the image that you have of yourself and the image that you project. Just let yourself be whoever you feel like being in the moment. Give yourself permission to be you! 

9)     Eat a healthy lunch - instead of making do with eating fast food, eat something simple, healthy, colorful, fun, and exotic or with wild flavors and textures. Enjoy! 

10)  Host a gathering with girl friends - we saved the best way to renew yourself for last. How about getting together and doing facials or pedicures? post signature

I'm sure if you try some of these you will be ready for summer!
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