My New Happy

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Graphic Fun With Brand Squawk

Happy Wednesday and welcome to Fall Fashion Frenzy with The Blended Blog. I'm just back from our wonderful yearly meet up with the ladies of TBB - and ya'll (picked that up in South Carolina), I'm tired.  How do frequent work travelers do it?  One little trip cross country and I can barely keep my eyes open.  But it was oh-so worth it, and you'll be hearing more about our long weekend soon.

But today we're talking about graphic tees, and it gives me the perfect opportunity to share Brand Squawk with you.  This Vancouver based, woman conceived and owned company creates apparel for the jeans and tee kind of girl, which is right up my alley.

I was honored when Collette chose me to be a brand ambassador, since I love every single thing she designs.  Each small batch statement t-shirt and sweatshirt is quality made with positive vibes.

And bonus - Brand Squawk gives back to the community.  For 2018, their charity of choice is World Bicycle Relief, a non profit organization mobilizing people through the power of bicycles.  $2 from every apparel piece purchased goes toward building a bike to send to Africa!

Use my code mynewhappyfall to get 20% off your order, and then be sure to head over to the The Blended Blog to link up your fall fashion posts.

Now, off to take a nap!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Take Care Of Your Health

Happy Monday, friends!  I'm still in Hilton Head with my best blogging buddies, and I hope you've been following along with our adventures!

Today we're talking health care tips on The Blended Blog, and I decided to share something that I've been dealing with recently: pre-diabetes.  Unfortunately, I'm genetically predisposed to diabetes - my father struggled with it, and my mother has been diabetic for several years.  Right now I'm still in the pre-diabetic stage, but I'd like to lower those numbers and stay far away from full blown diabetes.  The biggest key for me is to get my weight down, something I'm working on every day.

Three years ago I wrote a post about my father, his diagnosis, and his refusal to change his diet.  Sadly, he suddenly passed away seven months later, and a big contributing factor was his diabetes.  There were many things I admired about my father, but his ignorance about his health wasn't one of them.  I don't ever want to get to that place.

I'm re-running that post today, even though it's really hard for me to read, because the information is even more relevant.  I'd love to hear any other thoughts on lowering blood glucose numbers and keeping pre-diabetes in check.  And be sure to link up your health posts with The Blended Blog!

This is my dad.  He just turned 71 and last month he was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. He's not alone.  29 million Americans have diabetes, and an estimated 73 million have pre-diabetes.  Very scary numbers.

For those who know my father, it won't come as a surprise that he's not the least bit concerned. Somehow, he's lived his entire life one step ahead of disaster.  No matter what he does, he always manages to land on his feet.  He's not going to change a darn thing, and whatever happens, happens.  Sigh.

I, on the other hand, am very concerned - not just for him, but for myself as well.  When I was pregnant with my younger son, I was just on the cusp of having gestational diabetes. Changes to my diet kept me from full blown GD, but my doctor informed me that I have a greater chance of getting diabetes later in life.  With my dad's diagnosis I now add a genetic component.

So I've been doing what I always do when I'm worried about something - lots and lots of research.  I want to share what I've discovered because the information is massive and overwhelming.  If you or someone you know is concerned about diabetes, I hope you'll find this helpful.  The greatest news is that prevention is proven and possible - if you keep your weight down, exercise, don't smoke, and limit alcohol intake. For me, that's done, done, done and done - and fairly obvious.

The most interesting information I've learned has been about the food that goes into our mouths. When I think of diabetes, the words that come to mind are "no sugar".  But there's so much more to it than that.  The key for diabetics and those who want to prevent the disease is to eat high fiber, slow release carbs that digest slowly.  This keeps the body from producing too much insulin, and allows any sugars to be absorbed more slowly into the blood stream.

Which honestly reads like a lot of what? to me.  I know that I need to limit my intake of white rice, soda, sweets, fats, red meat, and processed snacks.  But what exactly should I eat if I want to slow or prevent a future with diabetes?  It boils down to this:

Five small meals throughout the day rather than three big ones, and they should include the following:
  • Lean protein like chicken, fish, beans and lentils, and greek yogurt.
  • Grains in the least processed state possible.  Think whole grains, barley, steel cut oats.
  • Greens like asparagus, broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts, kale and collard greens.
What about snacks?
  • Nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds.
  • Whole fresh fruit.  Apples, peaches and cantaloupe are fine.  Juice is not, since squeezing the fruit releases more sugars.
  • Peanut butter (it's very high in fiber) with whole wheat crackers or low fat cheese.
  • Hummus with veggies.
And perhaps most importantly, especially to me - can I have dessert?
  • It's best to eat sweets with a meal, rather than by themselves.
  • Berries are considered nature's candy, and they're good for you too - blueberries, blackberries, raspberries.
  • A little bit of dark chocolate (yes!!!).
  • Frozen bananas blended in a food processor are a great alternative to ice cream.

I brought all of this info to my dad, and he answered as I expected:  "I'll get back to you on that".

I plan to keep working on him, and in the meantime, incorporate more of these foods into my diet.  I really don't want to join those 100 million Americans. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Try Something New: Take Your Kids To Vegas

Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of Las Vegas.  Although I've had some great trips there lately (Britney, bitch anyone)?  But I feel like everyone should experience it at least once, because it's kind of like an alternate universe that you can't believe exists.

So when we needed to go to LA to visit Grandpa Ed, a plan started to form.  Thomas was turning 21, and what better way to celebrate that particular birthday than in Vegas?  We could combine the two trips and see Sin City in the least amount of time.

I'm not sure Conner and Thomas were especially thrilled to have their parents tagging along, but we were footing the bill, so they couldn't complain too much.  

We arrived bright and early with two days to spend in Sin City.  It was very hot and very crowded, but a beer and some misting machines soon took care that.  We spent the day walking the strip, checking out the hotels and the shopping.  That evening Thomas and I went to the Cirque du Soleil Beatles "Love" show.  I can't even describe how amazing this show is, so I won't even try.  But trust me, go see it if you can.

After the show the boys headed out to do 21st birthday guy things, and as per usual when I'm in Vegas, George and I were in bed by 11pm.  Probably the only people sleeping in the entire city.

The next day we were ready for alternate activities, so we headed out of town to Hoover Dam.  I've been there before but it's still impressive.

That night I told the boys I'd go to a "club" with them.  I think it was my very first experience with club life, and can I say, it's overrated?  At least for this 51 year old married mom.  I'm sure it holds more appeal for the younger, single humans.  We went through about ten checkpoints to finally arrive at The Ghost Bar, which did have a great view of the strip, but I'm not sure it was worth the hassle to get there.

On an interesting note, Thomas did not get carded even one time for alcohol, and let's just say he looks more like 16 than 21.  However, if he got anywhere near a slot machine or blackjack table, they were on him in a second.  Apparently Vegas is more worried about gaming infractions than the liquor control board.  Unfortunately he won some money on the sports book, so I don't think he's convinced that he never needs to go back.

The next morning we left for LA to visit Grandpa, and I wasn't unhappy to see Vegas in the rearview mirror.  I'm okay if I never visit there again, but it was fun to take the boys and see Thomas experience the craziness for himself.

Happy weekend, friends!  I'm off in Hilton Head Island for the weekend with my favorite friends from The Blended Blog.  I think we just avoided the hurricane, but follow along on IG to see what we're up to!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Still My Favorite Jeans

Happy Wednesday and welcome to Fall Fashion Frenzy with The Blended Blog. Today we're talking about our favorite jeans, and I'm excited to see what you guys are wearing.

I own a few higher end pairs, and of those my favorite is 7 For All Mankind.  Or maybe my Ag straight leg jeans.  I guess I like them equally.

But honestly, Old Navy has been on point with their jeans recently, especially the Mid-Rise Rockstar style, and that's what I'm wearing most days.  I wrote a post about them last spring, and they've continued to improve.  No dreaded muffin top, no sagging and bagging after an hour.  They come in so many styles, colors, and finishes, and the price is always right.  Side note: never pay full price for anything at Old Navy, because it's guaranteed to be on sale the next day.

One of my favorite ways to wear jeans is with a white t shirt or blouse.  This dressier one from Loft has lots of fun details, and I liked it with the distressed jeans and blush sneakers.  As it gets colder I'll add a moto jacket or cardigan.

The questions is, what would Stacy London have to say about jeans?  On the show, I remember her being a fan of classic styles and dark washes.  Yep, the book confirms it, although she also mentions a pair of straight leg jeans being a closet staple.  Stacy's okay with trying something fun that feels modern or relevant, like colorful or waxed denim.  But she probably wouldn't like my fringey distressed gray jeans from Old Navy.  Her final word on the matter: "noone in the world - of any size or age - can't rock a good trouser jean".  Add trouser jeans to my shopping list.

In other news, this was the first week in forever that I was on my own for taking pictures.  And I failed.  Kinda sorta in my defense, it rained for the last few days so actually going outside wasn't an option.  Must plan a little farther in advance.  Or get my friends to take them for me on our girl's weekend.

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, October 8, 2018

Take Care Of Yourself

It's a happy coincidence that last Friday I wrote about loving myself, and today The Blended Blog's Monday theme is focused on self care.  If I paid any attention to my editorial calendar this would be intentional, but I don't, so it wasn't, hence the coincidence.

If you didn't read Friday's post, I shared that I haven't been taking very good care of myself, physically or emotionally.  Not good.  But the voice at Yoga Nidra told me to start loving myself, so I'm getting back to all the things that make me a better me.

1/ Meditation.  Ten minutes first thing in the morning helps set the tone for the day, and things are always better when I make time to meditate.  Right now my favorite is the Headspace app.  They have a free trial to see if it's right for you.  In a few weeks I have the opportunity to meditate with and listen to Davidji speak at FierceCon, and I think it's going to be a game changer.

2/ Healthy Eating and Exercising.  I know what I need to do where my diet is concerned.  And up until recently I've always been consistent with exercise.  Part of the problem is that I got bored.  Last week I started a 60 day program on Beachbody called Liift4, and it's excellent.  30-40 minutes a day of lifting and HIIT.  Currently I can't sit down or pick anything up without crying, so apparently it's working.

3/ Skin Care.  There are so many great products out there for aging skin, and it's hard to know which one to choose.  It seems the most important thing is consistency.  Whatever you pick, you've got to use it faithfully, day and night.  Recently I discovered a Korean skin care line called Saranghae (which coincidentally means I love you), and so far my skin is feeling amazing.

4/ Sleep.  This may be the most important facet of self care for me.  I need my sleep.  So far I haven't had any problems, but I've heard that menopause wreaks havoc on the sleep cycle.  Eeks!  Any suggestions for how to deal with this when the time comes would be appreciated.

Be sure to head to The Blended Blog to link up your self care posts, because I need all the help I can get right now.  And next week it's all about health!

Friday, October 5, 2018

All You Need Is Love

Happy Friday, friends!  I'm getting real honest today.  I wrote this post, then decided not to share it, then changed my mind again.  It's important to me, and hopefully it will resonate with some of you.

In August, whilst packing to visit Deena, she texted me to say that she'd booked a photo shoot for us.  Bring a few outfits to share on the blog, she said.  And my very first thought was "um, hell no".  

I wasn't happy with the way I looked or felt.  I'd put on more than a few pounds.  The combo of slacking on exercise and eating all the things had caught up with me. And being in your 50's is no joke.  There's wrinkles, and weird pains, and self doubt, and worry that you're running out of time, and lots of "what's the point of all this".  I've always been hard on myself, and the past few years I've become more and more critical.

But I'm nothing if not a good sport, so I chose a few fall outfits and added them to my suitcase.  And when it came down to the actual shoot, we had the best time.  Larissa was encouraging and sweet, and Deena and Bo made everything so much fun.  But I couldn't completely relax when I was behind the camera - I felt awkward, and uncomfortable and lumpy and... blah.

A week later George and I signed up for a Yoga Nidra class.  Yoga Nidra is a guided sleep meditation that is supposed to reduce stress and tension, and leave you feeling relaxed and rested.  I didn't have high expectations, but a nap sounded lovely.

We got comfortable, settled in, drifted off (maybe?), George started snoring...and then somewhere along the way, a voice suddenly said to me "you need to start loving yourself".  I realized that I was crying, but I felt peaceful and free of anxiety for the first time in forever.

After class I was emotionally exhausted, but the message was clear. I HAVE to start cutting myself some slack.  I love all the people in my life with my whole heart - my husband, my boys, my family, my friends.  Nobody's perfect, and I don't expect them to be.  But for some reason I feel differently about myself, and when I don't get there, I'm failing.

Soon after, the photos arrived from Larissa, and I opened them with a little trepidation.  They were beautifully shot, and I was immediately taken back to that evening and how much fun I had, surrounded by the stunning scenery and wonderful, warm, kind friends.  My first inclination was to criticize every picture of myself, but I took a deep breath and stopped.  I decided that I would share them on the blog, because while I didn't look perfect, I looked like ME.  A me that's worthy of loving myself.

There's lots of work to do, emotionally and physically.  Exercise and healthy eating is part of it, especially if I want to live to 100 like Grandpa Ed.  But figuring out how to be kinder to myself, after 51 years, is important too.  It's not easy, but I've promised myself to try.  The voice at Yoga Nidra told me to, and I know it's right.

All you need is love...even for yourself.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Booties For Fall

Happy Wednesday and welcome to Fall Fashion Frenzy with The Blended Blog. Today we're talking about booties, the greatest footwear invention of modern times.

Up until recently, I didn't own many pairs of shoes.  They were never my jam, and I tended to wear the same ones over and over.  I know, Deena is currently swooning somewhere up north.  But now I've seen the light, and suddenly I'm in love with all the shoes.  Especially booties.  Especially for fall.

They're pretty much the perfect thing for your feet this time of year, because they go with everything.



And jeans.

Currently, I'm eyeing these lovelies.

And animal print would be fun.

Have you noticed that all my booties are flat?  My entire life, I've felt too tall, so I buy flat shoes.  I'm always scrunching down in pictures and seeing myself as the jolly green giant among a sea of lovely, regular height women.  Stacy London wouldn't be very happy with me.  She says "tall women should just never, ever look like they are apologizing for their height".  So I'm going to stop apologizing, quit scrunching down, and see what happens.  Maybe I'll even buy a pair of booties with a 3" heel.  Maybe.

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.

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