Two Teens And Their Mama

Monday, March 19, 2018

Try Something New: Sensory Deprivation Tank

One of my goals for 2018 is to try something new every month.  As I get older, I realize it's important to push myself outside of my comfort zone and keep the body and brain engaged.  In January George and I went snowshoeing, and this month we tried something completely different - immersion therapy in a sensory deprivation tank.

When George first suggested this, I had no idea what he was talking about.  So I jumped on the Google to find out the details.  And promptly said hell no.  I'm up for adventure, but also a teensy bit claustrophobic.  Then I googled a little more, and decided the benefits outweighed my concern.  

Despite the fact that the float tanks look like a flower pod from "Little Shop of Horrors", they're pretty cool.  Filled with 10-12" of water and 800 pounds of Epsom salt, then heated to body temperature, it's the closest thing to zero gravity you can get without being an astronaut.

Once inside, you turn off the lights and music, lay back...and float.  But what's the point?  Well, the complete lack of stimuli calms your buzzing mind and allows your nervous system to take a break.  Float tanks have been proven to boost immunity, improve circulation, reduce blood pressure, increase the production of endorphins for stress and anxiety relief, and ease chronic pain. Plus, the massive amount of Epsom salt mineralizes and nourishes your skin.

Okay, fine.  That all sounded like good stuff.  Still nervous, I booked our appointment and we headed to Seattle.  This guy, on the other hand, was really excited to get started.

We each had a private room with a shower, changing area, and the pod-people-looking tank.

After rinsing off, I gave the tank a final once over, and stepped inside.  The water was perfectly warm, but not hot, and felt a little slippery due to all the salt.  I was comforted by the fact that I could open and shut the tank by hand, and the light and sound controls were nearby.  But I wanted to give it the old college try, so I turned everything off, shut the door, and lay back.

It was completely dark, and totally silent, and I'll admit it took about five minutes to calm my breathing down.  But then I realized...I'm actually floating!  Which was cool for a bit, until I thought...I have to lay here for 50 more minutes?  My multi tasking brain didn't think that was possible.  But apparently my mind figured it out, because before I knew it, the music and lights came back on.  I hadn't completely fallen asleep, but definitely experienced the theta brainwaves - those calming moments right before you drift off.

My thoughts?  Try it.  It was very relaxing, and the feeling of floating on top of water with no effort was divine.  My skin was silky smooth.  To experience the full benefits of sensory deprivation therapy, you need repeat visits.  And at $50-$90 an hour, it's spendy.

But even one trip taught me an important lesson.  Our minds and bodies NEED a break from the constant stimulation of everyday life.  Whether it's floating, or meditation, or just turning off the phone and computer for a bit every day, finding some peace is essential to our health.

Have a peaceful week, friends!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Hodgepodge A La Mode: Say Yes

Happy Friday, soon?  While I'm always ready for a little Friday in my life, college boy was home this week on spring break, and it went too fast.  The good news is there's only two months left until he's done with sophomore year and home for the summer!

I'm linking up today with From This Side Of The Pond for Hodgepodge A La Mode - a bunch of fun, random questions.

Best place you've been lately?  Well, boo.  I haven't been anywhere exciting.  Luckily, living here is a pretty great place to be.

Monday, March 12, 2018

My Fave Skin Care Products

Happy Monday, friends!  Hope you had a great weekend.  Today I'm linking up with The Blended Blog to talk about skin care.  I wrote this post last year, and since I'm a creature of habit and nothing has really changed, I'm sharing it again today.

I've got pretty good skin, especially for my age.  So says the dermatologist, who claims it mostly comes from inheriting "elastic" skin, whatever that means.  I've also been religious about using a moisturizer with sunscreen since my early teens.

Regardless of how old you are, or the health of your skin, it's important to take care of it every day.  Having said that, I hate spending a lot of time on my beauty routine. Luckily, these five favorite skin care products only add a few extra minutes:  

1.  Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser.  Back in my retail buying days, I got lots of insider tips from beauty product reps. One of them told me not to spend a ton of money on a cleanser, since it only stays on your face for seconds. Cetaphil leaves my skin feeling fresh and never dry, and a $6.00, 8 ounce bottle lasts forever.

2.  Vitamin C Serum.  This is a relatively new addition to my skin care routine, but I love it. Vitamin C does so many wonderful things for your face, from stimulating new collagen to reducing fine lines and wrinkles.  Plus, it just feels good when you put it on, after cleansing and before moisturizing.  Courtney at recently shared a DIY Vitamin C Serum recipe, which looks interesting, especially if you have more patience than I do.

3.  L'Oreal Revitalift Triple Power Day/Night Moisturizer.  "Beauty product rep" insider tip number two:  Lancome and L'Oreal are made by the same company, and many of their products have identical ingredients.  The only difference - the price. This lightweight cream helps firm and lift my skin, and I use it in the morning and before bed. The only drawback is that this moisturizer doesn't have sunscreen.  Bonus product:  Supergoop CC Cream, with an SPF 35.  I use this as my foundation and it's perfect.

4.  Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye.  I use this cream at night after I've washed my face and applied moisturizer. This concentrate contains essential oils and botanicals to reduce puffiness and diminish fine lines and wrinkles around the sensitive eye area.  I've been using it for over a year, and definitely see a reduction in fine lines.

5.  Ren Clean Skincare 1 Minute Facial.  Every three days, I use this facial to exfoliate and refresh my skin.  I swear, it gives instant results!  

My final insider tips:  always include your neck when taking care of your face as it's one of the first areas to show aging.  And try to wash your face every night, to remove makeup and dirt from the day.  I shoot for at least five nights a week, and call it good.  Most of the time I use cleansing towelettes - they easily get the job done.

UPDATE:  I'm still using all these products, although I've also discovered facial masks and I love them, even if I look like an alien and scare my husband whenever I put one on.  This tinted moisturizer is a new favorite, and I swap it out with my Supergoop a few days a week.  It's light and covers really easily, plus it has hyaluronic acid, a definite plus at my age.

Head over to The Blended Blog and link up your skincare secrets, and be sure to come back next Monday when it's all about the hair!

Friday, March 9, 2018

My FASTer Way To Fat Loss Journey

Yep, that pretty much sums up how I feel about eating.  I like food and I want to have all the good things.  But... I also want to fit into my clothes.  I have a lot of favorites and don't want to start over again.  

I'm sure we've all fought with our weight at one time or another.  And trust me, the older you get, the harder it is. The struggle is really, really real.  Up until five years ago, I was able to eat whatever I wanted, in moderation, as long as I was exercising regularly.  But then the midlife-metabolism-tank happened, and I came to the hard realization that I needed to make some big changes.

I tried a few diets here and there, but like I said, I want to eat good food.  And I don't want to be hungry.  Then a Seattle blogging friend told me she had been doing the Faster Way To Fat Loss and I was intrigued.

I'm sure you've heard of it, but here's my take:  every part of the program is the opposite of what you've been told all your dieting life, but the bottom line is, it works.  In a strong, healthy, satisfying way.

The basic concepts:

➽ Eat MORE, of the right kinds of foods.  The program teaches carb cycling and macro tracking to learn how to fuel your body correctly.  I'm never hungry and I was surprised at how many things fit into my macros.  I discovered quickly that I hadn't been eating enough.

➽ Exercise LESS, but do the right kind of exercise on the right days.  Most of the workouts are done in 30-40 minutes, 5 days a week.

➽ Intermittent Fasting.  Huh?

Intermittent fasting was the hardest part for me to wrap my brain around.  We've all been told not to skip breakfast, and to eat small meals throughout the day to keep our metabolism up.  The problem with this, and it makes total sense, is that we never give our bodies a chance to burn the fat we've already stored.  We're just digesting the last meal we ate.  There are lots of other benefits to IF, including hormone and insulin regulation.

I follow the 16/8 method.  Each day I eat during an 8 hour window, and then fast for 16 hours.  My usual "feeding" schedule is noon to 8pm, which took a little getting used to.  But now I can't imagine eating any other way, and I feel great.

Now that I've rambled on, let's get to the important stuff:  the results.  To date, I've lost 15 pounds and 10 inches overall.  I've gained muscle, gotten stronger, and my clothes fit again.  But I know that I have a bit more work to do.

So I'll keep on keeping on.  Progress, not perfection, right?  The best part is that this program works perfectly for REAL life.  I'm healthier and more fit than I've been in years, and I've learned how to incorporate clean eating in a way that's sustainable for the long haul.

If you'd like more information, head over to the Faster Way To Fat Loss website.  I think the next round starts on March 26th, and usually every month after that.  And of course, if you have any questions, ask away!


Have a wonderful weekend, friends!  Thomas is on his way home for spring break, and although it's not very springlike around here, it will be great to have him home for a week.  What are your plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

TBB Style: Wear The Jeans

Happy Wednesday, friends!  Welcome to another edition of  TBB Style.    We hope you'll join us and link up your fashion posts below, and check back to see if you are featured! 

A few months ago, there was a big hullabaloo when a British study was published that determined women over 53 shouldn't wear jeans.  Say what?

Here's the thing.  I don't care how old you are, you should wear what makes you happy.  Clothing is a very personal expression, and nobody should be telling anyone else what they should or should not put on their body.  The end.

When I went to the interwebs and actually read the study, I discovered their point, which had nothing to do with what you should or should not wear.   The survey reported just how hard it is to find the perfect pair of jeans, with the average woman spending five days searching for the right fit. 6 percent of people studied actually burst into tears during the process.  Which seems a bit extreme.  And apparently, this stress reaches it's peak when a woman turns 53.  Oh good gravy.

I'm almost 51, and while shopping for jeans isn't my favorite thing to do, I can honestly say I've never cried a single tear over them.  

I pretty much live in jeans, and my new favorite is the Old Navy Mid-Rise Rockstar.  They come in a bunch of colors and finishes, distressed and raw edge and camo.  I can go all day without them stretching out, and they wash really well.  Based on the reviews, they seem to fit almost every body type, and the best part - they're under $40!  I would suggest you size up as they do run a little small.

These raw edge black jeans have just the right amount of distressing, and I paired them with a leopard cardigan I found on Amazon last fall.  I wasn't sure how to style it until I saw this post from Jennie a few weeks ago and was inspired!

Some people probably think I'm too old to wear distressed jeans and leopard, and I did get a few strange looks when I wore this to run errands.  But in my town, it's not unusual to see pajama's at the grocery store, so... I'll wear what makes me happy.  The end.

Linking up  with The Pleated PoppyThursday Fashion FilesFashion FridayFabulous FridayPumps and PushupsHow I Style ItNot Dead Yet StyleMy Refined StyleThursday ModaI do DeclaireAgeless StyleWednesday's Wardrobe , Get Your Pretty OnShelbee On The Edge

And now it's time to link up!  I hope you'll join us again this week, and follow along with #theblendedblogstyle. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

TBB Asks: Beauty Edition

Happy Monday, friends!  Hope everyone had a great weekend.  It's time to link up with The Blended Blog for another edition of TBB Asks.  This month we're talking everything beauty, and while I'm definitely no expert in this area, it's always fun to join in.

1/ Eyelash curler?  Yes, my lashes are very short and straight, although Lash Boost has helped.  My favorite curler is this one from Laura Mercier, because it's almost impossible to pinch your eyelid.

2/ I typically wear a bright color on my toes and something more muted on my hands.  Right now I love this pale pink color for spring.

3/ Since being introduced to Lipsense, I want all the colors, but Bella is my favorite.

4/ In the summer I air dry, but I get too cold in the winter if I don't blow dry.

5/ No artificial nails.  I tried them once and it ruined them for months.

6/ I don't wear foundation, but I do use Supergoop CC Cream, with a bonus SPF of 35.  Never leave the house without sunscreen!

7/ My hair is so boring and could use a change.  It's styled down the same way everyday.

8/ Body wash.

9/ We have the hugest, loveliest bathtub...and I never use it.  It's so big, our hot water tank runs out before it fills up, so it's just easier to shower.

10/ I love the body lotions from Bath and Body Works.  My favorite right now is this one, because it's the only sunshine I'm getting.

11/ Perfume sometimes gives me a migraine, so I don't wear it very often.  When I do, it's always Issey Miyake.

12/ Nope.

13/ I have one?  I usually wear some kind of repairing lip balm at night because my skin is so dry.

14/ 45.  Seriously.  I very rarely wore any makeup until a few years ago.  So I'm a total newbie, and it shows.  I'm looking forward to all the beauty secrets this month on TBB - hope you'll join us!

Time to link up!  Share your beauty edition answers below.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Friday Ramblings: March Edition

Welcome to March!  My oldest son turned 23 yesterday, and I seriously don't know how that happened.  But here we are, and it's time to ramble.

👠 Remember last month when I showed you my pretty daffodils, and worried that they were blooming too early, and feared they wouldn't make it to spring?  Well, they were and now they won't.  The poor things are literally lying on the ground in surrender.  Which is how I feel about winter at this point.

👠 After debating for months, I finally bought a stand up desk for my office.  Between work and blogging, I spend a lot of time there, and I'm pretty sure I was sitting too much.  It's been installed for a few weeks and I love it!  I chose this one, and it came assembled and ready to go.  I've been standing ever since.  

👠 Watching:  the Olympics.  I was enthralled with the snowboarding - especially the Slopestyle event.  How do they do it?  And I loved the Canadian team's coats that looked like sweaters.  We also saw Game Night and it was much better than I was expecting.  Funny and suspenseful with lots of twists and turns.  Plus Jason Bateman AND Kyle Chandler, which sold me in the first place.

👠 Reading:  The Girl With Seven Names by HyeonSeo Lee.  This is an amazing, true story about a North Korean woman who escaped to China and South Korea when she was 18.  Her insights about growing up in North Korea and the difficulties she faced after getting into China made this book both heartbreaking and a page turner.  I just finished Kiss Carlo, by Adriana Trigiani.  She's one of my favorite authors, but this book wasn't her best.  It was hard to get into and I never connected with any of the characters.  Try The Big Stone Gap or Valentine series' instead - sooo good.

👠 Super random question:  have you ever heard of sucking on marshmallows to soothe a sore throat?  Someone mentioned this in a FB group I belong to and swears it works.  Has anyone ever tried it before?  Because I'm all in if it does.

👠 When Sarah was here, she told me about this amazing topcoat she uses that keeps her nails from chipping for DAYS.  Honestly, I don't paint my nails that often because I'm hard on them, and hate that they look terrible so soon.  But I trust Sarah when it comes to all things beauty, so I got some.  And it works!  I went five days before the first chip, which is a record for me.  I should have actually painted my nails to demonstrate, but oh well.

👠 March is beauty month at The Blended Blog and we're starting off next Monday with TBB Asks:  Beauty Edition.  Hope you'll join us!

Have a great weekend!
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