French Braids

I learned how to French braid my hair when I was in college.  My roommates and I all had shoulder length hair and living in an all-girls dorm, it was the most natural thing in the world that we all experimented with different hair styles.

Since college, I’ve gone through a progression of hairstyles – with most of them being too short to braid.   But I’ve settled into a bob and about a year ago, I saw a picture of a side French braid and decided to give it a try.  With the summer weather, the side braid has become my go-to style because it keeps the hair off my face.  I laugh at humidity – and the style is great for the gym too.  Want to learn to French braid?  Try this tutorial:

Writer’s Block

Writers_Block_by_Silvercharmed1While not my first time fighting it, this is the first time since starting this blog that I have nothing.  I don’t have a single idea for a “first” topic today.

Normally, my weekend or Google provide me with my “first” topic for the week – but today Google didn’t serve up anything that caught my interest and this weekend was really quiet.  Why?

I went for a long walk Thursday night and ended up with blisters on the balls of both feet.  So I took my shoes off for the last half of the walk to try to minimize them – and the blister on my right foot popped.  I washed it and put a bandaid on it right away when I got home – but by Friday afternoon, I could barely walk on it!  So my weekend consisted of regular soaks in hot water with Epsom salt.

Part of me says don’t complain – it was a beautiful weekend to sit out on the deck dangling my feet in a bucket of water and reading a book.  And blisters are rarely fatal – just annoying.  So here’s to a weekend lost in a book and a great week ahead.  I’ll get myself back on track and we’ll be back to a great “first” next week!

Mick Jagger

Happy Birthday Mick Jagger!!!  Today, Mick turns 75 years old!  Can you believe it?  Let’s throwback to the heyday of the Rolling Stones today.  Here are some fun facts about the Stones:

  • Mick and Keith Richards have known each other since they were 5 years old when they met in pre-school.
  • Director Martin Scorsese is a huge fan of the band – and a bigger fan of the song “Gimme Shelter.”  He’s used it in 4 films.
  • The “feud” with the Beatles?  Mostly a marketing ploy.  John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote the hit “I Wanna Be Your Man” for the Stones.  And Lennon and McCartney also sang the background vocals on the 1967 single “We Love You.”
  • Now legendary film director George Lucas was a crew member on the 1970 documentary film “Gimme Shelter” about the Stones.
  • Mick Jagger was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2003.  Picture him in a suit of armor on stage – that’ll make you laugh!

So Happy 75th Mick – here’s my favorite throwback Rolling Stones song to enjoy today.   Let me know your favorite Stones song in the comments!

Doctor Visits

doctor-visitIn this week’s Newsweek Magazine, there is an article that says according to a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, patients only get an average of 11 seconds to talk at a doctor visit before they are interrupted.  In addition the study said that only 36% of doctors even ask their patients questions that invite them to set the agenda for the visit.  Specialists are even worse than primary care physicians – but to be fair, a specialist likely has more information about your condition and is more prepared for your visit.

In any case, this study highlights how important it is to be an informed participant in your health care.  Make the most of your time with your doctor by bringing notes or lists of questions to address.  Here’s a list to help you get started for your next doctor visit:

  • Make a list of your medications.  It’s important that you know what you are taking, the dosage information and the condition you take each drug for.  This includes prescription as well as non-prescription medications/vitamins/supplements.
  • Know your health history.  Your doctor may need to know about old conditions, procedures, surgeries, etc.  Make a list of them along with the timing of when each event happened.
  • Remember to get right to the point when you’re talking with your doctor.  If you’re reluctant or embarrassed to talk about your symptoms, your doctor may not get the full picture of why you are there.
  • If you don’t understand something, keep asking for clarification.  Even if your doctor struggles with the explanations, it’s important for you to understand what is happening and why.  Don’t be embarrassed to take notes or to bring someone with you to make sure you understand the full picture.

Your health is all yours – and your healthcare is too important to miscommunicate about.  Next time you go to the doctor, either for a check up or something more serious, make sure you’re getting the most out of it.

101 Goals in 1,001 Days

goalI just read an article that challenged the reader to set 101 goals to accomplish in the next 1,001 days.  Here are the rules:

  • Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).
  • Why 1001 Days? Many people have created lists in the past — frequently simple goals such as new year’s resolutions. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1,001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organizing and timing some tasks such as overseas trips or outdoor activities.

The article gives these tips for setting your 101 goals:

1. Be decisive. Know exactly what you want, why you want it, and how you plan to achieve it.
2. Stay focussed. Any goal requires sustained focus from beginning to end. Constantly evaluate your progress.
3. Welcome failure. Frequently, very little is learned from a venture that did not experience failure in some form. Failure presents the opportunity to learn and makes the success more worthy.
4. Write down your goals. It clarifies your thinking and reinforces your commitment.
5. Keep your goals in sight. Review them frequently, and ensure that they are always at the forefront of your thinking.

The article suggests making sure that your list is a mix of short, medium and long term goals and to make sure you put it where you can see and refer to it.  I’m really liking this idea – it’s always good to have a plan for yourself.  And writing 101 goals seems to be a good place to start for figuring out what I want to do with the rest of my life.

I’ve got a legal pad and I’m ready to start – will you be joining in?

Gone With the Wind

GWTWOne of the first books I remember making a big personal impact on me was “Gone With the Wind.”  I’m re-reading it for like the thousandth time right now.  I wore out two paperback copies of it before I moved on to buying a digital copy so now I’ll never wear it out!

I think the thing that made such an impression on me was that the characters were SO well drawn that you could really feel their thoughts and emotions.  And the fact that the protagonist was a woman who was smart and independent also made a big impression on me – although I always wanted to be Melanie more than I wanted to be Scarlett.

The movie was coincidentally recommended to me by my TV OnDemand this weekend – which makes you wonder if the cable people are spying on me – so I also watched the movie for like the 100th time this weekend.  As a result, today I’m presenting to you some fun facts about the movie of “Gone With the Wind.”

  • Vivien Leigh wasn’t cast until filming had already begun.  And she almost lost the part because she spoke with her native English accent in the first screen test!
  • Author Margaret Mitchell suggested that Groucho Marx would have been a good Rhett!
  • Leslie Howard (who played Ashley Wilkes) hated his role and only took it because he was promised a producer credit in an another upcoming David Selznick film.
  • The stage comedy “Moonlight and Magnolias” tells the mostly true story of turning the book into the screenplay.  The writing process for the movie was insane – and involved Selznick locking himself, director Ian Fleming and script doctor Ben Hecht into an office for a week with nothing to eat but bananas and peanuts.  By the end of the process, Selznick had collapsed from exhaustion and Fleming had a burst blood vessel in one eye.  I NEED to see this play!
  • The iconic “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” like almost never made it to the screen.  Selznick had to work VERY hard to get the word “damn” past the censors of the time.  Eventually, he used the dictionary definition to help prove it was only a vulgarism and not a swear word to help convince the censors.

Check out your OnDemand – maybe “Gone With the Wind” is your recommendations too?  You certainly can’t go wrong watching it – it is a fabulous movie!

Jump Rope

I’m throwing way back to jumping rope as a kid today.  I loved jumping rope – I didn’t need anyone else to play and for a kid with OCD tendencies, I loved seeing how many jumps I could go before I missed.

My new jump rope

My trainer made us jump rope in kickboxing class a couple weeks ago – and I seem to be hooked again.  I just bought a jump rope and I’m loving it!  I’m jumping in the garage so I don’t freak out the neighbors but it’s still big fun.  Note –  I learned the hard way to wear shoes since the rope is covered with little plastic “tubes” and they HURT when you land on them!

Bonus?  All the jumping may help me with my weight!  Want to try?  Get your own rope and start jumping!  Need a little more motivation?  Check this out:


I’ve hit a plateau.   Or if I’m honest, maybe I fell off the wagon with my eating and workout habits.  In my mid-50’s, it isn’t easy to maintain my weight anymore.

Weighing InIt used to be easy for me – no matter what I ate or did my weight stayed pretty stable.  In fact, I had a hard time keeping weight on in my late 20s and early 30s!  But boy has the old metabolism changed with the onset of menopause.  Between the hormones and my last sedentary job, my weight was up nearly 50 pounds from where it was in my 30s.  So about 3 years ago, I made a conscious effort to change.  I became a gym regular and started watching my diet closer.  And I was rewarded with a 20 pound weight loss.  I was at a healthy weight and I felt good – but lately the weight has been creeping back up again.

Part of it is that life has been a little stressful over the last year between career issues and my Dad passing away and I haven’t been as careful about my diet or exercise as I had been.  But I’m back on track now and hoping my pants fit better over the next few weeks.

My point is, it’s easy to fall off the wagon – the trick is getting back on.    Want some advice on managing weight when you’re older?  Check out these resources: