Make today awesome

 
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It’s easy to fall back in love with your partner when they're diagnosed with cancer. Not because of sympathy or guilt, but because of actual kindness. You both become kinder - gentler- more aware of the fragility of each day, the blessing that you feel when you both wake up, together.

He told me the other morning as he rubbed his hand against my bare back how nice my skin was. That it was so soft. I don’t remember the last time he mentioned that.

He told me the other morning how he liked to watch the way I held back the foam in the milk steamer with the spoon as i poured the hot milk into the coffee cup turning the black to a caramel brown. I don’t remember him ever mentioning that before.

Those little things. A perfectly ripe avocado, a baby’s belly laugh, a friend offering up her assistance, a bowl of chicken soup, a favorite blanket to wrap up in to fend off the morning chill. The little things that end up being the big things that mean so much.

I am now more aware of how fortunate I am, in so many areas of my life. This morning as I turned on the running water to brush my teeth it hit me how unbelievably blessed I am (we are) to have water at our immediate disposal. These things that we take for granted are things that are truly miraculous. Most of us don’t give a second thought to having access to water, both hot and cold, to shower in, bathe in, to wash our clothes and dishes in, to cook with and to drink. But these little conveniences are far from little.

I always find it interesting how people need a new year to make new resolutions, thinking that the date on the calendar will make a difference in the way they’ll live their life. I guess it’s because when all things are new there is hope and a sense of completely starting a new journey, square one. There are no mistakes made yet, no regrets, nothing to complain about. We get to begin again. The old year is like an etch-a-sketch drawing. So many squiggles, lines, up and down, side-to-side, you can’t fit another swoop or circle on the page without creating a total mess. So now you get to shake it up, clean the slate and start over.

My point is, we don’t need a new year to live differently, to appreciate life and all we have, to start over. We can start new right now, this day, don't waste another minute.  

 

 

 

 

Lets get Naked

 
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I don't know if it has anything to do with getting older, but I think it does. I find myself downsizing, getting rid of anything that isn't useful, even down to the makeup I wear. It's been happening now for a while. First out went all the eye shadows, the lip pencil, the blush, and the heavier foundations.

Very rarely do I wear jewelry. For some reason I can't stand the feel of anything but the necessities touching my skin, encompassing my fingers, dangling from my ears. Even my signature bracelets now make their home in my drawer much more than on my wrist. And don't even get me started on the bras!!! 

I've worn my reading glasses on the top of my head for years. Now, that's beginning to drive me crazy. My best friend, Virginia, remarked recently that even applying a layer of body lotion made her feel that she needed to go up a dress size! I completely get that. 

Less is more has truly become my motto. I've quit buying things on a whim. Everything I own now seems to have a multi-purpose. I use coconut oil on my skin. It serves as a moisturizer for both face and body, make-up remover and it soothes my lips before bedtime.

The green scouring pads that I bought for my pots and pans now serve as my pumice stone. They work better than anything I have ever bought for the sole purpose of sanding down the bottoms of my feet. They are amazing.

A little baking soda and lemon juice does an amazing job at giving me a brighter smile when needed. I no longer go down the aisle at CVS and search for Pearl Drops or Crest White strips. Same goes for fancy facial creams or hair conditioners. Coconut oil, honey, avocados, lemons and essential oils work better than anything I've ever purchased in the cosmetics department. It's wonderful, everything I need is actually right here in my kitchen somewhere. 

And what is really amazing is how we've bought into the notion that we need a different product for every little purpose. Double duty, repurposing, whatever you want to call it makes sense. For the environment, for our pocketbooks (does anyone call them pocketbooks anymore?) and for simplifying our lives.  

Sleeping our way to the top

 
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It seems that sleep is a rare commodity for many ~ most of us are sleep deprived, myself included. Though I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, I don’t stay asleep for long. I wake several times a night. The reasons are always different, whether it is the train that goes by at all hours during the night and early morning, or the fights I have with the covers on my bed, or the one too many cups of tea that I have in the evening, it doesn’t matter the cause, the symptom is always the same. Not enough sleep.

Now, for some strange reason, for many of us in this society, we don’t like to admit to sleeping. We boast about our sleepless nights and how little sleep we need to survive on. Or the fact that we were up at 4:00 am working on our latest blog, or having closed the deal with clients on the east coast before most of us here in the west have even had our first cup of coffee. We wear this lack of sleep like a badge of honor. Like we are some kind of superhero.

It's as if we fear that by admitting to or actually sleeping an 8 hour night, we might appear weak or unproductive. You know, the phone rings, it wakes you.  You answer with an obviously sleepy Brenda Vaccaro kind of  “Hello?” The person on the other end, “Oh I’m sorry, did I wake you?” And for some reason, even if we are in a dead sleep, we say “Oh no, I’m awake, I’ve been up for a while.” It’s like there is something embarrassing about being asleep.  We don’t want anyone to think that we either went to bed too early or that we are sleeping in too late.  A dead giveaway of a slacker and heaven forbid we don’t want anyone to think of us as a slacker.

Why do we confuse and sometimes associate sleep with laziness?  I know highly successful people who take daily naps, power naps, as they are sometimes called.  There are cultures that take an entire 3-hour “lunch” break during the work week to catch up on perhaps, a nap or quick snooze.  It seems that if we want to be successful in whatever we do in life, we need to get our share of sleep. Sleep is what keeps us focused, fit and fueled.

There are so many health benefits to getting adequate sleep. It is when we sleep that our bodies heal and repair themselves. Sleep can help to keep our heart healthy, reduce stress, improve our memory and help to control our body weight.  So now that we know that, why don't we all just try to get a little more sleep.

BEST TIP EVER: BREATHE!

Simple breathing techniques can help fill us with positive energy and help to release our negative thoughts and emotions. I wanted to share this easy method with you which I learned while attending The BTB Feng Shui Masters Training Program back in the 90’s to become a certified Feng Shui Practitioner.

Before you even get out of the bed in the morning and before you drift off to sleep at night, remind yourself that you are worthy and take some nice deep breaths - 

METHOD:

Inhale a long breath through the nose

On the inhale, visualize clean, white, loving energy filling your body.

Exhale slowly and fully through the mouth

On the exhale, visualize any negative thoughts and feelings leaving your body -you can visualize your breath turning gray or black as you exhale.

Repeat this nine times.

When you are done, envision yourself loved and surrounded by a warm bright light. It's a wonderful way to start and end your day.

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Go Ahead and Buy the Dress

Buy the Dress

I turned 62 over the weekend. I didn’t feel much with this birthday - no excitement, no dread, but more a sense of acceptance. But I made it a point to express gratitude, to appreciate the time given to me - the real gift of a birthday, and not dwell in time gone by, or how many candles would be lighting up my cake.

As we get up there in years, we may often feel much younger inside than our actual age. It's funny how we seem to notice other people getting older, but very seldom do we see it in ourselves. We attend a high school or college reunion and think, "My God, everyone looks so old! Not thinking that we just might be one of the "everyone."

Well, today I saw it in myself. I was trying on dresses for an upcoming wedding and nothing looked good, nothing fit right, everything was very unflattering. But then I had to remind myself - "You're 62! You don’t look the same as you did when you were 30." Even though what I was expecting to see in the mirror was a reflection of that 30-year-old woman!!

So, it took me a few minutes to dust myself off, relook at myself in the mirror, with kinder eyes, a softer heart and a feistier attitude, and then I thought, you’re ok, you look alright, matter of fact, you look damn good. And then I went off and bought the dress.

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