Friday, December 30, 2016

Happy Birthday!

Today is our eldest daughter's birthday.  There is no way that I plan on ever letting any one know exactly what age she is.  She does have the gene in the family that allows her to not tell the exact truth, if she so desires.  What she does know is that she can't possibly tell her true age because that would cause a problem with the age that I give as my own.  

This is the part that I will share with you  -  we came by this naturally.  My grandmother actually did something a very long time ago when she married my grandfather.  An older woman did not marry a younger man in 'those olden days.'  So, my grandmother was quite a looker and my grandfather fell for her and proposed.  I am not quite sure how she got by with it all, however, she did get by with knocking a few years off her age when they officially married.

That went on as a deep, dark secret for many, many years.  Why not?  It was not hurting anyone.  No problems at all.  Until the day that she decided to go traveling overseas with her sisters.  Ah...a passport had to be acquired, and this meant a real birth certificate. Since my grandfather had no interest in traveling overseas, then how would he know?  

These two wonderfully happily married people loved each other and trusted one another to the nth  degree.  To the point of when the mail arrived, whoever was home just opened it all and put it in the piles to sort through and take care of.  The day that my grandmother's passport arrived, my grandfather opened the mail. He looked over the passport and I heard him talking a bit to himself from my room, however, I could not make out what he said.  

My grandmother arrived home from her beauty shop appointment and out of the blue my grandfather said, "Well, hey there 'old lady!"
You could have heard a pin drop for about 30 seconds.  My mother, my brother, my grandmother and I could not believe that he would ever say such a thing to our grandmother.  He was always the soft spoken quiet one.  What was he thinking?

Then, when he started waving a paper, which turned out to be my grandmother's passport, he explained that all these years she was actually older than he was.  Oh, I can tell you that he played this one up big time.  Was he upset?  No!  My grandmother was a bit upset.  The cat was out of the bag.  And in front of everyone.  It is a story that he never, ever let her live down.  Whenever he tried to bring it up she would just say, "Now you hush that foolish talk, Max!"  It was so adorable to watch the two of them.  

I never forgot that scene.  So...really, about the age thing?  It is a natural for all of the females in the family to follow.  It really is to the point of when I am asked my birthday, I have to really think if they really need my real birthday or one of the fake ones.  Finally, I made it easy on myself and went exactly ten years.  Soon, I may change that.  We shall see!

So, Jennifer...Happy Birthday to YOU - whatever age you may be!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Boxing Day

Will return on December 30, 2016, a very special daughter's birthday. Let's celebrate!

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve

Yes, tomorrow is Christmas Eve.  It has totally been hiding from me and when I realized this and not a thing is cooked...................I have closed my Friday blog and then of course, Monday is Boxing Day, which is celebrated in a big way at our home.  (Two Brits being here and all...)  Plus it is a great way to have married children take turns with their parents and not have any hurt feelings.  It is one more day of celebration lucky we are to have such a wonderful family to spend extra days with to make this time of year so very special.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas Movies

Apparently there are a kajillion Christmas movies out there in La-la- Land, which includes on standard cable tv, HD tv, satellite, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and the old standby, Redbox.  Some old, some new, some good, some not-so-good.  This is my point today in my blog.  Who is to say what is good and what is not-so-good? What gives someone else the right to make snarky remarks about other people's tastes in movies?  What is repulsive to some is enjoyable to another.  No one can successfully dictate personal preferences. What exactly determines people's preferences seems to be a fuzzy cloud!

Did you have any idea that there is actually a study that is based on an intuitive approach using calculus to predict preferences for movies, as well as other things, such as music, books or food?  For real!  I am not kidding.  Who knew?  For me, the question is who in this world needs calculus to figure this out.  There are many more logical explanations.  Of course, to me, calculus and the word logical do not go together.  I do have a son who would argue that point with me, to a level that I could not begin to understand.

A much more logical (in some ways) explanation on tastes is based on personalities.  These studies involve the overall characteristic of people in general.  More or less, I broke it down to nine types.  It is my own belief that most of us fit into more than one type, with one being the more dominant trait.  From my small bit of training in personality testing, this is the usual case.  There are some cases where one may be so dominant in one area that all of the others must be kicked to the side.  Let's not be judgmental here.  It is what makes the world go 'round.

  • thrill seekers  -  sensation seekers  -  love horror film festivals and death defying roller coaster rides
  • instant gratification/small rewards along the way  -  ambitious  -  not very patient with long lines or rush hour traffic  -  prefers movies that will dull the bitterness of their day
  • serious side  -  always stays in the lines  -  rarely a risk taker and does not like change  -  not a boring person, more of a thoughtful person who wants to stay in their boundaries and this means to keep in their interpretation of the spirit of Christmas that is familiar and comfortable
  • high expectations  -  focused and energetic  -  lively and enthusiastic  -  fun to be with and leans to the perfectionist side  -  movies tend to not be slow moving
  • limit stretcher  -  can be judgmental and definitely picky and opinionated about what they will watch
  • a feel good movie  -  one that relieves anxiety and stress, nothing that adds to it
  • spicy  -  refined sense of taste  -  more serious and takes notice to details
  • exotic  -  flexible  -  is willing to try anything once  -  very easy going and to this person life is an adventure
  • sweet and charming  -  willingness to help others in need  -  a prototype of their sex, in other words the men are usually macho men and the women are feminine in all ways  -  also they rely on their intuition more frequently than others  -  can be vulnerable in relationships due their romantic inclinations

Out of these nine traits, surely you were able to find at least one category that you may fit in or maybe more?  I know that I found 4 for myself, which I will keep to myself basically.  I do know that what prompted me to write this blog was the fact that I mentioned that I had never seen A Christmas Story.  This was to the horror of a number of very good friends, all telling me that this is a classic, a family tradition, their favorite movie, etc.  A few said they had never seen it either and another group said that they had seen it, however, it was the worse movie they had ever seen.  

I would say that out of these three groups of likes/dislikes/never saw before that the like group took up about 50%, dislikes about 35% and 15% were like me in that they had never seen it before. So, you will be able to pick out one of my personality traits from up above when I tell you that I had to see it because I will try anything once.  My husband and I watched 'in agony' together.  We got through the movie, barely.  There were times that I was ready to hit the STOP button.  I did not, instead I got up to get a little more merlot.  It eased the pain.  Now, if you read carefully all of the traits above, here is the clue for my second trait  -  I want to watch something that takes the anxiety and stress out of my day, not add to it.  Bullies making someone stick their tongue to a frozen pole, roasted ducks having their heads chopped off while the Chinese waiters sang the right tune with the wrong consonants based on their accent and let's not forget the saying that has been permanently imprinted on my brain for life, "You'll shoot your eye out."  

It is my belief that this movie will haunt me forever now.  The very next day in the local paper the political editorial cartoon used the saying, "You'll shoot your eye out!"  The night before, I dreamed about bullies chasing me trying to get me to stick my tongue on a frozen pole and men running after the ducks in our neighborhood trying to chop their heads off.  This is so not right.  I hope that soon I will be able to put this movie behind me.  It will take a lot of Bing Crosby's White Christmases and Holiday Inns along with my all time favorite Love Actually.

This is my taste for movies and I know that you all have your own as well.  That is why one of my favorite sayings is, "To each his own!"  Just go out or curl up and enjoy watching and getting into the Christmas spirit.  That is what it is all about.  Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Difference Between a 5 Star and a 1 Star

There is a huge difference in a 5 star and a 1 star review of a restaurant.  Many factors can be thrown in that will make changes from day to day, however, the way that the manager responds can make all the difference in the world.  Let me give you some examples that I am sure many of you have experienced yourselves.  
Recently, we decided to go to one of our favorite tried and true restaurants for an evening meal.  Although, at this time the restaurant did not take reservations, you could call and get your name put on the waiting list, instead of arriving and doing so at that time.  We were told that it would be about a 45 minute wait.  The two of us decided to head out to arrive a bit earlier, as we knew that we could have a drink at the bar to wait the few more minutes.

That is exactly what we did.  The minutes kept ticking way on past the 45 minute wait that we were told, so I started watching the guests coming in.  They had not called in advance, gave their names and then within a very short time frame were seated. Hmmm...what is wrong with this picture?  We did go over to the hostess and asked where our name was on the list.  All I can say is, "Attitude?"  All from a simple question that was asked in a quiet, polite tone?  She gave us a bunch of excuses and told us that our names would be called shortly.  In about ten minutes they were called and we were being seated at a booth where another hostess was also seating some customers.  One of these customers threw herself into the booth, as to claim and stake it out, and said that this was their booth. I can assure you that neither my husband nor I would get in an argument over a booth.  She already had pretty much on her own made a fool of herself.  We did not need to join in.   

Our hostess did escort us to another booth and the evening just went on from one disaster to another.  Food orders arriving late and cold.  Our waiter was new and nervous and seemed to have no mentor to help him.  Clueless was the word in neon letters over his head.  It was not something that you expect from a restaurant such as this one.  We did not raise a stink about the food, the service or the atmosphere.  Clearly, there was not a manager in place, or if there was, he or she remained anonymous.  

After paying and arriving home, I decided to write to the manager of the restaurant, just to let him know that for as many times as we have been there, never have we witnessed such events that we experienced this night.  Clearly, he was not there and he did need to to be made aware.  I know that I would hope someone would tell me if it were my restaurant or else I would be closed down if this kept up. 

The very next day I received a phone call from the manager apologizing and asking if my husband and I would give the restaurant a chance to earn back their reputation...and that it was on the house.  The only stipulation is that he wanted us to come when he was there.  Apparently, he wanted to meet us in person and thank us for sharing our experience in such a professional manner.  He stated that he never quite knew what to say when he received e-mails that were smeared with four letter words complaining about everything and demanding refunds.  There are actually people who do this habitually just to get out of paying for their meals. 

To sum this all up, the manager was very special, took time to talk to us, understood that we were not trying to get something for nothing and we made a new friend that we still wave to and say hello when we return to the restaurant.  This is how a real manager or owner handles problems that will invariably come up from time to time.

My next example is not quite the same.  This restaurant is locally owned with one downtown and now one out in the suburbs.  We had been to the one downtown.  Lots of fun, great atmosphere and good food and service!  The one in the suburbs is less than three miles from our home so we finally decided to try it out.   Surprisingly, it was not busy, even though it was lunch time.  We were seated immediately, as more than 3/4 of the restaurant was empty.  Sometimes, this is a clue.  In this case, most definitely it was.  We had a great waiter.  He took our order and refilled our drinks a few times, apologizing for how long it was taking for our food.  

The food finally arrived.  Why had taken so long?  Not clear on that.  Both of us on the first bite, had to tell each other that it was not cooked thoroughly.  It was cold.  It was not edible. We had waited so much longer than we had imagined and for cold food.  At this point, I was truly no longer hungry, more like a bit fed up.  We called our waiter over to tell him that the food was cold, we did not want to wait longer for it to be made over again.  We asked for our check, thinking that it would be taken into account that we could only eat a couple of things on our plate and had our drinks.  

This was not the case.  We paid.  We left.  This time when we arrived home, my husband wrote to the owner personally.  It was a letter filled with our experience, no four letter words and no ranting or venting.  This owner obviously had given his manager the liberty to take care of his customers' mail.  This manager wrote back to us that she was in the restaurant at the time that we were, however, she could not come out because she was so busy cooking due to being short-handed in the kitchen.  She apologized for how the waiter treated us.  Let's just say that she put the whole problem on the one person who were had contact with and was polite and apologetic. How could he have cooked the inedible food?  How could he have taken so long in getting it up on the serving line to be served?  We watched the other few tables having the same problems.  And it was most definitely not the waiter.  He was the only waiter in the place that we ever saw.  There were only four tables of patrons to wait on. It was not his fault.

My husband and I are not confrontational people.  It was not a high end restaurant.  Maybe we are lucky because the times we have chosen to eat at high end restaurants, we have been treated with utmost respect and served high quality food with perfect service.  

This experience was not worth causing a scene.   It was the second letter ever written to let the manager/owner know of our problems that we encountered.  We were not expecting anything more than an apology, certainly not a letter blaming some poor 18 year old waiter, who was left to the wolves by a boss.  Will we return?  No. And I can tell you that when I drive by this restaurant there are not many cars in the parking lot.  My guess is that the restaurant will not be open for very much longer.  

In my mind it is not that mistakes can't happen.  They do and they will.  We are all human.  It is what happens next that really matters. It is all in the attitude.  Don't be afraid to reach for the stars!  

Monday, December 12, 2016

Under the Weather

Exactly where did the term 'under the weather' originate from and about when was it first used?  From the research that I sourced, it was used around 1893 as 'under the weather bow,' meaning that was the side of the ship that took the brunt of the rough seas, therefore causing passengers to become seasick.  Thus, they were 'under the weather bow.'

In today's times, we use the term 'under the weather' to refer to one as not feeling well, not necessarily from seasickness. For example, I happen to have a touch of something.  About a week ago, I thought it was a cold, and now I am leaning toward a case of a soon to be full blown sinus infection.  Before that happens I am off to the doctor. 

Going along with me would be my husband, who most definitely has a really bad case of being 'under the weather.'  He has had walking pneumonia twice so there will be no hesitation of getting him checked out based on how long he has had his symptoms. Just speaking frankly, are we the only ones that seem to find it hard to know when to call for an appointment?  Also, when it is time to take sick days and just rest instead of barreling through it all as if you were Super Human?   

Unless a person has a fever, is vomiting or has diarrhea, or a real migraine headache, when do you know that when your head is in a fog from sinus problems, your throat is scratchy, you are coughing and sneezing that it is time to stay home?  In today's world, how many of us have co-workers who come in this way and are friendly enough to share what they have with all who are around them?  It is not the proper thing to do, yet we all have been there.  

Needless to say that when the onset of what seems to be a cold, it is more than likely the right thing to do to skip the doctor at first and stay in bed with a warm blanket and sleep it off.  This gives your body time to heal without sharing your cold with those around you. The question then becomes when do you know that it is not getting better so that you can call and get in to see the doctor?  Knowing that especially during the cold and flu season, that you may have to wait a day or two until the doctor's office can fit you in for an appointment.  This is probably why so many drug stores and other places have set up little emergency clinics.  These are for walk-ins, taking your chance on how long you must sit in the waiting area to actually get to see the doctor.  Plus, remember that you are seeing a doctor that really has no history of your health.  Sort of a catch 22 situation. 

The best thing to do is to take good care of yourself to help avoid getting 'under the weather.'  Not always possible, I know.  You probably know the drill of what to do as well as I do, yet here I sit 'under the weather.'  When I am over this bit of being 'under the weather', I will dutifully wash my hands frequently and yes, I will use hand sanitizer.  Getting enough sleep, eating good things for our bodies are very important and getting exercise does boost your immune system.  The old saying of eating chicken noodle soup and having cups of hot tea does have some merit.  It feels so wonderful on the throat as it goes down. Hands need to stay away from your face, something that I have to work on, for sure.  Lysol wipes are great to keep in your desk drawer to wipe telephones, doorknobs and keyboards/desktops when others use them. 

The one thing to avoid doing is to google your symptoms when you don't feel well.  It is the most efficient way to convince yourself you're dying.   A healthy way to look at how to handle being sick with a cold or sinus problems is to remember that it is just your body's way of saying you're way too awesome, and you need to slow down, so everyone else can catch up.  

Friday, December 9, 2016

High Tea

There is something very special about sharing a cup of tea with someone.  Let me say that I mean in the proper British way of sharing a cuppa tea.  First let me give you a brief history lesson on the tradition of having tea.  At one time in the UK, there was a High Tea and and Afternoon Tea.  The difference was that the High Tea was usually a mug of tea for the working classes who did not get home from work until 6:00 p.m. They were famished.  It was served with bread, vegetables, cheese, and occasionally meat.  High tea was usually served at a dining table.  This was very common in the industrial areas of the UK, and became known as "tea time."  

In comparison, Afternoon Tea was more of a social event for the upper classes, however it was a bridge between meals because they usually did not eat dinner until 8 p.m. It became a mini meal in itself.  This tea time was usually taken while sitting in low comfortable chairs or sofas.  The upper class soon developed their own High Tea that became a meal that they could prepare themselves when their servants were away. Usually it consisted of veal, salmon, pigeon and fruits, along with the biscuits and cheese.  

For the most part, now it is called "tea time" and happens at 4 p.m. It is a bit more simple, consisting of a cup of tea and perhaps a biscuit or scone.  There are restaurants in the UK where the name High Tea is still used to advertise the venue of an Afternoon Tea, basically because there is a large population of overseas customers who wish to experience the tradition.

There most definitely is an etiquette to follow if you are out for High Tea or Afternoon Tea.  The dress code is not formal, however, it is a relaxed smart casual dress.  No need for jackets or ties for men.  Trousers or very smart jeans with a collared shirt is fine.  For women, it is the perfect excuse to get dressed up.  

Are you aware that there is a history of the simple addition of adding cream to your cup of tea?  The upper class had very delicate porcelain china teacups.  They added their cream first so that the boiling hot water would not crack the china.  The servants had older china or mugs so that their cream was put in after the tea was poured.  In today's times, the restaurants pour your first cup of tea and allow you to add your own cream afterwards.  

Pinkys up?  Not necessary.  Looks rather silly, if you ask me, just as if you picked up a delicate china tea cup and grasped it in the palm of your hand.  Just as there are no hard and fast rules about whether to put the jam or the cream on your scone first or how you actually go about to properly eat a scone.  Really it boils down to which is more comfortable for you without having a mishap.  The only real big no-no is to please not dunk your scone or biscuit in your tea. Heavens forbid, ya'll, I can see that happening.

This blog was written because for the first time, my husband and I will be going to The Peabody for Afternoon Tea in their Chez Philippe Restaurant.  I know that it will be an atmosphere of grace and elegance.  The Peabody from top to bottom is the epitome of southern hospitality and tradition.  It will be grand to see the Lobby decorated with the 30 foot Christmas tree, along with all of the other decorations, including the ducks swimming in their fountain right in the middle of it all. I have been told that all of the servers are top trained professionals, but to ask if Evan has a table available.  We really are looking forward to that because the most important thing to remember is that Afternoon Tea is meant to be fun and to enjoy.  

I do know that I adore it when my British husband asks me in the afternoon if I would fancy a cup of tea.  It makes it tastes even better along with that British accent.  

Monday, December 5, 2016

Remote Queen

Gadgets really are not my thing.  I am placing the TV remote control as an item in this category.  Let me first say that two of the television sets that are in our house, I can not work.  The only one that I could work was in perfect health but as old as dirt.  That is probably why I could work it.  (No comments from the peanut gallery, please.)  It is just that the TV that I could work is in our bedroom and rarely do we watch TV in bed.  

As of last week, some things have changed.  I have become the Remote Queen for our brand new 65" flat screen wall mounted TV. Previously, the smaller flat screen that was on a stand had three, yes count them,, dos, tres remotes to operate the dang thing. Now I ask you if that is acceptable?  I will even answer for you...NO, it is not.  I had directions written by me in my own special gizmo language as to what buttons to push on which remote in order to listen to Pandora while I worked.  My husband talked me through it as I wrote it specifically for my brain.  That was the only screen that I could get to with the remotes.  Sad, but true.  The few times that I tried something else, my very patient husband spent quite a bit of time backtracking to figure out what I had pushed to make things not work properly.  

When our new TV arrived to be installed and mounted on the wall, I was the only one home.  When all was ready, the man gave me one remote.  ONE! This one remote is a simple one.  It took him about five minutes to demonstrate and then let me repeat what he had shown me.  There are very few buttons to click on or off.  I LOVE IT.  What I really and truly love?  At this time, I am the only one who knows how to work it.  Will I share my knowledge? Maybe.  Maybe not.  The simplicity of it really shakes up this wonderful man of mine, just as much as the complexity of the three remotes did for me.  

For right now, I am loving being the remote queen.  I am quite sure that as soon as I am out of the house, he will take the remote and figure it out.  He is a very intelligent man.  All it takes is just a little playing with the few clickable buttons to know how to get to the guide menu and figure out what the few other ones are capable of doing.  I believe that I deserve just a few days or maybe a whole week of just relishing in the fact that I can work a remote to the TV that my husband cannot.    

Friday, December 2, 2016

How Did I Have Time?

Originally, today's blog was going to head in a totally different direction.  Just to freshen your mind or to give you information that you may not be aware of...I retired eleven months ago.  My plan was to start on my creative side of life.  Writing, painting, decorating, etc...and of course, this meant that I could be my own boss now, choosing when I would be working and how long.  I did get in to my own little groove.  For the most part it works for me.

When days like today come along, and there have been plenty before today, I have to sit back and ask myself the question of when did I have time to work?  Seriously!  My job was not the kind of job that I could close my door and do what I needed to do with phone calls to insurance companies, doctors, plumbers, electricians, computer repairs and everyone else that it takes to keep your house and yourself up to par.  Most definitely, it did not include being able to go on line for tickets to performances that my husband and I wanted to see.  I also am thinking that when my husband and I got home from work, how we rushed around like crazy people to get dinner going, laundry moving through, dishwasher emptied or loaded, and an exercise routine or to stop off at the gym. How did we do it? 

We ate dinner much later than we do now, which meant that we went to bed later and we got up each work day at 5:30 A.M.  How? Now, that is the question that I ask myself.  How did we do it?  I know most days that 6 hours of sleep was the best that we could do, and we were lucky if we got that.  Some how we managed on it. Now, with me retired and working from home, things have changed.

Things have changed for the better, that is for sure.  I do have to pinch myself just to remind me that when days like today come along, which was just a constant interruption kind of day, it is okay. Things will work out in some kind of fashion, probably for the best. Each day I start with a short meditation and put a positive mantra up for myself on FaceBook.  Today, before the day even got into the frenziness of it all, my quote was from Oprah, "Sometimes when you plan a little less,  you experience a little more."  YES! This is so very true.  Another way of wording and interpreting this is that we all need to just go with the flow when 'stuff' starts to happen.  It is all okay that your plan went out the window because you may actually get to experience new and unusual things that will surprise you in a good way.   

For example, it is a sweet and infrequent treat when our daughter gets to stop in to say hi (and I might add with a no fat coffee frappuccino just for me).  Also, the two of us schemed up a few wonderful gift ideas that just popped up out of nowhere.  We took total advantage of that.  I wish I could go into more detail on these two ideas, however our husbands read this blog and it would give too much away for now. Most definitely a future blog.  Another interruption treat that was taking place was to get tickets to a local Shakespeare Company for Much Ado About Nothing for the holidays.  All of these things that I am writing about came about with no prior planning.  That is the beauty of letting a plan go or planning less in order to experience a bit more.

Speaking of holidays, trying to get gifts wrapped in a timely fashion without all being piled up as if to say to me that there is no way you can work ten hours a day, take care of your home life and wrap all of us.  (much less shop for them all)  I still repeat my question of how in the world did I have time? There is an answer. We make time.  We do without needed sleep.  Must we put some things on the back burner for a time?  Yes!  I was never really very good at that.  Only when absolutely necessary did this happen in my life.  Still working on that.    

Probably the biggest surprise for me about retirement is not the fact that I am busier than I was when I was working a 50 - 60 hours a week; it is the fact that there are retired people who are bored. Actually, I had to do a little research on this subject in order to wrap my head around the concept.  Now I do get it...we don't wait around for the Maytag repairman on a daily basis.  Good thing, because who has that kind of money in retirement, much less when we were working in the "real world."  

What the surprising thing was that they had not planned on any particular thing to occupy their time and their minds.  It may take some trial and error activities to sort it all out, yet this is the fun of it all.  Just start jotting down things that you did not have time to do when you worked that you wished you had been able to do.  Let's see:

  • learn a new language
  • join a card club
  • get involved in your family tree
  • photography
  • gardening
  • travel
  • learn a new instrument
  • fishing/boating/hunting/camping
  • community classes in cooking or other interests
  • mentoring at a school
  • painting/sculpting
  • writing
  •  rent an rv to see the United States

The list is endless.  The point being is that we are only limited in what we can pursue by our own imagination.  It is our own responsibility to fill our days with our own creative endeavors. Most other retirees that I talk to and meet are doing just this very thing in one way or another.  Every once in a while, I hear from usually the child or the sibling of someone who is not taking to retirement so well.  In fact, besides sleeping the day away, watching tv , not dressing or getting out, they are not doing much of anything to enjoy their sense of purpose because they lost it somewhere along the way.  This is not how retirement is supposed to be.  

Retirement is change.  From long, long ago Socrates said so brilliantly, "The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new."  Don't we all want to build the kind of life that makes us happy?  Life doesn't come with a rewind, fast forward or pause button.  Once it starts, it plays until it ends or until you press stop.  Please don't press stop.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Keeping the Holidays Happy

Now that one holiday season is behind us, we have the next one to look forward to.  I know that for me, I need to try to work on being prepared mentally and physically for all that is part of the holiday season so that we all have a joyous time together.

First, and I believe one of the most important things to do is to, take time to reflect and remember the "little things" that happen as the meal is being prepared or the house is being decorated.  If I don't, it seems to go by in a blur.  I know that this is when my journaling comes into play.  Plus, it becomes a time that I know what it is that I want to realistically accomplish.  Each day leads up to the next in a more organized fashion, as far as taking it by steps.  This is how I must take it or else I become overwhelmed.  By hearing the talk from my friends, they feel it too, so I know that I am not alone. There is nothing more overwhelming than a table stacked high with gifts to wrap.  When I take it in stages, it becomes a more meaningful and fun task with holiday music playing and a little hot chocolate or a skinny vanilla latte.  

With reflection comes in meditation; at least for me it is a perfect fit, like salt and pepper, peanut butter and jelly, bacon and eggs. However much time you wish to devote to meditating is up to you, just closing your eyes for a moment to reconnect your mind, body and soul is all that it takes.  I think that you will be surprised at how this can affect your well-being. 

As you find yourself running around, sometimes like a chicken with its head cut off, be sure to take the time to do something that is just for yourself.  Stop off for a favorite tea or coffee or cocoa, meet a friend for a brunch or lunch out at a new restaurant, go to a yoga class or take a walk or run...just take care of yourself, mentally and physically.  If I am not careful with the goodies that go to my mouth, then there will be a need to go heavier on the physical aspect.  There are times that I must use warfare tactics such as drink a lot of water, move away from the buffet table, think about how miserable I will feel if I eat everything that I think that I want    -   now is the time to be picky.  Make the calories quality calories.  

Light!  By this, I mean it is important to not burden myself or others with insignificant events.  What happens will happen.  The marshmallows may burn on the sweet potatoes.  I have even had the marshmallows catch fire in the oven.  (I learned not to open the door to the oven...just let it burn).  It will all be okay. Tis' not the end of the world.  It is a laughable moment and has now become a story to tell each and every year because it did happen more than once. There is no family get together that is like the Hallmark Family.  Accept one another for all of our quirky imperfections. "Laugh loudly, laugh often and most important, laugh at yourself." Chelsea Handler

For some people shopping and what to get the ones they love becomes a stressful period.  Hearing the countdown of how many more days till Christmas can be daunting.  Instead of the usual gifts of jewelry or ties look at gift giving in a more creative manner, such as lottery tickets, a cooking class, a museum entrance fee, a garden of herbs or succulents for inside,  jelly/beer/cheese/ of the month club....the list goes on and on.  Pinterest has oodles of DIY gifts that are very desirable and low cost. There is always the "Wish List" that families can share with one another from Amazon.   

All of the jibberish above are simply ideas that I set in my mind to help prepare me for a happier way to move through the holiday season without feeling that everything must be perfect.  It is okay to not be okay.  Taking the negative out makes more room for the positive.  If I am not up to giving it my all then I won't pretend.  Let the loved ones around you know.  It is much more important to take care of my emotional well-being and a great gift to myself, as well as those around me to try not to act fearless.  It has taken a number of years for me to understand this concept and I feel like today, it has now become a part of me.  I hope something in this blog helped even just one person get a handle on overcoming the possibility of feeling unhappy through the holiday season.  In this case, I practice what I preach...why?  Because it works! 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Positive Anything Is Better Than Negative Nothing

There is no way that any of us can escape friends or colleagues who are negative.  We all know that they are not the most enjoyable people to be around because they can spin anything toward a negative direction.  It is draining on those of us who work so hard at focusing on the positives of most any situation.

Some of the things that I have learned to manage negativity is to channel it back to a more positive mindset I will share with you. There was a time that I was totally taken aback by negative people and I had to hop on the bandwagon basically for myself, if for no one else.  Why? Because I refuse to entertain negativity.  Life is too big and time is too short to get caught up in empty drama.  

Of course, positive people also can have some negative thoughts, it is just that we do not let these thoughts control us. In other words, I refuse to let these thoughts take over my life.  I have learned that if I can't be positive then at least be quiet. What good does it do me to go around with a scowl on my face, complaining about a problem instead of digging in and working with others to come up with a solution.  My thoughts are if people who say it cannot be done would stop interrupting, then those who are working on the positive spin could finish a lot faster.  It does seem as if negative people have a problem for every solution.

There is one major no-no which is to never get in a debate with them.  They have views that are not going to change, no matter what reasoning you give.  Unless you wish to swirl deeper into their negative thoughts, move on and just give them a moment to vent and perhaps ask if there is anything that you can do to help. Usually there is not a thing you can do, however, this will pull the rug out from under them for a moment.  (Be careful not to let them see that grin on your face, because this can be humorous and quite entertaining.)

There is a way to work on cultivating the skill of seeing the good in the person rather than their negative outlook on life.  And remember, if all of this fails, you do have the power to simply avoid them when you can.  Some are easier than others to do the avoidance tactic (especially if it is someone that you must work with).  Negative people thrive on worry and can't live with whatever is going to happen will happen, whether we worry or 

An example of this can be the person spotting some angry clouds on the way to the beach, telling the group that the best part of the day has already past.  They always imagine everything will go wrong.  Pessimists cannot limit their exposure to bad news.  With the social media the way it is today, we are able to get all news quickly and our negative friends love to be the first one to share it because this is what they thrive on, even though it contributes to depression and anxiety.  It can color a negative person's outlook on life, yet they see it as another way to complain.

Negative people usually become underachievers because deep down they feel as if they are not smart enough or athletic enough or good enough to make it all come together.  They really love the word, "but."  Let me give you a perfect example; "It looks like a lovely hotel BUT I wonder how clean they keep the rooms."  There is the "BUT" rule that comes into play.  This rule states that anything said before the word but is bologna (really, it is bullshit, I was just trying to be polite).  The person thinks it is a stinky hotel and they don't believe they keep the rooms clean, nor do they wish to stay there. That would be the translation.  

Each day during my meditation, I keep a positive mantra in my head to repeat at the beginning and at the end between concentrating on clearing my head and breathing.  Usually, I post this positive thought on my FaceBook timeline.  It is a positive start to my day.  It is fantastic that other people click like it or love it or have something nice to say such as, "Thanks, DJ.  Just what I needed to start my day."  Truly, I don't go and search for something that someone else will like or not.  In fact, some friends and family have told me that they love the posts and they have never clicked or share on line this fact at all.  That is fine.  

Where the problem can come in, is when a negative person pops up with a negative comment and tries to rain on my positivity.  Yes, it is open to all to share what they wish, however, it is my page and I can delete such nonsense so that they can go and share their negativity on their page.  Energy is contagious, positive and negative alike.  I will forever be mindful of what and who I am allowing into my space.      

Friday, November 18, 2016

In a Relationship With Food

There are so many times that I say that we can't always look at things in just a black and white manner.  There is almost always a huge gray area out there and today I plan on talking about the so called gray area of food.  In particular, our relationships with food. People who consider themselves to be foodies based on their gourmet appetites need to move over for those of us who love food, just that it may be a simple and less scary type of food for us.

Knowing that I am not alone in always trying my best to eat what is good for me, yet also helping me to lose weight is uppermost in my mind.  From all that I have read, it is best not to be on a "diet," but more to pull together from all food groups in moderation.  It is what you will have to do eventually, when you come off the so called diet. That is where yo-yo dieting got the name.  For me, it is changing my mindset on food. This mindset is fine to have a good relationship with food, whether it be bizarre and out of the ordinary dishes or more of the familiar ingredients in dishes we love.

Eating healthy is my number one concern.  From there, I know that I must have portion control and not even to be a part of my discussion today, there must be exercise involved somewhere at sometime. That is for another blog, another day.  Really, just focusing on food and eating.  As Julia Child said once, "People who love to eat are always the best people."

What brought this blog to my mind, is that my husband and I have birthdays 5 days apart, which is coming up soon.  The past few years we have each taken a turn at preparing a dish at home for the birthday boy/girl.  Talking and drinking wine together in the kitchen while one cooks and prepares with love the meal for the evening.   It has always been very enjoyable and relaxing.  

This year, I came up with a different idea, basically because our city has become a restaurant mecca, so to speak.  Many of the chefs and their restaurants are becoming nationally known.  We have not been to many of them, as we usually stick to our tried and true restaurants.  I suggested that we have one big celebration birthday dinner out.  Steve agreed and told me to pick the place.  

I looked up several restaurants that have received very high reviews, then proceeded to see if their menus were on line.  They were.  This could be good or bad, depending on how you want to look at it.  All I can say is that I had to have google beside me to look up what something was on almost every item from the appetizers to the desserts.  It is not that I have turned in to a "meat and potatoes" kind of person.  NEVER!  I love many other dishes. However, I do prefer to know what I am putting in my mouth. When I started to find out exactly what some of these menus items were, it told me that I am definitely not a 'foodie,' in the sense that this word is tossed around in today's times.

A foodie is not just a person who enjoys good food or has a particular interest in food, as I know that I do.  I love to cook and share new recipes with family and friends.  On weekends especially, Steve and I like to plan out a new menu item and make sure that we pick up what we need at the grocery store.  I suppose you could call it a hobby that we enjoy doing together.  The main idea here is to let you know what a real foodie is.  To be able to have that label attached to yourself, you must have a refined interest in food, especially on the gourmet side and you live to try new an unusual dishes.  

Some of the items that were on the menus of restaurants that I wanted to consider are listed here:

  • Maine lobster pancakes
  • quail or pheasant sausages, veal jus
  • foie gras
  • strawberry tomato sorbet
  • beluga caviar
  • escargot
  • saffron crawfish
  • cornmeal dusted oysters
  • buffalo
  • elk
  • turtle soup
  • pork belly
  • beet salad with goat cheese and peaches

On the three menus that I looked over, there may have been two items that I would want to order and eat.  One other thing that I noticed, is that the menu items that were unusual and at times required me to look up exactly what they were, also had very steep prices attached to them.  Now, I do not mind paying higher prices for good food, it is just that I must be able to eat the food.  You won't hurt my feelings if you say that I do not enjoy adventure in eating. Probably because I am trying to watch what I eat, this could be a good thing.

In the pictures above are foods that I am sure most of you recognize.  Maybe not the first one?  It happens to be foie gras, which in case you did not know is duck or goose liver.  It is a picture of one of the many ways I saw it mentioned on menus; to use it with preserves, or it may be sauteed in a cast iron skillet or it may be put on a perfectly good filet mignon as a gravy.  The seafood plate has some things I most definitely would order, it is just that you can't order just those things.  It is all or nothing.  Good old fashioned hamburgers and hot dogs can be a choice, although that is not a healthy way to eat all of the time, I would most definitely take a hot dog dinner from Sonic Drive-in versus having a meal of pork belly and oysters.  So?  Call me a cheap date!

Oh, and by the way...I did find many great, new restaurants that have more of what I consider normal food for us to go out and try for our birthday dinner.  I love the saying from Ruth Reichl, "Pull up a chair.  Take a taste.  Life is endlessly delicious."  However you choose to eat, this is what it is all about.  bon appetit

Wednesday, November 16, 2016



Beginning this week November 14, 2016, my blogs will be published every Monday and Friday.  I am discovering that I am in need of more time to work on my novel that I hope to have published next year, or at the very least in the process of publishing.  Thanks to all who come to visit my page and I do hope you will continue to read what I write and feel free to add a comment at the end of any of the blogs.  Friday's blog will most likely be on picky eaters...never really considered myself one, however, I most definitely fall in that category.  I guess that I am not a 'foodie' after all.  Are you?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Awe Inspiring

What inspires you?  When you become inspired were you aware that those goose-bumps were good for your health, your creativity, your happiness, and all round well being?  To be awe struck is to have a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear and wonder, according to the dictionary's definition.  I suppose fear can be put in the picture, it is just not what comes to my mind when I think of being wonder struck.  

When I see or hear something that takes hold of me I feel that I am overwhelmed to just how small I am in the scheme of life.  Feeling awe inspired is different for all.  Even how often you feel this kind of awesomeness surrounding you is different for all.  According to research, apparently the average person experiences awe 2.5 times a week.  This is a time that I am very happy to not fall in the average category.  I do believe that for myself, I am in awe at least 2.5 times a day.  Also, where the heck does the .5 fall in to place? Let's just round that up to 3.  (Notice that I did not go down to 2 - always thinking optimistically.)

The benefits of having this feeling of awe within yourself is totally amazing.  I knew that I felt better, I just did not know specifically why.  This is a research study that is rather new, as far as delving deep into the psyche.  Having this feeling can do some of the following:

  •  it is one that will most definitely make you happier
  •  it also gives you the perceived feeling of having more time
  •  gives you hope by seeing the big picture
  •  seeing the big picture adds to your creativity
  • can demonstrate that there may be something magical about every day life in general, a place of wonder, joy and gratitude
  • connects to nature with a calming effect which lowers stress
  • improves the immune system
I am sure that as you look over this list of bullets, you can see how they all connect in one way, shape or form.  Call me the slow learner...all I was really aware of is that it made me feel better. So, if you do not believe that you are feeling awe inspired enough, or if you just want to experience more moments of being awe inspired, keep reading.  Not all of us can afford to go out on special mind boggling trips like a safari in Africa or whale watching tours (now those would be awe inspiring, just not your every day kind that the average Joe/Jane will experience on a frequent basis.)

What can we do?  As an old commercial used to say, try it, you'll like it...I just simply will share some of what resonates with me or was shared with me and maybe some will give you goosebumps, too:

  • music, whatever kind inspires you (of course live music puts you in the driver's seat for goosebumps) but will work with earphones, loud or all time favorite is in the car singing along loudly
  • sunrises or sunsets (better of course if you are on a balcony at the beach) anywhere will work and be able to have you feel that you are just a small part of a great big world
  • kids playing, either by themselves or with others (no inhibitions, and if an adult is brought into the play such as to join a tea party you may witness a 250 pound man hold a little teacup with his pinky up in the air with no questions asked)
  • babies smiling and giggling (have you ever watched babies when they laugh and you witness them laugh they do so with their whole bodies)
  • just adding three more granddaughters to our family which now makes four, there is nothing in the world that gives me more goosebumps than to snuggle up with one of them 
  • someone actually told me that they were in awe when being at a political rally (no, I am not going to touch that one)
  • unbelievable animal/nature pictures or videos (This can be major videos such as the BBC Planet Earth series or funny little Face Book clips on awesome unbelievable animals which is why they are so popular).
  • while on the subject of social media and other devices, you can take a break from them and watch the clouds, stars, rain, rainbows, etc.
  • take an Awe Walk -  it could be on your usual path for a daily walk or jog, just take the time to smell the roses and notice what is all around you
  • take advantage of nature around you such as the Super Moon that just occurred last night - the last time that happened was in 1947 and it will not come around again until 2052 - amazing!
To be able to allow awe inspiring moments will challenge us to what we think we already know.  It should be uplifting.  Even though researchers are just now starting to study this subject deeper, many years ago Albert Einstein stated, "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.  It is the source of all true art and all science.  He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."  I rest my case!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Dance Me to the End of Love

Last night I heard the very sad news that Leonard Cohen had passed away. Still to this day, I am somewhat amazed that there are so many people who do not recognize his name, even if they are not a big fan of his, as I am.  Once they are told that he wrote the song "Hallelujah" then they know who I am talking about.  That may be the only song they know of by this singer, songwriter and poet, but that is okay.  It took him 5 years to write it and it brought him back into the limelight, which in my opinion is where he always belonged.  It was the most covered Cohen song of all time. Even in the movie "Shrek" it is heard.  It is a very moving song sung by many different artists with just as many versions.

Leonard Cohen was 82 years of age.  He had just released an album that was produced by his son Adam in his home, due to his father not being able to get around physically.  It is titled "You Want It Darker."  This title rather goes along with Mr. Cohen's life, in that he did have his moments on the dark side.  

Speaking for myself, I have no problem saying that I am okay with my crazy, as we all should be. I know that life has so many chapters that one bad one does not mean it is the end of the book. This is how I imagine that Mr. Cohen lived his life.  There are times that you just have to tell the negative committee that meets inside your head that they just need to sit down and shut up. Knowing that I need to surround myself with peace and positivity is what gives me the kick to knock it up a notch.  Reading about Leonard Cohen's life and how he chose to live it, seems to follow a plan of always taking a while to reflect and then go into action with a plan.  

By no means am I comparing my talent or life to Leonard Cohen's. I could only hope to have a touch of his talent the size of perhaps his little toe.  And then that is wishful thinking.  However, what I am saying is how many of us can relate to how he lived his life out? He was born in Canada and his family owned a posh clothing store. His father passed away when he was only nine. He claims that being around the store and later working some in the store is where he received his education on style.  He definitely scored an A+  on that subject.  I am speaking more of relating to how we deal with making lemonade out of lemons.   

Many critics wrote that his music was too dark, his music had a funeral tone to it and his voice was a weary monotone.  Some of it was a monotone such as a poet reading from his poetry.  Then, there is a whole different side to Leonard Cohen.  Many fans became fans after seeing him perform live, which was something that he did not particularly like to do, but did it so well. 

Lucky for me, I did get to see this unbelievable talent perform in Memphis at The Orpheum just three years ago.  Never did I think that I would get to see him live.  His quick and bouncy movements on stage, his stamina of performing for three hours and his quick witted side remarks did not give away his age.  It was a remarkable performance, one that I shall never forget and I know that my life is better for  having his music in it.  I can only read about how he was able to bring 600,000 very rowdy fans to a silence, after being on a high with a Jimi Hendrix performance at The Isle of Wight Music Festival in 1974, with his soft, comforting voice alone.  He had the audience begging for more of his music and style.  

He started his career as strictly a poet and was very successful in publishing poetry. While putting some words to music, he thought that guitars impressed the girls, so he joined a band for a short time. It was his fascination with human relationships that spurred him on with his writing.  He was in and out of the limelight, even at one point giving it up and becoming a Monk.  How he chose to deal with his ups and downs of life was his business.  We all have our own ways.  

The one thing that I grasped from reading about his life is that there may have been some 'down' times for him, however, he always found his way back by not ever letting go of the spark.  In his own words, "I don't consider myself a pessimist.  I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting for it to rain.  And I feel soaked to the skin."  In my own mind, I see him believing that we all have cracks and may be broken for a while, however, the light will get in as long as you keep yourself open to it.  That is why I know that I am okay with my kind of crazy.  

His raspy/gravelly voice continued to go deeper throughout his records.  If you listen to one of his first albums, it is quite a bit lighter sounding than his last ones.  To me, he just got better.  He did dance to the end of love and his music and words will live on in time.       

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The People Have Voted

The election is finally over.  At least there is an announced winner and there is another side who lost.  Even at this time, this writer is not stating for which side she voted.  Remember, I am the one who wrote a few blogs back about the etiquette of talking politics with others.  My momma always did teach me that it is a sense of good breeding and a fine sense of decorum to not approach the subject with others.  She expected us to show that she taught us how to be dignified.  Whether you agree or disagree, it is why I believe the way I believe.  Don't psychiatrist always say to blame it on the mother?  I, for one, always found this lesson that she taught kept me out of a lot of heated debates that would have all been for naught.  

The actual election day is over, now we have other issues to deal with in our country.  If your candidate won - don't gloat!  If your candidate lost - don't despair.  Quite frankly, I have already seen bunches of gloating and despairing in the social media and it is not even 10:00 A.M., local time, yet.  

One very true item that was posted stated that it was distressing that people on both sides are STILL name calling.  People can still disagree all they like but they need to please do so respectfully. Insulting one another gets us nowhere.  It does not change minds. We are all in this together, whether we like it or not.  So we may as well, join hands and come together with acceptable compromises and understandings.  

This morning it was disheartening to find friends still saying mean-spirited things about those who voted against what they believed. This is now the time, if ever there was one, to pull together to achieve a harmonious country again.  It is okay and it is even expected that we will disagree.  Let's just disagree with class and respect.  We need to partner with one another instead of disagreeing in anger.  Open your heart and ears to listen to another view, instead of listening until you hear the part you disagree with and then shutting down.  This type of behavior will paint you into a corner that you can't escape from with dignity.  We all need to improve our listening skills and this will help us grow in our thoughtfulness.

I believe that we have to first be able to admit to ourselves that we don't have all of the answers.  If most of you are like me, there are things that I am aware of that need to be changed.  I do not have the answers of how to change them for the better. This is why we need to listen to others without judging. Change is not always a bad thing. Being creative with a possible new ally could create new beginnings and answers in a positive way.  Remember, our great country has a check and balance system that our forefathers established.  One person can't dictate the outcome.  For so many Americans, it is very scary to give up what we think we know and yet we all need to widen our perspective.  We can't always control the way another person presents themselves.  What we can do is to listen and not judge.  What may or may not seem to be presidential behavior to some, is just what others may want to see in order to have changes occur.  

We all just need to suck it up, Buttercup...whether our candidate won or lost...and move forward together in a harmonious relationship for the good of the United States of America. Just as Margaret Wheatley said, "It's not differences that divide us.  It's our judgments about each other that do.  Curiosity and good listening bring us back together."   In the concession speech that Ms. Clinton gave she stated in one way or another that now we owe the newly elected president an open mind and a chance to lead.  She also acknowledged that our country seems to be more divided than she realized.  

How do we fix that?  We all know that it is not an overnight solution.  We must all admit that we need to come together and show that we are united. No one person or perspective can give us the answers that we need.  

P.S.  This will be the first time that I have ever written a post script to a blog of mine.  This was published before noon today.  At about 3:30 this afternoon I watched a two minute blurb from The Ellen DeGeneres Show.  Obviously it was live because she took the time to offer words of hope after the election.  Her words were so very much like what I was feeling and wrote in my blog today that it validated, in my mind, what I was trying to get across and hopefully with some success.  We need to come together now and see the best in America and the people who live here.  We all have different ideas and this is why America is a great country.  The election news anchors used labels for the voters.  We need to take away those labels because we are all more alike than different Ellen stated, citing humorous examples of this.  She used the same words that I did in stating that we need to have kindness and respect for one another.  Of course, Ellen being Ellen, did not let it go at that. She said that there is one exception to that rule and that is for the people who leave the shopping carts in the middle of a parking space.  They need to be shipped out of the country!  She did end her segment with a video of precious animals being kind to one another.  I do not have the video to share, however, I do have a few pictures that will help us all see how kindness can help us achieve togetherness.  (If you are interested, you can view the whole 4 minute clip on

Monday, November 7, 2016

"You Are So Beautiful"

The definition of beautiful according to the dictionary is: attractive, pretty, handsome, and good-looking.  I would say these words are rather vague as to defining beautiful.  The first four pictures above are from magazines that are of some famous women who are considered beautiful (all in their 50's - 70's).  Yes, more than likely air brushed and plastic surgery for some, however, if you compared seeing them live at an event or interview on TV, they look pretty much the same.

The next set of pictures are of women that have chosen to have a make over, in order to stress that if a woman wants to look a certain way, she can through the use of make up.  Calvin Klein hit the mark when he said, "The best thing is to look natural, but it takes make up to look natural."  I would like to add that it takes skill to apply make up that looks natural.  Not all women want to go through those motions, nor should they.  We do have the power to be our own kind of beautiful and this can change from day to day, even hour to hour.

We all, as women, need to decide what it is that we want or need to be happy within ourselves.  Just knowing that our DNA has a lot to do with our appearance and that we should work harder to not put ourselves down based on this fact.  Imperfections are beautiful. Every famous person who is considered beautiful will be the first one to tell you a part of their looks that they do not find beautiful. It is okay.  We all need to be our own kind of beautiful or else we will look like perfect little molds coming out of some beauty machine. When is the last time that you flipped through a beauty magazine or watched a runway of models showing off the latest designer fashions?  Cookie cutter beauty is what you will see.  Instead of being like a stone that is found everywhere, achieve to become the precious and rare diamond that is viewed as having your own kind of individual beauty.

This is where we all need to remember that beauty is how you feel on the inside so that it all reflects in our eyes, our souls and our hearts. A very important mantra that I, as well as many other woman need to repeat frequently is to remember that being beautiful doesn't make you happy.  Being happy makes you beautiful.   

This picture of Katie Couric really demonstrates what I have been blogging about.  She is happy from within herself.  Her beauty shines in both pictures.  One without make up and the other one with some make up.  We all need to remember that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and to stop being so rigid about what makes a person beautiful.

Let's put an end to the advertising agencies dictating to us about using an anti-aging cream and showing in a picture how our skin will look if we use it.  (Oops...they forgot to mention the model in the picture was in her 20's.) Or that the beautiful eye lashes can be ours if we use a certain kind of mascara.  Now, I don't know about you, but there is not a human on this planet who has lashes like what is shown in magazines unless they have lash enhancers on with the mascara.  These companies are finally being called out on some of these misconceptions.  Another favorite ad is for those using Spanx, a body shaper product, only the person showing what Spanx can do for us is already a size 6.  What would she need a body shaper for?  It is to make the consumer believe that her size 12 -14 body will look like the model if we put on Spanx.  

We are all unique and beautiful human beings.  Go out in the world with your smile and your beauty will most definitely come shining through.  After all, it does take your beauty on the inside to come shining outwardly for the real beauty to be seen by others.