Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Bath Bombs

Some days, you don't want to soak in a bunch of bubbles.  You'd rather use something with a bit more pizazz so you prefer to use a bath bomb.  Bath bombs were invented in 1989 as an alternative to bubble bath. They provide something that is often better for people who have sensitive skin. By definition, a bath bomb is made up of packed dry ingredients that react when exposed to water.  

Bath bombs are so easy to make at home and they do not require any strange or hard to get ingredients.  Most recipes all call for the same ingredients in the same proportions.  Although the bath bombs are usually found in spheres (round balls), they can be made into any shape.

The basic recipe is: 1 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup citric acid, 1/2 cup Epsom salts, 1/2 cup corn starch, 3/4 tablespoon water, 2 teaspoon essential oils, 2 tablespoons oil such as almond, coconut, or even baby oil, a few drops of food coloring, and a mold.  You can use a muffin tin either regular or mini, candy pans, or even molds designed specifically for bath bombs.  

Mis all the dry ingredients except for the citric acid together in a decent sized bowl.  Add all the liquid ingredients together in a small jar that has a top.  Shake the liquids together in the jar before pouring the ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Using your hands, mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed.  Then add the citric acid. Please note there might be a bit of fizzing that occurs but that is normal.  The mixture should be crumbly.

Now pack the mixture into your chosen molds, packing them in as tightly as possible. You might need to use a spoon or glass to help pack the mixture tighter together.  Once done, slip the bath bombs out of the molds and lay on wax paper to dry overnight.  Allow them to properly cure over the next day or two.  As long as they are packaged properly, they will last up to 6 months. The best way to package them is in cellophane bags, plastic ziplock bags, Tupperware containers or in jars with lids.  When you are ready to use, drop one into the water and it should immediately begin fizzing and dissolving into your bath.

The scent chosen will help determine how you react. For instance, if you scent the bath bomb with lavender, it will help you feel more relaxed while something like rose might make you feel sexier.  Eucalyptus or mint might make you feel more energetic while sweet orange brings back memories of when you are growing up.  

It is strongly suggested you do not make bath bombs on a day when the humidity level is above 40 percent because the salt in the recipe will absorb moisture which might cause the bombs to start fizzing too early.  If it is raining, hold off till the next day, after the rain has had a chance to stop and the world to dry out a bit.  Be careful when purchasing bath bombs to make sure they do not have any ingredients such as talc, parabens, benzene or benzene derivatives, phthalates, or artificial colorings or artificial scents.

If you are allergic to any of the normal ingredients used in a bath bomb, don't use it.  These make great gifts at Christmas, birthdays, or any time you want to give someone something special.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Bubble Baths

Growing up, I loved bubble baths because the bubbles were so fun to play with.  You could create hairstyles using the bubbles, create facial hair, and so much more.  It was wonderful for the imagination but as I got older and bigger, I lost interest in taking baths.  I think it has to do with I never had the time I needed to just relax.  There was always something more that needed doing.

Now I've reach a point where I have time to enjoy a bubble bath.  I prefer making my own since I'm sensitive to certain scents and when I make my own I can choose the scents I have no issue with.  Although bar soap has been around since the 1200's, bubble baths are fairly recent.

In the early 1900's people created bubble baths using the bubbles from bars of soaps but someone discovered that by using soap flakes, more bubbles could be created in their baths.  Soap flakes became the primary ingredient for bubble baths.  In 1936, the American play"The Woman" presented  a woman taking a bubble bath as part of it.  Then in the 1940's, scriptwriters put bubble baths in TV shows, plays, and movies because they could conceal clothed actors and actresses and have them look naked. At the same time, more people began taking more bubble baths.

In 1950, three women appeared on the cover of Time magazine.  They were shown from the top of the breast up and the rest was cloaked in bubbles.  By 1959, bubble baths were heavily marketed because someone invented a powdered bubble bath and several different companies released their version including Mr Bubble.  These companies marketed bubble baths towards parents and children by creating the image of a trouble free bath time that was now fun.  In the early 1970's Mr Bubble released the first liquid bubble bath and by the 1980's bath bombs hit the scene.

What is nice is that it is easy to make your own bubble bath and it can be done using ingredients you have at home.  The first recipe uses 1/2 cup of liquid hand or body soap with one tablespoon of honey and one egg white mixed in.  Once the mixture is throughly mixed together, pour it in to the water, under the faucet as you are filling the tub.  The honey helps keep your skin hydrated while the egg white helps bubbles last longer.

Another recipe has you mix equal parts of water and Dr Bonners unscented pure Castile soap.  Add in Black Sea salt until the liquid is at the constancy you want.  You need enough so the bubbles form and the black salt is great for moisturizing dry skin.  If you do have dry skin, you might want to mix 1 cup of light oil such was almond with 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup liquid hand soap or pure Castile soap, and one teaspoon of vanilla.  Mix it together, and use as any other bubble bath.  If you want, you can add a couple drops of scents such as lavender, citrus, or flowery depending on what you want.

The best way to make sure you have a great bubble bath is to begin by cleaning out the bathtub because any soap scum or other left over product could interfere with the formation of the bubbles. When using a home made bubble bath, do not expect lots and lots of bubbles.  Although floating flower petals seems so romantic, it will not add anything to the bath and they can be so difficult to remove from the bathtub.  

Remember to take a bit of time for yourself and a bubble bath is one way to do that.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day. 

Friday, August 26, 2022

Staying Safe At The Gym.


Although we've had a chance to get shots and boosters to help keep us safe from Covid, it is still possible to get it, especially in crowded areas.  Even though many people are back using the gym and it may get busy at points, there are still things you can do to help keep yourself healthy.

Even though it's been a couple years since Covid struck, you may still feel as if you need to exercise caution.  If you are one of those who is still cautious, think about the following things.

First and foremost, continue sanitizing your hands on a regular basis and think about bringing your own sanitizer wipes and use them to clean any equipment you use.  Yes, most gyms will sanitize their equipment on a regular basis but if you use your own cloths, you know when it was last sanitized.  Furthermore, there are indications that the covid virus can survive on surfaces from a few hours to several days so if you wipe down the equipment before using, you will kill those germs.

You should try to avoid peak times at the gym so that you are not exposed to as many people and there is less chance of being exposed to someone who has Covid. It is becoming more common for people to be asymptomatic and they are likely to keep doing things since they have no reason to test themselves.  If you have to go during peak hours, try to maintain social distancing so you stay safer.  If you can change things around so you go at off peak times, it is easier to use equipment while maintaining the distance you need.

There is nothing that says you still can't wear a mask to exercise in and it is strongly recommended you use a disposable one, either a surgical or a KN95 type mask.  You might find the surgical masks to be better when working out.  Be sure to take nice deep breaths when doing cardio activity and if you find you need more air, step out where you can get some fresh air. 

Monitor those around you so you can maintain a good distance from others.  If there is someone in the machine you want to use, find another machine or take a break until the machine is open.  Quickly wipe it down and use it.  If the machine you want to use is too close to the machine you want to use, try to do something else and come back later.  If you choose not to wear a mask, social distancing becomes even more important.

If you begin to exhibit any symptoms associated with covid, consider staying home until you are better.  You are most contagious when you are displaying symptoms so plan to stay home.  Even if you don't have covid, you still want to stay home till you are over any cold, flu, or viral infection.  

I've discussed what you can do to stay safe but you should also talk to the gym to find out what they are doing. You should find out how often they sanitize equipment.  Ask them what they have done to improve ventilation in the building to cut down on the spread of covid. Have they improved the HVAC system?  Do they open the windows?  Is there an outdoor activity you can use?

The bottom line in regard to exercising at the gym comes down to you.  Are you vaccinated fully?  Do you have any underlying conditions that would make it easier to get covid?  Think about these things before you make the decision to go back to working out in a gym and then follow all the suggestions to make your experience safer.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Exercise Trends Two To Three Years Into The Pandemic.


When the pandemic hit, no one could go to the gym or even go outside.  We were stuck figuring out how to continue our fitness programs when we couldn't go anywhere.  It was a struggle to exercise while maintaining our healthy eating and keep the weight off. 

As time went on, the restrictions eased and we could venture outside as long as we stayed isolated and then the gyms opened.  Between March 2020 and June 2021, the fitness gym industry lost 29.2 billion dollars of business. By January 2022, over 30 percent of the fitness studios had closed but the digital/online fitness industry has increased and is predicted to increase.

We are now a couple years into the pandemic with no signs it will be going away completely so how have things changed in terms of our exercising habits. During the pandemic, about 75 percent of the people live streamed their workouts and 70 percent preferred the option of using on demand videos due to their flexibility.  In addition, people purchased exercise equipment such as Nordic Track, Peloton, and Mirror to use at home.  This means that many people started using the subscriptions used with the associated programs.  For instance, Peloton whose stationary bike was popular and who would provide on demand spin classes saw their subscription base increase from 700,000 to over 3 million people.

One advantage to the digital platform is that it allowed people who would never consider going to the gym, a change to start exercising at home if they didn't feel comfortable going to the gym, or didn't have time to go. 

Unfortunately, the down side is that many people missed the social aspect of working out with others and many did not have the necessary equipment at home to continue their programs.  It is projected that gyms and the fitness industry will not really recover to pre-covid levels for another year or two for two reasons.  First, about one third of people have said they are not returning to gyms even after they've been vaccinated. Second, the people who invested in an in home gym setups with digital memberships will not return because they have what they need to work at home.

Based on the results of several surveys, it's been found that many people plan to return to the gym but they also plan to continue workout at home some of the time.  Others have stated they will return to the gym if the gym offers them digital classes as part of the gym membership.  Thus a hybrid model is one that meets the needs of some people. 

Another area that experienced increased interest was in outdoor classes. As a matter of fact, outdoor activities found itself in 3 rd place in the list of top 20 fitness trends for 2022 per the American College of Sports Medicine.  In addition, 72 percent of gym members said that running and other outdoor activities were considered the best way for them to achieve their fitness goals.

One last thing is that so many people indicated that exercising and working out helped them keep their sanity during Covid. Being locked down lead to mental issues and significant stress that people battled using exercise.  

It looks like the change to streaming and on demand digital exercises, home equipment, and outdoor activities is here to stay for quite a while. In fact, many people who began using alternative methods to workout are saying they are not going to return to the gym.  They plan to continue working out using digitally based exercises, home equipment and outdoor activities.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, August 22, 2022

The Best Ways To Overcome Jet Lag


Due to all the international traveling I am doing right now, my body is undergoing a lot of jet lag, especially after flights of 10 to 15 hours length.  I just flew in from New Zealand and that was 3 hours to Australia, 13 to Los Angeles, 1.5 to San Francisco, 3.5 hours to Anchorage, and one hour to my final destination.  That is an extremely long trip but I managed a bit of sleep on the longest stretch of the trip and I spent the night in Los Angeles, to give me a bit of a break.  

I will also tell you that depending on where I'm heading, I've gotten there around 6:30 in the morning, or mid afternoon and the 6:30 arrival made life challenging since I couldn't check in till 2:00 in the afternoon.  I've learned over time, there are things I can do to make it easier to overcome jet lag. 

Jet lag happens when you travel across several time zones and your body gets out of sync. This means that your internal clock is out of whack with the local time so you find it difficult to sleep at night and stay awake during the day.  Some symptoms of jet lag include headaches, fatigue, the inability to sleep, a lack of appetite, mood swings, and your gastrointestinal system is out of whack so you are constipated or have diarrhea.

One thing is upon arrival, try to do things in the new time zone rather than operating as if you are still in your time zone.  If you have a watch that does not update automatically, do it manually but make sure all your devices that show time are set to the new time zone.  Plan to eat and go to bed based on your new time zone. 

Try to plan your actual travel activities so that it matches up with your new time zone. If it is night in your new time zone and you are scheduled to arrive in the early morning, try to sleep at night.  If your flight corresponds with the day of your new location and you are due to arrive in the late afternoon or evening, you want to stay awake.  It is strongly recommended that you do not take a nap if you arrive during the day because it may make it difficult to sleep at night but I've discovered a short 20 to 30 minute nap often helps especially if I arrived extremely tired.

I realize that it is extremely difficult for some people to sleep on an airplane.  Some things to do include bring noise canceling headphones or ear plugs or have something that provides white noise for you only.  Use eye masks, blankets and pillows.  I have a coat that folds up into a pillow that I use because it is comfortable and can be used in two different ways.  If you carry a blanket, make sure it is one that can fold up into a small package and fits into your carryon.  

Make sure you drink lots of water throughout the flight. It is easy to take an empty water bottle through security and fill it up at the fountains.  If you don't have space for a regular water bottle, they now have the fold up ones that take very little space. One way to counter being tired is to get out and walk about because light can wake up your internal clock so you feel less tired. Light is what signals your body to be awake so take a nice walk around your neighborhood and enjoy exploring rather than trying to take a nap.

Although it is recommended you do not drink coffee or tea on the plane trip, feel free to have a cup or two when you get to your designation to help you be more alert and focused. Then have less caffeine the closer you get to bedtime so you are able to go to bed at a nice hour.  When it is bed time, check the thermostat so the room temperature is not too hot or cold and check the clocks in the room to make sure they don't go off at a weird hour.  I forgot to do that one time and the alarm went off at 4 am.  I've never forgotten since then.

Take some melatonin just before bed so you sleep better since melatonin helps your body more tired.  Do not take more than 5mg for a dose. You might also talk to your doctor about a sleeping aid but be aware that some of them have serious side effects.  Get a suggestion from your doctor for a good one.

 They say it takes one day per time zone for your body to adjust to the new time zone so if you move two time zones, it take two days to recover.  One way to cut down on the multiple time zones is to break it up so instead of flying from Los Angeles directly to Australia, take a few days in Hawaii before going to Australia.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  

Saturday, August 20, 2022

And In New Zealand

There is a stand of California Redwoods found just outside of Rotorua. It has been declared a Heritage site so it is protected. 

Friday, August 19, 2022

Found in California


California redwoods are beautiful and found in Northern California.

Staying Hydrated While Traveling.

It is so easy to become dehydrated while traveling because airlines seem to be cutting back on the times the cart comes down the aisle, especially during a night flight. 

 The other issue is that many of us, myself included, decrease the amount I drink because I don't want to have to get up and use the restroom multiple times during the plane trip.   We need to make sure we drink lots of liquid before we ever hit the airport so we start our trip properly hydrated. 

When in the air, you tend to lose about 8 ounces of water per hour which on the longer flights can add up. You are losing this much liquid because the air tends to be quite dry on a plane. Losing liquid is why they recommend you drink at least 8 ounces of water every hour to make up for what you are losing.  If you aren't one to drink that much, there are things to do to help you stay hydrated.

One thing, is to bring you own water bottle with you so that you always have water with you.  If you don't like straight water, add a squeeze of lemon, lime, or orange to give it a bit of flavor.  I realize that it is sometimes difficult to carry any of these fruits with you when you travel, so you can get some dried lemon or orange from places like Amazon that you can just add to your water.  Most airports have opened up their water fountains so you can refill it at the airport after you've gone through security.

In addition, it is recommended you add chia seeds to your water because they can absorb between 9 and 12 times their weight in water.  This helps add more liquid to your body. You might want to invest in a mix that you can add that provides you with additional vitamins and minerals so you always have enough electrolytes and such in your body.  You don't need to buy Gatorade, just look for instant mixes designed to help you stay hydrated.

If you like alcohol, keep your intake to an absolute minimum because it acts as a diuretic and you'll want to go to the bathroom a lot more.  In addition, they strongly recommend you cut down on the amount of tea or coffee you drink on a flight because it is also a diuretic.  You don't want to drink something that will take more liquid from your body. 

One last point is to monitor yourself for dehydration.  One clue is to check the color of your urine.  You want it the water in the toilet to be a light yellow to clear.  If it turns a deep yellow to almost orange, you need liquid.  By the time you feel thirsty, you will be dehydrated.  Look for symptoms such as a dry or sticky mouth, confusion, anger, or being tired, dry eyes or blurred vision, head aches, muscle cramps, disorientation, the lack of sweat, or possibly a fever.

My preferred method of monitoring my hydration level is by watching the color of my urine,  When it is a nice bright yellow that is not too dark, I know I need to increase the amount of liquid I'm consuming because I'm half way to being dehydrated.  Always monitor yourself and drink lots of liquids while traveling.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Tips For Makeup While Traveling.

Some of the trips I take require me to be on the move for close to 24 hours from getting up in one place and going to bed in another. It take a bit of planning for times like that.  In addition, there are so many things to keep in mind when packing for a trip.

One of the first things to do is to purchase a padded, preferably leakproof bag as the padding will help protect all of your makeup from bottles to brushes.  

Do not throw them all in a ziplock bag.  Furthermore, when you pack it in your carry on, make sure you pack it in the middle wrapped in a little clothing but keep in mind that you have to watch the ounces so you don't violate the 3-1-1 rule for carry-on.  

For eyeshadows, blushes, and lipsticks, choose palettes to save space. By using palettes, you end up with a nice variety of colors so you can go from the day time look to an evening look without a problem.  In addition, it cuts down on the number of individual packs you take and in general palettes take less space and are so much easier to pack in your luggage.

When you are talking about foundation which is usually a liquid, you might get a travel size so you can put it in your carryon but if you prefer the full sized bottles, you might have to pack them in your check through luggage if the full size has too many ounces.  I tend to choose tinted moisturizers that come in tubes since they are not likely to break and I prefer the lighter feel of the tinted moisturizer.  A suggestion is to take only a little bit of your foundation and put it in a smaller container so you don't take up as much space.  In general, you aren't going to use a full bottle of foundation on a two week trip so it's better if you take only as much as you need.

If you want to keep the number of products down, you might think about using products that can be used in multiple ways such as they can be used on eyes, cheeks, and lips.  Furthermore, look at using products that do not need brushes so you don't have the weight of those.  If you need brushes, look at the disposable ones that weight very little and you just pitch after using.  On occasion, I've used disposable mascara brushes and disposable liner brushes, with the cake mascara because I could use it as mascara, eye liner, and if I got desperate, I can use it on my eyebrows.  

Take time to plan your looks ahead of time.  By preplanning your looks, you know exactly what you are going to use and if you keep the day look pretty much the same with a couple of different looks for night and going out, you can pare down your makeup so you don't need as much.  This is not the time to pack a turquoise eyeliner you've been wanting to try for a few months.  

If you use expensive brands, you might want to use drug store brands so if anything breaks, it is not as expensive and if you are on a longer trip and something breaks, you can replace the brand much easier.  Brands such as Maybelline, or Cover Girl are easier to find than some brand you have to get by mail or from a specialty store.

It is recommended that you use waterproof makeup since when you are rushing through the airport or arrive in a place where it is hot out, you don't want your make up to run.  No matter what brand you use, try to cut back, only use the makeup you normally use, and try to keep it down to a minimum so you take up less room.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Packing Tips


The thing about traveling is that one has to learn to pack smarter so you take what you need without resorting to the sit on your suitcase to get it closed.  When I was a teenager, I resorted to that but now, I've learned to pack better so I have room.  I always take a medium sized roller bag, a backpack, and small bag for things like my iPad, cords, etc.

The first thing I do is to check out the luggage rules of the airline I am using to see what the weight limits are so I can plan ahead. If it is an airline that require you to pay for a bag, it is good to know ahead of time.  Most of the airlines I travel on, give me one bag but I still check so I don't get a shock at checkin.  If I decide I don't want to pay the fee, I figure out how to get it all into a backpack and a small personal item.

The second thing I do before I even start packing is to sit down and create a list of things I want to pack.  I check temperatures at my destination so I know what to pack. For instance, although it is winter here in Auckland, the temperatures are quite nice and no cooler than Alaska during the late summer so I knew I didn't need a heavy coat but if I was going to Iceland at Christmas, I would take a heavy coat.  Will it be warm enough to take shorts or a swim suit.

I think about how many days I'll be gone and what clothing am I taking that can easily be washed in the bathroom sink.  I usually do shirts and underwear but I have done long pants there too.  So I figure out what the minimum I really need is but be aware that if you wash things in your room, they may take a couple days to dry depending on the humidity so prepare for that.  

Let's start with the suitcase.  I use a combination of packing cubes with rolling clothing.  When you roll the clothing, you can fit more into the available area and when you put it in packing cubes, the cubes can squeeze the clothing together so it takes less space.  I like using a packing cube for my underwear, bras, and socks. I use another cube for shirts and shorts, and another for my flannel lounging pants, sleep gear, swim suits, and other odds and ends. I put my jeans in a final cube.  One note that I've begun purchasing long pants that you can unzip and you have a pair of shorts which means I have one less thing to pack since one pair can be worn in two different ways.

Not long ago, I invested a lovely three layer hanging suitcase organizer that takes my underwear, bras, swimsuit, shirts, sleepwear and some shorts.  I use the same rolling technique but once I have it all filled, I use the straps to fasten it and it uses one eighth of my suitcase.  When I get where I"m going, I can easily unfasten it and hang it up in a closet so I don't have to unpack.  I really like it because it means I use fewer packing cubes.

I throw all my skin care products along with my toothpaste and floss, into a toiletries bag and I use ziplock bags for my hair products since I can't get by without them but I've gotten it down to solid shampoo and conditioner, a bottle of leave in conditioner, and spray oil to keep my hair under control with a wide toothed comb.  I have another ziplock back for basic makeup and odds and ends.  I wear one pair of shoes and the other goes into my backpack because I have a pocket for shoes.  One thing I always carry is laundry detergent.  You can take some liquid detergent in a travel container, purchase some liquid detergent in small packets designed for travelers, or get the sheets that can be torn up, dissolved in the water and then used to wash your clothing. They all work well when traveling.

In my suitcase, I put my hoodie and windbreaker while I wear my sweater and any other clothing I stuff around things in the zippered part of my suitcase.  In my backpack, I have any extra cords, my computer, masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, diary, pens, notebooks etc.  I keep my passport, wallet, etc in my small bag that rides on top of my suitcase.  I also place my meds in the carry one so if my luggage gets delayed, I don't have to panic.

One thing I pack extras of are sunglasses and reading glasses because I have a tendency to loose them.  I usually have three to four extra pair.  I also make sure I have some feminine products just incase something arrives a bit early.  I like being prepared and I don't want to have to figure out where I need to go to get them in a foreign country when I don't know the language well.  I never learned the words for that in any of the languages I've learned.

I usually have extra room available to I can buy things overseas and I'm able to bring them home without going over my weight allowance.  Every time I travel, I end up telling myself, I've packed way to much but I justify it by telling myself that if I end up stuck somewhere at least I have enough to survive with.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. Have a great day.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

View From The Hill

 View from Mount Victoria of the ferry that runs between Auckland and Davenport, home to the New Zealand navy. Taken from across the harbor from Auckland. 

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Greetings from …….

Greetings from Pahi Black Sand beach just outside of Auckland New Zealand

Friday, August 12, 2022

What Clothing Should You Pack When Traveling For Fun Or Holidays.

If you wonder why I'm covering topics on traveling, its because I am on a three week trip that took me from Alaska, to Los Angeles, to Australia, and right now, I'm in Auckland, New Zealand.  I have one suitcase,  my backpack, and a small bag for electronics.  My suitcase usually has lots of space available for brining things home.  I tend to buy things like cups, t-shirts, and certain things like tea.  

There are certain things you can do to make long travel stints easier clothing wise, especially if you are going from warm to cooler climates, or want to keep the amount you take down.  

So for the list - 

1. Underwear - usually no more than 5 to 7 pairs of panties so you have enough to make it through a few days if you can't wash them out overnight.  For women, throw in three to four bras so you have enough if you can't wash them out.

2. T-shirts - a few light weight short sleeved and a few more long sleeved light weight shirts.

3.  Pants - if I know I am going somewhere warm, I'll pack up a few pairs of shorts but wear one pair of long pants when I travel so I have them just in case but if I'm going to be going to different climates, I bring those long pants that allow you to unzip the lower part to change your long pants into knee length shorts.  These are dual usage so that I can take fewer pairs and have better coverage.

4.  Shoes, I usually have one pair of all round casual shoes and one pair of sandals.  I wear the shoes when I travel and I throw the sandals into my backpack because it has pocket for shoes.  I usually do not need heels so I don't worry about them.  If you do, they can fit in the suitcase.

5. Jackets, sweaters, etc. - It is always good to think in layers.  I have a sweater I take with me because it is big and will fit over shirts, or light jackets, or under larger jackets.  So I pack the sweater, a fleece jacket, and a waterproof layer such as a light rain jacket so I can mix and match as needed.  Now if I am traveling somewhere I know it will get quite chilly such as Iceland or Sweden in the winter, I take a heavy coat with me that I wear on the plane so I don't have to pack it.  

6. Sleepwear/lounging wear.  I usually throw in a pair of flannels that I can wear when I get to my lodgings after a long trip, sleep in, or wear on a long overnight trip if I choose.  One can bring a matching top to make it a set of pajamas.

7. A small umbrella - I found a small umbrella that opens large enough to operate as both an umbrella or a sun shade depending on the season.  It easily fits in my backpack and is light weight.

8. Toiletry bag - this is for skin cleaning supplies, toothpaste, sunscreen, shampoo, conditioner, and floss.  I go for travel sized skin supplies like cleanser, moisturizer, etc.  As far as shampoo and conditioner, I use the solid version because they take less room, weigh less, and work well.  I keep my mouthwash in my own travel containers rather than bringing a large bottle.

9. Hair supplies - this is where things can add up space or weight wise.  Most hotels now carry blowdryers, so there is no need to bring one.  If you need extra supplies such as leave-in conditioner, oils, etc, try to bring ones that can be used in multiple ways so there are less to bring.  Ask yourself if you really need to bring the curler/straightener, etc or can you get by with less.  This is one area that it is easy to bring too much that takes up a bunch of space.

10.  Socks - bring a few pair so if you can't rinse them out in the sink, you have a clean pair for the next day.  You don't need a pair for everyday you are gone.  You need socks to wear with shoes or they can be worn with sandals if the temperature drops.

11. Medicines - Don't forget to pack these in your carryon so they are easier to get to.  

12. Bathing suit - Pack one if you are going somewhere warm, where you visit hot springs, or there is an indoor pool at your hotel.  

This is my list of things to take because I travel for fun, not for work so my list is different than if I were traveling for work.  On Monday, I'll talk about ways to pack things to make it easier to bring more in less space.  Over the years, I've learned ways to do it so I can take what I need and still have space in my luggage for everything I want to buy.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. Have a great day.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Exercising While In An Airplane


I have been doing a lot of traveling, especially overseas.  Unfortunately, many of these trips last between 8 and 14 hours depending on where I'm going.  The last one, the one to Sydney Australia, was almost 14 hours long.  It is extremely hard to sit still for 14 hours, even though it was a night time flight.  I left Los Angeles around 11 PM and arrived in Sydney a bit before 7 AM.

Unfortunately, sitting still for such long periods of time can lead to several issues including deep vein thrombosis which are blood clots. This condition is not restricted to traveling by air.  It can happen when you sit for periods of longer than 4 hours in a car, a train, or bus.  These bold clots form way below the surface where they can't be seen and the longer you sit, the higher your chances of developing one. Fortunately, there are some things you can do while in the airplane to reduce your chances of ending up with deep vein thrombosis.

There are some wonderful exercises you can do in your seat that will keep this condition from developing.  They are simple and most do not require you get out of your seat.  I love being able to exercise in my seat because I hate waking people up to get out into the aisle so I often focus on seat based exercises.  

First, if it is at all possible, get up and walk the aisles as a way of stretching your legs and getting the blood moving.  This is much easier on night flights when everyone is sleeping and the crew is sitting quietly in the back otherwise, you have to avoid drink carts. It is also easier in those larger planes such as the Airbus which has two aisles so you can walk in circles. 

Second, stretch your upper body to help your posture because the longer you sit, the more likely you are to slouch.  One good stretch is to grab one wrist with the other hand, pull it up as far as you can and then lean over to the opposite side for a few seconds and then repeat on the other side.  I love these and do them quite frequently.  I tend to do two or three on each side when I do it.

Third, simply squeeze your butt muscles by clenching them for at least five seconds and repeat ten times.  If you want to vary this exercise clench both muscles for one set and then clench one at a time so you do the left butt and then the right butt so you do 10 on each side.

Fourth, roll your head so you stretch the neck.  Lean your head to the left while facing forward so your ear is lowering to your shoulder and hold for a few seconds, then repeat on the other side.  If one set doesn't feel like enough, repeat a couple more times. 

The next one is good to do if you can get out of your seat into the aisles.  There are often places where one can find a bit of space, such as by the doors of the back galley area.  Stop here and do a full body roll down by starting with the head and rolling down slowly through the neck, back vertebrate by vertebrate until you are touching your toes or getting as close as you can.  I don't think I've ever been able to touch my toes, even when I was a child, so I get as close as I can.

After touching your toes, bring one leg to your chest while rising on the other toe if you can.  Other wise, just raise pull your leg to your chest and hold for a few seconds, then repeat on the other side.  You can also left one leg off the ground and circle you foot at your ankle in a clockwise motion followed by a circle in the counter clockwise direction.  Do the circles so you've done 10 on each side.  Circling your feet can also be done in your seat if you don't have much under the seat in front of you. Yes, I've done it.

It is possible to perform all of these on your feet or most of them while sitting.  It is recommended one combine multiple exercises to create a nice workout that you perform several times throughout the flight.  Think about doing this in flights as short as four hours and plan to do them multiple times during a longer flight.  In addition, these exercise will keep your legs from tingling or falling asleep.  

I strongly recommend doing this every time you travel.  It should be part of your regular routine when you are sitting.  I do.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a good day.

Monday, August 8, 2022

The Ideal Body Shape and Image.

In the past, the ideal body shape was a woman with curves, love handles, and nicely rounded, the opposite of today. This past image developed because a woman of this shape was associated with wealth because she obviously could afford food.  She could eat as much as she wanted and her figured showed it.  

As time passed, women still were shown to have curves and they were not thin even up into the 40's and 50's.  Think about Mae West who had a very rounded figure and obviously did not weigh 98 pounds dripping west.  After her, another was Marilyn Monroe with her beautifully curved figure.  

Even the movie stars and models of the time were nicely curved and looked like real women but once Twiggy hit the world as the girl of the 1960's, suddenly being thin was ideal.  The thinner the better and this ideal continued into the 1990's with Kate Moss.  Once social media and reality shows exploded, we've been seeing a very specific look emerge as "The Look".  Yes it may be one of curves but for many, the curves have been added via plastic surgery, extensive use of personal trainers, and other methods.

We have stars sharing how they lost 16 pounds in 21 days by denying themselves certain foods, or people trying to shame others for "being fat" or having some other imperfection.  The reality is that most women do not have the money to hire personal trainers, pay plastic surgeons, or take advantage of cosmetic items to rid ourselves of wrinkles, a bit of excess flesh, or transfer fat to our butts.  

These images create unrealistic views of what the right body shape is.  They make us unsatisfied with ourselves so we want to do something about it.  There is a lack of understanding that the best body shape is the one that works for us with our proportions, our bust, our rear, etc.  I can tell you, I have never had a totally flat stomach, even before I had emergency surgery that left me with a nasty scar on the abdomen.  I've always been a bit smooshie in the abdomen but now am a bit more since the surgery.  

Unless I could afford to have plastic surgery, I'll always have that, yet it doesn't match up with the popular body shape you see around you.  I'm also never going to have an hour glass figure because I wasn't built that way.  If you look at statistics, most women are going to be curvy and are not going to be a size 0 or 2. 

When I was taking Spanish, we went to a play called "Real Women Have Curves".  Yes, there was a movie by the same name but it wasn't the same as the play because in the play all the hispanic women worked in a factory making clothing for the women who wear a size 2.  None of the women were that thin.  I think the smallest sized woman was a sized 9.  Through the play they grew and one decided she needed to design clothing for women who had curves and were larger.  This lead to her having her own line of clothing since real women have curves.

I think we need a movement to help us learn to be satisfied with ourselves rather than trying to emulate an influencer or star who have a totally different body type and height.  We need to stop comparing ourselves with others, seeing imperfections rather than seeing our assets.  Let me know what you think, I"d love to hear.  Have a great day.

Sunday, August 7, 2022


 Best hot out of the oven, cooled just enough to handle, dripping in butter and honey.  mmmmmmmm.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Influencers Have Been Around For A Long Time.

Influencers are found everywhere on social media.  They have over a million followers and what they do causes people to rush out and follow them.  They might share their own products or others, or recommend places to go.  They've developed their brand, find their niche, and sometimes, they get into trouble like the mother who decided to regime her adopted child and faced public opinion.  However, before social media, before television, radio, or movies, there were influencers who people tried to follow.

There was one influencer back in the 16th century who had women dyeing their hair and eyebrows, wearing her type of makeup. They wanted to be just like her.  This woman's name?  Queen Elizabeth I.  She didn't have access to social media as we know it so she used the media she had available.  She had tons of portraits painted to show everyone who she was and to create her brand.  She had that look of reddish hair, with high forehead, and a very pale skin created by a lead based white makeup. Due to her media campaign, women wanted to look like her from head to toe, just like today.

Another early influencer was the Italian painter Titian.  He painted beautiful red haired beauties causing many women to want to emulate the color.  He showed women in various states of undress but never naked and he influenced women in Italy to look more like the women he painted.  Furthermore, his work garnered him an international following.  He also created new techniques that others adopted and created a new style by combining Renaissance with Mannerism ideals. 

One big influencer of that time period was William Shakespeare.  Yes, the same man who wrote "Romeo and Juliet" and other such plays.  His sphere of influence was the English language. If you so a bit of research, you'll find he helped standardize grammar, spelling, and vocabulary.  He contributed about 1700 original words to the English language and we use some of them even today.  He is responsible for phrases like "Full circle", "Sorry sight", and so many others.  In addition, he chose to use words in new ways such as gloomy that was originally a verb but he used it as a noun. 

On the other hand, a later influencer was Max Factor, the same man as the one who started the makeup line.  He started out creating the makeup looks seen on stars in the film industry.  Of course women wanted to recreate some of those looks but could not until he started releasing eye shadows to eyebrow pencils in 1916.  This was the first time, women had access to makeup outside of the film industry so they could recreate the looks they saw.  He continued releasing makeup so soon women had access to everything from foundation to mascara and more because he believed that any woman could achieve the looks he created for films if they had the correct tools and he did.

The last person I'm looking at who was an influencer was Coco Chanel.  She knew women and created fashion to be worn by them.  In the process of producing clothing that stayed in fashion, she created one of the first :"brands".  If you say you are wearing a Chanel, a picture pops into your mind because her name is connected to her style.  She started trends such as "The little black dress" and two  toned shoes.

So from early times on, there have been people who created their own brands, marketed them, created a following, and influenced the world around them.  They were some of the early influencers who made their mark long before the invention of social media.  Let me k now what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Getting Ready To Head Off.

I just spent the last 5 days attending an educational event.  Since I had to come down to the Los Angeles area, I decided to head off to Australia for a week and then another week in New Zealand.  I managed to get everything down to one check through bag and my usual carryon.  This year, I've made the discovery there are certain things I have to bring that take room.

For instance, I hate going too long without using a water pik on my teeth so I pack a travel water pick that is relatively small and works decently.  That takes care of that.  I also use an electric toothbrush so I have that.  

In addition, I am a tea drinker and most American hotels do not have electric kettles.  Usually, they stock those wonderful coffee machines that have so much coffee oils ingrained in them that it is impossible to get anything but coffee flavored tea.  So I have a small extremely portable water heater about the size of my tall tea container.  That takes up more space.

As far as my hair, I've got the bar type shampoo and conditioner that works well but I need the leave in hair conditioner, oils, and serums I have to have to keep my hair under control.  Yes, I put the hair conditioner in a small travel container but I usually leave the oils and serums in their own containers since they are about the same size as the travel ones.  That is more space.  

I also travel with extra plugs and strips and such so I have enough plugins and places to charge my electronics.  I found I have to have them.  I also have a few converters packed since I am going overseas and my American plugs don't work in Australia or New Zealand so that is another set of things I have.  I generally carry small converters for the ones I have that are Usb or Usb-c and larger ones for my plugs and more USB and USB-C.  I travel with someone who usually brings like 3 iPads of assorted sizes, two phones, and a couple of other electronics.  I only bring a computer, one iPad, one phone, and one itouch to take pictures with.  So those plugs, converters, etc take up a lot of space.

Then I'm going from a nice warm place to somewhere that is enjoying winter.  I bought a couple pair of those long pants with zippers so you can detach the lower part to make longer cargo pants.  Those make it easy for me to go from hot weather to cold weather and they are basically cargo pants.  This means I can cut down on the number of pants I have to take.  I've also packed the detergent trips so that I can do laundry as needed along the way. 

I don't remember how I learned about this but I found a wonderful three level thing that I can put shirts, underwear, shorts, etc in, fasten straps and it fits easily in my suitcase.  I've decided if it doesn't fit in there, it doesn't go because I need space for everything else.  I did pack a nice sweater I can team up with a hoodie and I'll stay warm since it doesn't get too cold where I"m going.  I have a pair of sneakers for the colder climate and sandals for the warm climate.  

When I packed to check out of the hotel. I realized that almost half of my suitcase is taken up with the water pick, hot water heater, hair stuff, shoes, and converters for overseas.  I am going to have to figure out how to get the plugs and converters down so I don't have to bring as much.  The thing is, we all know about the theory of how we should do it but it doesn't always work.  One time I bought this great looking thing for cords, I tried it and it just didn't workout so I'm back to plastic bags.  Let me know what you think or if you have suggestions to cut back on crud.  I would love to hear.  Have a great day.  

Monday, August 1, 2022

Fabric, Fabric, Fabric

 I have been spending the weekend in Woodland Hills, California attending an educational experience to teach others more about the history of fashion. Then earlier I went on a tour to the Los Angeles fabric district. If you have never been there, it is a treat. There are so many stores filled with so many different designs and types.

Other stores offer finished clothing from underwear to prom and bridal dresses to anything you could dream of and many of the prices were quite reasonable such as mens underwear at 5 for $10, etc. in addition, there are stores filled with jewelry, findings, ribbons, leather clothing, tiaras, sparkly appliqués, and so much more.

With one trip, you could find the clothing needed to outfit the members of the whole wedding party and find all the luggage for the bride and groom, get all the earrings, necklaces, etc, all within a few blocks. There is even a spot off towards the edge with flowers you might want for the wedding. Many of the bridal stores either carry or are next to stores with dresses for prom or other fancy event.

If you would rather create your own clothing, one can find sewing machines, fabric, thread, zippers,

buttons, trim, appliqués, beads, and just about everything needed to finish it. Want a good wool? You’ll find it there. You’ll find silks, satins, linen, mixtures of all sorts, polyester, rayon, and more. If you know who to see, you will know their claim the silk is 100 percent silk but for others, it is necessary to perform a burn test. Yes, I have done many a burn test to check claims and sometimes the threat of a burn test is enough to have the salesperson to change from 100 percent silk to its a silky polyester. Big difference.

The area has been there for a long, long time and it appears to have survived Covid relatively well. What is different is the increased number of small food trucks around the area. Some are extremely small with a table made out of two saw horses with a board across them, topped with a plastic table cloth.

If you are ever in Los Angeles and you have time, hop down to the area around 9th and Maple and spend your time exploring, shopping, and being proud of what you got. Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear.  Have a great day.