fit over 50, get healthy

ULTA Must Haves & Five Exercises You Should Be Doing At Home Everyday

Hair and skin care are everything.  If you’re forty-five or older, you’ve figured that out by now.  As we age, our skin and hair lose their vibrance.  Heck, we may still feel like we’re in our prime, but we look in a mirror and see a stranger gawking back at us with crinkles, wrinkles, sags, bags, and drabby dry hair.  We have at least one foot in the grave with all hope gone until we discover ULTA.   (Cue the sound of angels singing)  The Generation Xers and Millennials believe ULTA is hip and chic, created for them.  The real scoop, though, is ULTA was created for those of us who are no longer climbing that hill.  Let’s stop, raise our hands high in the air, and thank God for ULTA … am I right?

Here are a few of my ULTA must haves and the reasons why I must have them:

Ulta Blog 4

Tinted moisturizer is like putting a heavenly dew on your face that will even out your skin tone and make you look as fresh and new as Springtime.  An over exaggeration, maybe … put this stuff is the bomb.  My favorite pick is Derma E’s Tinted Moisturizing BB Cream with SPF 30.  It has bilberry extract, which improves skin tone;  vitamin C, which brightens skin;  and vitamin E, which reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  I apply it over my regular moisturizer, which helps it to go on my skin much easier.  I apply it to my face and go.  It’s my makeup.  Nothing else.  It’s so much lighter than traditional foundation or powder makeup, and as we age, often times, less ends up being more.   You can find it here.

Ulta Blog 5

The Derma E Ultra Hydrating Alkaline Water Eye Gel is a magic roller filled with cool healing gel. It hydrates the under eye area, making your eyes appear younger and less puffy.  I use it at least twice a day and am hooked.  It’s less than fifteen dollars, which makes it very affordable.  Think of it like a lipstick.  Apply it whenever you want that fresh glowing look.  You can find it here.

Ulta Blog 6

The Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Moisturizer is currently my go-to moisturizer.  I recently listened to a podcast that featured Dr. David Sinclair, and now I’m onboard with his take on the anti-aging benefits of resveratrol .  This moisturizer contains resveratrol, as well as jojoba, shea, and vitamin C.  It’s pricey, but it leaves my skin feeling completely hydrated … more so than any other moisturizer I’ve ever used.   Moisturizing morning and evening is a must for healthy skin.  I use serums as well (if you’re not using an hyaluronic acid serum, order it now), and the moisturizer goes on AFTER the serums.   Apply using upward strokes, and don’t forget your neck.  You can find this moisturizer here .

Ulta Blog 3

Are you into fitness?  Then you absolutely need a dry shampoo.  If you’re anything like me, you don’t always have time to wash your hair, so having dry shampoo on hand can be a life saver.  In addition, because dry shampoo lengthens the time between shampoo, blowdryer, and flat iron, it’s actually a healthy alternative for your locks. It’s important, however, to invest in a good dry shampoo.  If you purchase a cheap brand, you’ll find it might leave a weird residue on your hair.  For the record, I’m a weirdo when it comes to dry shampoo, so I go outside to apply just so I’m not breathing it.  You can find Big Sexy Hair Dry Shampoo here. 

As we age, not only are losing vitality in our hair and skin, but we are losing muscle and becoming weak and flabby.  In fact, after age thirty, we lose 3-5% muscle mass every decade.  Many people have the misconception that you have to join a gym or a fitness class to be fit, but the truth is you can workout in the comfort of your own home.  Here are five easy exercises you could begin doing at home today and everyday to fight back the flabs:

  1. Push-ups.  Three sets of twelve.  Even if you have to start on your knees and work up to a full push-up, you need to bite the bullet and start doing them.  Within a few weeks, I promise they become easy peasy.  Push-ups are beneficial for building upper body strength, working the triceps, pectoral muscles, and shoulders.
  2. Planks.  Three sets on elbows or hands for one minute each. Planks strengthen your spine, your rhomboids, and your abdominal muscles, which promotes strong posture.  Good posture means you’re keeping your bones aligned properly, and that’s very important as you age.
  3. Crunches.  Three sets of twenty-five.  Crunches strengthen your abdominal muscles and core, improving your posture and balance.
  4. Squats. Three sets of twenty-five.  In addition to tightening your glutes, squats improve core strength, overall mobility, range of motion, and natural hormone production.
  5. Donkey Kicks.  Four sets of twenty-five.  Like squats, donkey kicks tighten your glutes and improve core strength.

Just my thoughts,

~Mel

get healthy, self care, Uncategorized

4 Happy Habits I Learned From My Kiddos Who Rock An Extra Chromosome

Being the mom of two kiddos who rock an extra chromosome and who are 100% nonverbal has made me a quasi expert at reading people.  In order to overcome what could quickly turn to mutiny, it became necessary for me to anticipate their thoughts before they could even think them.  I never have been much of a people-watcher, but because of this acquired skill,  I’m much more aware of non verbal queues and human behavior.  When your daily survival requires mind reading (no exaggeration), you pay much closer attention to those things that make no sound at all.

Even though I interact constantly with Hope and Charlie, I still can’t imagine what it must be like to be non verbal and to have no real independence.   They don’t know any different, of course, but I still believe if I didn’t have a voice, I’d be pretty frustrated a lot of the time.  But you know what?  They’re not.  In fact, aside from those times when the occasional diva comes out of Hopey, they’re the happiest kiddos you’ll ever meet.  They can’t tell me if they have a headache or tummy ache, what they did at school, what they want to watch on tv, what color they want their bedroom painted, what song they want to hear in the car, who they wish they could visit, or even what they dreamed the night before.  So why are they so happy?

      Charlie Blog

There are four attributes in Hope and Charlie’s lives that never waiver.  I believe these are ingredients for happiness that not only pertain to them, but to all of us:

  1. Sleep.  Hope and Charlie don’t go down easy, but when they finally give up the ghost, they sleep like rocks.  Because of their disability, they have no guilty consciouses, no agendas for the next day, and no schedule to worry about.  They don’t even have to think about what they’re going to wear to school the following day, because I do all the grunt work for them.  No responsibilities means they don’t have a care in the world, so once they’re snoozing, a locomotive train coming through the house wouldn’t disturb them.  While it would be difficult to clear our minds in the way Hope and Charlie do, sleep is vital to our mental and physical well-being.  Sleep keeps your heart healthy, reduces stress and anxiety, makes you more alert, improves your memory, helps you lose weight, improves your mood, and helps your body heal itself.
  2. Exercise.  Hope and Charlie are constantly moving.  Much to my chagrin, when they’re awake, they’re literally moving nonstop.  As with most kiddos, they are balls of energy.  While our busy schedules and long lists of responsibilities don’t allow us, as adults,  to be in constant movement, we can (and should) make time to get our hearts pumping.  Exercise produces changes in the parts of the brain that regulate stress and anxiety, making you feel happier, helps with weight loss, builds muscle and strong bones,  aids sleep, and reduces risk of chronic diseases.
  3. Choose to be happy.  Hope and Charlie don’t ever ask for anything, because they don’t have voices.  As a result, they’ve learned the art of being happy with what they have.  Whatever I fix them to eat, they eat.  Whatever clothes I buy them, they wear.  Whatever toys they have, they make the most of.  The absurdity of “the haves” and “the have nots” has not even occurred to them and never will.  They live in the moment and honestly make the most of life.  No worries.  No wants.  Just making a choice to be happy.  It might sound simple and trite, but we can all choose to be satisfied with what we have and to be happy.
  4. Be a friend.  Because Hope and Charlie are unable to speak, they are much more aware of what’s going on around them, and they are especially open to people.  Somehow, for instance, they are able to discern when a person needs a hug.  Hopey can be running wild, but when a person who is hurting comes into her presence, she immediately dials back her energy and gives a gentle hug.  Charlie can be happily playing in his own little Charlie world, but when a person enters our home, he always puts down what he’s doing in order to give warm hugs.  Both of them are friends, no matter what.  You can be tall, short, rich, poor, successful, or a deadbeat … they never notice.  They only see people.  Studies have shown being a friend to others offers a myriad of benefits, such as increased feelings of belonging, purpose, increased levels of happiness, reduced levels of stress, and improved self-worth.  Giving our hearts away to others in the form of unconditional friendship is a beautiful gift.

Try to make these four habits a part of your life and see what happens.  Like Hope and Charlie, you might feel happier too.

Just my thoughts,

Melanie

 

fit over 50, get fit, get healthy, Health blog, Uncategorized

Attention Online Dating Scene, Homecoming Queen, and Future Running Machine: Your Costume Is Everything

“Costume is a huge part of getting into character.  Your body soaks in what you’re wearing, and you turn into someone else.”  ~Jane Levy

Relationships.  Dang, we make them difficult, don’t we?  I mean, it’s actually simple if you think about it.  In each relationship, we play a role and wear a costume.  As long as we stay in character, those relationships roll along without too many bumps in the road.  In one relationship, we’re a daughter, and in another, we’re someone’s mom or grandma.  At times we’re a friend or acquaintance, a student or teacher … a neighbor, sister, cousin, aunt, employee, or employer.  Suffice to say, we’re many things to many people.  And in each role, we put on a distinct costume, whether we realize it or not.

We offer a friendly smile and thank you to the bag boy who pushes our overloaded grocery cart out to the Suburban that’s literally rocking in the parking lot, locked and loaded with a couple of wild kiddos who just got out of school for the day.  (Ummmm, yeh, that very detailed example might be personal to me.)

We offer a completely different smile and thank you to our mom when she takes the time to cook our favorite meal.

And when hubby brings home flowers, he gets his own special sort of thank you.  Boom-chicka-wow-wow, right?

It’s a costume.  A familiar role.  And it’s as predictable and boring as dirt.  As long as each role we play remains in its designated box, those relationships will remain dirt,  predictable and familiar.  The message is pretty obvious.  Don’t ever, ever, everrrrr treat the bag boy like he’s hubby.  haha.  It’s much safer to stay in the box and to be dirt.

Some roles are easy.  As moms, for instance, we know exactly what our role is, don’t we?  The moment that baby is placed in our arms, we put on our motherhood costume, and you couldn’t rip that costume off of us if you came with a mechanical claw, a couple of raging bulls, and fifteen knife-wielding zombies who haven’t eaten in weeks.   We are mom, dagnabbit, end of story.

The role of employee, employer, teacher, student, and acquaintance are straight-forward as well.  These roles are far less emotionally driven than the role of mom/child, but we know what’s expected of us, and we can easily meet those expectations.

Other roles are more hairy-scary.  Kids rebel.  Grandma’s sometimes overstep and spoil too much.  A neighbor might not like the color you painted your house.  And a best friend might choose a new friend.

If a child would remain true to his role by respecting parental authority, his life, and the life of his parents, would be so much easier.  If Grandma would support parental authority and willingly give up her Matriarchal superpower, more families would stay intact.  If Joe-Blow neighbor would support his neighbor’s right to paint his house chartreuse green, there would be no need for fences or home owner associations (preach!).  And if every best friend valued the gift of having an old friend who loved her way back when she had braces put on her bucked teeth, used pasty white Clearasil to cover zits on her face, and went through a third break up with the same loser guy … then friends would be friends forever.

Are you getting the general gist of how life-altering these roles are?

Well hold on, because if you have a significant other, things become even more complicated.  What role do you play in your relationship with your significant other?  Are you the princess who is adored and cared for by your prince charming?  Are you an equal partner where you both demonstrate mutual respect and decision-making authority?  Are you submissive to an all-powerful partner … or are you the power player?  Is your significant other somewhat like a father figure?  Or more of a best friend?  Were you high school sweethearts?  Or did you meet on Tinder when you were sixty?

Whatever the role, our romance began somewhere, and that beginning continues to direct the relationship.  For instance, I have a friend who married his high school sweetheart.  She’s a couple of years younger than him and was crowned homecoming queen her senior year of high school.  To this day, more than thirty years later, he still refers to her as his homecoming queen.  In his eyes, she is forever his high school love.  I’m actually fairly certain she hasn’t aged a single year in his eyes.

I have another friend who complains to her husband all the time.  “Why don’t you do this?”  Why did you do that?”  “You make me so mad!”  She badgers the man constantly,  but her husband always responds with (insert a grown man using a baby voice here):  “I’m sorry, honey, will you forgive me?” … then he gives her a bear hug, a kiss on the cheek, and tells her he loves her.  She rolls her eyes, giggles, and tells him she loves him too.  This goes on every day and has for more than two decades.  I think she complains just so he’ll hug her, kiss her, and tell her he loves her.  It seems insane to me, but this has worked for them for more than twenty-five years.  They’re one of the happiest couples you’ll ever meet.

There’s another woman who was a widow.  She met her (current) husband on Christian Mingle.  He was a widower, too.  Their entire relationship has been built on how fate magically and mysteriously brought them together through internet dating.  They’re both in their late sixties / early seventies and talk about how they met all the time.

Each of my examples demonstrate a role and a costume.  It’s the normal, predictable, and expected that make up the foundation of what makes those relationships work.  The dirt, so to speak.

God forbid if the high school sweetheart in my first scenario ever ceases to see his bride as his homecoming queen.

In the second scenario, what would happen if the man’s wife did her normal complaining, but instead of receiving the typical hugs, kisses, and I’m sorry, the husband started accusing her of complaining too much?  What if he called her a pain in the — you know what?

And in the third example, I hope there never comes a day when the former widower tires of gloating about meeting his bride on an internet dating site.  I hope they both continue to acknowledge their magical, mysterious, fateful meeting … until death parts them.

The small roles that are played out in relationships hold tremendous power to make or break a marriage and/or relationship.

So what does this have to do with being fit and healthy?

Two things.

First, to feel alive, you MUST have relationships.  And if you’re going to have relationships, you’re going to be much more mentally and emotionally healthy if you succeed in them.  Grab hold of your role, embody it, don’t change your costume, and respect the boundaries each unique relationship in your life has established.   Some of those boundaries have been put in place by God, some by society, and some by our own volition.  Whatever the case, treasure them, protect them, utilize them, and keep peace.

Second, if you really want to become fit, you need to wear the costume and play the role.  Buy the yoga pants, ladies.  Wear the sneakers.  Pull your hair back in a pony and sock a cute strapback cap on your head.  If you dress the part, and if you embrace the role, you’ll succeed in every area of your life, including in fitness.  Your body soaks in what you’re wearing, and you turn into someone else.  Do you want to become a runner?  Dress the part.  Do you want to become a yogi?  Dress the part.  Then join a gym, hire a trainer, buy a treadmillor an elliptical machine, or take part in a regular exercise class.  It’s not only important to dress the part, you have to actively play the role.

Every time I run a race, I look forward to being given my bib and number.  It makes me official.  It makes me a runner.  The 5k race is a role.  My bib and number is a costume.  My body follows what my mind believes … and it works.  Every.  Single.  Time.

The method is so simple, perhaps it’s too simple, yet we sometimes miss the obvious.  Why do we make life more difficult than it has to be?  If a fifty year old woman can still be her hubby’s homecoming queen more than thirty years later, you can certainly be fit and healthy.

Just my thoughts.

Mel

Fitness, get fit, get healthy

A Twenty-Nine Week Quest Toward The Middle-Age Divine Purpose And Other Such Important Things

Is your life more than half over?  Are you having hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, weird cravings, knee pain, back pain, joint pain, belly pain … aaaaaaand do you feel like everyone around you has become a general pain in the you know what?

Menopause.

What was God thinking?  Hmmmm.  I’ll take a rib from this strapping man to make a delightful young vibrant woman.  And for those precious fleeting years when she has the most energy and vitality… and when she looks her very best, I’ll saddle her down with a brood of needy ankle biters.  Then, just at the time when those kids become independent, I’ll strip every last hormone right out of her.  She’ll be a shell of her former self, completely befuddled.

Feeling befuddled?

Well if you’d like to take hold of your life this year … I mean, beyond weight loss goals, if you’d like to have more energy,  to feel happier,  to look younger,  to take a vacation,  to be more organized, and to sleep better, then you might want to join my twenty-nine week bandwagon.  Today, on this 29th day of January, I’m starting a twenty-nine week blog that will (hopefully) accomplish those things and more.  The blog will drop on Wednesdays, so follow to make sure you get your weekly reminders.

Why twenty-nine?  Sure, it might be more hocus-pocus than substance, but I’ve always had a curiosity with numbers, and they’re thought to have meaning.  The number twenty-nine, for instance, is known for telling us to trust in our own abilities when it comes to fulfilling our soul’s divine purpose.  One of my favorite verses in the Bible, coincidentally (or not, who knows?), is Jeremiah 29:11:  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  I’d argue it’s impossible for any of us to fulfill much of any purpose if our body and mind are not in sync and under our own authority.

I get asked all the time about my age.  I’m almost fifty-two, and I run two to three miles a day and lift weights four times a week.  PLUS, I juggle two very active kiddos who are 100% nonverbal, who rock an extra chromosome, and who require constant supervision and care.  “Where do you find the energy?”  “What’s your secret?”  “Would you train me?”

I had to find the energy for survival, and so I did.

Of course I’ll share my secrets.

Hopefully this blog will sort of be a training tool for those who wish to be trained.

I’ve lived this plan for four years now, tweaking it as I go, so I know it works.  If you decide to follow along, know up front there’s a method to my madness.  While I do love my family, and while I also believe my mom is one of the most beautiful women in the world who doesn’t look her age at all, I wasn’t born with great genes.  The health history in my family isn’t the best, so I couldn’t rely on genetics.  I’ve worked hard, I’ve studied, and I’ve figured out a combination that works.  It’s not difficult, by the way, but it is a way of life that requires intention and dedication.  Without a doubt, if you follow along, you’ll see positive results.  Here are the first five foundational steps:

Mel Jan 2020

First things first. To reverse the aging process (yes, I did say reverse), scientists say intermittent fasting is a key.  What does that mean?  It means you only give yourself an 8-10 hour window of eating per day. For example, your window might be 8am until 6pm or 9am until 7pm.  During those times, you eat.  Outside of those times, you don’t eat food, but you do hydrate.

When you’ve finished the fourteen hour fast, it’s important to think about the first thing you put into your body.  This is an opportunity to give your body nutrition and energy.  I like to begin my day with a glass of fresh juice.  Packed with nutrients that purify your blood, prevent disease, improve circulation, strengthen your immune system, improve cognitive function, and make your skin more radiant, my favorite green juice is a mixture of apple, spinach, celery, cucumber, and lime.  Once you get your juicer, make this a priority.  I’ve been juicing for nearly fourteen years, because it’s a quick and easy way to make sure I get my daily fruits and veggies.  If you’re not a person who regularly eats fruits and veggies, you’ll notice improved energy within days.

juicing

Along with drinking fresh juice, I eat one or two protein balls as a first meal.   I make them on Sunday and keep them in the refrigerator for the week.  My protein balls are made with crunchy peanut butter, honey, oatmeal, coconut, raisins, and dark chocolate chips.  You can use almond butter or cashew butter if you have a peanut allergy, and you can have fun with your protein balls by adding different flavors of protein powder, cinnamon, flax seeds, etc.  It’s a quick bite and helps you begin your day on the right foot.  For lunch and dinner, eat sensibly, meaning limit carbs, sugar, and processed food, and stop eating before you feel full if you want to lose weight.  Avoid snacking.  And remember, while you can only eat during your 8-10 hour window, you can (and should) hydrate all day.

peanut butter balls

Hydration.  Drinking water is life.  IF you don’t already have an insulated mug or tumbler, you can find them anywhere, and you need one.  I’ve never been a fan of water, but I drink one-hundred ounces of water per day.  I know you’ve heard the analogy of the grape that turns to a raisin when it doesn’t get hydration.  Well, once I hit fifty, that analogy got real.  I choked down water in an effort to not become that said raisin until I discovered Crystal Light Flavor Packets.  And like the fourth stanza of ‘Just As I Am’ at a tent revival meeting, those little flavor packets have changed my life.  With only 10 calories per packet, it’s a no-brainer for me.   I use one packet per mug of water, and my mug holds 50 ounces.  So yeh, I drink at least two mugs of water per day.

drink water!

And next, of course, is exercise.  Twenty-five minutes a day, five days a week, is a must.  Find something that motivates you to move.  There is a free app called Charity Miles, that will track your walking, running, or biking miles and will donate money to your charity of choice based on your mileage.  It costs you nothing, but it gives back something tangible.  What can be more motivating than knowing your work is going to help fund a cause that means something to you?  Last year, I made a commitment to run 1,000 Charity Miles, and I accomplished it.  Some days I ran two or three times a day, and it felt so good to cross that 1,000 mile mark.

 

There’s another app called Achievement , and it will literally pay you for being fit.  If money motivates you, then be sure to download that app.

Commit to run a 5K this summer.  There is no better time to begin training.  Check out the Couch to 5k App, which will give you a plan on how to make that 5k goal a reality.

I recently purchased a Fitbit Charge 3 , and it has offered extra motivation for me.  I use it to log food and water intake, my exercise, calories burned, and sleep.

Bottom line, find something that motivates you to move.  Then stick to it.  If you’re new to exercise, begin by walking twenty-five minutes a day.  Don’t stroll, by the way.   You should walk fast enough that you find it difficult to carry on a normal conversation with someone else.  Get those arms to pumping and move.  Next step, advance your walk by jogging for a minute and then walking briskly for three minutes, interchanging the two, back and forth until the twenty-five minutes is up.  Advance further by jogging for a minute and walking for two minutes, interchanging the two … then jogging for a minute and walking for a minute … and so on and so forth, continuing the interval process until you’re able to jog (or run) for twenty-five minutes straight.  The tabata app is helpful for keeping up with your interval times.

You might think you’ll never become a runner, but as soon as you start running … guess what?  You’re a runner.   I wasn’t a runner until two years ago, and would’ve never thought I’d run like I do now.  The key is to just do it.  I’ve tried it all, interval training, group exercise classes, elliptical machines, biking, running, etc.  For me, running has produced the best (and fastest) all around results.  It’s definitely worth a try.

Last step, if you are smoking any type of cigarette or if you’re vaping, stop.  Smoking has been proven to age our bodies faster than anything else.  You’re in menopause hell anyway, so what better time to give up the habit?

To recap, the first four foundational steps are:

  1. Intermittent fasting
  2. Hydration with water (and juicing)
  3. Limiting (controlling) carbs, sugar, and processed foods
  4. Exercise
  5. Don’t smoke

You’ll take these steps with you for the full twenty-nine weeks, and each week we’ll build upon them.  It’s a commitment to yourself and for yourself.  As mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and sisters, we give, give, and give some more.  Our innate ability to nurture and to care for others is one of the most magnificent things about being female.  Our biggest weakness, however, is we too often neglect ourselves.  To put it bluntly, we suck at self care … Amen?

As a special needs momma, I was guilty of neglecting my own care.  One day I had a light bulb moment and realized God doesn’t discriminate, which means He isn’t going to give me a health pass just because I have two kiddos who need me.  It’s up to me to put in the work by doing the best I can to take care of my health so I can be with my kiddos for the long haul.  It’s the same for you, whatever your circumstances are.

For twenty-nine weeks, I’m going to push and challenge myself while being your biggest cheerleader.  I have an Instagram page called melsmiles68, which I use to document my running/fitness.  If you want to follow it, I’ll be putting occasional video on my instagram story to motivate both you and me.

Sooooooo, you can follow me on the melsmiles68 instagram page, follow the blog, comment, message me, ask questions, and share the journey.

You asked, so I’m answering.  Let’s do this!

~Mel

 

 

Fitness, get fit, get healthy, Health blog, self care

Four Easy Ways To Make Time For Fitness

The Cheese-Puff is nude more often than he’s clothed.  Shirts, shorts, and shoes are such an unnecessary bother when sensory processing is a daily struggle.  “Clothes on,” I say, at least twenty to thirty times a day.  Pulling a shirt back over his skinny-winny little bare naked body, I take time to kiss his tomato red hair.  Who could resist?

fitness blog 6

Hopey dumps waaaaaaay more water from her cup than she drinks from a straw.  She sometimes pours it over her own head … sometimes over mine.  Why?  I wish I knew.  But she thinks it’s hilarious.  After the water is spilled, she runs off on her tippy toes and giggles with abandon.  “No, Hopey,” I yell, as she ditches me for the hidden shadows.  At every moment, though, I choose my battles.  And water just isn’t that big of a deal.

fitness blog 7

Bringing up two kiddos who sport an extra chromosome and who are non-verbal is challenging.  Neither speak one word, but they still fuss and fight like typical siblings.  And both vie for my attention constantly.  One goes to bed with the chickens and rises early.  The other is a night owl and is like waking the dead.  One can tag you in the head with a ball from twelve feet away.  The other can climb your body like you’re a tree and have his arms around your neck before you know what’s happened.  They try to get away with jumping on beds, climbing on tables, and rolling the house in toilet paper … every single day.  They’d rather dance to a Luke Bryan song than eat.  They’re master escape artists.  And if I leave the house without them, you’d think the whole world has come to an abrupt end.  You’ve never seen the drama these two can cook up.

I travel, kayak, explore, and dance like a fool with Hope and Charlie.  My life is so much fun, but it can also be chaotic.   And hard.  If I didn’t take time to be on top of my game, I’d be overthrown in a minute.  My secret to being the consistent queen of my brood is fitness. Exercise boosts my mood, gives me energy, and is empowering.  Do I have time to be fit?  Ummmmm, the answer to that question is a hard no.  Do I always feel like working out?  I’m fifty years old and am outnumbered by two kiddos who have more energy than a zoo monkey, so the answer to that question would be a hell no.  But I make fitness a priority so I can remain the queen.  haha.  At least in my own mind.

This begs the question of HOW to make time for fitness.

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If you’ve read this far, you’ve checked off the biggest and most important box by realizing you need to make fitness a part of your routine.  If I can do it, you can too:

First, make a schedule and stick with it.  Carve out thirty-five minutes of time, five days a week, and make that time a priority.  Even if you don’t feel like working out, push through it.  Eventually, it will become a habit.

Second, plan your workout ahead of time.  If you try to workout on the fly, you won’t make near as much progress.  Every other day, use weights to focus on arms, shoulders, and back.  The other days, work legs and glutes.  Take five minutes each day for abs and set aside fifteen minutes each day for cardio.  It’s can actually be that simple.

Third, find someone who will hold you accountable.  Without an advocate who will push and encourage you, the beginning of this journey will be nearly impossible.  Your head will give you every reason under the sun why it’s not normal for a woman to sweat.  You won’t be able to sit down on the toilet seat, climb out of your car,  or bend down to pick up the quarter you dropped when checking out at Publix, because your muscles will be aching.  You’ll wonder what you’ve gotten yourself into.  You’ll think you’re too old, too fat, too tired, too busy, or too depressed.  Trust me, you need someone lined up who will remind you that if you want to be a queen, you must continue to tackle those push-ups, squats, and burpees.

Fourth, change your point of view.  Your workout isn’t optional.  It’s sacred.  You wouldn’t skip eating or sleeping.  You wouldn’t miss an episode of The Bachelor or that Starbucks visit with your college roomie.  With statistics overwhelmingly proving how a regular fitness routine boosts your health and increases longevity, why wouldn’t it be sacred?  It’s a no-brainer, and can be achieved with only 35 minutes per day.  Yassssss, Queens (and Kings)!!!!

Here’s a quick 35 minute routine to get you started:

Download Tabata Stopwatch Pro

Settings:

  • Initial Countdown = 5 seconds
  • Exercise Interval – 25 seconds
  • Rest Interval = 10 seconds
  • Number of sets:  30

 

Week 1:  

(Use your Tabata stopwatch with the settings above.  It will prompt on when to begin each exercise and when to rest … Just do as many reps as you can within the exercise interval, making sure to implement correct form.  Don’t rush.)

Arm Day:

  1. Bicep Curl and Overhead Press
  2. Tricep Dips
  3. Bent Over Flies
  4. Chest Press (lie on mat or on bench)
  5. Chest Flies (lie on mat or on bench)
  6. Skull Crushers (lie on mat or on bench)

Leg Day:

  1. Prisoner Squats
  2. Front Kicks
  3. Side Lunges
  4. Squat Jumps
  5. Donkey Kicks
  6. Walking Front Lunge

Fifteen minutes of cardio:

Walk three minutes, jog three minutes, walk three minutes, jog three minutes … alternating until you’ve completed fifteen minutes.  Go as hard as you can.

Five Minute Abs:

  1. 20 crunches
  2. 20 crunches with legs bent into stomach
  3. 20 crunches with right leg up in the air / left leg still crunched to stomach
  4. 20 crunches with left leg up in the air / right leg still crunched to stomach
  5. 20 crunch toe-taps (crunch legs into stomach, then extend legs down to tap floor)
  6. 20 crunches (cross right leg over left knee — bring left elbow to right knee)
  7. 20 crunches (cross left leg over right knee — bring right elbow to left knee)
  8. 20 bicycle crunches
  9. Two 30 second elbow planks 

PLEASE send me a private message if you have any questions … or feel free to comment.  I’ll be your advocate, your cheerleader, and your go-to!!!

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Just my thoughts!

Melanie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fitness, get fit, get healthy, self care, skin care, Summer Fashion, Summer Style

Hats, Baths, & Masks

HATS:

Hats are a must have for the summer months.  Not only do they protect our faces from the sun, they protect our hair too.  UVA rays dry out and damage the outer layer of our hair, making it appear brittle.  Add in the daily humidity, and summer hair can be the worst.  If you’re not having that great of a hair day, put your hair in loose braids or pull it back into a low pony and sock a cute hat on for instant style.  If you have short hair, you’re already ready to just wear a hat and go.  Most females overthink hats, but it’s actually a simple addition.  Solid colors are easier to coordinate and straw hats go with everything.  Just have fun with it.

Hats:Baths:Masks6

My black hat sort of reminds me of Jethro from the Beverly Hillbillies, but I really like it.  haha.  It’s a bit stretchy, not too tight, and is lightweight.  I’ve paired it with a shirt I pulled off the sale rack at American Eagle for $10.00 and some cut-off jean shorts (also from American Eagle).  With black sandals, I’m ready for any outdoor event.  Here’s a link to the tops currently on Clearance at American Eagle.

BATHS:

Do you sweat?  I’m a fitness freak.  Every day I do high intensity interval training and also run a couple of miles.  In the summer, especially, I sweat a lot.  Exercising to the point of producing lots of sweat is so good for us.  It manufactures happy feelings, gives us an energy rush, reduces aches and pains, and releases toxins from our bodies.  But getting that sweat off of our bodies is equally important.  The bathtub is a perfect solution.  Not only will it cleanse your body, but it will also restore and relax your body.

After a long day outside, it’s important to pamper our skin.  Again, the sun will do some damage.  Find a good moisturizing bubble bath, light a candle, turn on some soft music, and relax.  I experiment with different kinds of bubble baths, bath bombs, and body washes.  This one from Caress really does have a buttery burnt brown sugar smell as advertised.  It. Is. Yummy.  Here’s the link … I picked it up at Target.

 

 

Masks:   

If caring for our entire body is important, our faces should be at the top of the list as the most important part of our bodies.  Caring for our faces every day needs to be a priority.  I’ve said it before, and will say it again, don’t ever go to bed with makeup on.  It will age your skin.  Cleanse your face everyday.  Exfoliate often.  Pamper it with moisturizer two times a day, morning and night.  And try to make time for a mask once a week.

 

This mask is by a company called Yes To.   I’d heard the company was started by two guys who played soccer, and was definitely curious to find out what these dudes know about skincare.  As it turns out, they apparently know a lot.  They use 95% natural ingredients in their products and make sure all are free of toxins.  This was my first time using one of their masks, and I have to say I might be hooked.  It was thick and creamy, had a nice gentle scent, went on easy, and left my skin feeling so soft.  If you aren’t married to a certain type of mask, give it a try.  Target carries this product too!

The takeaway is self care.  As women, we’re so adept at taking care of others, aren’t we?  We check off lists all day every day.  It’s part of our DNA.  I swear, when God made Eve, that woman probably opened her eyes and immediately got to work sprucing up the Garden of Eden.

Adam was like:  “Hey, God made sex, and He says it’s very good … wanna have a go at it?”

Eve:  “Ummmm, yeh, sure thing.  But first I need to figure out how I can turn a pile of palm leaves into cute throw pillows for our bed, clear away all the brush so our outdoor digs will be tidy, prune a couple of trees to give some sharp curb appeal, and gather more fruit and veggies in case the Lord stops by for dinner … plus, don’t we have babies to tend to?”

Adam:  “Well, no … we have to have the sex first.”

Can you relate?  The housekeeping and the lists will wait.  The kids will wait too.  It took me fifty years, but I’ve finally embraced the importance of putting myself first for a couple of hours a day.  Living in the moment.  I’m very type-A … if I can do it, so can you.

Exercise, take baths, experiment with different beauty products, and love yourself.  Age is just a number, but life is short.  You’re worth the extra effort!

Just my thoughts,

Melanie

Fashion, Fitness, get healthy, Turning Fifty

On Turning 50

turning 50 blog 4

I’ve had a year to prepare.  Actually, I guess I’ve had forty-nine years to prepare.  But who can ever be adequately equipped to reach the age society refers to with such doom and gloom?  I mean, the latest studies agree.  By age fifty, we should drop flip flops, ditch denim, toss tanks, swap shorts for capris, and chop our hair into an age-appropriate bob or pixie.  And the latest trend?  Don’t even get me started.  “Just allow your hair to go graaaaay,” they say.  “Gray is the new black,” they say.  And my favorite:  “Gray is sexy!”  Hmmmmmm.  On Jamie Lee Curtis, a gray pixie cut is sexy.  On Jamie Lee Curtis, capri pants may even have a snow ball’s chance at looking hot.  But can we agree that she’s been an exception to a whole slew of rules for many many years?  Say this with me out loud:  “I, (insert your name here), am not Jamie Lee Curtis … and no matter how much ACTIVA I ingest, I will never ever ever be Jamie Lee Curtis.”

(Deep breath)  I’ve actually had well-meaning women tell me that I need to cut my hair and throw out my denim shorts because I’m “getting too old”.  Please, for the love of all things good and true, can we at least agree to give denim a break?  Denim has been with us through thick and thin … literally.  And has stood the test of time as much as we have.  Maybe more than we have.  If I can say anything here today about fashion, it would be that we should ALL own some denim.  Until. We. Die.

I’m sorry, but the thought of all the false fashion notions that are prevalent on the internet brings on a mild panic attack with me.  Even right now, my heart is in a rush as I picture myself being yanked away, kicking and screaming, from the gorgeous diva who colors my hair.  Can anyone else relate?  As long as my hair is perfect, I can take hold of satan himself by his pointy ears and firmly place him behind me.  In the south, after all, hair is everything.  Gray is not the new black.  It’s just not!

Let’s be real.  When a person reaches fifty or sixty or seventy … or even eighty … the last thing we should be discussing is age appropriate fashion and/or hairstyles.  That person has lived five or more decades of life, which these days, is a feat.  And because of their years on the planet, they’ve earned the right to look however they want to look.  I may be waging war against capri pants and pixie cuts for myself, but for whoever chooses them, I’ll give 100% support (as long as the pixie cut, gray hair, AND capri pants aren’t paired together — a fifty year old female can only be stretched so far.)  My gripe is when the fashion police puts us into a middle-aged box of do’s and don’ts when what should truly matter is the sum of our experiences.

For instance.

At age fifty,  I’ve experienced two marriages and divorce … healthy relationships and abuse … having a successful career and being a stay at home mom … raising typical kiddos and raising kiddos who are differently abled.  I know what it’s like to have a close knit family, but I also know what it feels like when the family unit crumbles with estrangement.  I’m the very proud momma of two adopted kiddos, and can tell you that my love for those two is the exact same as it is for the three I birthed.

I’ve weighed too much and too little, and now have determined the scale doesn’t matter near as much as choosing good health.  Reveling in the highest of highs one moment, I’ve also walked through the deepest valleys of depression the next.  I’ve written books and songs, have earned my place in 5k races, attended law school for two years, and ran for state senate as a write-in candidate to bring light to a law that would have been unfavorable to the special needs community.

I’ve been fortunate to have formed associations with individuals who, just by their very existence, make me dare to believe there is a God.  At the same time, though, I still wrestle with the heavy weight of disbelief.   I’ve mourned the loss of loved ones.  I fear for the future of my children who have Down syndrome.  What if I die first?  And as the former owner of a non-profit that provided free clothing to teenage girls who are fighting through the ravages of poverty, the foster care system, and an addiction to self harm, I can tell you without a moment’s hesitation that “those kids” are amazing young women who are striving for a better future.  They cling to hope, as do I, for a society that will choose the attitude of love, peace, and charity over selfishness, fighting, and suffering.

These are the things that matter.

I get it.  I’m fifty.

And in the eyes of much of society, that means I’m now over the hill.

Regardless, my fifty years of life has mattered.

And your life matters too.

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Happy Birthday to me!!!!

~Mel

 

 

get healthy

Soak Your Troubles Away — Self Care

I’m turning fifty in April (insert a big gulp) … and like many of my best girlfriends, I’m refusing to grow old gracefully.  I mean, us gals could sit back and let age take over.  But why would we want to go and do a crazy thing like that?

Yes, I work out regularly, I eat healthy, and I step on the scale every single day.  But even more important, I pamper myself.  And no matter what stage of life you are in right now, you should too.

As a mom with four kiddos living at home, two who have special needs, it’s vitally important for me to stay as healthy and strong as I can.  That fact clicked with me a long time ago.  However, until fairly recently, I didn’t get the pampering part of the equation. As a result, I’m catching up on lost time.

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To put it plainly, pampering is equal to air.  Without it, we suffocate.  I didn’t even know I was suffocating until I started making self care a part of my daily ritual.  Now, I’d never go back.  I think of it this way.  If we don’t fill ourselves with love first, making sure to fill our tanks to the brim, how are we going to have enough love to give out to others?  So … with that in mind, here’s a quick tip:

One of the ways I show myself love is to soak in a hot tub WITH bath bombs and a 1980’s love song playlist (thank you Spotify!).

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Bath bombs can be found at most big retail chains for a variety of prices, but my favorite (so far) is the 100% Natural Bath Bombs from Natural Spa Bath.  They are made in the USA with premium sourced essential oils and use no synthetic dyes or preservatives, which is all a big plus.  They turn my bath time into sanctuary time and can be found on Amazon by clicking here .   If you haven’t tried bath bombs yet, by the way, you haven’t lived.

What about when you don’t have time to soak?  Do you skip the bath?  No, no, no.  Say these four words with me:  “Never forgo the bath.”  Seriously.  When I only have ten or fifteen minutes for a bath, I make sure I still pamper myself by using a body scrub and a bath brush.  Because bath time is self love time and plain water will never do:

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My favorite body scrub is the Ginger & Cardamom Olive Oil Body Scrub by Bath and Body Works.  The scent, for some reason, makes me feel like I’m Cleopatra in Egypt, and at only $6.00, it is an inexpensive extravagance.  (Cleopatra, by the way, believed herself to be a living Goddess … I’ll bet you a dollar to a donut that she pampered the heck out of herself.)   To follow up, since I’ve exfoliated with a scrub, I nourish my body with 100% Extra Virgin Coconut Oil by Shea Moisture .  Rich in Vitamin E, the Coconut Oil has natural anti-aging properties.  As a bonus, it is also very good for people who battle chronic dry skin, psoriasis and/or eczema.  If you combine these two products, I promise, your body will be as soft as a buttery biscuit.  (You know, the inside, when you pull back the outer layers and it’s like a yummy cloud.)

And after my bath, I always pull on something super plush:

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When you go to the trouble to get your body all soft and smooth, you can’t just throw on something scratchy.  And not to digress too much, but speaking of smooth, ladies, can we all just agree to shave or wax our legs regularly?  I get the whole movement toward “it’s our right and our bodies, so we don’t have to conform to society’s expectations” … but by shaving our legs, we are making our legs more beautiful.  It’s a fact.  Hairy legs are not pretty.  I know I don’t want to feel prickles of hair against my jeggings or my leggings, do you?  Lord, no!  It takes five minutes to shave your legs.  Just do it.  Anyhow, this comfy sweater is from one of my favorite stores, American Eagle .

So, to wrap up.  Pamper yourself and soak those darned troubles away.

~Mel