Monthly Archives: February 2013

Protect Your Health and Immune System

How is this romantic?  It isn’t, unless you consider that fewer household illnesses means a less exhausted set of parents…which increases the odds of being in the mood to….you know….

So let me share this important information. images-4 Through my work with CARES, I was fortunate enough to hear the authors of A Compromised Generation give an amazing, if somewhat frightening, presentation about how our current lifestyle choices and food supplies are adversely affecting our health.  But don’t panic, even a few simple changes can make a big difference!  Check out my article about how to Protect Your Family’s Health and Immune System.


Putting Your Best Face Forward

Thoughts on mascara…               

If you could only apply one makeup item to your face in the morning, what would it be?  Some say foundation or powder to help uneven skin tone.  Others (like my mom) say lipstick, to give their mouth a touch of color before heading out the door.  For me, the answer is easy…mascara.  Adding a little bit of mascara in the morning can drastically change your appearance from looking “sleepy” to “awake” in mere seconds.  photo(1)

Over the years I’ve tried many brands.  Recently, I tried (and tossed) one from Benefit because, no matter how hard I tried to take off at night, it would still appear under my eyes the next morning – YUCK!   I’m still a fan of the tried and true Maybelline Greatlash in black.  This is probably the very first mascara I ever owned.   When I buy it for my teenage daughter now, the pink tube brings back memories of high school pep rallies and school dances…and makes me smile.

But I do have a favorite for myself, one I’ve used for the past five years.  It’s called Blinc and I LOVE it.  Its website states that, instead of painting your lashes, Blinc forms “tubes” around them.  I’m not really sure what this means, but I do know it goes on easily, stays on all day — even if the tears are rolling down my face – AND, more importantly, it isn’t on my face the next morning!  If you’re in the market for some super flirty lashes, try Blinc.

Of course, I’m always open to trying new products, so if you have a favorite mascara you’d recommend, let us know!



Unrequited Love Songs

If you’ve read my website bio, then you know I’m overly familiar with unrequited love (until I met my husband, anyway).  One-sided love yields a bittersweet pain, which can cling to the rejected lover for quite a long time.  Perhaps that’s because the one in-love typically has some kind of close relationship with the object of his or her affection (friendship, colleague, etc.), so it is hard to let go and move on.

Of course, many song-writers have addressed this experience with far more eloquence than I can quickly muster for this blog.  When I first heard Sara Bareilles’ Gravity, it felt as if she’d reached into my head and heart to steal my thoughts and feelings.  Of course, this song could also be interpreted to be relate to an on-again/off-again type of romance, but I prefer the unrequited association.  Just like with last week’s song, the imagery of these lyrics grab me.  I especially love the first two lines of the second verse, but the entire song is simply gorgeous.


Something always brings me back to you.
It never takes too long.
No matter what I say or do,
I’ll still feel you here ’til the moment I’m gone.

You hold me without touch.
You keep me without chains.
I never wanted anything so much
than to drown in your love and not feel your reign.

Set me free,
leave me be.
I don’t want to fall another moment into your gravity.
Here I am
and I stand so tall,
just the way I’m supposed to be.
But you’re on to me
and all over me.

You loved me ’cause I’m fragile.
When I thought that I was strong.
But you touch me for a little while
and all my fragile strength is gone.

Set me free,
leave me be.
I don’t want to fall another moment into your gravity.
Here I am
and I stand so tall,
just the way I’m supposed to be.
But you’re on to me
and all over me.

I live here on my knees
as I try to make you see
that you’re everything I think I need
here on the ground.
But you’re neither friend nor foe
though I can’t seem to let you go.
The one thing that I still know
is that you’re keeping me down, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
You’re on to me, on to me, and all over…

Something always brings me back to you.
It never takes too long.

Not only are these words beautiful, but the melody and Sara’s vocals match the promise of her lyrics.  Take a listen:

This may be one of my all time favorite songs.  Have you ever loved someone who couldn’t love you back?  Does this song resonate with you?  Got any similar songs to share?


Want to Fall In Lust With A Bad Boy?

Last week’s reading recommendation (Me Before You) discussed a thought-provoking and heartbreaking love story.  This week I’m changing gears and offering something light and fun.

I’ll admit to enjoying historical romance novels.  Who can resist dashing dukes, rakish viscounts, and secret trysts?  One of my favorite historical romance authors is Lisa Kleypas (who also writes contemporary romance novels, including contemporaries with ‘mystical’ elements).  If you don’t know her work, I envy you because you get to discover her wonderful characters and writing.

With so many of her books to choose from, it was difficult to pick one.  I considered her heroes and opted to highlight one of my favorites, Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent.  He is featured in The Devil in Winter, one of the four Wallflowers series stories (book three of a four book series), originally published in 2006.  images-7

The book blurb on Amazon reads:

A devil’s bargain

Easily the shyest Wallflower, Evangeline Jenner stands to become the wealthiest, once her inheritance comes due. Because she must first escape the clutches of her unscrupulous relatives, Evie has approached the rake Viscount St. Vincent with a most outrageous proposition: marriage!

Sebastian’s reputation is so dangerous that thirty seconds alone with him will ruin any maiden’s good name. Still, this bewitching chit appeared, unchaperoned, on his doorstep to offer her hand. Certainly an aristocrat with a fine eye for beauty could do far worse.

But Evie’s proposal comes with a condition: no lovemaking after their wedding night. She will never become just another of the dashing libertine’s callously discarded broken hearts — which means Sebastian will simply have to work harder at his seductions…or perhaps surrender his own heart for the very first time in the name of true love.

Be warned, Sebastian is not an admirable hero.  He’s practically amoral (and proud of it).  And he’s broke, which is why he accepts Evie’s proposal.  So why do I like him so much?  Well, aside from my sick obsession with twisted, damaged heroes, Sebastian has a great dry wit.  And despite his arrogant, gruff persona, his tenderness is revealed soon enough.  I promise you’ll find yourself cheering him on by the end of the book.  What about the heroine?  Evie’s shyness and stutter make her appear weak to the world, but she has a spine of steel.

To demonstrate the banter throughout the book, here’s an excerpt from the end of the first chapter, once Sebastian agrees to Evie’s proposal  (and she’s eager to rush off to Gretna Green to marry before her relatives find her).  Note that, a week prior, Sebastian had kidnapped Evie’s friend in a failed forced elopement plot.  In this excerpt, Sebastian is the first to speak:

            “I’ll have the carriage readied and have the valet pack my clothes.  We’ll leave within the hour.  Incidentally, if you decide to back out of our agreement at any time during our journey, I will strangle you.”

            She shot him a sardonic glance.  “You w-wouldn’t be so nervous about that if you hadn’t tried this with an unwilling victim l-last week.”

            “Touche. Then we may describe you as a willing victim?”

            “An eager one,” Evangeline said shortly, looking as though she wanted to be off at once.

            “My favorite kind,” he remarked, and bowed politely before he strode from the library.

Bottom line, if you want to escape into a different era and world, and see the good girl reform the bad boy, then read this book.  It won’t disappoint!

Intensifying Intimacy

Psychology Today contributing author Preston Ni recently posted an article maintaining that the long-term viability of a relationship can be determined by examining seven key factors (Seven Key Factors to Long-Term Relationship Success).  couples1The lengthy article is well-worth reading, but I’m sharing the section on intimacy compatibility with all of you because, for those seeking more romance in their lives, increasing intimacy of any kind is important.

Apparently intimacy can be broken down into four dimensions:

  1. Physical (everything from a simple touch to sex);
  2. Emotional (effectively expressing and/or validating loving emotions);
  3. Intellectual (the kinship inspired by a discussion or debate with a partner one feels is an intellectual equal); and
  4. Shared Activities (shared positive interactions/experiences that help bond the pair).

A quick compatibility test can help identify the areas of a relationship that need extra attention.  List the dimensions as follows:

Partner A        Partner B

Shared Activities

In each category, both partners should rank whether or not that category of intimacy is a must (crucial), should (good, but not needed daily), or could (relatively unimportant) for them in a romantic relationship.  Obviously, a must-must match in any category proves excellent compatibility.  Must-Should and Should-Should each signals good compatibility.  The Could-Must pairing indicates poor compatibility.

If you and your partner come up short in a category, don’t despair!  Poor compatibility categories require further dialogue between partners, but aren’t insurmountable.  Once the issue is identified, it can be addressed if both partners are willing to compromise.  While early attempts to overcome unnatural expressions of intimacy may initially feel uncomfortable to someone trying to meet his/her partner’s needs, everyone is capable of change, especially when motivated by the desire to stay connected.  You’ve probably heard the saying “fake it until you make it”… and apparently it’s true!

We all know if our own needs are being met, but since we’re always evolving (individually, and as couples), it never hurts to touch base with your partner to ensure you’re meeting his/her needs as well.

When I consider this test, I’d probably rank the categories, in order, as should, must, must, should.  Now I’d better check with my husband to see what he thinks!