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

Mother’s Day 2018

Joy —

Today being Mother’s Day calls for a special post.  Barclay and I have been experimenting on co-writing certain posts.  We feel jointly our own individual memories and perspectives make for one hell of a great read!! (all modesty aside)

Mother’s Day, to me has always been about celebrating my own mother, not my motherhood.  It took me many years and sadly the death of my own mother to understand that this is my day too.  Funnily enough, as my good friend Christine would say, my own mother, Muriel (of previous blog fame!) thought these holidays were silly.  She always said, “the greeting card industry invented them” and “every day should be about celebrating your mother.”

I always remembered to say I love you and to be mindful of how special a person Muriel was (quirky, a bit odd, a character for sure, but the best mother I could have wished for, if I had ordered her up) So this day, May 13th, 2018, I recall the very first Mother’s Day without mine. (Muriel passed away Feb 21, 1990.)

I changed my mind and decided not to be teary and remember that first Mother’s Day, but rather to reflect on the unique character that Muriel was.  She was trapped in the 1950’s, but secretly had a yearning to break out..  She didn’t care for other women that much, small talk, swapping recipes, and ladies lunches.  My mother preferred to  take her Tuesday off from motherdom and wifedom (though she didn’t work), ride the #4 bus downtown, shop at Lord & Taylor, and eat lunch at the Birdcage restaurant, probably collecting her thoughts and dreams. She then would prepare my father’s shrimp cocktail  for when he came home serving him as he sat throne like waiting for his food.

She was a great listener and old ladies (probably a few years older than me now!!) loved telling her their problems.  She was compassionate, thoughtful, and kind hearted. She wore a girdle, though she was thin all her life, never accentuated her curvature of the spine (born with it) by wearing form fitting clothes, and sat in the window of the bathroom where the natural light was best to apply Max Factor pancake makeup, false eyelashes in the 60’s and thereafter, as well as pressing it all onto her skin with ice wrapped in a tissue.  Oh, the things we do for beauty! She used Noxema every night to wash her face, applied cold cream, and wrapped her bouffant hairdo in toilet paper to keep it in place until next week’s beauty parlor appointment.

She loved me dearly, though not overly affectionate (my father made up for that) and I always knew I could go to her for whatever upset me. I always wanted my relationship with my daughters to be what I had with my mother and I have been blessed to have that.  So this Mother’s Day, 2018, I think of you mommy, but also know it is my day too.

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Barclay —

Sometimes I am asked how I came to live in the midwest.  The answer I give is that I attended college in suburban Chicago and then “settled” here (as if I am Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie).  The real answer is I was trying to get as far away from my mother as possible.

This was a positive.

States between us — I now have an entire file drawer filled with birthday cards – she was fond of Snoopy – and notes that begin with “Dearest Barcs” or better yet, “Barcsy” and end with hand drawn hearts, the emojis of yesteryear.   I also have letters written in careful cursive on yellow legal paper – all ending with the word, love.

 

Love wasn’t a word Peggy used with wild abandon.   But she did love fiercely without sentimentality.  A friend of hers once told Charlie (my brother) and me how proud she was of us – to the point of boasting.  For some reason she could only direct such thoughts to her pen or to Florida friends.

But…

At the end we discovered that Peggy had her own file drawer.   In it we found clippings from college tennis, letters from camp, articles written, birthday cards – featuring the Peanuts gang of course.  Evidence of pride.  Of love.

When Mom passed away one October evening in 2010 we held her hands standing around the hospice bed – something she would have recoiled at.  She would also have been aghast at not wearing lipstick.  Yet she looked radiant as she stepped onto gold pavement.

Surrounded by Love.

 

 

“To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colors of a rainbow.” – Maya Angelou

 

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No takeaways today, just enjoy the day.  If you are a mother rejoice in being lucky enough to have children.  If you want to have them, may your prayers be answered to have them.  If you are fortunate enough to still have a mother to call, go ahead and pick up the phone.  No text, no email, just let her hear your voice.

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

The Skin We’re In- Part One

“Crepe.”

I had never heard this word before.

Was it pronounced the French pancake way?  Or was it pronounced “creepy”?  Probably the latter considering the disturbing images of elephant-like skin – alongside an ad for a miracle cream to eradicate this Baby Boomer plague.  (Which of course I bought. Which of course didn’t work.)

Isn’t it enough that our underarms boast a certain jiggle which answers to many names — Hi Jane’s, Bat Wings, Bingo Wings, Lunch Lady Arms??

And isn’t it enough that our mothers were right when they yelled, “Get out of the sun!  Wear a hat!  You’ll get wrinkles!” ??  We Baby Boomers are embarrassed to admit that not only did we lay in the sun for hours, we also held up reflectors (cardboard wrapped in tin foil) to accelorate the process.

Did you also know that as you age the contour of your smile can actually turn downward?  Meaning, we look grumpy when we’re not.  It could be a result of our aging teeth not granting support to our sad mouths.  As they turn yellow.

And who knew that as you age your hair will stop growing where you want it to and boldly go to places it’s never been before??

So lest we get too depressed, let’s focus on some things we CAN do.  For now, we will address the infamous Hi-Janes.  Future posts will tackle other Baby Boomer maladies.

My friend Lisa is fond of saying, “The best exercise is the one you actually DO.”

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Here is a 28 day challenge for arm toning that is worth doing.  Yes, It looks daunting.  (When they say 70 push-ups, it’s obviously a typo.)

We will have to channel my disciplined mother, Peggy, who said you MUST keep moving.

And I never saw Peggy’s arms flapping.

Only her tongue — as I held my reflector high.

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Today’s Takeaway –

-Be grateful for make-up.  Just think of men who have to face the world each and every day sans concealer or foundation.

-Love the skin you’re in!   And practice Self-Care.  You ARE beautiful!  Just wear a hat when you’re in the sun.

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