Tag Archives: Health

5 Things To Do With Your Friends

Being a woman can be hard. A lot is expected of us. Not only do we hold jobs, raise kids, and keep a household running, but we’re expected to do it all with a smile (and to look fit and pretty, too!). It can be daunting at times, which is why it’s so important to keep connected to our friends.

Sure, your mom and sisters can be a source of support, as can your partner. But there’s something special about friends–the people who choose you to be a part of their life journey–that nourishes the soul and rejuvenates the spirit. Here are a few of mine on a recent girls’ trip we took to Arizona, where I laughed more in five days than I have in the past month. I can’t tell you how much that hit the reset button on my stress level.

But you don’t need to spend a ton of money to enjoy the benefits of friendship. Here are five inexpensive things you can do to keep connected with your friends:

  1. Start a book club (or another club involving a mutual hobby or interest, like knitting, hiking, or music). Naturally, talking about books is a favorite pastime of mine, but book club evenings eventually evolve into sharing stories and laughs over wine. What’s nicer than that?
  2. Host a potluck. This sounds old-school, but it’s a nice way to host a party without doing all the work and spending all the money. The host can prepare the main dish, but assign others the salad, sides, and dessert (dessert to be given to your most-trusted friend, as it is the most important part of the meal!).
  3. Take an exercise class (or meet for a long walk). The long walk allows for lots of catching up, but then again, going to Pilates with a friend makes that endeavor less painful.
  4. Watch a series togetherliterally. When I was young and single, I did this with a friend (Melrose Place, anyone?). More recently, a friend and I did this for LOST and American Horror Story. We’d take turns going to the other’s home to watch, leaving the hubby and kids to fend for themselves for an evening each week. It turned TV watching into a social endeavor, and it was fun to snack away while discussing the episode (my husband hates when I ask questions during a show–and during LOST I had a lot of questions).
  5. Plan an “at home” spa day. Drug stores sell a ton of inexpensive face masks and nail products. Pick up some collagen masks, Emory boards, and brightly colored polish and call your friends. You might want to send your partner and kids out to the movies so you have the place to yourself, but it can be fun to engage in these girly activities no matter your age, and you end up feeling fresh and pretty when it’s over.

Those are a few of my ideas, but I’m sure there are plenty more. If you have a good idea, please share!

xo,

Jamie

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Age and Beauty

I’ll be fifty later this year. When I say that aloud, it still shocks me. I don’t feel a day over thirty-five—until I look in the mirror.

Sometimes my heart aches a little when I take stock of my thinning hair, my saggy middle (no, not the one plaguing the first draft of my current manuscript), my wrinkles and age spots. Of course, there are other things I love about being this age, most significantly my experiential wisdom. There’s nothing quite as reliable as education acquired through the school of hard knocks. It yields hard-earned knowledge, which in turn inspires a sturdy kind of confidence. The kind that awakens a different kind of beauty: the beauty of empowerment.

Sure, by every objective measure, I was physically prettier at twenty-five than I am today. Yet, I wouldn’t trade a tighter body (or even my thicker hair) for the self-assurance, courage, and freedom I know at this age. I’m still a daughter and a sister and a friend, but I’m also a wife and a mother. I’ve learned to persevere, to let go when I must, to grab for what I want, and to handle rejection. I’ve learned that I am not defined by the way that I look, but rather by the limits my own fears and doubts impose. That understanding makes it easier to clear away doubt when it crops up (which, of course, it still does, although with less frequency).

And what I think I’m finally accepting, despite the reflection in the mirror, is that I am more beautiful as this woman than I ever was when my muscles were taut, my hair glossy, and my skin still wrinkle-free. I hope my daughter (and other young women) learn this secret much sooner than I have, because then they can waste less time blowing out their hair and more time dedicated to the things that bring them genuine fulfillment.

xo-Jamie

 

 

Natural Inspiration

I’ve just returned from a week in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. We packed a house full with three generations of family, loads of skis and snowboards, and more than a few bottles of wine.

Top of Collins toward Sugarloaf, Alta

Top of Collins toward Sugarloaf, Alta

No setting makes me happier—heart and soul—than being amid majestic, snowcapped mountains. To me, the stark beauty of ragged peaks and white powder is unparalleled by any blue ocean, emerald forest, or blazing orange desert.

Top of Supreme lift, Alta

Top of Supreme lift, Alta

The heady combination of crisp air, heart-pounding activity, and my kids’ pride and laughter with each new trick they accomplish gets all my juices flowing. My mind unlocks, problem solving becomes easier, story ideas flow naturally. I envy those who get to enjoy this experience on a more regular basis, and I always leave the Rockies convinced it will be where I retire.

Snowbird from the Alta Bypass Road

Snowbird from the Alta Bypass Road

Writing View

Writing View

Until then, I’ll have to rely on my photos and memories to sustain me through the long months in between these vacations. Of course, I’m currently working on a romance series involving a fictional ski town and three super-hot ski pro heroes, so perhaps I’ll have to take a few “research” trips during the next year. Now there’s an inspired idea!

Alta/Snowbird Crossing Point

Alta/Snowbird Crossing Point

Where is your favorite vacation destination, and does that setting inspire you?

XO-Jamie

Mental Strength

Lots of people make fitness resolutions in January, but 99% of the time they’re talking strictly about physical fitness.  Perhaps most of us fail to think about mental fitness because we believe we’re doing okay, or, if we’re not, we assume we can’t help the way we think.  Either way, when we ignore our mental health, we’re setting ourselves up trouble.

http://www.123rf.com/profile_fberti

http://www.123rf.com/profile_fberti

I read this interesting article in Psychology Today, by licensed social worker Amy Morin, about mental strength.  She discusses thirteen things mentally strong people don’t do.  Nothing on the list is particularly novel advice, but it serves as a good reminder for us all.

The article is worth reading in its entirety, but here’s a list of the 13 things to avoid doing in 2015:

  1. Wasting time feeling sorry for yourself
  2. Giving away your power
  3. Shying away from change
  4. Wasting energy on things you can’t control
  5. Worrying about pleasing others
  6. Fearing taking calculated risks
  7. Dwelling on the past
  8. Repeating the same mistakes
  9. Resenting other people’s success
  10. Giving up after failure
  11. Fearing alone time
  12. Expecting the world to owe you something
  13. Expecting immediate results

When I read through this list, I can identify at least one area where I could improve (point number 4).  I’m also prone to succumb to numbers 3 and 13, too.  Self-awareness is the first step toward improvement, so I’ll embrace the introspection and think about ways to break bad habits this year.

How about you?  Do any of these items make you say “doh!”?  Care to share, or offer tips on how to overcome these weaknesses?

xo-Jamie

Diet Drink of the Summer… Wine O’Clock Spritzer!

Katherine here, ready to share my latest recommendation.

Those who know me well know I enjoy a glass or two of vino in the evening.  What Southern gal doesn’t?  Unfortunately, I’ve struggled the past year or two with additional pounds that creep onto my mid-section.  I doubt the nightly wine helps, so I’ve worked hard to resist the evening drink during the weeknights.  This is much harder during the summer, when we’ve been at the beach or pool all day and don’t have to run off to sports or other kids’ activities in the evenings.  And when I do drink, it makes waking up in time for the 5:15 a.m. exercise class I’ve been taking darn hard.

But I think I’ve found a solution to my woes thanks to a cocktail recipe I found on the Martha Stewart website.   Now, before I go on, you should note I’ve long believed the wine spritzer was a drink only my mother and her friends would enjoy.  But maybe they’re on to something.  This tasty white wine spritzer is wonderfully refreshing, and perfect for a lazy summer night.  Oh—I can also still get up in the morning for my workout.  Saving calories at night while still having a bit of wine, and burning it all off in the morning.  Win-Win!

Here’s the super-simple recipe:DSC_0008

½ cup of ice cubes
5 ounces of your favorite chilled white wine
3 ounces of chilled seltzer
A few watermelon or cantaloupe balls (cute and festive)

For other summer drink ideas, visit Martha Stewart’s Everyday Blog.

Now it’s your turn to share with us and others…what’s your favorite summer drink?

XO-KATHERINE