Moving On……

After debating with myself, thinking about it and skipping more than a few hours of sleep, I came to the conclusion that I needed a fresh start and a new look at life. Toss and Listen served its purpose. I did the tossing and the listening, it’s time to move on.

The discoveries are still coming, the lessons are still being learned and life goes on. Never thought we have more than one journey, even if it is the same. Taking my Grey Attitude on the road, it has been fun. Thanks for coming along!!!

Skin Care Part Three

Here is my last post on this subject. Has been a very interesting and overall good experience. The products are very good, they just do not work with my skin type. After a few weeks, my skin started to feel dry and itchy. one day, dewy the next. No rhyme or rhythm to this, so very frustrating because I was applying the same products…..or maybe it was the amount I used varied. Or I changed the sequence, have no idea, but this is what I experienced.

Of the three products I received, the Anti-Ageing Caviar Serum worked the best. Really did the job of plumping my skin before applying make-up. Since I stopped using the products, my skin has retained certain glow and softness. This is unexplainable, really. I would recommend the products to others, but also would advise them to stop if this happens. It could be it was my skin’s reaction and not the products. Good luck!!!

We are constantly bombarded through television and social media with ads for new and old beauty products. Each promising us anything from fresh and glowing skin to a firm and youthful profile. To be able to decide which of them will work for us, we would have to buy and try several products. Not all of us are able to do that.h

http://skinchemists

Skin Chemists gifted me these products and I am so glad they did. Please visit their site above.

Skin Care Part Two


Aging is not a choice and the sooner we deal with this fact, the better. We want to look out best, but we are not going to look 30 forever, sorry. No amount of creams, lotions and serums are going to take us back in time. Not even repeated visits to a plastic surgeon will accomplish that.

So the alternative is taking care of ourselves. Starting from the inside out with what we eat and what we drink. Second how we take care of our skin: exfoliating, hydrating, keeping our sun exposure to the minimum. Finally, exercising and keeping fit without going to extremes. We must remember that some of us are more agile than others, some of us are dealing with an illness or simply are not comfortable with exercise. It’s a fact, deal with it and adjust.

Most women try products expecting to get immediate results. If not, they discard said products and move on to something new. Others stick with something they are convinced is working, regardless of actual results. At different times, I have belonged to both groups. Haven’t we all? We will continue to do so as long as products come into the market promising to improve our skin texture, color or simply make us look younger.

Now I must come to the point of all this: I am back to report on my new skin care routine. Still loving the products, but not quite sure how much improvement I can see. Seems to me that this is not a miracle waiting to happen, but more of an exercise in consistency. Isn’t it how it goes?

I took some BEFORE pictures. Not sure how I feel about posting those!!! I have taken several others since (the one above is an example), but cannot say they belonged to the AFTER group. They are more like middle of the road kind of pictures. How long should I wait to post the AFTER photos? Would my skin continue to improve or this is it? Time will tell.

One thing I can say: for the first time in years, I feel confident enough to go out with the minimum of make-up or no make-up at all. That in itself is amazing.

Skin Care Part One

Skin care is important, after all skin protects us from the world. It’s our first line of defense. Then there is the skin of our faces. As we grow in years, we tend to take extra care of that. Some of us have beauty products we swear by and use every day. Other are constantly changing brands, experimenting, looking for that magic product. Other mix and match what they like and hope this will be the answer. In whatever group you find yourself, skin care products do not escape your scrutiny.

In the modern world, looking younger than our years is so important. Of course, this is not easy and may involved many factors. First is our gene pool. This we cannot escape. Look at your mother, aunts, grandmother…..that is you. Second is the way we lived. Do we like to be outdoors? Do we exercise and keep active? Do we eat healthy and avoid stress? So many factors and we cannot control all of them. Third is how we take care of our skin. Do we wear make-up? Do we cleanse, hydrate and exfoliate? Do we get enough sleep? I can continue, but you get my meaning.

Then there are the extreme factors: Botox injections, fillers, surgery. Personally, I don’t see myself doing any of these in the near future…but who knows? I do believe that your face, as your body needs exercise. Have you heard about Face Yoga? A very interesting concept that involves keeping your face in shape. That is for another post, though.

A few years back, I participated in a product trial for a well known beauty products brand. I was compensated and had to write several posts about the results. To tell the truth, it was uncomfortable and I decided not to do that again. When asked, I always had a perfect excuse. Well, never say never.

Just over two weeks ago, I agreed to try these new products from a London based company: Skin Chemists. I received the products a week ago today, the only thing I will receive from them. Very nice packaging, light texture and pleasant scent. Started using them right away. Let’s see what happens.

I have not seen any noticeable changes, but it’s early days. Frankly, I am not expecting big results, but my skin feels softer to the touch. Still whatever benefit I get from this will be welcome. The company uses sustainable products, like caviar, aloe vera and seaweed. It is also against animal testing. These things really made a difference for me in choosing to try their products. I will keep you posted on my results.

This are the products I received:http://skinchemists.com

Anti-Aging Caviar Facial Serum, Anti-Aging Caviar Day Moisturizer ans Ant-Aging Caviar Eye Serum.

The Big Day Came…..

We spent ten days in Curaçao for our daughter’s wedding. Four days going through the last details, four days celebrating and enjoying the company of family and friends and two days resting before coming home. We went from relaxed moods, to nervous times when we were sure it was not going to happen. Days with rain, humidity and heat, mosquitoes and endless details to be worked out, days of sunshine and high hopes for a good day for the wedding, ups and downs in every sense.

Fortunately, everything came together perfectly and the wedding was beautiful, glorious, emotional and unforgettable. Camille and Oliver were married by the sea, with a magnificent sunset as a background. Their family and friends were  witnesses to a loving ceremony, just as they had dreamed and planned.

Having guests from near and far can be a challenge. In reality, getting everyone to meet each other was easier than I had anticipated. On Thursday, we hosted a casual get together. Even though I was confused with hour, place and arrived late, it was a complete success. Friendships were rekindled and new ones, hopefully, made. Was such a happy occasion with much laughter, introductions and picture-taking. Proved to be a great idea.

Then on Friday, Oliver and his family hosted a Sunset Cocktail Hour. Much more interesting than your average Rehearsal Dinner, this event provided time to talk about the families, the bride and groom, time to hear anecdotes from friends. Everything said about Camille and Oliver touched my heart deeply. It was confirmed that they are loving, sincere and loyal and made for each other. There were tears and laughter and endless toasts. The setting was perfect and everyone enjoyed themselves.

The big day dawned clear and sunny and gorgeous. Yes, it was hot at times and we thought we would melt, but it was perfect. Getting ready, dressing up, spending time with my daughter before the ceremony, family pictures, hugs and happiness. This is what everyone talks about and is an absolute truth: a wedding day brings families together and so much joy.

The setting was breathtaking. Have to say our decorator-in-chief made everything look just like Camille had envisioned. The sun was still high, but there was a promise of a gorgeous sunset. Everyone took their seats and it started. Our daughter walked down the sandy aisle with us. A small gesture to include some of my husband’s family traditions. Emotions were high when we finally got to where Oliver was waiting.

The ceremony was simple, warm and unforgettable. The groom’s sister and the bride’s brother read favorite passages from the Dalai Lama and the Tao of Pooh. So beautiful!!! Camille’s childhood friend sang the Ave Maria, a small gesture to include my family’s traditions. All the while, a pelican entertained us with its endless dives and swirls. Couldn’t have been better!!!

Just as I was thinking, yes, it is happening….it was over and they were married. Tears of happiness, hugs and congratulations, smiles all around abounded as we looked at the newlyweds walk towards the sunset. Breathtaking doesn’t begin to express the feeling. Life is wonderful!!!

After a toast by Oliver that again moved everyone present, there was cake and prosecco and laughter. We departed for the reception venue. Again, it was beautiful…..we couldn’t have asked for anything else. My husband toasted the newlyweds again, the first dance took place, Camille danced with her father, everyone joined in and the party started. Eating, drinking and merriment followed until past midnight….not too long, just right.

At the end of the day, we were tired but ecstatic. Everything has gone the way it was planned, happiness was the theme of the night. As Oliver and Camille embark on their married journey, may the memories of this lovely weekend just turn into more happiness, more joy, more love. This was the beginning, the send-off….and it was perfect!!!

Batteries Recharged…..

It doesn’t seem that way now, but a couple of weeks ago, we were out to sea and disconnected from the everyday. Taking a holiday in the middle of planning a wedding did not seem like the best idea…..but it was!!! For 10 glorious days, nothing but enjoying ourselves was on the agenda.

We usually do not take trips in groups. It is better for us to just go with the flow and see what we want, leave if we are not enjoying the place or simple go and stay for a while in one place. This trip proved that we can do it, we can enjoy our friends and have time for ourselves, go with the flow one day and follow the group another.

A friend from the years I was active in the American Women’s Club of Curaçao and attended FAWCO conferences organized this trip. It was a way to raise money and have fun, spend time with friends and contribute to charity. The plan went smoothly.

Flew to Milan and then took a train to Venice/Mestre. Of course, we did have a couple of days in Venice before meeting our friends. It was relaxed and beautiful, just the two of us. Venice never gets old, but it is also too touristy nowadays and you need to take it in small doses. We walked along the least known places, had lunch away from the tourist crowd, got lost in the winding alleys, crossed small bridges and ignored the most-see tourist spots. Perfect!!!

For the first time, I allowed myself to be pampered and my friend ordered a wheelchair for me. Have to say, it was a fabulous idea. Our embarkation went smoothly. Once we were onboard, it became so hectic. I was not sure this had been a good decision. Too many people, too many children, too much food being offered as we waited for our cabin to be ready.

We sat and had a drink and some munchies…the sight of so much food can really cut your appetite. Still, the day was clear, the sun was shinning and we were looking forward to meeting our friends. I knew the ladies and was ready to meet some of the husbands. So far, so good.

Our cabin was ready when they said it would be, kudos to the cruise company for this. We unpacked and I laid down for a quick rest. Then the expected routine: lifejackets drill, getting to our assigned deck. Nothing new, but found it a bit disorganized this time. Never mind, you need to know what to do and where to go…period.

Then came our departure from Venice. While on deck to see this, we met another one of my friends…..how absolutely wonderful to see her after so many years. Met her husband too and we stayed there looking mesmerized as the city was left behind and we went out to sea. Venice absolutely looks different from the water.

That evening we met the rest of my friends. During dinner we bonded. I know it sounds absolutely corny, but it did happen. We continue to have fun together, go on excursions and side trips, take pictures, act silly, learn more about each other. No other way to do this kind of traveling. You are assured company you like, which is just what you need.

It is not always that you can be on a cruise and be able to completely (or almost completely) ignore the rest of the people taking the same cruise. We had such fun just sharing with each other and taking breaks as we needed them. We met for drinks after dinner and went to all the shows, laughed out loud at the silliness of it all. We played Bingo and had a Chinese Auction to raise money for charity. These ladies really know how to put the fun in fundraising!!!

Bari was an absolute gem. Got a tour around the city with a fantastic guide, tasted some great pugliese products and visited too many churches. We even sang “Sinterklaas kapoentje” at the church of St Nicholas!!!

The Greek islands were fabulous. From the trip to Delos to visit the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, to the ride around Mykonos and drinks at sunset.

 

Knossos Palace, the real labyrinth of legend, was the highlight in Crete.

Corfu gave us Empress Sissi’s palace. Dedicated to Achilles, this was some second home!!!

Dubrovnik was amazing!!! Our guide took us high on a winding road to see the city from above. He was a war veteran and regaled us with stories of the war while driving up that road…..a bit scary!!! The view was breathtaking, no other word would do.

Down in the Old Town, we visited the oldest pharmacy in Europe located in a Franciscan monastery.

Then we visited the second oldest synagogue in Europe. It was founded by Sephardic Jews after the expulsion from Spain.

 

In no time we were back in Venice and ready to come home. Disembarking was again very easy. We had time to say our good byes while waiting for my wheelchair ride. Returning to Milan, we became convinced of one thing: leave train traveling for the younger set. Even traveling First Class, you have to lug your suitcases up and down. There is no help, no porters and not enough time to achieve all this without running out of steam.

Believe it or not, despite the abundance of food, we did not gain weight. Seems we took our three regular meals and did not indulge in snacks and sweets. We had a fabulous time and if this group gets together to travel again, we will join them without a doubt. Friendship were renewed and we are again in touch. I had my rest and I loved every minute. Life is wonderful!!!

The Invites are Ready…..The Puzzle is Complete.

 

All those months we spend planning our daughters weddings are something we will never forget. There have been the usual ups and downs, the faux-pas, the moments of panic, the tears, the joys, the arguments and the sleepless nights. There have been days you’d wish all gone and finished and days when you didn’t want this time to end.

Your daughter and you got on each other’s nerves, you couldn’t help but think this was more than you could handle. Then you remembered her ballet presentations, her birthday parties, her sport tournaments, her graduations (from K5 to college). You remembered her achievements, her awards, her disappointments when things didn’t turn out the way she thought……all those moments when you were so close, that you were the one there to hug her, to encourage her, to cry with her and to share her successes. All is well then.

When the planning started you would have never thought it was going to be this hard. Actually, you thought you could manage very well, thank you. Didn’t take long to realize that it was not going to be that way. You argued and disagreed, not only with your daughter, but with your husband too.  You had to stop and count to ten more times than you want to admit. So many details you thought were easy to achieve……think again, you know that now. From the guest list to the decision of going with champagne or prosecco. Cake or not, buffet or sit down dinner…….

While working on all of this, you were shopping for a wedding gown. You went and saw her try more than one dress. You saw her in some dresses you loved and some you were not so crazy about. Then one day, she tried  a dress and her face lit up and her eyes glistened with tears. She smiled and you knew: she had found her Wedding Gown!!! It is perfect and she looks beautiful…your little girl is getting married!!!

Foolishly, you thought that the dress was picked and everything else would be easier now. Of course, it was in a way, but then you saw your daughter trying to explain the attire, selecting places for those wedding pictures, telling her dad what to wear. Then came the other important question: veil or not. Somehow, this part worked out and you were not too involved..

In the meantime, you have decided what to wear, what color and what shoes…..something elegant, that hides your small imperfections, something that would not distract from the bride. Shoes that you can dance in…because there will be dancing.

The venue, the catering, the reception, the music and the decorations are all taken care of. The wedding planners have been amazing and the bride and groom have helped in everything they could.

Then you sat back one day and told yourself:  you were there, always….building her confidence and mending her broken heart. Now this is changing. This will be the last big party you are planning for her. She has someone to share her life with, to plan everything from now on. You will help, if asked, but the planning, the excursion and the credit will be all hers. This is your Swan Song, Mom, you told yourself, make it memorable!!!

Still it didn’t seem real. There was something missing and you did not know what it was. As much as you had worked on the details, you were sure there was something that was not complete yet. And then it was right there, in front of you: The Invites have arrived!!! There is no going back, there is only forward…..this wedding is taking place and you couldn’t be happier. You deserve a pat on the shoulders, you deserve to sit down with a drink and a smile. Your beautiful daughter is getting married, it is there in glorious colors addressed to all your friends and family. Here it is to gorgeous brides and beautiful weddings, to handsome grooms and happily ever afters!!!

 

P.S. Thank you to Lilliput Design Studio for the gorgeous invites!!! I highly recommend this talented artist, Cristina Fundora.

Photo: dreamstime.com

Be a Maker

On my way around blogs and sites I follow, there has been a constant theme this week: Make. From letting us know it’s time to think about ourselves and make something of the time we are now living in to just plain make something everyday, whatever that may be. Have to say it has caught my attention.

I am planning my daughter’s wedding, so I have plenty to do most days. Somehow, it is just not that. This is about making something, actually doing it: from small things like a cup of tea to big things like finishing that project you started a week ago. It is getting up every day and just make!!!

So here is the deal, we are at time in life when we do have time in our hands, to be redundant…. most of us are retired or working less hours. Simply going about our day, will present us with the opportunities to make. We must grab them and run with them. In that spirit, I have decided to become a maker.

Starting slowly….make breakfast in the morning, take your time and enjoy what you are doing. Do not rush the process, savor it. Make your cup of coffee or tea. Make something to eat to go with it. Set the table and make yourself sit down. Embrace the making of this special moment.

Make your bed, make a flower arrangement, make a great meal, make haste, make a disturbance, make verses……that is making too!!! To make has so many connotations. It means: to create, to form, to act, to cause to happen, to enact, to form, to shape, to cause to be, to shape, to set or name, to behave, to fit, to intend to hold in your mind. What a fabulous word!!!

Along the day, we find so many things to make, everyday. Make a special trip to visit someone, make a difference by donating, volunteering, engaging someone. Make sure you smile when meeting somebody, make time to get in touch with loved ones. Make plans for your next vacation and make sure you execute them. Make someone happy by remembering their birthday, make new friends, the possibilities are endless.

This is not rocket science, not a difficult task that will complicate your life. It is understood that we are now able to do what we want, what we like, what we love. Why not become a maker, then??? and make our lives so much interesting, exciting, fruitful and happy. Be a maker!!!

 

Play while You Can

Do not know about you, but I find people of my generation absolutely set in their ways. Of course, we all have those friends that are still fun to be with and are game for many things. Unfortunately, they are few and far between. Most of our contemporaries have decided that it’s better to take things cautiously and not temp fate. Whatever that means!!!

Someone once said that we grow old because we stop playing, not the other way around. A greater truth has not been stated. We must keep our playfulness, it is as simple as that. How is another story because we are all different and because we have different ways of playing!!!

I am all for having fun, play and make mischief if we can. I believe in my heart that is the only way to face our golden years. Of course, I have been told more than once to act my age. Since I know I was never this age before, I claim ignorance. How to behave an age I know nothing about???

Enough of the teasing, you know what I mean. There is no such thing as acting one’s age. Even in the off-chance that someone can tell me what that is, I would not be interested. Would you???

This is why we must play while we still can. Dance when you hear music, hold your partner’s hand and swing them as you walk, stick out your tongue to a small child and see her reaction. No need to shy away from joining in a catch game or to stoop and talk to a child who is holding a doll. Offer to hold the doll if she allows you, why not???

Play, that’s it …..do not think twice. Do what you must to keep play in your life. Do not look around first before you engage in some silly game. Go for a swim and splash around, dunk your head in the ocean and build sand castles. Sing out loud, embrace the music when you hear it. Celebrate your birthday with cake and balloons, no matter your age.

Life is short, it is full of challenges and not always easy-to-make decisions. We act responsibly most of the time, which is to be expected. There are enough serious moments in our lives already. What we need are the moments that make us relax and smile. So, go ahead. Just do it, go with the flow, enjoy the moment and play to your heart’s content!!!

 

 

 

 

Planning is Essential

Went with my husband to see his aunt at the nursing home she is staying after a being released from the hospital. I say see because visit is not what we did. A visit is a social interaction. This was far from that. It was trying to understand why was she upset, what could we do while we were there to make it better. There was no other interaction.

No complains about the facility that we could point out. The place is spotless in a clinical sort of way. The room is well lit and it’s a double which makes it less lonely. Meals are served three times a day and there is someone to help if the patient cannot feed herself. So far, it seems alright.

The fact that you will not have someone 24 hours looking after your every need is a given. Personnel have to care for several patients on each ward. So she complained that she feels abandoned by the staff. She told us there is a plot against her and her cousin so they are kept part. In reality, is hard for anyone to come spend the whole day with her.

Let me explain first, she has been very sick of late, is 92 years old and has Parkinson. She lives with her cousin and friend who is 99!!! They started living together when they retired many years ago. My husband’s aunt is a widow, her cousin never married. Neither has children.

They did have some sort of idea of how they wanted to live their old age. Unfortunately, they didn’t realize that if you live this long, you need more than a vague idea. You need a plan and specific instructions of how you want everything done.

Once you get to a certain age, everything comes to a head. It is not only old age, it is unexpected illnesses, lack of financial means, lack of family responsible for decisions once you are incapable of taking them yourself.

In this time and age, when everyone is so busy, so involved in their own lives and responsibilities, getting old is daunting. The time when older family members could be taken care of at home is a thing of the past.

Consequently, you must have your plans in place and make sure you have someone who will carry them out. Improvising at this stage is absolutely out of the question. The reality is we are living longer and must plan accordingly.

Living at home is desirable, but it depends of so many circumstances: financial stability, staff to come and live at home or at least be able to show up when needed. Not every city or town provides the resources to take care of the homebound elderly. Even when an arrangement is worked out, any small mishap can throw the whole thing off.

You may want to stay together with a friend or family member and keep sharing a home, but reality has a way of stepping in. This is when you need your plans in order. This when you should have only to decide when you want to go to where you planned to go. You have picked a place, you have made financial arrangements, you have discuss this with someone you trust.

When we cannot decide anymore, we depend on what other will think is best for us. In some cases, this is not even decided by family members or trusted friends, but by social workers, or other well meaning strangers.  In other cases, the decision comes down to simple numbers: how is this care going to be paid for, can you get into the facility of your choice or there is no space available when you need it.

Of course it can be done, it just takes time and effort to do it. It takes acceptance of the things that are coming and foresight to make the difficult decisions now. In the long run, this is the only way, so do not hesitate!!!

 

photo: This print hangs just outside the room. I found it very appropriate: Falling Leaves by Dominique Gaudin.