Chapped Lips

I always like to be early – and this year, I haven’t waited until the snow was flying to have a raging case of chapped lips.  Tis the season to carry lip balm.  But my cracked lips got me thinking – why do they chap and what can I do to stop it?

According to the internet (so it has to be true right?), most cases of chapped lips are due to dry, cold weather and/or excessive licking of the lips.  Check and check – no wonder I’m a fan of the lip balm!  Unlike most of the rest of our skin, our lips don’t have oil glands making them more prone to drying and cracking.  Who knew?

lip balmThe experts also say that it only takes a few changes to your routine to prevent most cases of chapped lips:

  • Use lip balm – try something that feels a bit oily rather than waxy.  My favorite is this lemon balm from Bath and Body Works.
  • Drink more water.  Not only will your lips feel better, your whole body will feel better if you are properly hydrated.
  • Use a humidfier when you can – again, the more moisture the better when it’s cold and dry.
  • Last but not least – when it’s cold and windy outside, consider wrapping our face up with a scarf.  Just remember to leave a space so you can see!

So grab your lip balm and hold on – it’s supposed to snow here in Chicago later this week!



To Do Tuesday Review

tuesdayLet’s review my Try It Tuesday results for the last few weeks:

  • Last Tuesday’s Pumpkin Chili was a hit!  I made 6 quarts of chili and it was almost gone by 11:45AM.  Of course, if you put a crock-pot full of anything that smells as good as that chili did in an office and you KNOW it’s going to go fast.
  • I’ve armed myself with a tube of Lysol wipes – and the wave of sickness going around my office has subsided.  I’m going to take credit for it with my obsessive Lysol wiping.
  • Still looking for a good place to buy loose leaf tea?  A friend of mine swears by  I’ve placed an order for a few ounces of a couple of black tea varieties and a citrusy green tea blend.
  • I’m still not journalling – but I haven’t missed a day on this blog in months.   I still say if you’re worried about something write it out.  Puts things in perspective when you put it down in black and white.  (Or blue and white – your pen and paper colors are really up to you!)
  • Have you tried the Waze app yet?  It helped me get home tonight – big crash and traffic tie up on the highway.  Thanks to Waze, I got on to the frontage road and breezed right around it!

That about covers it for my Try It Tuesday review!  Let me know if you’ve tried one of my suggestions in the comments!

First Vote

voteI turned 18 in 1981 and voted in my first election that fall.  Since then, there are very few elections I’ve missed.   I remember skipping a primary once because in my district, all the candidates were running un-opposed.  And I remember missing one general election because I was traveling and didn’t realize I wouldn’t be home in time to get an absentee ballot – that was in the years before early in-person voting.  But I am a firm believer that as a citizen, it is my responsibility to vote.  And more than just vote – to be an informed voter.

If you don’t vote, two things happen.  First, you get the government you deserve.  If you’re disengaged and don’t hold your elected officials accountable, you shouldn’t be surprised that your government doesn’t prioritize policies that benefit the majority of our fellow citizens.  Second, if you don’t vote, you lose your right to complain about your elected officials.  End of story – you can’t sit on the sidelines and expect your complaints to carry weight.  Either you’re a part of our democracy or you aren’t.  Too many people have fought and died for our right to vote.  Tomorrow is Election Day so participate.  Go vote.

Need some help finding out what’s on the ballot or even where your polling place is located?  Check out your state’s State Board of Elections website or one of these resources:

Goalie Masks

In keeping with the Halloween theme, nothing is scarier than a hockey goalie mask thanks to Jason of Friday the 13th fame.  But this is Throwback Thursday so what you probably don’t know is the story of the pro hockey goalie who was the first to regularly wear a mask.

Jacques Plante’s original fiberglass mask

On November 1, 1959 Montreal Canadien Jacques Plante became the first hockey goalie to wear a full face mask.  While Plante took a lot of heat for it at the time, within a few years, every goalie in the league was wearing them – and Plante’s story will give you a clue about why.

That fateful November night, about 3 minutes into a game versus the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, Plante was hit in the face by a puck splitting his lip from the corner of his mouth all the way up to his nostril and breaking his nose.  He tried to keep playing, but there was blood everywhere so within a few minutes Plante was sent to the locker room to be stitched up.  When he returned to the ice 20 minutes later, he was wearing the fiberglass mask he had been wearing for practice.  Up until that night, the Canadiens legendarily cranky coach Toe Blake had not allowed Plante to wear the mask during a game fearing it would impair his vision.  But after being stitched up, Plante put his foot down and refused to play without the mask.

Coach Blake, Plante’s teammates, opposing players and reporters mocked him mercilessly.   But Plante said that after four broken noses, a broken jaw, two broken cheekbones and almost 200 stitches in his head, he just didn’t care how the mask looked.  And given that Plante won the Vezina Trophy (the NHL’s goaltending prize) seven times, was named to the NHL All-Star team seven times and had six Stanley Cup wins, it wasn’t long before he was imitated rather than mocked.  Plante style masks were popular throughout the 1960’s – and Plante himself played in the NHL until 1975 so you could argue that they played a role in his longevity in the league.

Want to know more about Jacques?  Check out this link.


Halloween Candy


I’m going to be busy with trick or treaters later so I’m going to make this short and sweet (pun intended) today and just blatantly steal from an article on about the “healthiest” kinds of Halloween candy.  So check out their list below and just for today, let’s not feel guilty about pigging out on candy!

According to the lovely people at delish some of the most popular candy choices ranked best to worst for their nutritional value are:

1. Reese’s Pumpkins

One piece clocks in with 90 calories and 8 grams of sugar, which is about two teaspoons, but there’s 2 grams of protein as well.

2. Take 5

One bar contains 100 calories, 9 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

3. Smarties

A single roll is only 25 calories and 6 grams of sugar.

4. Jolly Rancher

One of these hard candies has 40 calories and 7 grams of sugar. That’s great if you can stop after just one but these suckers are usually consumed en masse. No, just us?

5. Tootsie Pop

We’re not sure how many licks it takes to get to the center, but we do know that one lollipop contains 60 calories and 10 grams of sugar.

6. Snickers Peanut Butter

Eat one bar and you’ll have put away 130 calories and 12 grams of sugar, which is the same as three teaspoons. Plus 2 grams of protein.

7. Nerds

A box of these tiny treats includes 45 calories and 11 grams of sugar.

8. Caramel Apple Pops

These less popular lollys contain 60 calories and 10 grams of sugar.

9. Charm’s Blow Pop

Made nearly entirely from sugar, this hard candy’s got 13 grams of the sweet stuff.

10. Sugar Babies

Aptly named, this candy contains 15 grams of sugar—nearly four teaspoons’ worth. And that’s based on the snack size.

11. Sweettarts Chew

Just four of these tangy treats clock in with 140 calories and 24 grams of sugar, the equivalent of six teaspoons.

12. 3 Musketeers

Put away three mini bars and you’ve consumed 200 calories and a whopping 30 grams of sugar, however there’s 1 gram of protein to help counteract that.

13. Reese’s Cups

This peanut-butter-and-chocolate pair includes 220 calories, 22 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of fat. But there’s 5 grams of protein, too. (I’m guessing the Pumpkins get first place because there is only 1 in a package.)

14. Brach’s Candy Corn

A couple handfuls of this Halloween classic equals 140 calories and 28 grams of sugar.

15. M&Ms

A trio of snack packs totals 190 calories, 26 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

16. Nestlé Crunch

Three of these mini chocolates contain190 calories, 21 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

17. Hershey’s Milk Chocolate

Eat three snack size bars and you’re putting away 190 calories, 21 grams of sugar, and 11 grams of fat—though you also get 3 grams of protein.

18. Kit Kat

Three two-piece bars adds up to a whopping 210 calories, 21 grams of sugar, 11 grams of fat, and 3 grams of protein.

So there you have it – enjoy your candy tonight.  Happy Halloween!

Pumpkin Chili

There is a potluck for Halloween at work tomorrow and I’m making Pumpkin Chili – I’ve never tried it before so I’m hoping it’s as good as the recipe looks.  Want to try it along with me?  Here’s the recipe:

pumpkin chilli
2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 onion, diced
2 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 (15 ounce) cans corn, drained
2 (14.5 ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
¼ cup Del Diablo Merlot (or other red wine of choice)
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
Beef broth, chicken broth, or water to thin the chili if desired
Optional (for serving): corn chips, sour cream, shredded cheese, or green onions
In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain fat off of beef and transfer meat to a 5-6-quart slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours adding broth/water to taste.
Top individual bowls of chili with corn chips, sour cream, shredded cheese, and green onions, as desired.
Wish I could have found cute little cups like the ones in the picture to serve it in but I’ve settled for plain black cups.  Still appropriately festive right?  Hope it comes out good!

The First Halloween

halloweenHalloween is a holiday with roots dating back to ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, so there really isn’t a date that anyone can point to for when it started being celebrated.  Samhain is still celebrated and recognizes the end of the harvest season and beginning of winter (the dark part of the year).  The Celts believed at this critical time of the year, the line between the living and dead was blurred so offerings of food and drink were left outside for souls of the dead who may come to visit.

In the 16th century, mumming and disguises began playing a role in the festival of Samhain as people dressed up as departed souls and went door to door asking for offerings of food and wine.  It was believed that by impersonating the departed souls, those dressing up would be protected from those spirits.

In the 19th century in the U.S. a movement began to turn from the darker elements of the holiday to a more community oriented celebration.  And as we moved into the 20th century, the holiday became more focused on children with festive costumes and games like bobbing for apples.  Today, Halloween is second only to Christmas in its commercial value to retailers.

Want to know more about the origins of Halloween?  Check out these links:


Today we’re throwing back to 1881 to celebrate the 137th birthday of Pablo Picasso.  Born in Malaga, Spain to a father who taught drawing, little Pablo was a child prodigy and had his first exhibit at age 13.  By 1901, he had left Spain and had his first exhibit in Paris.  His reviews were so favorable, he decided to stay.

Over the course of his career, Picasso produced more than 50,000 drawings, paintings, sculptures, engravings and ceramics.  The guy was busy!  Picasso was noted for his Blue and Rose periods as well as playing a major role in the Cubism movement.

Here in Chicago, one of the highlights of anyone visiting is to see the giant Picasso sculpture in Daley Plaza.  The untitled 50 foot tall sculpture is from the artist’s Cubist work and was dedicated in 1967.  When asked to do a sculpture for the Daley Center, Picasso accepted by saying “You know I never accept commissions to do any sort of work, but in this case I am involved in projects for the two great gangster cities” (the other being Marseille, France). Picasso refused the $100,000 payment, considering his work a gift to the people of Chicago.

Happy Birthday Pablo Picasso!