Everything old…

…is new again.  On Cyber Monday, I did a little surfing on Amazon.  Admit it – you probably did too so don’t judge me!  I’m always amazed at the things Amazon suggests to you.  I’m not telling you what I was shopping for – I don’t want to ruin any surprises – but Amazon suggested this to me:

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That’s right – plug this into your cell phone and it’s just like having the phone I grew up with in your hand again!  I’m conflicted – on one hand, I love the nostalgia but on the other seriously?  Who’s going to carry that thing around with them?  It won’t fit in your pocket, that’s for sure!

So enjoy this weird throwback to an earlier time in phones – maybe it’s a perfect gift for someone on your Christmas list!


Underrated Exercises

I recently read an article that box jumps are the most underrated exercise at the gym.  I don’t necessarily disagree – they give you both strength and cardio benefits.  Here’s the link to the article – Shape Magazine.

But while I agree, my personal favorite exercises these days are squats and planks.  If you carry your weight in your rear end and stomach, these moves will help you tone up – and they just make me feel good.  I used to have knee pain from an injury in high school I didn’t take care of – and squats strengthened my muscles to the point that the knee pain is only noticeable now in cold, damp weather.

plankPlanks are harder to feel good about – they are SO much harder than they look!  But you can’t deny the good they do for your abdominal muscles.  And they’ll help you improve your posture as well – a great added benefit as we age.

Want to do some squats and planks?  Do them right – follow the forms in these links:

Do you have a go-to exercise you like?  Tell me about it in the comments!

Feeling Festive!

Thanksgiving was early this year – but that just gives you more time to enjoy the holiday season if you ask me.  I’ve got my holiday spirit cranked up to 10 but if you aren’t there yet, here’s a list of things for you to try to make you feel as festive as I do:

  • Drink a cup of hot chocolate.  It makes you feel all warm inside and packs a sugar rush!  My favorite this time of year is Swiss Miss Peppermint Hot Chocolate – in comes in envelopes and K-cups!
  • Watch a Christmas movie.  Last night I watched Holiday Inn with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire – strictly speaking, it covers a whole year of holidays but it was the movie that gave us the song “White Christmas!”  It was on AMC, but if you don’t have the patience to wait for a holiday movie on the biggest cable channels, try Hallmark Movies or Lifetime – they’re playing holiday movies 24/7.  Or if you can wait a few days, it will be 25 day s of Christmas on Freeform!
  • Bake cookies.  Need I say more?  I’m planning on adding Grinch cookies and Cherry Chocolate Shortbread cookies to my baking list this year.
  • IMG_0631.JPGHave some fun with Christmas lights.  Who says lights are just for the tree?  I have a string of Christmas lights that are a phone charger cable too – can’t wait to plug them in at work!
  • Christmas crafts – I made a new wreath for my front door this IMG_0612year for less than $10.  Just a wire wreath form and a bunch of ribbon I bought on Christmas clearance last year; then I added some berries I found on a sale rack this fall.  An hour or so of cutting and tying ribbon onto the form and ta-da!  Festive front door!
  • Volunteer somewhere.  Or be a secret Santa for a needy person or family.  Nothing will bring out your holiday spirit like doing something nice for someone else.  I love being a secret Santa – planning surprises is as much of a present to me as the gifts “Santa” delivers!
  • Sing a carol.  Go ahead – you know Jingle Bells is playing in your head right now!  Check your radio – I’ll bet one of the stations has holiday music on that you can sing along with.

That should get you started – tell me what gets you in the holiday mood in the comments!

First REAL Snowfall

Last night we had our first major snowstorm of the season – in fact, where I live there was a Blizzard Warning starting last night that ran through 9AM today!  It didn’t live up to the 2011 Groundhog Day Blizzard here, but last night was a little nerve racking.  In addition to a lot of wind, I heard a couple really loud cracks of thunder!

thundersnowThundersnow is a real thing – although relatively rare.  It is most common in the Great Lakes region of the US so we have that going for us Midwesterners!  Thundersnow is really just a good old thunderstorm that produces snow rather than rain – in my case last night, the storm system was snow over the north and western suburbs of Chicago, but across the state line in Indiana, it was all rain.  So what caused the thunder?  Just like with a summer storm, there was a lot of movement in the atmosphere with pressure and temperature changes.  I didn’t see lightning, but that is possible with thundersnow as well.

Want to know more about thundersnow?  Check out these links:

I’m guessing we had about 6″ based on what I can see on my deck – but there was so much wind it’s hard to tell.  But the roads are a mess and I’m happy to be working at home today!

Happy Thanksgiving!

happy-thanksgiving-calligraphy-text-illustrated-260nw-743717227Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday – even though the Canadians have one too.  (Point of fact, Canadian Thanksgiving was a month ago and is a sad, pale imitation of American Thanksgiving.)

A typical Thanksgiving gathering in the U.S. involves getting a LOT of people around the table for a traditional turkey dinner complete with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberries and pumpkin pie.  That huge dinner of course comes after watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and before watching the Detroit Lions play football.   Or at least that’s what all the TV sitcoms would have you believe!

We all know the Thanksgiving story of starving Pilgrims who gathered with the Indians to share a feast and give thanks for the harvest.  But do you know the real origins of Thanksgiving?  Check out these links:

I’m thankful for all my family and friends as we start the holiday season – including all of you readers.  Let me know what you’re thankful for in the comments?

And however you celebrate, I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!