My house has a lot of my grandmother’s furniture, including our kitchen table. Yesterday I made a grocery run, which has this way of completely draining me. Grocery shopping was never my favorite, but now with the masks and the one-way aisles, and the line outside and all the extra effort it takes, it just wears me out. But I decided to pick up a festive tablecloth and a few things to put around the house to remind us that summer is coming. And when I put the tablecloth on the table, memories came rushing back to me of my grandmother’s kitchen table in the summertime, out in the country where they lived. Memories of just lying in the grass by the pond behind her house, walking through the woods, visiting the cows, eating hamburgers at the table with the checked tablecloth and the little mustard & ketchup set. And I got a little bit sad. Nostalgia can do that. And it’s easy to feel sad, because this Memorial Day weekend doesn’t feel like the ones in the past. It’s not sunny, in fact it’s cool and rainy here in Northern Virginia. There’s no Viva Vienna, with its carnival rides and food trucks and live music. The pool isn’t open, my son isn’t starting his lifeguard job. But then I remember that none of those things were happening at my grandmother’s house on those glorious summer days. I ran around barefoot, and played in the creek and lay on the grass staring at the sky. I drank from the hose and we made lemonade and peach ice cream. And I can do all those things with MY kids. Maybe I'll even bake my famous Cole's Moveable Feast sweet tea cupcakes with lemonade frosting. We’ll walk in the woods, and splash in the creek instead of the pool. I’ll make my grandmother’s peach ice cream and we’ll do some laying around and staring at the sky. And it will be awesome.
There can be a dark side to all the Zoom happy hours and days that feel like Groundhog Day. I posted about it on social media, and then I started receiving lots of comments on my personal Facebook page, plus private texts and messages about how universal that slippery slope can be. So I thought it was worth re-posting here. And by the way, the recipe for the virgin margarita can be found here, and the spritzer was just half Belvoir cucumber mint lemonade and half seltzer, with a few slices of cucumber and a sprig of mint. Enjoy, and read on . . .
Can we talk alcohol for a minute? And bear in mind, this is coming from the wife of a man who works in the industry. But during the COVID-19 crisis, I have found myself pouring a glass of wine almost every night. Sometimes two glasses. And that is WAY more than I would like to be drinking, not to mention the fact that excess alcohol consumption has been linked to a higher risk of breast cancer and several other health conditions. And for me, a lot of the pleasure in a glass of wine is really about the ceremony, not so much the wine itself. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes there’s a perfect glass of wine for certain meals. Sometimes, on a hot summer day, a cold glass of white wine or rosé just can’t be beat. And it’s Cinco de Mayo on Taco Tuesday during the coronavirus, for God’s sake. That just screams margarita! But today, I decided to introduce some new non-alcoholic options into my repertoire, so that I can still make a special drink after a long day of homeschooling and working from home. I even ordered some Seedlip non-alcoholic spirits to try out. So, let me know if you’re with me on this, and if so, share your favorite mocktails. And listen ... I’m not going to pretend I’m becoming a teetotaler, but I do want to be more intentional about how often I’m taking a drink. Are you with me?
I'm a lipstick girl. I grew up with grandmothers who'd NEVER be caught outside of the house "without a mouth." My paternal grandmother wouldn't even be caught inside the house without hers, and she had tubes of lipstick stashed all over her little house in Norfolk, Virginia. My father told me that after she passed away, they found lipsticks hidden all around her room and in her bed. I miss those women so much. My mother is also a lipstick girl. She has a big, gorgeous smile and even though her coloring is wildly different from mine, we discovered some years ago that we both loved a shade called Wine With Everything.
Well, there hasn't been much use for lipstick in quarantine. And whenever I put it on, I feel sort of garish, and the kids ask me where I'm going. But that doesn't mean I've let up on my other self-care routines. And of course, in this particular discussion of self-care, I'm not talking meditation and exercise and all the things that I really hammer y'all about. I'm talking, looking good at FIFTY self-care!
So here are a few of my non-negotiables.
1. Washing my face EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, no matter how tired I am. I use the plainest soap I can find. Good ol' bar soap works best for me, because I had oily skin until a few years ago, and I'm still prone to break-outs. Ah, menopause ... wrinkles and pimples! Yay! Sometimes I exfoliate with a gentle scrub. But I always follow with a mixture of retinol and vitamin C serum, all over my face and neck. It has made a huge difference, I wish I had started in my 30s. I have a lot of sun damage to my face. Again, retrospect. Kurt Vonnegut was right, kids, when he (actually never) said wear sunscreen.
2. Religiously flossing. Teeth, breath and heart health, guys ~ the inflammation in your mouth can contribute to heart disease. I'm not even kidding. So as gross as it sounds, I use a tongue scraper, and natural dental floss so I don't end up with PFOAs in my system (again, wishing I had figured that out before spending decades using Teflon pans). And I gargle with good old-fashioned eye-watering antiseptic mouthwash, because my dentist recommended it for preventing those yucky bacteria that can lodge in your tonsils. If your breath is routinely bad (or your mouth tastes yucky), think about (a) drinking more water and (b) cleaning your tongue and flossing.
3. Epsom salt baths. I love them ~ for sore muscles and because magnesium, both ingested and as a soak, has so many health benefits.
4. Tinted moisturizer and sunscreen every day. My other make-up choices are pretty optional. I'm addicted to the Nars Multiple stick, so I'll never give that up, but otherwise I look for makeup that's pretty clean by the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep app standards. I recently discovered Beautycounter, which was started by a friend of a friend. I have been so blown away by the quality of the products and the company's values, I am now buying everything through them, and I've signed up to be an independent consultant. That's pretty out of character for me, but I finally feel good about what I'm putting on my body and my face, the sunscreens my family is using, and the hair care products and soaps in my kids' bathrooms. If you're interested in learning more about this, e-mail me, or shop here.
5. I upped my glasses game recently, because I'm in front of this computer so often with work, Zoom meetings and client sessions. I wear Caddis readers, again recommeneded by a friend, because they look so cool and filter out the blue light, so I have less eye fatigue. Although, with my little Chinese face and pointy chin, I look a little bit like that nerdy bird that follows Foghorn Leghorn around. Oh well.
6. Finally, Native deodorant, y'all! A gift from a friend and I LOVE it. Don't be putting nasty chemicals and toxins on your armpits, ladies, they're right next to your breasts!
So those are my go-to routines and products, and my point here is, keep doing these little things that make you feel good every day. Even if the only people who see you are the ones whining, "Mom, there's nothing in the house to eat."
I have deliberately avoided writing about the COVID-19 crisis. We are all at home, hoping and praying that the precautions we are taking now will slow the spread of the virus. Our inboxes are full of devastating news, helpful hints and encouragement in the face of social distancing, economic uncertainty and quarantine. I will not presume to provide the same. Instead, I will say, do not wait another second to pursue the life you want. In all its authenticity, messiness and beauty. Every moment is only NOW. Do not wait until you've earned more money, found a partner, left a relationship, finished treatment, lost weight, changed jobs. Do it TODAY, not "when . . ." One of my core beliefs is: A BEAUTIFUL LIFE IS YOUR BIRTHRIGHT. Claim it. RIGHT NOW.
In the midst of a variety of circumstances several years ago, I stopped making New Year's resolutions about my body. I still set specific, measurable goals around my health, my career, my relationships and my spiritual growth. But this body of mine is loved, not criticized or beaten into submission. If you're still struggling to make lasting change in your health or your life, I want to help. For the month of January (and now also during the COVID-19 crisis), I'm offering a 90-day private coaching package for over a third off my usual fee. How about we get you off the resolution carousel? This is the year to invest in yourself. I promise it will be worth it, and you can bet those unhealthy habits or mindset blocks are costing you more than you know. Contact me to set up your free consultation, or head over to the STORE if you're ready to go!