24 December 2008

Happy Holidays to all!

Well, the time has arrived for me where there is no time left and all there is to be done is enjoy! I wish you all a wonderful holiday, whether you celebrate Chanukah, Christmas or Kwanza. May your holidays be bright, may your new year shine brighter and may you prosper and be successful at all that you do. We have much to anticipate in 2009. No status quo this New Year. Keep checking back with me for more tips and commentary in Tending to Details. Happy Holidays one and all. Miriam

17 December 2008

Walk the Walk

I think that's what I'm trying to do here! After reading my last entry and analyzing my state of consciousness...I'll make a better effort! Not that I'm smothering, I just am realizing with a week to go I am finally beginning to feel the pinch and a little panic. It's not the usual kind of panic; palpitations, sweaty palms and the like, but enough that I wake during the night and have to have a conversation with myself. I go through the mindtalk at 3 am that I am totally on the ball and have everything in order and no need to fret. I wake a little stressed about situations I totally have well covered! A horrible habit to kick! I am having about 25 people here on Xmas day and food needs to be ordered and purchased. Gifts outside of the fam are wrapped but I still have plenty of work to do. Busy, busy, busy. So, I will impart some words of wisdom that even I need to hear today. One of my favorite tidbits is to simply, "breathe". I have a son who as a little boy would get himself unnecessarily "freaked" over situations that he felt were out of his control which is how we adults sometimes react, but so not necessary for a little 4 year old. I would hold his hand, or hug him and we would take long deep cleansing breaths together and we would just breathe. So, that still works for me. Once re-oxygenated, then, make that list and stick to it. Update and revise each day. Figure out how much time you have to dedicate to the holiday, work backwards from the impending holiday and assign a task each day. Break the day up, figure out what needs to be tended to that relates to your day-to-day and add in a task here or there to be accomplished. That's all we can do. We can't do any more than we can handle. Rome wasn't built in a day and we don't need to be feeling the burn here! Whatever last minute gift I've neglected can always be given and received after the new year as a gesture of thanks for the year ahead. So many people come into our daily lives that we feel we should recognize, and well we should. If it helps you to feel more in control though, purchase a few gender neutral but thoughtful gifts and stash them in a closet. When you find yourself in need just grab one of these little trinkets and you're always at the ready. I try to do this throughout the year with children's gifts. There will be the last minute party invite for one of the boys and no shopping time open. It works, try it. Another nice thank you is to print on the computer a little paragraph of thoughts about someone you need to gift with special thanks. I suggest a little 2x3 or 4x6 size and frame it. This makes a nice affirmation gift for someone that can be placed on their desk at work, tucked in amongst the clutter but can be read and re-read daily. It always nice to tell someone what they mean to you as they don't usually hear it enough or sometimes don't realize how they have positively impacted your life. And what a nice reminder when we get down on ourselves to have that little inspiration to lift us up. I call that a gift! Sometimes it's not easy to tell someone face to face how you feel about them, or we just assume they know. This way they'll always be reminded. There, I think I've solved my own gifting dilemma that woke me early morn. Now that that's behind me, I have the whole day to be successful! Thanks for reading! Miriam

04 December 2008

Tending to Details again!

I'm chuckling to myself as I begin this post because I don't know where I've been of late...but not here! Tending to Details, I guess! With the Turkey Holiday so closely chasing the feathers of the next one...well, I'm smothering already in tasks! We've lost a week this year and I'm just realizing that I'm a tad behind. I enjoyed the candied yams and cranberries just a bit too much! So, if you're anything like me you're in need of a jumpstart and some organizational tools to stay afloat. With Chanukah and Christmas so close together this year we all are in a bustle, if this is the holiday you celebrate. Simplify now and you won't get caught missing out. If you can't get to holiday cards, save them for Valentines Day! I had a friend teach me this a long while back. I was so impressed with her that she didn't cause herself alot of strife at Christmas! She simply saved her cards and family photos until Valentines Day when the hustle bustle is over. People are really happy to receive a nice note and pictures of friends they don't see often at a time when we are supposed to be letting people we care about know how much we think of them. So, toss that task aside for now, if need be. With the shopping, well, we all are feeling the punch this year, I'm sure. Keep it simple, keep it close to the heart and give exactly what that person needs or wants. No frills, no useless mismatched purchases just because you need a gift and stopped at the store down the street on your way by. Think it through a bit, make the extra effort but make it thoughtful and worthwhile. Don't worry how much you spend. When it's the perfect gift, you'll know it, and no dollar amount can be put on that! Take time out to sit and enjoy family and friends. A simple cup of spice tea, glass of nog or wine and a chat mean so much more than a big overdone catered affair where there are so many bodies bumping up against us that we just want to find the blinking exit sign and head for home. This isn't the purpose of a gathering but at times this is how we can feel. The decorating can become so cumbersome too so keep it simple. Let all the family members get in on the action and get creative. Outdoor lights are the most fun, just keep it simple and inviting. It's really neat to hang them at night! Put out a boom box for some inspirational holiday music, pour some hot cocoa and grab the ladder! Just be careful! A few colorful lights, window candles and a great door wreath can spruce things up and say Welcome! So, enjoy the festivities...relax and breath deep! It's all good and it should not be about stress and angst! It's about family, friends, togetherness and joy! Peace and happy holidays to all! Miriam

24 November 2008

Alligator be gone!

I don't know about you all but I am preoccupied with my skin these days after the natural drying and shriveling of the winter has somehow already begun! Once the heat is turned on, it's all over for my skin! I know natural moisture depletes as we age, but give me a break! I took a little time to do some research and thought I'd impart some of my findings on to you. I have been plagued with dry skin all my life, which had served me well as a teen, no classic breakouts or weekend panic after using the last Stridex! Only the occasional bump with my pregnancies. I could deal. But this dry, alligator skin is relentless and oh, so unattractive. So, here's what I found that might be of use. Did you know that according to statistics 50 million dollars was spent last year along on nutricosmetics-products designed to repair dry, damaged and wrinkled skin? WOW! There are many things we can do besides special treatments, plastic surgery and the like to help our skin resist the damages of aging, sun, and forced air heat! As far as your food consumption, we can all improve our eating habits usually, but to help your skin retain it's tone, texture and resist sagging and wrinkling eat a diet of lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables and keep to the whole grains in your breads and pastas. This diet is not only great for your waistline but helps to keep your skin vital as well. Women in your forties and fifties, your hormones fluctuate at a rapid rate and breakouts, mentioned above, surprisingly plague women in this bracket. The drop in estrogen contributes to the dryness in the skin. A good retinol cream is great for bringing moisture back into your skin and can be added into your evening routine. Only use specially designed eye creams for the sensitive area surrounding the eye. Co-enzyme Q10 or any other cream with anti-inflammatory properties helps improve elasticity. I've heard the rumors of Preparation H working wonders here...but I've yet to bring myself to try it A place for everything and everything in it's place, I always say! Instead, a diet high in Omega 3 fatty acids helps to maintain natural radiance in your skin and aids in reducing puffiness. Specifically for women in their fifties, sebum, the natural oils present in our skin ,tends to decrease yearly. If you will use the most emollient product your skin can tolerate, even in your cleansers, you should see benefits in this area. For a procedure sure to pack a punch and defend fine lines and age spots, TCA-Trichloroacetic acid treatment, or a 70% glycolic acid peel can help. On my favs list, http://www.gorgeouslygreen.com/, Sophie says soak in a bathtub of bath oils from luscious places like http://www.bathme.com/ , for instance, a lavender bath tea, which will help to reduce stress and help relax your body. Add in a couple of drops of olive oil to soften the skin. Yum! Doesn't this sound so inviting on a cold winter night? Aromafoiria For Feets Sake, double action spa foot scrub is great for exfoliating and moisturizing those tired puppies. Visit http://www.aromafloria.com/. Jane Iredale mineral cosmetics produces my possibly very newest fav in the lip balm category! Still love my Trish McAvoy but you must try this product! Lip Drink with SPF 15 is just amazing. I could slather myself with it if I could but it's only a lip appropriate tube! But thanks Jane...love it! www.janeiredale.com If you love browsing Bath and Body Works, as I do, you will find some great tried and trues here ,too. Of the True Blue Spa series some of my personal "must haves" are the Look Ma, New Hands hand cream. I'm still insane over this product. They must never, ever discontinue or they'll be hearing from moi! It's only $12 for the 2.5 oz tube and $18.50 for the 5oz. pump. Why does it work so well on my dry crusty digits? Paraffin locks in moisture to bring you softer, smoother and more hydrated skin all day. I think I've mentioned this in the past also, and while this product is still and always will be amazing, it's only to be used sparingly and at night when you are totally finished with any other task. Elizabeth Arden 8-Hour Cream is, in my opinion, one of the fastest-acting products out there for dry hands, cracked feet, etc., etc., however, if you try to touch anything with it, if you're able to pry it off your hands the grease spot will be practically permanent but it's worth it. I hope some of this is helpful in combating your dry skin issues and prevents it from becoming an ordeal. Here in PA we have a long, chilly road ahead of us, and after already receiving a white wintry blast, I fear I must stock up on my products now before I'm snowed in, so I'd best be going! Thanks for reading! Miriam

16 November 2008

To continue the theme...

In this time of preparation to give thanks, I expound on this and remind you once again how very important it is to spend time with those that mean the most to you. Tell them, not just now, in the season of giving, but always. My aunt recently lost her husband and while she has so many memories to cherish, her heart is broken. People fall ill all the time and we sometimes don't deal with it because it is too hard to go to that person and tell them what they mean to us before it's too late. Do it while you have the opportunity. Just sit and be together. I attended two family weddings this weekend, one from my side, one from my husbands'. I was surrounded by three generations of my family! How wonderful it feels to be together in a room full of people that I love and who love me back! These occasions are so fleeting and I tried to cherish the moment with each sibling, cousin, aunt, uncle and great aunt as we get so caught up in the busy days that pass too quickly. Our two beautiful young cousins and their handsome young husbands have their whole lives to plan and to share with us all. It's a very settling feeling seeing the cycle continue. A few days back I had a heartwarming conversation with an old college friend that made me smile the entire day, and at moments brought a few tears. I cherish these conversations always and have tried to make it a point to let my friend know. We met when we were so young and our entire lives were before us. We had dreams and plans, and after an astounding 30 years after meeting we can talk like time has stood still. The directions our lives took is vastly different than we thought it might, the good, the bad and the ugly, but we are still there for each other. Cherish these friends, these memories and make the conversation happen. Though some are divorced, have moved away or have chosen the path to go it alone, reach out often. I don't know if aging is what is bringing me to such introspection, I guess I'm okay with aging...I'll be sure to do it as gracefully as I can. I only know I am a very rich person to have so many people that care about me and count myself incredibly blessed after all these years of collecting friendships; ones that I plan to have forever. Peace, Miriam

11 November 2008

Back with holiday thoughts to share

I'm glad to be back and able to share some ideas with you! Isn't the new blog layout divine? Thanks Shannon at www.eightcrazydesign.com for her creativity and great design skills! My wheels are spinning with only a couple of weeks left to prepare for Thanksgiving dinner at my house this year. Small crowd, but regardless, we still eat...alot! There will just be more to go around! I have my tried and true recipe for the best turkey ever so that's a done deal. My sides always change because while I like the classics, candied yams, stuffing, cranberries; my guests likes and dislikes dictate the specifics. Mom loves oysters...why, I don't know...but I'll be sure to have a small morsel for her to enjoy. Creamed oysters at that! If I have to suffer through them, wrapped in bacon and broiled would do nicely. Dad doesn't like alot of crunch in his stuffing, but I do. So two varieties, one in the bird, a little more standard for his liking and then one outside the bird with lots of goodies. I found a recipe in Bon Appetit for a yummy dried cranberry, apricot and fig stuffing! Go to bonappetit.com/go/slideshows for a great stuffing slideshow on all the stuffing recipes. The kids like the plain cranberry sauce, wiggly and jiggly out of the can, Ocean Spray version. There will certainly be a need for the more mature palate so I'm going with the cranberry, pomegranate and meyer lemon relish, also found in this months' Bon Appetit. There are actually so many great recipes in this issue, this one is a keeper. Finding space on my shelving is going to be a task. My bookcase overflows already. I have to keep 4 books out at all times since there is no more room! Makes me look like a busy cook! Desserts are standard and always will be; apple crumb pie a la mode and pumpkin, pumpkin and more pumpkin. I hope everyone has a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving and while feasting, remember why we are together and how much each and every person present contributes to the family. Be thankful for what you have and where you are right now. With the volatility in our country there is no better time to hunker down and take stock in what is good and this Thanksgiving I am going to try very hard to make my children aware of all that they have to be grateful for. Thanks for visiting! Miriam

31 October 2008

Under Construction

Just wanted to post to let you know that my blog, Tending to Details, is being updated and redesigned. In the meantime, I will continue to collect ideas to share with my blog readers in the very near future. Many thanks for reading! Miriam

11 October 2008

Shopping Frenzy in your Closet

A shopping frenzy in your own closet? Imagine that! I've noticed the influx of emails of late with all kinds of private sales, discounts and coupons galore for online and in store shopping. The economy has been hit hard and the stores are hitting their stride for the holiday panic. But that doesn't mean you have to! You may be feeling the urge to browse the racks for something new and exciting but I'll bet you if you look deep enough, you'll find it right under your nose. What is it that Dorothy said, about looking for something you've had all along? If what's in your closet needs refreshing, use your creative right brain and see what you can pull together. Have some slacks cuffed up a few inches and made fresh and new with great boots. Layer some of the tissue tees one over the other and add a thin...or thick cardigan. belt it with a wide or narrow patent belt. Add a great statement pendant and voila! Toss on a plush scarf and awesome gloves in a color to pop the entire outfit and you're ready for the runway. Ok, well, maybe not the runway but take a spin down Chestnut Street and see if ya turn any heads! Take a skirt to your trusted tailor for an update and have the side seams taken in to gain the pencil look. Add a ruffle blouse and a great clutch to match or contrast. Patterned hose and some cool new booties will not break your bank. Try DSW for a pair or two. www.dsw.com Dresses are still in with either printed leg wear and pumps or boots. A wide belt and a swing coat if you have one or blazer with a broach or two can update the dress for fall. Be creative. You can do it! Lay the pieces out on the bed and toss them around until you see something that looks aesthetically pleasing. Then try them on. Pin them yourself to get a more realistic view pre tailoring. The few extra bucks you spend to update some pieces will give them a new life and the appearance of a trendy purchase. Happy Shopping! Miriam

07 October 2008

Love your Breast Health

Just a gentle reminder...for all the women reading, please be sure that you schedule your mammogram. With this being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, be especially mindful to remember to do your monthly self exams, and after age 40, schedule your mammogram annually. Men you need to encourage the women in your life that you care about to be active in their own health maintenance. While you're at it, once in a while do a check too. Men can also get breast cancer...bet you weren't aware of that, where you? Let's look towards the cure in our lifetime! Donate to your local chapter or visit http://www.komen.org/ Thanks for caring, Miriam

06 October 2008

Haste makes waste...so take your time and make waste useful!

I was recently reading one of my favorite blogs and got to thinking about a question that came up there. Is it better to put your food waste down the disposal drain or in the trash? My husband and I banter about this all the time. I loose interest in my breakfast when I open the trash in the morning to see last nights' dinner staring up at me. He hates forcing mush down the drain. I'm finding that the trash is the winner over the disposal hands down, according to our eco-friendly blog. The amount of water used to wash the ground up food particles down the drain is excessive. Then, once it travels through the system, huge amounts of water are needed to process the waste out of the water at the other end. Placing the waste in the trashcan avoids massive water consumption. During a drought, this can be a valuable piece of knowledge. There is another method, however! Purchase a small countertop composting container and put your food waste to good use. Resource the vitamins and minerals to your gardens, plants and flower pots. If you visit http://www.williamssonoma.com/ or http://www.realgoods.com/ you'll find some excellent prices in products that will easily do the trick for the beginner composter. From a 5.5 quart container at $18 to the ceramic version at $32 and the stainless at $59.99 you can surely find a style that suits your decor. Complete with charcoal filters for odor free composting you have a choice of decorative canisters that will be almost unnoticeable on your countertop. Surprisingly, Target also carries a stainless $59.99 countertop version at http://www.target.com/ or the Nature Mill Pro for under the counter installation. These are significantly more expensive, beginning at $299.99 and the super model at $399.99 designed for small restaurants, offices and large family usage. These composters have vacation settings and the capacity to compost 120 pounds of food waste per month. It has a continuous process function that mixes every 4 hours and ready for composting every two weeks. This is perfect for the avid gardener. These larger canisters can be installed indoors or out! I am just loving this idea and think it's high time I participated! My mother used to compost for her garden but we had to hike out to the back of our couple of acres, usually at night after dinner and dump behind the shed, who knows what lurked back there? I guess I lived to tell about it but I still think I prefer the indoor countertop option. Much more manageable and at a task level that I feel confident I can handle! Try it and let me know your success rate! Good luck going green! Miriam

02 October 2008

Please vote for Equilibrium Design at Startup Nation

Hi friends! Just a plea to help a small home based business! Equilibrium Design and Consulting was submitted for the 100 best home based business ideas on http://www.startupnation.com/ I'd love it if you'd visit this site and cast a vote for Equilibrium Design. This site promotes home based entrepreneurs and brings great exposure to potential clients. Just visit the site and click on the phrase "See Contestants" at the top. Then look to the left and click on "browse and vote for contestants". Look under "Most Innovative". If you look to the right you can click on the listings alphabetically. Click on D-F and Equilibrium is on page 7...I know, you have to dig...but it's worth it! Please click on the photo and cast your vote. And if you've got extra time on your hands, go back each day until Oct. 31st and vote again! I will be forever indebted! Well, actually, I'd just really appreciate your support! While there visit the sites of all of the other interesting ideas out there and check out what they have to offer! Let's help support the local business owners instead of the multimillion dollar conglomerates. Many thanks, Miriam

30 September 2008

Take a Moment for Good Health

Good health is essential for too many reasons to cite here, but a few would be well being, strength, longevity, and stamina. The winter months are sneaking upon us as we see the end of September and Indian summer days coming to a close. We've busied ourselves efficiently with tasks at hand for others, but are we taking care of ourselves? To help ourselves function at peek performance for our lives and the lives of those we care for we need to be certain to do good for our health. The flu shot is now readily available and if you are in advanced years, an asthma sufferer or a caregiver to young or old, you would be wise to partake in the flu shot. If you have an aversion to needles there's also the flu mist, virtually undetectable. The flu mist is not recommended for asthma sufferers; you would strictly be a candidate for the injection. You also should not have close contact with someone who has a compromised immune system having received the flu mist. Generally, the injection is the method of choice. Schedule yours today. After that is in order, go through your cabinet and be sure your vitamin supply is well stocked and not out of date. This is something you should keep up with regularly but if you don't while we're talking about health, let's get back on track with the vits. A good multi is essential. Make sure it has the basics and then some. Vitamin E is essential for good heart, colon and breast health, (cystic issues), and good prostate health for men. Vitamin C and B complex should meet the daily requirements. Both can be supplemented as your multi will only contain the USDA recommended dosage. Purchase Vitamin C capsules and puncture with a pin. Smooth on over your skin to help stimulate collagen production while diminishing fine lines and wrinkles! D is necessary, as you may have been reading this summer, to compensate for the lack of sun exposure and risks leading to poor bone health. Cal-Mag supplements are great for those with joint pain to help maintain suppleness and flexibility. Omega 3 supplements with fish oil are vital for women and men alike to help combat heart disease. It is also a contributor to promote healthy blood pressure, joint function, brain health and better vision. Try http://www.shaklee.com/ and http://www.gnc.com/ for a huge selection of vitamin products and supplements. Here's a new tip that has been found to be useful. Cinnamon...just a shake or two have been found to lower blood sugar! Add some to your oatmeal, cereal, breakfast toast or morning cup of Joe. Purchase yourself a seal top container large enough that you can store your vitamin bottles all in one place. (http://www.tupperware.com/ )This way you can keep them within arms' reach. Grab the entire container and place the mornings' capsules in a small dish in your kitchen at bedtime. When you're playing beat the clock to get out the door in the morning you don't shortchange yourself and skip the easiest thing you can do to help yourself have a good start to your day. Be good to you! Thanks for reading! Miriam

23 September 2008

Sorting and Filing

Well, now that the proverbial dust is settling a tad, I'm wondering what everyone else is doing to handle the clutter that comes with the fallout of September. If you are lucky enough to work with an ad/min. you probably have it all tied together neatly with a bow and you can find what you need at a seconds' notice. If you don't you may be wishing you had a little help. It's time to get it together, so, let's help ourselves! Keeping our lives organized is an ongoing trial in persistence and dedication and this is needed in every aspect of our busy days. Whether you have billing statements to stash for future record keeping or are bogged down with paperwork from your childs' school, an organized and orderly filing system is paramount to feeling in control of your own personal clutter. I suggest visiting your nearby superstore or if you are lucky enough to have a great family owned office supply, see them first. We need to continue to support the local businesses. You might pay a tad more but the personal service will balance this out. Purchase a container suited to your needs; whether that is an accordion folder, an upright file bin or hanging folders for a desk. I love the hanging folders but I actually have various systems in place in my home. I have an accordion folder labeled with the days of the month 1-31 to help with items I need at my fingertips for the children and for me. This will include permission slips, notes to teachers, doctors' reminder notes, etc. I also utilize a triple stacking drawer set that rests comfortably nearby in the pantry. We view it daily and know that what we might be scrambling for this morning could be well kept here. Ongoing class expectations and syllabus', reports, vocabulary lists, etc. My children know where to go to find these sorts of items in a pinch. Then there is the hanging file drawer. Mine is located in my desk and relates totally to my life; bank statements, membership and organization materials, items related to my business, warranties for phones and electronics, etc. The children have their own hanging file folder, also stored in the pantry near the stacking drawers. They don't have to look far if they don't uncover what they are digging for there. Here they find the important information from their coaches with rosters, schedules, scouting information and materials for ongoing obligations in their busy lives. Color coding...yes, annoying at times but so visual and useful can also help if you are juggling multiples of the same type of paperwork. I definitely use this approach in my calendar and my filing. Either color coding the files themselves with a distinct color for each activity, subject or child, or simply marking the folders with a marker or sticky. I use a highlighter in my calendar to bring attention to any conflicts I might have with scheduling. No more surprises the morning of. I can see well in advance that I need to make provisions or adjustments to a conflict before we are in the midst of the chaos brought about by a frantic family member who can't get themselves where they need to go because someone else has the audacity to have a need at the same time. Give and take is learned and hysteria avoided each time by organizing yourself and subsequently those around you. If you're lucky it will rub off and your mission accomplished! Good luck getting it all together! Miriam

19 September 2008

Women must be girlfriends...

There is something to be said for girlfriends, hot java and a sunny fall morning. The day lay ahead to do with what I wanted and what I wanted to do was spend it with some of my great girlfriends. We met at 9ish...or 10ish, didn't matter. The teapot steeped and the conversation flowed with the coffee, as one by one we joined in on the chatter of life as it is. We had all placed our newly filled calendars aside once getting the children on their respective school buses to be together. We gathered from different angles, post workout, post business meeting, pre-doctors' appointment and left it there to catch up. What we found we shared in this short time was worth a days' web surfing, for sure. We learned a new recipe, found a great place to shop for an awesome new outfit and even filled a last minute birthday gift request! We reviewed the latest diet and it's success rate, challenged the new political candidates and certainly learned a few new methods for instilling self reliance in the kids. I'm pretty sure we even rallied a new tennis game or two! I know that with this short flash of time in a mishmash of days that seem to flow together in a blur, that these moments are cherished by all of us. They are flickers of our youth, confirmation of our wisdom and a bonding that only we women can share in a 60 minute respite. With all that we do each and every day to make it good at our homes for all that live there, we must continue to bond together, nurture and encourage each other with all that we are and all that we want to become. I know I wouldn't be who I am today without the love, support and constant lifting up I receive from my girl friends and all the amazing women in my life. I just had to take a moment to tell them that! Be sure to do the same. Thanks for reading, XO Miriam

17 September 2008

Get on track at the track

School has been in session for a couple of weeks and the routine is being solidified. I am making my daily treks to the gym religiously and I am seeing others struggling to get committed for themselves and making the gym a part of their routine. I hear the murmur, "I haven't been here in a month", or all summer...why? I hate to ask that question but I am puzzled why someone would not wish to help sustain their own health and well being by taking part in some form of daily fitness. We have all heard the experts tout the many, many benefits of fitness on a daily basis. Let's see, we have the stress busting approach, the healthy heart benefits, the circulation, weight control and social aspect. Weight bearing exercise is imperative for women as we age to guard against osteoporosis. Let's talk about a few things that we can do to slowly add fitness back into our day. It should be as routine as brushing our teeth. We wouldn't dare leave the house in the morning without accomplishing this! I know that people have long and stressful work days. A few extra minutes each day, whether it is at the beginning of your day, the end or someplace in between are all you need. Make this commitment to your health. Starting at the local high school track, take some light weights to be used later. Before getting started make sure you take a few moments to stretch and warm the muscles, especially as the temperatures are dropping into chillier mornings. Start with a buddy so you are accountable to someone other than yourself. We seem to have no problem letting ourselves down but you will surely be more fearful of doing so to a friend. Fear is good! Hit the track and get a brisk pace going. Don't use the weights during your walking routine as injury and elevated BP are at risk. You don't want to begin a routine that has to halt suddenly due to an injury. During this track walking routine you can stop and add "stations" and do some squats, lunges, jumping jacks, gentle jogging, anything that will give you a cardio burst. This is also a good time to add in the weights with bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, overhead shoulder presses and front raises. www.DicksSportingGoods.com Create your own personalized circuit training workout. There are usually tennis courts at your disposal also at a public high school. Take a racket and some tennis balls and hit a few against the wall for another cardio option at the end of your walk. If you are lucky enough to have a great gym or YMCA nearby, join and take advantage of all that they offer. Some hot gym trends lately are Kettle Bell workouts, awesome kettle shaped weights with handles created for interesting cardio and strength workouts. This is an amazing, quick results activity if you'd like to tone up while getting some cardio benefits. http://www.kettlebellx.com/ Zumba class, http://www.zumba.com/ a Latin inspired cardio dance workout, is becoming the rage for those who want to catch the dance fever of reality TV. Pilates has been a constant for the past few years and is showing great results for people looking for a gentle class with good toning and stretch results. http://www.pilates.com/ The cycle classes have evolved into an indoor Tour de France, complete with music and video for inspiration. Many classes are custom tailored to include cardio sprint intervals or 30/30 of cycle and yoga. What great ways to get off the couch! I have always had some form of dance in my adult life and nothing tones like a ballet class. Adult beginner classes are offered at most of your local studios these days. The benefits of dance have been well recognized on many levels for years and it is less threatening, too, because of the reality shows. Give it a try, you only live once! I hope that this inspires you to take action and be sure to do something good for your health and get moving. The benefits will have an enormous trickledown effect. Your family will see the results in your confidence, your energy, and your enthusiasm for your life. You can only be as good to someone else as you are to you. Show them that you value who you are and take care of yourself too. The results are immeasurable. Thanks for reading! Miriam

14 September 2008

Shoppers' Delight

Well, I have to say that the goodies in the stores this season are scrumptious and delectable! I haven't totally felt this way in a few seasons! While I do enjoy indulging in an afternoon at the mall to pick up a few necessities, I totally relish a destination unknown attitude of weaving through the racks, running my hands over the beautiful fabrics creating the trends of the season and revelling in the total sensory experience that it is. The lush silks, velvets and leathers are rich and divine. The ruffles and details of cuffs, buttons, buckles and texture are everywhere. You can pick and choose your weapon as to how detailed and rich a look you want. There are styles that are reminiscent of the 60's and Jackie O. Check out the dress department at Ann Taylor! http://www.anntaylor.com/ I had always admired her simply, elegant styling and the classics that have become a staple in our wardrobes because of her inspiration. If you enjoy adding some of the new ideas...which really aren't so new...maybe a men's suiting ensemble, or at least the vest, would be a flirtatious addition to your wardrobe. The textured hose with the bootie are chic and individual if you have the calves to pull the look off...or maybe I should say the lack of calves...long and lean is a necessity with this fashion statement-not something I can accomplish! Pencil skirts are back and with the high-waisted look, an era of long ago is in the air. Maybe a clean white blouse and fitted cardigan can finish the look. Choose deep jewel tone colors to add depth and richness to the style. A statement piece of jewelry can take a very conservative outfit to the next level should you be so bold. Oh, but don't forget the bags! The totes and cross body messengers are lush in patent and quilting. Kate Spade, http://www.katespade.com/ always does wonderful things with her bags and priced to not break your bank. Marc by Marc Jacobs, http://www.nordstrom.com/ is quickly becoming one of my favs to collect as he offers his signature look at a less than over the top price point. Take your time building your wardrobe, but purchase classic designs as a good foundation then add some trend pieces to create a distinctive look without breaking the bank. If you feel like splurging hit the Chanel counter for the new nail colors...the Facettes D'Or Gold Fiction, http://www.chanel.com/, is nothing but spectacular! At $30 a bottle, maybe share it with a friend! It will flatter most every skin tone! A stunning statement to finish off your look! Enjoy the season! I know I am!

12 September 2008

Please Vote for EDC-Best Website!

Hey friends of EDC, please scroll down my blog and click on the Divine Caroline banner link to the right! I'd love it if you'd vote for my website! Stephanie did an amazing job and I'd like to give her some props! Winner chosen the end of December...so please, please vote! My thanks! Miriam

11 September 2008

A solemn day

Please take a moment today to pause and reflect on the meaning of this date that will never again be just another day. The images of that morning, so puzzling and bizarre are burned into my memory forever. I know exactly where I was on that morning when I saw the first image of devastation occurring. The sheer pain and fear resurface instantly and I am one who's life was not instantly altered by the loss of a loved one. My City was invaded by evil and I take it very personally. Our Country was invaded and I take it very personally. I pray for those who lost their lives and have a swell of pride when I think of Father Michael and the NYFD members who bravely walked into the towers to selflessly save lives. My favorite skyline has been changed forever. Always remember.

08 September 2008

Whilst we Tend...

While we are tending to the details of our very busy lives, especially now that school is back in session we need to take some time to remember to tend to ourselves. Yes, we are getting the lunches packed, the assignment books signed and homework accounted for. The sports uniforms are washed and folded and the pages upon pages of paperwork are filled in and returned to the appropriate party. Have you taken any time during these chaotic back to the grind days for you? Have you remembered to reach down inside, take a deep breath and maybe even pat yourself on the back? Maybe that yoga mat needs to have the dust shaken off. A few moments of quiet solitude each morning before you begin your day would serve you well, and your family residually. If you can manage an early morning walk before the kids rise, what a good thing for you. Clear the mind, breathe in the clear air and sort your thoughts to start your day. You cannot be good to anyone else if you aren't first good to you. I keep a wonderful little book entitled, "Inner Peace" written long ago by Paramahansa Yogananda, at my bedside. It's teachings talk of being actively calm. It helps to read and reread a passage a day to remind us to start from a quiet, calm place with each day and revisit this place frequently. To have an organized mind leads to an organized day. There are many more days ahead where we will feel overwhelmed and sometimes even suffer a failed attempt at doing what we set out to do. This is okay. Start fresh tomorrow and remember that it is all good in the end. Oh, and Friday does roll around 52 times!

04 September 2008

Organizing Your Kids' for School

Well, folks, after learning the hard way with my first I'm getting a second chance to get it right with son No. 2 and thought I'd pass on my knowledge to you. Organizing myself is easy, it's a way of life for me, and even helping you is a breeze if you're open to it. Helping the kids, well, that's a...(pick your own cliche)! My oldest is certainly organizationally challenged and that I blame on his Dad. My 6th grader has been in middle school for 3 days and I'll swear to you he's his brothers mini-me. After No. 1 son lost assignments, syllabus, progress reports, baby teeth...what have you, I smartened up and purchased TWO 3 ring zipper keepers, trappers or lifesaving devices, whatever you choose to call those cumbersome, voluminous suitcases the kids cart back and forth to school in their 25 lb. backpacks. He carried one for morning classes and another for afternoon. The problem then became having time to get to his locker to pick up the other appendage and then actually bringing the correct one home when needed. Enough about him. I'd finally figured it out! Two binders are better than one! Two sets of subject dividers, with durable plastic tabs, preferably with pockets and color coded to save important papers and find them quickly. Writing legibly on the tabs is also a prerequisite. No doctors' scratch allowed! (My son's excuse for his sloppy penmanship! He's destined to fill prescriptions!) After No. 2 son I found the most awesome of awesome zipper binders! It's a 2 in 1..."Z Binder" keeper from Case-It with a three ring binder on the front-now known as AM and the back-subsequently labeled PM. Ta-da! Eureka...I think she's got it! Of course the outside has been labeled by the boy genius because we can't possible be expected to remember blue on black is AM and black on blue is PM. Right? Naaahh..... Add a couple of pencils and pens on each side in an elastic holder, a copy of the schedule in the front pocket-AM and PM sides, well, pretty much a double of everything, including pencil sharpener and you're set. There is no room for error, no excuses, no paperwork left behind...because it's got to be somewhere!! Now, by the time No. 3 son joins his brother in middle school I'm guessing they'll all be using Sony Readers and my job will be pink slipped. Until then, I'm determined to stay ahead of the curve. Nobody gets anything past this organized Mom!

01 September 2008

The last scramble

Well, if you are anything like me you have all your ducks in a row for the big swim upstream which for us is tomorrow. For my kids it's "Dday" and they are scrambling to the point of inducing hysterics! Somehow the last day of summer vacation means we must, and I emphasize the word must...under any conditions and circumstance...squeeze in all the fun left undone. Right now I have two boys salivating for pet turtles? Turtles...as in living and breathing little amphibs? I thought they were banned from the country? I don't know...I had one as a child, of course, creatively named Tommy...hum, but where does one get a pet turtle today? Used to sell them on the streets of NYC but no more. Unless they come with a pair of antibacterial gloves these days. Since the turtle idea will have to wait, how about maybe we head out to buy more jeans...for when it starts to get cold. And do we have any itunes gift cards, I'm gonna need to update my music. I can't possibly ride on the high school bus and talk to anybody! While I'm at it, can I get some apps too? Whatever happened to just sitting on the porch swing, enjoying the sunshine and the subtle breeze and maybe catching a MLB playoff game on the tube, or, if absolutely necessary, a pre-season Eagles game? Can't do this without the beverage of choice in hand, ya know. No, the skate park HAS to be closed today! And I know that your friend is still at the beach so don't bother calling. Why don't you finish reading your assigned reading book, or contribute to your journaling. Forms are filled in to the letter, Epipens renewed, inhalers packed in backpacks...what more do they want from me? I have nothing left to give but a lonely tear in anticipation of the sweet sound of the braking bus at the corner! Bring. It. On. Miriam

29 August 2008

Welcome friends!

I'm hoping to use this blog as a tool to help people possibly start a project that has left them less than inspired. Maybe a cluttered closet, an empty pantry and too much take-out or lack of options for that holiday black tie event-what to wear? A little advice goes a long way, as I find. Right now I'm pondering where the summer went and why I have so many unaccomplished tasks myself. Those pictures that continue to pile up one vacation and birthday after the next. If only I could add a few hours to my day. I'm sure many of you feel the same way. I guess if we brainstorm together we might be able to find a strategy that works. For instance, wake up, salute the sun, breathe deep and pace yourself. Don't forget that each day is a gift and most importantly prioritize. Maybe that's why my pix are still in a pile. My energetic kids have been a welcome distraction this summer. Well...ok, usually. In the meantime, I'll sort the pile, recycle those mishaps and agree with Scarlet once again. Thanks for visiting! Miriam