Archive for the 'Health & Beauty' Category
Ok, so this post’s all about me. Yes. Sorry about that. But, in less than a month I’m turning 40, and from all accounts I should be just a tad more obsessed with aging than I am. Of course, I already spend a great portion of time staring at myself in any mirror I come across. Or any window. At my face. At my skin. At my breasts and my butt. And all the while I think: do I need Botox, fillers, a nip here, a tuck there? I mean, let’s face it. Skin at 40 grows all sorts of little hairs where little hairs have no business of being, or little skin folds where little skin folds have no business of being. And yes, my roots are grayer than they’ve ever been. And yes also, my breasts are nowhere near perky. Nor is my behind.
But I am 40, not 20. And I’ve been pregnant several times, and gave birth twice.
Should I be more worried than I am?
I had lunch with a friend of mine who also turned 40, and she told me that she’s been getting Botox for the last 6 years. And also another friend who turned 40 said that her dermatologist told her that there’s very little Botox can do to the lines on her forehead as they already are too deep. Too deep? At 40?
I AM vain. And deep down I know that I will do whatever it takes to NOT become invisible. Whatever it takes. But I don’t like the idea of wasting my forties obsessing about every little wrinkle. I’m not that vain. Of course it’s possible I’ll change my mind, but for now, I want to worry about things that make sense: that I won’t die before my children reach adulthood and that I don’t have to work for a living until I’m eighty.
But if you see me dressing too young for my age, or having an impossibly round tush, or tiny waist, or frozen forehead, or lips that stretch to both of my ears, kindly take me aside and tell me how ridiculous I look. But do it gently. Because to resort to such extremes my ego must be very fragile. And it will only respond to gentleness.
This is my recipe for dressing well and looking good. With the holidays coming and parties galore, I’m often tempted to go shopping for things to wear. However, I do have a smallish problem: I have very little fashion sense. But there are some things I’ve learned through the years from my super stylish friends, and from the mistakes I’ve made. I hope this post saves at least one of us, from looking like we belong in the wrong decade, or looking a decade older.
1.) Know the weaknesses and strengths of your body and work to emphasize or de-emphasize as needed. Be honest with yourself about this. Have the discipline to say ‘NO’ to the wrong skirt, pant, shirt, sweater, shoe.
2.) Buy the best shoes and handbag you can afford. If they are made well, they will last for years and years.
3.) Avoid trends. I read somewhere that trends are like fast food. So true. And if you’re like me and you wear what you have until it goes to pieces, remember this: nothing will date a look faster (or bring attention to a sagging bottom) than the velour sweatpants with ’sexy’ written on the backside.
4.) Ditto cheap, synthetic fabrics.
5.) Bulky pants or skirts do not go with bulky tops, unless you’re super tall and super slim.
6.) Smile. Blind everyone with your pearly whites and they won’t notice what you’re wearing. Haha.
7.) Stand up straight. Look people in the eye. And if you don’t know what to do with your hands, grab a drink, or put them in your pockets where they should stay without clenching and unclenching.
8.) Be well groomed. Hello…
9.) Develop your own style: classic, cutting edge, bohemian, glamorous, the list goes on.
10.) Boring=safe. And safe does not equal fashion disaster. So when in doubt, wear black.
11.) No scratching, no chewing gum, no yawning with your mouth wide open. Because if you’re already a fashion disaster, why bring more attention to yourself?
Since this is a recipe which takes kindly to adjustments and the addition of other ingredients, what do you all recommend?
In an effort to lose ten pounds, and teach myself some discipline along the way, I have decided to go on a refined sugar and flour fast. Easier said than done, as I am the biggest sugar and flour addict I know. But summer is coming so putting it off is not an option any longer. And I have found it to be true that weight loss is 85% diet related. I will start tomorrow. I know it sounds like I’m putting it off, but I have a reason why. Today needs to be spent poring over my half dozen cookbooks (because I am not a genius in the kitchen I rely on cookbooks, and I really like those with pictures so I know that a semblance of the food pictured is expected), and planning every meal and snack. If I don’t have everything planned and within reach, I will panic and give in to the nearest brownie.
I have done this before and know that it will be difficult. The last time I did it, I felt such compassion for addicts of one substance or another and so much respect for the ones that kicked the habit and persevered. It isn’t easy. Sugar and flour withdrawals are nothing to sniff at.
Tomorrow evening I will be cursing all those female standards of beauty that we women fall for, while at the same time telling myself not to give in to my sugar deprived brain telling me that I’m fine the way I am. To help myself along, I should probably make fifty or so copies of one of my favorite pre-children photos and tape them throughout the kitchen, pantry and car. Maybe line my purse with a bunch of them as well.
As I am writing this, I am enjoying what will probably my last sugar laden sweet – an almond croissant dusted with powdered sugar from my favorite bakery – for the next two weeks. I am eating it as slowly as I can in order to prolong the pleasure. Should I spoil myself with such treats all day, as tomorrow will inevitably arrive with its new burden? Hmm… what a dilemma!
I read somewhere that truly beautiful people can obliterate you. I don’t remember if it was Margaret Atwood or Isabel Allende who said it, but the phrase stuck with me. I’m not certain I agree, though. Sure, there are some beautiful people that just leave you speechless. I have a few such friends. When I see them I almost hate them, I’m so envious. But then I have moments when I’m so charming, I even charm myself.
I grew up in a subculture where cosmetic enhancement of any sort was frowned upon, yet beauty was the calling card of any girl lucky enough to claim it. When I was young an uncle told me that if a girl was not beautiful of face, she would do well to be likable, and I truly believed him. I think the French teach their daughters the same. I could be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure. The whole world agrees that French women are utterly charming.
Anyway, a few days ago I was reading a post written by a friend, and she mentioned a project she was going to be a part of, regarding beauty. A project that will explore the concept of beauty from all angles, seeking to find what is the “truth” of it. Because I am so enthralled by the word, let alone the idea, and because Holly never fails to amuse and enchant me with her intelligence, I decided to go and find out if more participants were needed.
Yes, more were needed. And guess what? You can be a part of this too, should you so desire. A Beautiful State of Mind - The Project, is still seeking contestants. Visit #mce_temp_url# to find out more and participate in the discovery of your inner and outer beauty. Rhiannon, the founder of this project, is seeking women of all ages and all cultures to explore this often elusive and misunderstood concept.
Now for the icing on the cake, here is a photo of me taken with my iphone, sans make-up. Notice that it’s in black and white - the better to hide the imperfections. My son thinks the only difference is I look faded. Haha!
This post has nothing to do with the scientific, lab tested benefits of the consumption of this delicious thing. First of all, I highly doubt that any dietician in their right mind would advise chocolate for breakfast. And truth be told, the recommended food pyramid works for me on most days.
Second, there are many books waiting on my nightstand and magazines on my coffee table that are eagerly awaiting their turn in the spotlight of my attention, for me to be so callous as to read a scientific journal. So, although I hear every once in a while that chocolate is good for the heart (and the brain??), I prefer to believe it without checking the facts.
I really cannot think of a better food than chocolate. Chocolate for breakfast is good for the soul. I’m ridden by guilt about most things (I can be a better wife, a better mother, a better daughter, a better sister, a better friend, a better neighbor… you get where this is going), however, I refuse to be ridden by guilt over chocolate. It’s too perfect for it, and it always treats me so well. On the days that I eat it, everyone and everything appears more interesting somehow.
I have several friends who do not like chocolate, and this I cannot understand. There must be some flaw in their taste buds. That is my only explanation. I don’t complain. These are the best kind of friends to go out to breakfast or dessert with. They may roll their eyes at my chocolate chip pancakes or my chocolate souffle, but they won’t ask for a taste. More for me. And that is always the way I like it.
Have a fun weekend everyone. And have a bit of chocolate for breakfast. You can have it in pancakes, on crepes, on bread, or just by itself! You’ll see what I mean.
(Just a reminder, you all have until 12:01 Monday morning to leave comments for the giveaway. Comments could be on any post, but must be left here on this site and not on Facebook.)
We’ve been quarantined in the house since about Thursday, each of us in various stages of this head cold/flu thing. It’s a good thing the house is large and there are plenty of rooms to run through and hide in for the kids. Hubby, who’s finally gotten better has been on endless missions to get cupcakes and milk, chocolates and fresh fruit.
With the exception of going to a reading given by Nicholas Kristof on Friday evening, I’ve stayed in. That was an amazing experience, yet sadly I was too drugged up on Sudafed to carry an intelligent conversation with anyone, or remember much of what was said by others. His book, Half the Sky, that he has co-authored with his wife, is an astounding read into the plight of women worldwide. You can read about it on my friend’s blog:#mce_temp_url#. Ligia, herself, is dedicated in bringing awareness and empowerment not just to the women of her native Costa Rica, but also to all she comes in contact with on her many travels and speeches in South America, North America, and Europe.
But back to me. The only thing I’ve accomplished other than lounging around and moving from the bed to the family room couch, book in hand, was eating exorbitant amounts of sugary foods. For the moment at least, I like to pretend the scale does not exist. I try to avoid the bathroom it resides in for fear of it gravitationally pulling me toward it, and then having no other choice, climbing on it and watching the dreaded digital numbers go higher than they’ve been in a very long while.
After everyone’s asleep, I plan to go and clean out the fridge and the pantry. No more overindulgent wallowing. Tomorrow is back to eating right, exercising, and homeschooling… even if we don’t leave the house for more than a short walk in the woods.
One of the best things about homeschooling is that we can have as many sick days as we want, and nobody is owed an explanation. Hubby had been plagued with a bad cough and runny nose since Monday, and the rest of us had tried to keep our distance so we wouldn’t catch his bug. The big thing this year is that H1N1 thing. I am sure you’ve all heard. Not sure if it’s a real threat yet, or just propaganda. I have a tendency to be skeptical. I am also a big believer in conspiracy theories, but that’s another post for another day. Either way, I do not want it around me.
This morning though, I woke myself up sneezing. Usually this happens if I fall asleep with my hair wet, but this time I couldn’t blame that. I had patiently dried it thoroughly, and turned up the heat before I dived under goose down covers for the night. Okay, so I know the majority of the old wives’ tales out there are just that, yet I personally can’t help but believe a few.
Soon after, my daughter woke up in a cranky mood. Although I usually attribute that to her being a female, and just a tiny bit dramatic, this time her little nose was runny and her baby cheeks were flushed. Poor baby had a horribly restless night.
After very little consideration, I decided that today we’ll pamper our little bodies by eating our favorite foods while in bed, and our minds by reading for pleasure all day long. Outside, the chilly wind has died, and while it hasn’t rained, there’s an autumn mist in the air.
There’s a stack of books by my bedside that I can’t wait to devour. Let the dishes and the laundry pile up. Tomorrow is another day. Now let’s see… which of these should I start reading first?