Random Beauty, etc. Hacks…

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We all lead busy lives. So busy that sometimes it feels overly indulgent to spend any extra minutes taking care of ourselves. The guilt about taking care of our own selves (in addition to all of our other responsibilities) needs to go away. Even with limited time, we can do some little extras to make ourselves (feel like we) matter. And the best part is these little things add up and make you feel pretty good.

In addition to daily care, once a week I focus on deep cleaning dental tasks. I will brush my teeth, then maybe rinse them – with a plaque rinse, or even with just regular mouthwash. I will floss them with extra care and extra time. I will brush them again. Also, I will use some of the dental instruments I have to go the extra mile – I have an electric flosser that I will use after (or before) regular hand-held flossing. I will go back and forth with all of these little things – it barely takes ten minutes, yet it feels wonderfully indulgent. I feel that I have gone the extra mile to make sure my teeth look healthy, and are healthy too.

I condition my hair all the time, every time I wash it in the shower. Using instant conditioner assures my hair will for the most part be soft and (almost) silky. Sometimes though, my hair feels almost like it belongs on a scarecrow. When that is the case, I will wash my hair in the kitchen sink. I’ll rinse it, and then comb it through with the same instant conditioner. I’ll leave it on my head for maybe ten minutes – or if I get distracted doing something, maybe longer. Once I’m done taking a shower and rinsing my hair, it feels extra soft. The benefit of leaving on even instant conditioner for a decent amount of time makes a big difference. Try it and see what I mean.

I do my own sort of treatment to my legs and arms. I will take a face cloth and maybe make it damp – maybe not. I will rub my legs and arms in, lightly scrubbing them. Then I will take a shower, using some sort of “indulgent” soap (note I am going to have to change this, as my allergist thinks a lot of my itching may be from inappropriate products that I use on my skin). Getting out of the shower, I’ll dry off – yes, patting dry not rubbing dry. Once dry, I will lather on as much lotion or cream as I can stand. Rubbing it in, almost massaging as I go. The extra care you give yourself will make you feel as though your shower was just a little more special.

Ok, so for anyone who knows me – they know I hate feet. I have had a foot aversion for quite some time now. It probably goes back to a horrific video I saw in a Diabetes Education class. I have vowed that maybe once I die, my body may be in bad shape – but my feet never will be. As far as feet go, my feet are ok. I wear about a size 7 1/2 – which is just fine. This size shoe also allows you to get some cute shoes from the discount box stores in their Girls sizes (look for size 6). But I digress. I take care of my feet every day. I will rinse them and soak them in warm water. Some days I will soak them in soapy, conditioned water. I will rub my feet in with cream or lotion. After EVERY shower I take, I will take a thin washcloth and dry my feet thoroughly and again will rub them in with lotion or cream. After this care, I always always always put a pair of socks on. I usually choose those fuzzy kinds. I will paint my toenails also, usually in a color matching whatever season we’re in. I may look bad but my feet will always look good.

Now that I am a Mary Kay Consultant, my skin care routine involves our wonderful products. Currently I am trying to find ways to deal with the milia “pimples” I have had pop up on my face. I will spend a bit of time picking (I know, I know), tweezing, cutting. Once I’m satisfied that I’ve gone through and did all I need to do, I will rinse and wash my face. At this time, I will probably do a mask of some sort. My go-to Mask is our Charcoal Deep Cleansing Mask. It is the best selling mask in the United States for good reason – it really does remove from your skin all the gunk and junk. When you are done with it, your skin is left soft, cleansed and overall – just much healthier. Your skin will thank you. I promise.

There are so many other little things you can do that sometimes all it takes is reminders not to forget them. Drink plenty of water, and when you think you’ve had enough, drink some more. Water is the single best drink for your skin. Fill your diet up with more fruits and vegetables – they will make your skin glow! Move as much as you can. As much as I hate it, exercise is important. Sleep as much as you can. You’ve never regret getting too much sleep but you will notice pretty quickly when you haven’t had enough. The last point – if you choose to drink alcohol, decide to go with wine or beer (yes!!). These two are much better for your overall appearance – I just knew it!

Zzzzzzzz…time to sleep!

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Sleep is important. Most people don’t get enough sleep. I know that I don’t. Some nights I have a lot of energy and can do things until I drop. Then there are other nights when I sit down on the couch with the cats to relax and watch the six o’clock news, and I am done and down for the count. Sleep feels good, and it does a bunch of other beneficial things. Such as…

A good night’s sleep can improve your focus. Whether it is for work, for pleasure or getting a Direct Sales Business up and running, being able to focus on the tasks at hand is very important. When I am tired, I am scattered with my mind running all over the place. A well rested person is much more likely to be a focused person.

Your skin will look and feel better with adequate sleep. A good appearance requires good skin, or healthy skin. Like we say in Mary Kay, your makeup game will never be a 10 if your skin care is a 2.

If you sleep enough, you reduce your chances of inflammation. I currently am suffering from some sort of auto-immune disease, and anything I can do to keep myself from feeling the pains I get with this ailment, I’m going to do.

Sleeping the right amount of time will balance your hormones, Hormones are responsible for so many things that go on within our bodies. Adequate rest will also speed up your metabolism. A healthy metabolism energizes your body to function at a high level. This is what we should all strive for.

Sleeping enough also reduces your risk of disease. When you are rested you are more able to fight off infections, germs and anything else that can make you feel unwell. Proper rest repairs and restores the things in you that just need a break.

You should plan to get the right amount of sleep. Plan for it like you plan getaways with friends and outings to do chores. You won’t get as much enjoyment in things, and everyday tasks seem so much worse when you’re tired and dragging. Determine the right amount of sleep for you – some people do need more than others. And once you find the amount that energizes you for your day, don’t take it for granted. Treat sleep as what it is – something important, something that you need to consider to be the best that you can be.

Sweet dreams…

Some reasons why I chose Mary Kay…

As I told you all in my last post, I have become an Independent Beauty Consultant with Mary Kay Cosmetics.  I have always held Mary Kay as a Company in high regard, due to their reputation as an excellent company for both makeup and skin care.  While researching and trying to make a decision, I learned quite a lot about Mary Kay that I did not know.

I was aware that Mary Kay was founded by a woman – Mary Kay Ash.  I did not realize that the company had been founded all the way back in 1963 – the year I was born.  Mary Kay Ash was way ahead of her time. She changed the world of business by creating more opportunities for women, empowering women to do all that they could, and lived by the motto of “God first, family second and career third.”  She was a woman of amazing integrity.

My own personal experience with Mary Kay started in the early 1980s, when my cousin had an at-home party.  I was just out of High School, and while I absolutely loved the products – at that age and with the limited income of my first full-time job, I told myself that the reason they were SO good was because of the extra time we took in applying the products.  I do think this was partly true, but as an older and more experienced person – I truly understand that MOST of the difference was in the products themselves.  Mary Kay was in fact THAT good.

Mary Kay products are not cheap, yet they are not expensive.  You might pay more than in a drugstore, big-box store, but you won’t pay as much as you would in an expensive “mall type” store.  Mary Kay will never disappoint.  This much I know!

I also learned that Mary Kay is a very socially conscious company.  They have what is known as Pink Doing Green.  This highlights different programs that the company is involved with, including recycling, planting trees, implementing bio-degradable packaging as well as using renewable energy and sustainable packaging.  Mary Kay also makes donations to and has commitments with organizations helping women, from domestic violence to health concerns affecting females and issues with Covid-19.

So, besides amazing Skin Care and Makeup – which I will cover in a coming post -Mary Kay is a pretty great company.  A company that I am very proud to be associated with.


Changes are coming…

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So very many things have changed in the past few months. I was surprised to see that I had not updated this blog in a long time. A very long time.

Changes! My oh my. My youngest son and his wife have begun their life as newlyweds. They are enjoying married life very much, and recently found out that they have been approved and have purchased their very first home – that, with some luck they’ll be able to move into by the end of next month. Alex and Michael’s wedding plans are moving right along. Her Bridal Shower was just this past weekend, and it was wonderful.

The biggest change for us as a family was the birth last month of our grandson, Blake William. He arrived on April 7th, and he is absolutely perfect! He is growing beautifully and is doing very well! Amanda and Kevin have adapted perfectly to their roles as Mommy and Daddy. Each and every one of us is beyond thrilled to have this perfect little being as ours.

My own health battles have been in the forefront a few times so far this year, and most recently – I’m currently hospitalized. It’s my good old left kidney acting up again. Kidney infections are not fun – I do not recommend them! Seriously though, I’m being taken care of beautifully in the hospital, and I anticipate being released in the next day or so. With some luck, my kidney issues will be resolved by next Friday when what I hope will be my final procedure will be completed.

All that being said, I would like to announce that I have become an Independent Beauty Consultant for Mary Kay Cosmetics. It’s a wonderful company and I have enjoyed working with and for them very much in these past few months. I have learned so much about skin care and makeup. The knowledge I have gained through Mary Kay has helped me to help others – my customers that I have gotten. I am looking forward to learning more and being able to spread that knowledge to what I hope becomes a bigger client base.

And, so – that is what has been new with me. This has been just a brief update, but it is just my most recent one. I will keep writing about things in my life – topics, etc. that affect women. I will be spreading the word about Mary Kay, and I will even be talking a little bit about another little business/side hustle I have begun. Please keep checking to see what I’ve been up to!

It’s not been all bad…

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This has been one HECK of a year.  We have had one of the most significant elections in American history – that goes without saying.  And then there was the Pandemic.  The Corona Virus.  Covid-19.  Again, another monumental happening that has shaped 2020 into the year it has been.  Depending on what political side you are on, the election results could be considered good or bad.  Everyone agrees that Covid and the ramifications in everything this Pandemic has touched has been disastrous.  There have been too many losses, with regard to lives and much more.  As a healthcare worker, it is gratifying for me to see the appreciation and admiration the public has for the medical community.  The professionals at our hospital (and the RN’s in my own family) went above and beyond the call of duty.  They truly are heroes.  It has also been nice seeing respect for jobs that may have been overlooked or even discounted in the past.

That brings me to gratitude.  As a family, we have had a lot to be thankful for in this crazy year.  We are very happy our two RN’s, Alex and Bre cared for Covid patients in a compassionate and caring way, and were able to stay negative throughout it all.  We are thrilled beyond words to be able to welcome our little grandson Blake William next April.  Besides that, we are immensely thankful that when Blake’s Mommy Amanda caught Covid, it was handled appropriately and she is fine.  Who would have thought that a 911 Dispatcher would test positive, yet the girls who are RN’s working with it every day didn’t get it? 

We had a beautiful family wedding when Bre and Chris were married.  Everyone attended, everyone was safe and everyone was very happy.  It was a wonderful family affair.  Alex and Michael got engaged in February, and will be celebrating their wedding next June.  Michael also graduated from College and got a job – in his chosen career.  He is a teacher with the Philadelphia School District, though he is teaching virtually right now.  He enjoys it very much.

Jeff and I moved from our apartment at Ellie’s place to a new place – as I’ve written before, we now live in a 3-family house owned by my ex-husband.  He redid it, and it is just beautiful.  We really like it there.  Everything is so new.  The cats did have a hard time adjusting from so much carpet to the new laminate flooring though – they did a lot of sliding around when we first got there!

It was great to hear that my sister got a promotion at her job.  She will still be working for her same company and will still be able to work from home (which she’s done for years and years, not just since the lockdown).  It is a job she is more than qualified for, and a job I know she will do great at!

I am very happy that I was able to come out on the other side of my kidney problems in January and February.  The complications that had me readmitted to the hospital after my initial surgery were frightening to say the least.  I was able to stay home from work for a while so I could recover properly.  During this time, we took a wonderful family cruise.  It was absolutely perfect and we enjoyed everything about it.  As we say, we ate our way along the high seas!

I had two hockey highlights in 2020.  First, in February we were able to attend a game on Long Island where beforehand the New York Islanders retired my all time favorite player’s number – John Tonelli #27.  I had vowed when they finally retired it, I would be there – and I was.  It was wonderful.  I cried.  It was an honor that was long over due.  And on September 28th of this year, my Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup!  This was the biggest moment in my hockey life since May of 1980 when the Islanders won their first – in OT!  As the game was ending, I realized this REALLY WAS IT – they were going to be Champions!  I screamed, I cried, I jumped up and down – I scared the cats to death!  I was so happy, the team looked so happy.  It was a wonderful, perfect, amazing night.  Anyone who has lived and died for a team like I have for the Lightning will understand this feeling.  It was something I will never forget.

My friends, these are my reasons why I can say 2020 wasn’t all bad.  I hope you all had some highlights too!

When you’re unsure…

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These days, things are hard.  The easy things are hard and the hard things are harder still.  It is difficult to be positive when so much around us is negative.  Yet, there are opportunities for things to get better.  You may have a desire and an idea, but – what if you are scared?  What if you are not sure?  I try to think to myself “what have I got to lose?”  I am starting out on a new endeavor, a new adventure.  To psyche myself up, I have been reading quotes – you know, positive affirmations.  I have been reading the words and thoughts of many unnamed people, and some others such as General George Patton, Michael Jordan, Mark Twain, Mel Robbins, Les Brown and Nelson Mandela.  Here are a few that might help you if you too feel unsure…

Great things never come from comfort zones.

Stop doubting yourself.  Work Hard.  Make it Happen.

The more practice I get, the better I will do.

Leap and a net will appear.

Every great goal should scare you a little and excite you a lot.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one single step.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.

Allow yourself to be a Beginner.  No one starts off Experienced.

Quit talking and begin doing.

Be positive, patient and persistent.

If you encounter a wall, climb it, go through it or work around it.

Accept the challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.

Recent Revelations and Ramblings…

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As usual, I have been doing a lot of thinking.  My mind goes in all sorts of directions.  And also as usual, these things are all fairly random.  Rather than trying to group them into separate categories, I thought I would write about what goes back and forth in my head – in no particular order, with no rhyme or reason.

We recently had a roasting chicken for dinner.  It was delicious, and it provided us with more than two meals.  I boiled the bones, the carcass – whatever you call it – to make broth that I will use for soup.  Once it was done,I drained the broth, and as I looked at the bones in the pot, I remembered reading somewhere that you could use these bones more than once.  I put these bones in another pot, and prepared them to make the broth just like I had the first time.  This time, though I added one bouillon cube.  Sure enough, I ended up with a second batch of broth that looked as good and as strong as the first one.  I didn’t try it a third time.  I was just pleased that what I thought would work out actually did!

I end up messing up my eye makeup a lot of the time when I am getting ready for my day.  Many times it comes from the blob at the end of my mascara wand.  I know that an aglet is the little plastic piece at the end of a shoelace.  I did not know that the metal piece that connects an eraser to a pencil top is called a ferrule.  I found out about the ferrule when I was researching if this “blob” has a name, or a term to describe it.  From what I read, it does not.  If anyone out there can find out what it is called, please let me know.  Maybe it is time to come up with a word for it other than blob.  Any ideas?

Recently I have seen that it is possible for an apology to have taken place without hearing any words.  I have witnessed individuals who have been, shall we say…estranged.  The latest dealings these people have had with one another have been different than they had been in the past.  In fact, it could be considered downright pleasant.  To my knowledge, no apologies or admittance of guilt occurred.  I guess each one for the most part came halfway.  Maybe it is true that time does heal all wounds.

I was baking a cake for the party we threw for my sister’s 50th birthday last weekend.  As I was gathering all the ingredients, getting ready – I grabbed the milk from the refrigerator (I usually substitute milk for water in box mix recipes) and had an idea.  What would the cake taste like if I used flavored creamer?  Well, the answer to that is delicious!  I substituted the water for mostly creamer – I chose Butter Pecan – and milk.  What a nice flavor the cake had, and it came out very creamy and moist.  Everyone loved it!

It pays to be careful about your money.  I know everyone says they are, but go over your finances, bills, etc. again.  I noticed odd charges on our satellite bill – I assumed they were charges somehow related to our recent move.  I called, and found out what they were.  They were for a service we did not want, and did not even ask for.  Promptly they were removed.  I am glad I didn’t just assume, I am glad I inquired.  Also, it does not hurt to question the price of an item – either in a regular retail store, or in a thrift store (where most items are listed “as is).  I was at the store recently, and upon putting a box of cookies up on the conveyer belt, I noticed that the box was open.  Looking inside, it was clear that nothing was amiss, nothing was wrong.  No tampering had occurred.  The cookies were inside inner packaging.  Still, I didn’t want a box that was like that.  I was putting it to the side, and the cashier said she would take it.  The front end manager was there and was about to take the item from the cashier.  She looked at it, and asked if I still would want it – for a discount.  I said, sure ok.  They gave me fifty cents off a box of $2 cookies.  I was happy, thinking I got a great deal.  I was also given $2 off a $10 jewelry box at a thrift store when they saw that a pretty significant knob was missing.  The clerk said they would never have had a $10 price tag on it if it had been in that condition when it was priced.  It won’t be hard to replace the knob.  I will probably keep it, but I may be able to resell it for a profit. 

Recent food hacks I have come across were one I knew, and one I was glad to find out about.  I always knew it was a good idea to make ice cubes out of your leftover coffee – this way, you could use them in your iced coffee without watering it down (and I also frequently use these cubes in my hot coffee to cool it off since I can not drink scalding coffee).  My nephew (who is in college currently studying for Restaurant Management) told me this one years ago.  The new hack I came across was for wine, though I am not a wine drinker.  If you do not want to dilute your wine with ice, but you want the wine to be colder, have some grapes in your freezer to use as ice cubes.  Green grapes for white wine, purple grapes for red.  A great idea I never thought of, yet it certainly does make a lot of sense.

It may be a bit of time before we can use these infant and child hacks, as baby Blake is not even due until April.  I saw what I thought was a great hack.  It was a picture of a baby, in a rectangular laundry basket.  The basket was in a tub of water, with bubbles.  The basket gave him a bit of support to his back, and his bath toys were in easy reach – not floating away from him.  I thought that was very clever!  And as many things as clothespins are good for, I didn’t realize they could be used to hold cards for little ones when you are playing a game with them.  You can put them in the pin with the relevant sides facing the child, and not you – so you are not cheating.  No more dropped cards, no more frustration.  Another clever idea.

Randomly rambling around on the internet had me finding a few very cute short jokes.  I will share them with you now. 

 – Today at the bank, an old lady asked me to help check her balance.  So I pushed her over…     – My boss told me to have a good day.  So I went home…     –  Worker calls in sick, saying “I can’t come in today.”  Boss asks why.  Worker says “I have an eye problem.  I can’t see myself working today.”     –  If we didn’t have laughs and humor at work, what would we have?  Ulcers, that’s what we would have…

I admit, I chuckled.  I hope you did too!

Snackin’ healthy…

raw almonds spilled out of small ceramic bowl on table
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I have been in a food rut lately.  It is not that I am not hungry, it is that I just don’t know what I want – and not much appeals to me.  I have been wasting money on food at work.  What I choose isn’t necessarily the best choice health wise.  I have decided to bring breakfast and lunch (or lunch and dinner) from home, and fill in my snack time with healthy choices. 

In the past, I have been organized with my work lunches and snacks.  I would buy a large quantity of something, and then put it into zipped plastic bags or small containers.  I found that always having a supply ready made it simple – if I wanted pretzels one day and raisins the next – they would be easy to grab.  That worked out good for me.

Hard boiled eggs are good, and are easily portable.  You can boil a few and have them ready to take as a quick snack.  They are a healthy choice as they provide you with Vitamin B12, protein, Omega 3 fatty acids and are low in saturated fats.  You could get one of those cool egg slicer devices to jazz things up a bit.

Trail mix is good for you.  You can even make up your own version if you would like.  It can be customized however you might want it.  Common ingredients include nuts and raisins, and additions can be small pretzels, goldfish crackers, craisins and maybe even a few M&Ms for color.  I have also added those freeze dried fruit pieces.  Make up a big batch and divide into individual plastic bags.

String cheese and pretzels go good together.  String cheese comes in convenient plastic packaging, making it a good grab and go item.  You can individually bag pretzels, and if you want – take along a little portion of mustard for a tasty addition to this snack.

A snack that may take a bit of prep time is Chicken Skewers. You can use either boneless chicken breasts or thighs.  Cut them into strips, and pan fry them with a little bit of oil and whatever kind of seasonings you might like.  When they are browned and done, you can insert sticks into them – try using lollipop sticks (bought in the candy making aisle in a store’s craft section).  You can individually portion out however many you think you would eat in a single sitting, or freeze in one large Ziploc bag and take as you need.  They are small and they will not take long to defrost so before you know it, you’ll be chowing down!

Small salads and vegetables are also good.  You don’t have to stick to a traditional salad with lettuce.  Combinations I have made are string beans and croutons, carrots with cheese cubes, and cut up peppers with cucumber slices.  You could also add a bit of cottage cheese for protein, vitamins and minerals.  I would suggest taking salad dressing in a separate container (if you choose to use it) to avoid your vegetables from getting soggy.

Fruit combinations are also a good choice. Again, depending on sogginess you may want to adjust how you take these items with you.  I like peanut butter on apple slices, but I don’t like how brown the apples get if they are precut.  So I will take a knife that cuts good and a jar of peanut butter along (and a plate to cut it on).  Two fruits that I like mixed together are strawberries and bananas.  I like things that are visually appealing – you can get two nice colors if you pack up some green and red (some claim they are purple) grapes.  Another good tasting and good looking combo is raspberries and blueberries.  Use your imagination.

And there you have it – some snacks that will fill you up without filling you out.  Enjoy!  Happy snacking!

The Young and The Old…

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My youngest son got married this weekend.  It was a perfect wedding and everyone was very happy.  They have been sweethearts since High School, and now they are happily married young newlyweds.  Everyone who attended, both family and friends (and young and old) had a wonderful time.  It was a beautiful blend of happy, smiling faces.  I started thinking about what the old and young had in common, and what were the differences between both. What is good and bad about being old, or young?

I have found that both groups want to be respected.  Older people want to be respected for what they know, and for what they have gone through.  Younger people don’t want to be dismissed purely because of their age.  That seems to happen quite a bit.   Knowledge does not necessarily  correspond with the amount of years a person has been alive. 

Younger people tend to be brave.  They are brave in the sense of trying new things, moving far away from home, and supporting causes that seem to be not as mainstream as their parents might agree with.  Many older people stayed close to where their own parents lived, not straying far.  Younger people are accepting – it is very common for “millenials” to have friends who are gay, bisexual or transgender.  To them, it is no big deal.  Older people have come a long way in the acceptance department.  Like the old commercial says, we have come a long way, baby.

I have always had my kids’ friends refer to me by my first name.  Maybe I didn’t want to feel “old.”  Truthfully though, my former last name was hard to say and Lisa was easier to pronounce.  Besides, I wanted to have a fun and informal relationship with them.  Yet, in contrast – growing up my friends and I never addressed each other’s parents as anything other than Mr. or Mrs.  The same went for my kids’ teachers.  I imagine it is a respect thing – no matter if the teachers were my age, or a younger person starting out with their first teaching position – I referred to them as Miss, Mrs. or Mr.  Even after being told it was alright to use their first names, I just couldn’t.  As they say, it went against my grain.

It is wonderful to hear, read or see these two words – senior discount.  It is like a reward you get for all of your years of spending.  College students get discounts as well, yet I believe it somehow should carry forward.  The debt from four (or possibly more) years of college can be very heavy.  It would be nice if some establishments extended some specials to those who are young and struggling.  Just a thought.

I have seen the struggles of dating for both old and young.  When it comes down to it, people want to be loved and accepted.  Young people may feel insecure due to the fact that some of their life experiences are limited, and older people have insecurities with some feeling outdated and maybe looked down on due to feeling out of touch.  These differences can be felt even more distinctly if you are dating outside of your age range.  With regards to dating, it can be helpful to remember that age is just a number.

Regardless of age, both older and younger people care about their appearance.  I fully realized this on the weekend.  There were quite a few women at the Hair Salon on my son’s wedding day.  We were all there to get glamorous.  Regardless of age, we all wanted to look our best on such a special day.  Looking at these women, I thought to myself they were so young and perfect that they barely needed any makeup at all.  Yet regardless of our ages, we wanted to look good.  It may have taken the makeup artists a little longer to fix up us older women, but when all was said and done – everyone looked great, and we were all happy with our hair and makeup results.

Younger people do not want to be labeled.  They don’t want to be referred to as entitled, not dependable, lazy or self-absorbed.  Older individuals do not like being told they aren’t tech savvy enough, that they are unable to keep up with demands and that they are resistant to change.  Young people worry about getting their foot in the door of a chosen profession, and get frustrated about not getting hired because they have no experience.  They have to start somewhere!  Older workers also worry about getting replaced with younger workers making less money for doing the same job.

The wedding this past weekend had the best of both age groups.  It had the young bride and groom, happily partying with their friends.  The older people were there, partying too along with watching their children have fun.  It was a perfect blend of everyone together, as one big happy family.  Nothing is more important than that…

Gift Baskets for the Holidays…

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Little kids like to count the number of “sleeps” left until they get to something they are looking forward to.  We have about fifty-seven sleeps left until Santa makes his appearance.  As you know, we are in the middle of moving.  Believe it or not, packing and unpacking things during this move has actually helped me to be more organized for this gift-giving season.

For many years I have always bought things far in advance in preparation for upcoming birthdays or the holidays.  I am one of those people who buy Christmas wrap at a 50%, 75% or even a 90% discount.  During the year, I pick up gifts for people that I think they will like.  I have everything ready this year to start wrapping and tagging early.  With being organized this far in advance, hopefully any last minute things that pop up will be small bumps and not road blocks.  One of my favorite things to do, whether it is with items I have collected throughout the year or with new items purchased for a specific reason or person is to create Gift Baskets.

You don’t have to use ONLY a basket for a gift like this.  You can use a bucket, a laundry basket, a large bowl for food items, an oddly shaped storage bin.  Maybe even a frying pan or stock pot.  I have a never ending supply of baskets that I have gotten from my thrift store visits.  I prefer to buy baskets that in one way or another are unusual, usually in terms of their shape.

There are so many possibilities of the kinds of gift baskets you can create.  I have done so many over the years that it is hard to really remember them all.  Mostly every one that I have given as a gift has been very well received. 

I have made many food baskets.  These have included a Pasta Lovers Basket (spaghetti, sauce, jarred grated cheese), a Pizza Basket (pizza pan, packaged shelf pepperoni, pizza sauce and you can even include a pre-baked pizza shell) and an Ice Cream Party basket (I included dishes, pretty reusable plastic utensils, syrup, an ice cream scoop, chocolate syrup and a jar of sprinkles).  I have also done Coffee Lovers and Tea Lovers baskets.

For your crafty friends and family, you can make them a Craft Basket filled with things that help them do their creations.  I have also done baskets dedicated to a certain team.  I put a few items in with the selected team logo, and fill in with other items in coordinated colors.  A Pet Lovers basket is always a good choice – people just love their pets!  You can include treats and toys.

One of my favorite type of baskets to do are Pampering baskets.  I have done pedicure baskets, body and skin care baskets.  I have done ones especially for teenage boys, and for young girls.  You can make these baskets as big or as small as you want.  Sometimes you have a few nice personal care items you know a certain person would like.  There is no better way to group them together than in a basket or a container, put it in a cellophane bag and tie some pretty ribbon on.  That’s a nice gift to give and to receive.

A nice gift for a recovering person is a Get Well basket.  In this type of basket, you can put calming essential oils, puzzle books, maybe a CD of relaxing music.  You can also include some treats that you know they like and will lift their spirits (doctor’s orders permitting, of course).  Do not underestimate how nice it would be to include a friendly card with a personal note.

There are a lot of candle lovers out there – why not make a Candle Lovers basket? In this basket you could include some candles, a torch, a candle tray and a pretty porcelain candle topper.  If you have no idea of what to get a certain person, yet you know something about them that maybe defines them – for example, do a Favorite Color basket.  I did this for a friend – she loves purple, so everything that went in the basket (and the basket itself) was purple.  It was a hit!

And there you have it – ways to make your loved ones happy with baskets.  Several on my list will be getting a basket this year.  I hope they like them!