The Skin We’re In – Part 2: Self-Tanners Revisited

“What’s that smell?”  Tracie grimaced.   We were sitting at a table of teachers waiting for the building meeting to begin.

“Ew….what could that be?!”  I responded looking around the conference room with quizzical and slightly accusing eyes.

Truth was I knew EXACTLY what the smell was.  I just had no idea it was emitting from my skin so enthusiastically.

It was the early days of self-tanners and that morning I had lathered some on my winter white legs.  Apparently I needed to be less aggressive with the application.

By the time I got to my tennis group that evening, the smell was less pungent.  However, when I took off my warm up pants, my legs were not golden tan as I envisioned – they were orangey yellow – a color not found in nature.

Another lesson I learned in my self tanning journey is to go easy on knees and elbows, while avoiding the underside of your forearm.  It takes a few days for wayward streaks and blotches to fade and in the meantime people think you have an unsightly skin disease.

Also, don’t ignore the tops of your feet.  Your tan ankles should NOT come face to face with white, veiny feet!

And need I remind you to wash your hands after applying?  And to exfoliate your skin with a washcloth before?

So how do self-tanners work?

According to the Mayo Clinic, “The active ingredient in most sunless tanning products is the color additive, dihydroxyacetone (DHA). When applied, dihydroxyacetone reacts with dead cells in the skin’s surface to temporarily darken the skin and simulate a tan.” The FDA has approved the external use of DHA and Mayo Clinic assures us that self tanners are safe.

But that DHA smell!  Most self tanners cause neighborhood dogs to sniff the air, confused yet intrigued.

But wait…

Last winter I discovered a self-tanner that I absolutely LOVE!  And it smells GREAT!  The price is $26 – $27 but it’s worth it!

Naturally there’s a website devoted  to self tanners – with the ingenious name of selftanning.com.  That’s where I found Tanceuticals Self Tanning Body Lotion.

The golden tanned gals at this site give it high praise –

“The tan it gave us was truly gorgeous– a smooth and natural, darker shade of bronze. It’s easy to apply, dries quickly and feels great on the skin. We also  love that this self tanner has cosmeceuticals in it (instead of just a bunch of chemicals).  It lasts nearly 7 days, which is longer than just about any self tanner we’ve ever tried.   Tanceuticals smells absolutely wonderful!  We love the smell of coconut! We had a hard time finding anything we didn’t like about Tanceutcials.”

They had me at “cosmeceuticals”!  An under-used word if I ever heard one.

So, fellow Baby Boomers, our moms were right about applying 50 SPF sunblock.  But that doesn’t mean we have to be pasty white!  Or turn orange.  Or have dogs follow us.

I buy my Tanceuticals from Amazon.  Click the picture below if you want to do the same.  (This particular link is for the dark shade.)

The only one who does not give this product 5 stars is Codie, my beloved Golden, who misses that odd smell of days gone by.

Today’s Takeaway –

-In the words of L’Oreal, we’re worth it!  Looking at my tanned legs and smelling the coconut is one of my YIPPEE moments today!  (See previous post!)

-Happiness does not lie in the perfect self-tanner, but hey, God is the ultimate gift-giver and maybe this is a small token of his love.  Or maybe he just got tired of that weird smell!

What’s your YIPPEE skin product?

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

YIPPEE Moments

Joy and I are big fans of Maria Shriver.  We look forward to reading The Sunday Paper – her inspirational essay that comes to us each week via email.   The writing style is engaging, the voice authentic, and the content both mind stretching and heart warming. Oh and it’s free.  (Click here to subscribe.  You will love it!)

 

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A couple of weeks ago, Maria talked about celebrating life’s daily “Yippee!”  moments.  Even in the midst of a dark season, such moments are there to be discovered.

“We all need more joy in our lives,” says Maria. Yippee-Joy, she defines as “a moment you consciously celebrate. It’s a moment where you decide that you get to feel joy-filled.”

Maria suggests we  recognize these Yippee’s at least once a day.  And the reason we DON’T do this, she adds, is a matter of where our focus is.

“Most of us are so bogged down getting through life and attending to life’s never-ending stream of responsibilities that before we know it, we aren’t playing anymore. We aren’t celebrating anymore. We aren’t thinking “yippee!”

Instead, we have our heads down in our computers or phones. We’re dealing with evolving relationships, changing kids, sick friends, our own health, aging parents, and bills. Lots and lots of bills. Sure, you can stay on this path and say, “well, that’s just life.” Or, you can consciously decide, like I have done, to find a daily “yippee!””

And in case you’re not in a Yippee mood, check out this research study from 2003.  There were three groups – one listed blessings; one listed hassles, and the third did nothing.  The results showed that the gratitude group reported improved happiness, increased motivation, and better sleep! It turns out there’s a causal relationship (not just correlational) between an attitude of gratitude and a better life.

The Bible tells us to “Rejoice always!” .  If we didn’t quite get the message (since we were too busy worrying), it reiterates, “Again, I say, Rejoice!”   Sounds rather like a command, doesn’t it?

So in the words of Becca, the Bachelorette, “Let’s do the damn thing!”

Here goes…

YIPPEE!  Spring is  here!  Buds are bursting from seemingly dead branches.  I’m seeing colors of unspeakable beauty, fat robins flitting and chatting.

YIPPEE!  Yesterday my husband AND my grown daughter took a walk through Millennial Park in 80 degree sun and then shared a meal at Veggie Grill.

YIPPEE!  I have 3 new library books sitting on my bedside table ready to befriend me.

YIPPEE! I am now enjoying 3 racket sports (pickleball, paddle, tennis) that provide the company of wonderful women – and cold beer.

YIPPEE!  Kacie, a cranky shih tsu lies at my feet, chilling in the morning sunlight.  Codie, of Golden love, stares me down, saying “Let’s do THIS damn thing!” Meaning, I should give over my damn cereal bowl so she can lick the remaining Grape Nuts.

These knucklehead doggies exude yippee-ness!

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So let’s embark on a 14-day YIPPEE Challenge.  Join Joy and me in the discipline of listing YIPPEE moments each morning.

AND THERE’S MORE…

If we also smile broadly while compiling our lists, then we will be exercising our facial muscles and REDUCING wrinkles. Some call this Face Yoga.   (Check out our post called, Exercising Your Face – It’s a THING!” )

The only response to that is YIPPEE!

 

 

Today’s Takeaway-

– Life is short.  Claim all Yippee’s while you can!  And then don’t forget to subscribe to The Sunday Paper. Click here.

-Maria’s essays are now compiled in a best selling book called, I’ve Been Thinking.  Click the book image below to order from Amazon.  $11.99 well spent!

 

 

Enjoy the Ride

xox   Barclay and Joy

To Work Part Time or Not Work Part Time — That is the Question?!!

A year ago at this time…

 

My husband and I had come back from our first winter in Mexico. I was tanned and rested. It took several months to work on those dark under eye circles that give one’s state of sleep or lack thereof away.  I was not sure what I was going to be doing with my time back home in rural up state New York. 

 One of my very close friends reached out to me and asked me if I’d be interested in coming back to my former company part time. A lot had happened during the 5 months I was gone and the company was going through a rough patch.  The very job that I had been counting the days until retirement came, wanted me to consider coming back. Wow! Never thought about that, but me being a big believer in “Everything happens for a reason” thought about that one more go around and said sure.

The deal was to work from the city 3x per week and be on my laptop the other 2. Now, in my mind and definition of “part time”, this was more full time, but okay. I was game.  And so I returned to the workforce for 7 months. I had never even considered this, but when opportunity knocks, I’m a good listener. Maybe, this was my chance to do it over again, segue into retirement slowly, rather than cold turkey. I had given this early retirement a lot of thought but, perhaps, I had expected too much of myself, to adapt to this new phase of life so quickly. Maybe, doing it like a 2 step program might be better for someone who had worked all their life.

One slight monkey wrench.  I now lived 105 miles north of the city, (city girl meets Green Acres) so had to take Amtrak in to work. My former company and new boss couldn’t have  been nicer and offered to put me up in the corporate apt for the nights I was in the city. Everything that could have been an obstacle was taken away, so off I went back into the work world as a freelancer. Work Redux! I also did feel badly that my husband, who had been waiting patiently for me to join him in retirement, had to wait a bit longer. What was 7 months in the span of a lifetime? Not much.  After all, he wanted what was best for me and he could see I wasn’t happy.

Going back to a job at a company I worked at for 18 1/2 years comes with pluses and minuses. Had I forgotten the people who annoyed me, the back stabbing, the political infighting, jockeying for position, the fact that this was a business rapidly changing and redefining itself?  Financial publishing, need I say more? Of course, just like anything else in life, there were people I was happy to see, office friends, women you chatted with in the bathroom. The company had made a major move uptown to the heart of midtown, and now boasted beautiful high tech offices, the kind cool ad agencies have or tech companies. My one more round gave me the opportunity to experience this.

What would I wear? I had given much of my work clothes to charity 5 months before never expecting to need them again. Luckily, we were going into summer so a few skirts and blouses could work and shopping  was always a fallback if I absolutely needed to spice it up.

The corporate apt had 2 bedrooms so I couldn’t count on having it all to myself. Me, a woman in the sixth decade of her life sharing a flat with a 20 something male journalist.Think Mrs. Robinson, but in reality just a wee bit awkward and contrived.  The decor was circa 1970’s; hey it was a bed to lay my head down at night, not somewhere I would want to spend time. What happened to the image of “The Corporate Apt” in the movies? This wasn’t it! It was free though, so beggars can’t be choosy!

It took me a couple months to get back in the groove. Things change quickly in business. Lingo that I hadn’t used or metrics that I had forgotten about as I played all winter,  came slowly back to me. It was good for my brain to have to think fast on my feet again, to complete proposals, to achieve targets. Did I like this because I wasn’t staff anymore and could march to the beat of my own drum? Being a freelancer, you’re not really part of the political shenanigans that go on and you know you’re leaving within a certain period of time. All good. I could look at my former colleagues and say I’m outta here in 7 months no matter what.

I completed my stint, made some money, and had a second chance to evaluate my decision. I’m glad I did it and it served me well, mentally and physically. Not many people get this opportunity to go back. I think it saved me from the therapist’s office and gave me that confirmation I was looking for in the first retirement phase. The extra money will pay for a trip to Italy in May and a spa vacation in Sonoma in Oct.

So in the words of an old Frank Sinatra song, “I Did It My Way”,

Today’s Takeaway—

. Always maintain an open mind.  Listen to offers that people direct your way. Rigidity is bad for the soul and might cause you to miss out on an opportunity.

. Do what feels right and always listen to that little inner voice within your head!  She knows you better than anyone else.

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

On Being a Shelf-Parent

My wise friend, Carol, once counseled —  when your child becomes an adult, you must “stay on the shelf”.  What she meant was we parents need to grant space for our 20 and 30 something sons and daughters to plot their own path.  We must resist the urge to butt in, lend advice, aggressively check in.  

We are now cheerleaders. Nodding. Affirming. Saying things like, “I just know you’ll figure this out.” And “What do you think?”  

Staying on the shelf means not over-texting and not freaking out when your texts are not responded to immediately. It means living your own life to its fullest and not thinking about what __ is doing right now.  It means taking your kids off the Worry List while of course keeping them on the Daily Prayer List.   Letting God take care of them.

Shelf-Life has its perks though.  

Recently I spent 3 days with Alex in Miami.  We walked on the beach, ate amazing food, played tennis, watched movies.  This was Mother-Daughter time that she requested during her week off between jobs. Who cared that it rained one day or that Alex got sunburned to the point of actual pain?  Our Miami girls-getaway is now etched in the book of treasured memories.

And I think (can’t be sure of this) I may have caught sight of a picture of Alex and me on the beach on the face of her iphone —  the prominent picture you see first when looking at your phone.

It’s true that you’re “always a parent”.   And it’s also true that it’s hard (for me) not to jump off that shelf and glom onto my kids.  

But then I have Miami memories to glue me down.  And anticipation of who-knows-what adventures to come with my grown kids and my amazing daughter in law!

All while I seek my own adventures and peer down occasionally from my Shelf.

Today’s Takeaway –

– Get rid of the Worry List.  It will give you wrinkles.

– While on the shelf, find your fun.  (Joy is taking up a Mah Jong.  We are both discovering Pickleball.) And resist the urge to check your phone to see if your kids have texted.  Chances are, they have not!

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

What’s in YOUR bucket? A Word about Travel

Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”  

St Augustine observed, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

In 2013 Joy and I connected with an engaged, energetic travel group —  on a Bucket List Kenyan safari. The trip began in Nairobi where we visited a sanctuary for baby elephants followed by a giraffe observation deck where we rubbed noses with gentle giants.

 

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We slept in tents and grew accustomed to chastising monkeys overhead. We learned about the Maasai tribe and we giggled through daily Range Rover excursions finding unspeakable beauty.

 

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Joy and I even caught sight of the elusive African  bushbaby.  Or at least we think we did.

Being self-proclaimed street-smart girls, we are a bit embarrassed to tell you about this little side adventure….

We had casually mentioned to one of the resort workers, “Oh, how we’d love to see a bushbaby.  They are SOOOO cute!”  Little did we know that these creatures only come out at night.  And little did we know that this resort fellow would be shining his flashlight through our tent window at 1AM that very morning jarring us awake,   “Come, come.  We find bushbabies!”   

So, picture this — Joy (Manhattan born and raised) and I (with NYC and Chicago roots) in our PAJAMAS and our Nordstrom’s sandals – following this perfect stranger with a flashlight into the African bush.  At 1 AM!   To find a bushbaby – which for all we knew was as real as a unicorn.  And yes, we left our passports and cash in an unoccupied tent.  So much for street smarts. 

At the first rustle in a tree we yelled “YES, there’s a bushbaby alright!”  And we scurried in our designer sandals back to the tent – certain it would be ransacked.  Assuming, that is, we made it back to the tent!

 

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Five years after, we still can’t believe that we put ourselves in such a precarious situation.  But oh the laughs we’ve shared since!  

 

This was the trip of a lifetime.  A whole chapter from St Augustine’s book.  

 

And it begs the question.  What’s in your Bucket, travel-wise?  National Parks? Wine Country? Israel?  Paris? 

We Baby Boomers are known for our hip replacements and knee tweakings so we should probably make plans while we can.

Yes, there will be missed flights, luggage snafus, and scary turbulence.  But that’s what Xanax and Bloody Mary’s are for! 

 

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I doubled my Xanax dosage for this flight.  

Check out the clouds.  And propellers…….. really?   

 

 

So let’s start depositing our pennies in that travel savings account.  Because we don’t need more STUFF. 

What we DO need is mind broadening experiences, memories that cause you to giggle when no one’s around, and a renewed appreciation for this wonderful world.

And maybe a bushbaby sighting.

 

 

Today’s Takeaway –

  • Find a travel group that keeps trips affordable and life affirming. And does the legwork for you.
  • Take short getaways to visit relatives and friends.  But as my mom used to say, leave them wanting MORE of you — don’t overstay!

 

 

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

 

When Life Shrinks: A Preview

Last January I was sidelined with an annoyingly slow recuperation to a mundane procedure.

I had ample time to process the phrase my hip gynecologist had casually tossed in, “If you were my mother…I would advise… blah  blah  blah.”  I lost her at “mother”.  Here I thought we were contemporaries…potential bff’s.

 

Here’s a picture of my gynecologist.  What was I thinking?

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So I was under strict orders to be a couch potato. I cleared my calendar. Oh the books I would read; oh the writing I would produce, oh the plans I would make.

 

Day 1 was liberating.  Brett was at my beck and call – grocery shopping, cooking, emptying the dishwasher, vacuuming golden retriever stage brush.   

Day 2 however had me staring at the window, a la Jimmy Stewart, wondering what life was like “on the outside”.   No evidence of reading, writing, planning.

Day 3 found me stir crazy.  A control freak somewhere on the ADHD spectrum.  And still no reading, writing, planning.

 

So it begs the question — how on earth would I cope with the inevitable shrinking of life?  When beloved activities are hijacked by the aging process.

 

I hope I cope like Mary.  

Mary just celebrated her 105th birthday.  She’s the life of the 3rd floor at the nursing home I visit. Her white hair is always coiffed; she wears brightly colored scarves and gobs of jewelry.  And now helium balloons adorn her wheelchair flopping behind her as she heads to Bingo.

“What’s your secret?” I  ask.

Mary is dismissive of such a silly question.  “Oh, Barclay, I am just too busy!” She peruses the activity board to check out the day’s options.  

Mary is probably the most positive person I’ve ever encountered –  in the most dismal surroundings I’ve ever encountered.  She’s thriving.

 

 It turns out our attitude matters more than our circumstances. 

So, let’s model Mary. 

And while we’re at it, let’s yell a robust “Bingo!” and fling some scarves in the air — just for fun.

 

Today’s Takeaway –

 

  • There are ALWAYS blessings to count.  Stop reading right now and hold up your hand and name 5  – out loud and with gusto.

  • BE ready so you don’t have to GET ready.  (I stole that catchy phrase from a sermon.)  Work on your attitude NOW while you can still move.  And a word about Bingo – we have to admit – it has stood the test of time!

 

 

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

Sleep – Counting sheep just doesn’t cut it!

Who would have ever guessed I would have sleep issues! Me, the woman who could fall asleep standing up! On a West coast flight, my routine was to recline my chair and pull down the shade preparing for a 5 hour snooze from lift off to landing! Friends marveled at my sleeping ability and I was the envy of my insomniac friends!

Enter retirement and all of a sudden, I wasn’t guaranteed a restful night’s sleep anymore! My wandering mind, racing thoughts took me all over the place, but not to The Land of Nod,where I wanted to go.

 

My worries about money, not having enough, my children, my husband, had I made the right decision to leave the workplace, my health and the state of the world were keeping me up!

 

I had no trouble falling asleep. That was easy. It was that damn 4:30 am wake up call that once eyes opened started the cycle. Peeing is one thing, I expected that, but this was more than that. It was my inability to put myself back to sleep.

 

After a month of this insomnia, I decided to try the usual recommendations for this condition. I Googled insomnia and sleep disorders. I was shocked at the percentage of people who have this problem, about 40% of the population. Who knew? Tryptophan, as in what makes us sleepy after the big Thanksgiving meal did nothing for me. Maybe it helps turkeys sleep? Melatonin, which many of my globe trotting friends swear by, Nada a wink.

 

On to acupuncture. I had never tried it before so being pro holistic and natural, rather than asking for a prescription for Ambien, it was worth a shot! I signed up for 3 sessions to give it a try. While very relaxing and a totally enjoyable experience, it didn’t take me to where I wanted to go, that being a solid night’s sleep. I did start waking at 5:30 instead of 4:30 so there was progress. Rather than investing in more sessions, being prudent, I tried what has turned out to be my salvation.

 

My daughter was working at a spa that used these white noise machines, the kind that new moms use in baby’s nurseries. Could this simple concept of blocking out all distracting sound work for me? Worth the $28 investment from Amazon.

This lovely little sleepy time machine, Sleepytime tea before bed, and my horse blinder eye mask ( bought at T.J Maxx for $10) is as good as I have had it for the last 6 months. I still wake up during the night, but I can finally put myself back to sleep.

 

It’s been a real eye opening experience to have insomnia, but I’ve certainly learned 1) I’m in good company and 2) sheep just aren’t to be counted on.

 

Today’s Takeaway—

. Pay attention to clues from your body, be that physical or mental.  Now is not the time to ignore symptoms or think they might away. Health is a gift, as is a good night’s sleep.

. Be open to alternative medicine.  Anybody can get a prescription for Ambien and you can always keep it in reserve.  Try meditating, deep breathing, yoga, the CALM app for bedtime stories.

 

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy