Reports indicate that Chinese medicine and herbs helped China fight, prevent and treat Covid19. As a result, some say there has been a demand for Chinese herbs across the United States leading to herb shortages. An herb shortage? Didn’t see that coming.
It’s 5 a.m. I can’t sleep. This is the third day this week. Insomnia is the worst it’s been in a long time. I’m experiencing racing thoughts, an overactive bladder (like every 5 minutes overactive) and a lot of twitching (or spasms). I’ve also had chills the last two days. I usually find myself going between hot flashes and chills.
I’m feeling frustrated and hopeless.
When I don’t sleep I feel physically terrible. I’ll feel hungover all day, today. I hate that feeling. I hate that no sleep, now, means I’ll be useless all day. It cuts into my goals and plans for that day.
Yesterday, I felt mentally ‘checked out.’ I didn’t want to talk and I didn’t want to listen, either.
There’s no denying menopause has been a little hard on me this week. I think I’m not getting enough exercise. When I exercise regularly, I feel better. I sleep better. At this phase in life, sleep is so important to overall good health.
I’ve been binge watching shows. Reading and writing. I know what the sleep experts say. They say shut your phone off. But whoever said that has never experienced hormonal shifts or menopause. No doubt, the expert is a man.
When I have these menopause episodes I liken them to fevers . Eventually they’ll break and I feel good, again. But until then, I feel terrible.
I’m so tired I want to yell, scream, curse and punch the air. Instead, I’ll just wait it out. Plan to stay home all day. And get outside and do some exercise.
If there’s one thing women appreciate as we grow older, it’s a man who has good skills in the kitchen. When I saw this post by actor, Kevin Bacon, dishing out his recipe for Bolognese I had to share it with you. He’s making dinner for his wife whose been working out of town.
While we all love the beautifully and organized homes of HGTV and Instagram in real life, homes get messy. For people, like me, who need practical solutions for the mess, here are some unique and functional ways real moms and grandma’s are corralling the mess.
How are you storing your sofa blankets? Send me a picture and I’ll share it, here! Or just tell us in the comments.
@HannahSchaffer has hers hanging on the wall.
If I were handing out awards for originality, Hannah would be the winner. I’ve never seen this before and I would never think to do it. I would be afraid I’d accidentally tear down the wall. But for Hannah, it’s working great!
@LillianCruz found something that pulls double duty.
@brandistringer shared this fan favorite way to store her blankets.
I love this one. I plan to buy me one of these just as soon as I find a pleasing price.
This was another fan favorite by @karenkay.
“We don’t fold because we use them constantly” said Karen Kay.
This is a cute way to add some farmhouse charm to your place.
@HaydenBennet uses these table/baskets she bought at Walmart.
I can help but to think “easy-peasy” when I see this one.
Mandy Moores latest baby photo is giving me all the feels!
If there’s one person in the television industry who seems like the real deal, it’s Mandy Moore. I imagine her childhood to be filled with marshmallows and unicorns. She just seems so down home sweet.
Her adult life seems to be going pretty great, too. She has a hit television series (This is Us). A brand new home. Her first album in a decade. A talented (and based on everything she says on IG), good husband. And a brand new baby, too.
Girl is living in high cotton, as they say in the South. I’m divided between hashtag happy for her, and hashtag jealous.
Out of all her success the picture that sums up the meaning of love, life and family is this one. Her little guy smiling back at his daddy. Warning: it’ll melt your heart.
If that photo doesn’t do it for you, the next one is sure to. According to Mandys post.The couple named their baby boy early on in her pregnancy. In true “this is us” fashion, the way she got to that name is in a very Hallmark moment kind of way.
It was last August when @taylordawesgoldsmith and I found out we’re having a boy (it’s also Taylor’s birth month) and we always loved the name…so it was settled very early on in our book. Then for our anniversary in November, T gifted me with this blanket with the “A” (for Amanda) made from extra material from my wedding dress and “T” (for Taylor) from his wedding shirt. Felt like a very fitting amalgamation of our whole story. I can wait to pass this on to our sweet August one day. 💙💙💙💙
I can’t believe it but it’s been 24 years since Jennifer Lopez captivated audiences with her performance of Selena Quintanilla-Perez in the movie, Selena.
Selena is the story of the short-lived life of music sensation Selena and her family, but it’s also a painful reminder that money can change those around you.
Selena was shot dead by a trusted family friend and business associate March 31, 1990. The murder and the aftermath played out on the news like a Lifetime movie. The root of the murder was money. (Of course)
Lopez earned a million dollars for her portrayal of Selena making her the first latin to earn over a million dollars for a film.
She deserved it. I can’t imagine anyone else who could have successfully represented Selena like Lopez did.
Selena taught Lopez how to perform
There’s no denying Selena helped make Lopez the star that she is, today—and the performer, too. I think Selena change the trajectory of Lopez’ career. She went from fly girl on In Living Color to JLO.
I had learned how to really become a performer and give everything I had to the audience.
JLO interview with Billboard magazine
The following are Instagram posts made my Jennifer Lopez in memory of the 24th anniversary of Selena.
One of the things I love about social media is that when used properly, we can learn from each other in ways we never could have before. And the celeb-status can get in on it, too.
Yesterday, Courteney Cox, popped up in my Instagram feed with her 5-minute makeup routine and a couple of confessions. The video starts off with Cox saying she’s always late. Anyone relate? Both hands raised, here. The other confession is that Cox got blue eyeliner tattooed on years ago “I don’t recommend that” she says.
What I really appreciate about this video is that Cox is personable. Down-to-earth. She comes across as if she just decided to give social media live, a shot.
She even uses a couple of beauty brands and tools you can buy from Target. With her gray roots and Target brands one could say, she’s just like us.
Cox is 56. While I always enjoy learning from women of all ages, as a midlifer, it’s nice to hear from women who might have similar skin experiences as I do.
What’s your favorite beauty tip? Please share it with us in the comments. Have a great week, friends.
Dr. Michelle Hure, a California based Dermapathologist, warns followers not to let their guard down after getting vaccinated.
After getting her own vaccination she commented “Fully vaccinated (I still don’t want you to hug me).”
She went on to say “Now that many people are getting vaccinated (awesome!) I see they are starting to get more complacent with masking and distancing. I understand why. But just because you’re vaccinated, it doesn’t mean we are back to normal.”
She went on to say “The covid vaccine was developed and intended to prevent serious complications and death.”
Hello lovelies (and gentlemen, too!) Thanks for being, here. This is one of those things I felt you had to know about. This week, Target announced their partnership with Levi Strauss & Company to bring Levi’s® for Target limited-edition Home collection.
I never would have imagined that Levi’s would create a home collection. This is big news!
Starting Feb. 28, 2021 you’ll find Levi’s tableware, quilts, pillows and even pet apparel at most stores and online at Target.com. In addition to home, the collection includes the iconic Levi’s® trucker jacket and sleepwear, and accessories.Target is rolling out curated in-store displays to be set in 500 stores by Fall 2021.
“We’re thrilled to be introducing our one-of-a-kind home collection with Target. We immediately connected on our mutual passion for purposeful and timeless design, with sustainability and quality at the core of everything we do.
Karyn Hillman, chief product officer, Levi’s®
Levi’s® for Target includes more than 100 items and ranges in price from $3-$150, with most items under $25. Apparel in the collection ranges in size from XXS-3X for women, S-4X for men, XS-XL for kids, 0-3M-3T for babies and toddlers and XS-XL for pets.
You can get a sneak peek at the line in the video below. Let me know what you think in the comments. Is this a yes or no for you?
These women all have a unique voice but blended together they may have formed a new band. Music has always been important me. It moves, inspires and invigorates. Wherever this finds you, I hope this song inspires you somehow.
One of my dearest friends, Elaine, passed away last weekend. All we know is that she got some level of food poisoning that made her violently ill. She was severely dehydrated and didn’t know it. The last time her husband saw her was when they carried her into the ambulance and drove away
If you’ve been following me awhile you know that my cancer battle taught me that my health, life and time are the most valuable currency I have. It’s the most valuable asset we all have. And yet, we’ve all squandered it at sometime or another whether it be with the wrong marriage mate, job, or friendship— Poor personal investment is usually a part of our growing up.
That is my wish and encouragement for you this week. I’m having issues with my “read more” line and posting the blog title on the main page. Please hang in there with me as I figure it all out. Meanwhile, click on in image to read the article in it’s entirety.
This week, CVS and CVS Health announced the launch of QuickRenew, an online contact lens prescription renewal tool.
“We continue to adapt and evolve our digital offerings in response to the pandemic. This addition to our optical site gives customers a new way to fulfill an important health care need safely and confidently from the comfort of their homes,”
Michele Driscoll, Vice President of Customer Engagement, ExtraCare, Digital, & Promotion, CVS Health.
QuickRenew digital screening is available on the CVS Optical website and takes less than 15-20 minutes. You’ll get a vision exam and results by a board-certified ophthalmologist licensed in your state.
And you can do all from the comfort and safety of your own home.
If appropriate, they’ll issue you a valid prescription you can use to buy contact lenses anywhere in the United States.
All you need is a smartphone or a computer with a webcam and a microphone.
You should know:
QuickRenew only looks at how well you can see, not the health of your eye so our friends over at CVS recommends you see your eye care doctor for a comprehensive eye exam.
Apparently, actress, mom, producer and everyone’s favorite rom-com girl, Drew Barrymore, has her own day time television TALK show!
I had NO idea. The only reason I know now is because I watched SNL’s premiere return last weekend and they did a spoof of the show.
It turns out the show is nationally syndicated.
That’s a pretty big deal for someone who is new to daytime talk TV. With that said, Drew Barrymore is a famous face and name, so, networks aren’t really risking too much, there.
So what’s the word on the street about the show?
There’s a weird energy in the air on Drew Barrymore’s new nationally syndicated morning talk show, a frisson that’s hard to grasp but that announces itself as something entirely other
Drew Barrymore’s show is so weird it’s almost hypnotic.
William Hill, AV Club
The opening-day “Charlie’s Angels” reunion, lacking the moderating force of someone outside this tripartite friendship, left viewers on the outside. The conversation with Witherspoon, for instance, never really transcended a sort of complimentary back-and-forth about how each truly loves the other; moments where the pair edged up to actually discussing their lives, like a vacation they took together to Mexico, fell away.
As you can see reviewers (photographers, acting coaches, and anyone else who thinks they’re important in Hollywood), can be tough on the soul. With that said, I respect Variety magazine and I agree with their review based on what I’ve seen (so far).
There’s no doubt, Barrymore may not be your cup of tea. But I’ll let you tell it.
The best segments of the show
The cooking segment is absolutely, hands down, one of Barrymoore’s best segments of the show. The following include clips of the segments.
If you get a chance I highly recommend you try these easy to make recipes.
The shopping segment ranks second best on my list. I’ve seen some EXCELLENT deals. I may be shooting myself in the foot here by telling you this but you should check in on her deals between now and shopping season.
Aspiring to be our genuine self is probably one of the hardest things to do.—April Maye
so many in social media are there with the intent to sell something even if it’s only an image. as such, they show you something they’re usually not—perfect, financially wealthy, humble, honest, the list goes on.
the desire to be seen, heard and valued amongst the masses leads to false representation, copycatting and plagiarism. the desperation on the Internet highway is REAL
i see so many women i once respected for their message or brand succumb to the pressure to be someone else. they hop from one bandwagon to the next. inappropriately use causes for selfish gain. steal someone’s idea, quote or tagline. some change the words of others to make them seem like their own, and some don’t even bother making changes. they just regurgitate it without shame or embarrassment for the whole world to see.
in doing so these women fail to show up for themselves.
i’ve had my experiences with this type. i’m always so disappointed and shocked by their lack of awareness. and, while i’ve never been tempted to steal from others, i have had the feeling that i am not good enough. especially since i started blogging. I’ve written about that HERE.
i’ve compared myself to more established bloggers. we’ve all wanted those followers at some time or another. we all want to succeed.
but the desperate need for recognition and “follows” leads people to make big business mistakes. mistake that will not only damage their reputation, but inhibit them from achieving the one thing they really want: success.
with that said, here’s this week’s quote and something to think about.
Avaline makes clean, delicious wines with organic grapes. Transparently produced, full of natural goodness, free of unnecessary extras.
i reached out to Avaline to ask if there was added preservatives in their wine. i never got a response. so that makes me think the customer service is poor. and, the odds are: there is added preservatives in the wine. if you have asthma and allergies don’t be fooled by labels like “clean.” please do your research before trying.
with that said, i don’t criticize makers for creating products that work for them. if they don’t have health issues, they won’t be thinking about those things during the process, so, i don’t ding them for that. BUT blowing me off means they lose points from me (🤣)
still, when Diaz shared her go-to recipe i felt it was worth sharing with you. it’s a perfect dish for the weekend. let me know if you give it a try—and if you try the wine too! we are definitely curious.
i should say that i think it’s pretty cool that they got to create their own wine. i’d love to do the same. maybe someday, i will.
Enjoy. 💋 and as they always say “may you drink responsibly.”
Can you BELIEVE it’s October? I mean where does the time go? Speaking of time…October means it’s breast cancer awareness month, again. As a breast cancer survivor I know two things for sure 👉🏼breast cancer awareness is about more than buying pretty in pink packages. And 👉🏼early detection is the key to survival.
In order to catch cancer early you have to get to know your breasts.
I get it. The idea of poking around in your breast tissue is undesirable and uncomfortable. It feels weird. But, it can be the thing that helps you identify unusual lumps and bumps in the very early stages. Not all lumps are cancerous. In fact, experts say most aren’t. But you don’t want to take that chance. Trust me!So be sure to check your breasts EVERY month.
I don’t know how.
Before I was diagnosed I really didn’t know how to do my breast self-exams. I tried. I think I did okay. But I wish I’d known the correct way to do them. You can learn how to properly do your breast self-exams HERE
Get your mammogram.
Even if you do regular breast self-exams you should get your mammograms. Again, I know mammograms aren’t comfortable. Sometimes they even hurt. But combined with your personal exams, mammograms can help detect cancer in the very early stages. The sooner the better!
I’ve been so behind in posting, lately. It’s been a crazy-busy time here. One thing after another. And then there’s the days I just need to take a pause. A MENO-pause. The lack of hormones I produce in menopause seem to worsen certain days of the month. I call it “a dip.” And it’s a dip I feel as soon as it happens.
It’s very reminiscent of the PMS I used to get during my menstrual cycle. There’s about 7 to 10 days, every month, where I feel PMS-like for days at a time.
During this time I cope with a variety of symptoms from hating my clothes and everything about myself to feeling extremely sluggish. My memory fails the most in the dip. I can’t remember ANYTHING. People. Places. Things. And as for writing…well…I lose my ability to convey my thoughts, express my feelings or even form full sentences.
I’m in “the dip” now. It drives me mad.
That’s partly why there’s a lag between my posts.’ Just when I thought I’d overcome inconsistency, I realize that a major reason why I’m so inconsistent and behind is because menopause symptoms interfere with how my brain works. I’m in the midst of writing about this topic, now. I plan to have an interview with a brain doc, soon. Maybe we can learn more.
With all that said, I think we have two choices when we find ourselves in uncomfortable spots: learn to navigate life with them, or give up altogether. I’m not going to lie to you. I was close to giving up on blogging. I found myself thinking that maybe, after all I’ve been through, I’ve lost my ability to write, tell a story or pretty much do anything else since menopause descended upon me.
That’s a hard pill to swallow. I mean, I used to work for a Pulitzer-Prize winning publication. How can this happen? Did I forget who I was? After awhile it occurred to me, I started the blog for a number of reasons. One of them was to help me work through these challenges. Challenges I now have after fighting cancer, going through chemo and NOW coping with menopause. I think even the best in the world would have challenges after surviving something that big. So, I’ll be back. I have to stick with this. The end benefit is for me.
Do you have something that challenges you? Will you share it in the comments section? How do you cope with your setbacks?
Wherever you are, I hope you can find time to relax over the weekend and take a break from the bad news.
Relax. Breathe. Shelve the heavy topics if you can.
There’s no doubt summer is here. Yesterday, it was brutally hot in many parts of the country including, here.
The only thing that made the heat harder to deal with besides rolling blackouts is the California wildfires. As I write this, the California governor has declared California a state of emergency. So before I move on to the point of this article I just want to say “Thank you” to all the men and women who put their lives on the line to fight fires, save lives, homes and animals. And thank you to the families who must be in a constant state of worry during fire season.
With that said, today, I’m talking about heat stroke prevention. I’ve said it before, I know, but I truly believe prevention is the key to healthy and safe living.
But in order to prevent anything, we have to be aware. Aware of our body, gut and surroundings. When we get a symptom or a signal, we have to act swiftly.
With prevention in mind the following tips are brought to you by the CDC and the Mayo Clinic.
Heatstroke requires emergency treatment. Untreated heatstroke can quickly damage your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. The damage worsens the longer treatment is delayed, increasing your risk of serious complications or death.
Protect Against Sunburn.
Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool itself. So consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Apply sunscreen generously, and reapply every two hours — or more often if you’re swimming or sweating.
Drink Fluids. 💦
Staying hydrated will help your body sweat and maintain a normal body temperature.
Take Extra Precautions With CertainMedications.
I didn’t know this but apparently there are medications that can affect your body’s ability to stay hydrated and dissipate heat. (Keep reading)
Medications that affect your body’s ability to stay hydrated and respond appropriately to heat include some used to treat high blood pressure and heart problems (beta blockers, diuretics), reduce allergy symptoms (antihistamines), calm you (tranquilizers), or reduce psychiatric symptoms such as delusions (antipsychotics). Additionally, some illegal drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines, can increase your core temperature.
Take it Easy During the Hottest Part of the Day.
If you can’t avoid strenuous activity in hot weather, drink fluids and rest frequently in a cool spot. Try to schedule exercise or physical labor for cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or evening.
Never leave anyone in a parked car. Please.
This is a common cause of heat-related deaths in children. When parked in the sun, the temperature in your car can rise 20 degrees F (more than 6.7 C) in 10 minutes.
It’s not safe to leave a person in a parked car in warm or hot weather, even if the windows are cracked or the car is in shade. When your car is parked, keep it locked to prevent a child from getting inside.
If you’d like to learn more about heat stroke prevention and causes please go to the Mayo Clinic or the CDC.
Last week, I was feeling a little sad. A little nostalgic. I miss going out to eat occasionally. I miss the freedom to travel and to visit with friends and family. I miss the random date nights outside of the house.
One of my favorite things to eat is hotpot cooking. The place we loved to go to was truly a gathering place for the community. There were neighbors we knew and neighbors we didn’t. But we all sat around the big table and ate and drank and laughed.
The last time we were there we met a younger couple who was newly dating. The guy started talking with us and sharing his trials. His challenges. His hopes and dreams. After all was said and done, we hugged and wished each other well.
I’ve always known that food had the power to bring people together—and as my husband would say “So does a good beer!” But that night in particular I truly saw the power of food. That night seemed a little more picturesque.
We had no idea it would be the last night we would eat out before the pandemic took over.
Until we can safely step out an gather, again, I hold onto the memories we made, and work towards making new ones…at home.
And, of course, when I think of that night, I think of the wonderful people who cooked for us and served us.
Actress and mom of three, Sharron Stone, took to social media to share the sad news that her sister was diagnosed with Covid19. On Saturday, Stone posted the following image with the caption “My sister Kelly, who already has lupus, now has Covid-19. One of you non-mask wearers did this. She does not have an immune system. The only place she went was the pharmacy.”
Stone ended her comment with the question “Could you face this room alone?” written in capital letters.
Sharron Stone is most notably known for her role in Casino and Basic Instinct. What you may not know is that Stone is also an advocate for brain aging diseases. In 2001, she suffered a life-threatening stroke. She was just 43 at the time.
If there’s one thing I know for sure it’s that I love everything about Zooey Deschanel. From her chocolate and shiny locks and bangs to her boyfriend-designer Jonathan Scott, and the way she expresses her love for him.
The couple recently celebrated their one year dating anniversary. In her post above Zooey said “One year ago today I met this kind, caring, hilarious, generous, creative, nerdy and handsome all around incredible human.”
Most of us first caught sight of Zooey in the 2003 Job Favreau film ELF. While the movie was funny and entertaining, it was Deschanel’s voice that captured most of our hearts.
Today, Zooey reminds us of how and why we first fell in love with her by sharing her rendition of the song “Crazy” by Patsy Cline. This is a great way to kick off the weekend. Stay safe everyone.
Brooke Shields, age 55, took to her Instagram stories to share her current favorite anti-aging face serum—and I was all ears. After a certain age, you have to be curious enough to try new things if you want to improve your appearance and your self-confidence. Yes, ladies, our self-esteem is partially tied to our outer appearance whether we like it or not.
Sheilds post reads “I like to use this during the day…nice and light on my face in the summer heat.”
The face serum is by Macrene Actives. It was developed by Dr. Macrene Alexiades, MD PhD FAAD. According to her website Dr. Macrene holds three degrees from Harvard: a BA from Harvard University, an MD from Harvard Medical School, and a PhD in Genetics from Harvard University, and she was a Fulbright Scholar with a research award year in Europe.
That signals two things to me. One, she knows her stuff. And two, her stuff is likely above my pay grade.
The Macrene Actives website claims the face serum will “Soothe, hydrate, firm, and even skin tone with this highly active, lightweight serum that will help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Proven to lift and tighten crepiness while reducing blotches and evening skin tone, this serum repairs skin barrier while assisting in DNA restoration.”
Hold up. Did somebody say it tightens crepiness?! If there’s one thing I’ve learned about menopause it’s that it can suck the life and vitality right out of your skin leaving you with thin, crepey skin. This has been the hardest thing to combat.
If you try it, I’d love to hear what you think of it.
So what makes this brand so special?
Here’s what the website says:
All Macrene Actives products are based on Nobel Prize winning science. Our products are rigorously tested by the most regarded third party testing laboratories. Below you will find results from clinical studies performed with Macrene Actives.
Also, the website indicates the brand is a clean beauty brand. If you want to know more about the brand or Dr. Macrene you can follow this link.
This week the U.S News and World Report released their 2020 – 2021 Best Hospitals Ratings and “Special Hospitals Heroes” series during the COVID19 pandemic.
It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with breast cancer that I found myself searching the Internet for “Best hospital” and “Hospital with best cancer treatments.” That’s when this list became useful to me, though I also recommend reading patient reviews, too (if you can).
I’m only printing the top 5 hospitals that made the list. Two hospitals—New York Presbyterian, New York and UCLA tied for 4th place. If you want to read the full report you can go directly to U.S. News
1. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota 2. Cleveland Clinic 3. Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore 4. New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia and Cornell, New York, NY (tie) 4. UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles (tie) 6. Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
If you’d like to read the full list of hospital ratings follow U.S. News
Okay. So, I know the rich and famous have more money and resources than everyday people. But they also have good beauty and self-care tips, because they have access to some of the best doctors and skincare specialist’ in the world.
So even though I may not be able to afford the same products they use, I DO benefit from their pointers. With that said, today, I’m sharing one of my favorite skincare YouTube series with you. Go To Bed With Me features celeb status women and models who dish on their skincare habits, products and secrets. The episodes are produced by Harper’s Bazaar.
In this episode, Demi Moore shares her nighttime skincare routine. Like me, she has sensitive skin and has to avoid anything scented. This may be the perfect regimen for anyone with asthma, allergies or fighting cancer. Chemotherapy changes everything in the body making the senses and the skin more sensitive, so if you’re a cancer fighter you might appreciate this one, too.
Demi Moore is 57 (if you’re curious). Aging is hard. But if I have to do it (and it IS better than the alternative), I feel so grateful to do so in a world where so many women are choosing how they’re going to age, unlike our parents and grandparents who were stuck with just one image of 50, and it wasn’t very sexy.
P.S. Have you ever used the makeup eraser? If so, do you like it? I’m waiting for mine to come in so I’ll let you know what I think in a few weeks. If there’s one thing I’m learning…it’s that the older I get, the more gentle I need to be with my skin.
Happy Monday to you. I hope this finds you staying healthy and happy no matter where you are. Today’s mood board is a reminder that even though many of you are busier than ever, you have to put you and your health at the top of the list. Especially, if you’re coping with health issues including mental health.
I know! I get it. You may be rolling your eyes at me right now. I’m busy, too. I feel like I’m doing more since the pandemic then I did pre-pandemic. But I’m not complaining about it.
I love that we are doing everything virtually. I think it’s great that this unforeseen occurrence is forcing us to think outside the box. With that said, I can’t wait for this pandemic to be behind us and my heart aches for those who have lost loved ones. I pray everyday that me and my own family stay healthy as well as those around us.
Until then, we have to take extra care of ourselves. Our families need us. You need to be here to see the rewards of your hard work and contributions, after the pandemic.
As a menopause and breast cancer survivor I know for sure you have to take a timeout for you and your health. There’s more to healthy living than what you eat and how you exercise (although both are important factors) to emotional and physical well-being.
Today, my mood board is my chalkboard. I’m sharing my list of notes to myself with you.
What are some things you are doing to stay healthy during these difficult times?
So if you’ve been following me you’ve probably seen that over the last couple of weeks I’ve been posting mood boards.
Mood boards are a valuable tool to help you (and me) reach goals.
I’ve been using them off and on (for more than I want to tell you) but approximately 20 years.
Especially when working with women and children either in transition, starting over after an abusive relationship or even to help trauma survivors express themselves while in recovery.
Mood boards can help you identify your goals even if you don’t yet have a direction.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s for your health, your home, your love life or your new business, mood boards can help you get to know yourself better and what matters most to you even if only for the moment.
I used one to help me with my new logo. Maybe I’ll show that one next week.
For today. here’s a quick mood board I put together this morning.
I know…I’m a little late but as they say… Better late than never! 😉
How are you holding up with all that’s going on in the world?
I can’t think of any other time in our lifetime when it’s been so bad.
So many are feeling hopeless and lost.
I don’t feel there’s any need to cover the headlines because I think you already know about those.
But with the 24/7 coverage of grief, pain, loss and uncertainty there’s no doubt it’s impacting our mental and physical state.
With that in mind I’d like to suggest a mental vacation mood board.
I’ll do one too.
Mood boards are good for more than just goals and projects.
They are perfect for getting you back to center.
It doesn’t matter whether you use one for health and fitness, a home renovation project (like I’m doing) or just to remind you of the little things that bring you joy—a mood board is like coloring for adults.
It sparks the imagination.
I’ve been using mood boards for years at presentations and workshops.
I used them all the time when working with survivors of domestic violence, and children working through issues of abuse.
I find that they can elevate emotions, help a person identify areas of improvement in their life or work through sudden life changes.
Today, though, this mood board is centered around a renovation project we’re working on.
It’s simple. Light hearted. Uncluttered.
My mood board inspiration comes from some of my favorite home decor magazines.
I hope you enjoy them.
I’d love to see where you’re getting your inspiration from.
Feel free to comment and post here. Or, you can send it to me via e-mail by clicking the “say hello” tab at the top of the screen, and I gladly share it, here.
Stay safe. 💜—April
(Sidebar—I receive no benefits from anyone for sharing my favorite magazines or details. This is just my virtual inspiration board).
I don’t know about you but I am a big fan of all things Nancy Meyers.
But in case, like my parent’s, you don’t know her by name, Meyers is the woman behind films (and kitchens and homes to die for) like It’s Complicated, The holiday, The Intern, Something’s Gotta Give and The Parent Trap featuring a baby-faced Lindsay Lohan.
Just saying those titles out loud makes me wanna go watch one of her movies right now.
A few days ago, Meyers made this Instagram post
In the comments Meyers says “I’m wondering how movies will be made when we have to be 6′ apart.”
I have to admit, so am I! And if anyone can do it, it’s gonna be Nancy Meyers.
And then today, Meyers posted this
She says “I have some #ParentTrap news to share next week.” #ItsGoingToBeFun
I can hardly wait to see what Meyers does next. She is a genius in the film business.
Are you a fan of Meyer’s films? If so, what do you make of this and what do you hope will happen? Comments please!
New York-based independent singer and songwriter, Lesley Barth, drops her second full-length album Big Time Baby on May 15. In this interview Barth talks about a duet she did with her husband, how she agreed to the location for her cover shoot sight unseen, and how she hopes her ten-track album will inspire you.
Big Time Babycomes on the heels of the two-year anniversary of the day Barth quit her day job in corporate America to focus on music full-time. Talk about timing!
It was March 2018 that Barth made the courageous leap from employee to full-time indie artist.
“I wrote this album during the process of completely uprooting my life, and recorded it as I was still navigating a life without structure and regular paychecks.”
“It’s an album for these uncertain times where many people feel their lives have been stripped to the bone, they’ve woken up from a daydream, and they weren’t sure what tomorrow would bring because that’s where I felt I was when I wrote it. Almost all the savings I had for quitting my job got wiped away by healthcare costs, and I had to scramble.”
Barth has a powerful voice and a rare ability to convey raw feelings in a way very few can.
It doesn’t matter whether she’s singing an upbeat, laid-back song about summer and romance, or a song about depression as she does in Something Good (the last track on Big Time Baby), Lesley Barth connects with the human emotion.
As such, Barth has garnered comparisons to music legends Carole King and Cat Stevens.
Big Time Baby
So let’s kick this interview off with the amazing photography on this album. Was it your creative inspiration behind the look and feel? Where did you shoot the pictures?
The photo shoot for this album (primarily) took place at the South Philly Van Club. I hadn’t even seen pictures of the place before we got there but I couldn’t imagine a better place to shoot.
The photographer, Harish Pathak, is one of my best friends from high school, which makes it very easy for me to be myself in front of the camera.
I love the smell of working garages, because my grandfather was a mechanic with a tiny one car garage out back where he worked on an old Ford of his, and I have such warm and fuzzy memories of my time at their house.
We definitely wanted to capture some of the 70’s and to be a little theatrical since a lot of the songs on the album are like monologues.
This garage [the South Philly Van Club] restores vintage vans and station wagons. It felt like the perfect backdrop.
What does Big Time Baby mean to you?
Big Time Baby is a lyric taken from the opening track, Lower Eastside. It’s a tongue-in-cheek title that reminds me not to take things so seriously. It’s sort of shorthand, for me, for there is no ‘big time or small time” there’s just your life.
What does your writing process look like?
I take long walks by myself, sing into voice memos. Whatever snippets stick with me I work those up.
Was your writing process different with this album than that of Green Hearts?
Not too different. I did write more on guitar with this record. The biggest difference is probably in how many songs I wrote for this record. Way more songs didn’t make the cut this time around–which is a good thing.
Your husband (Chuck Ramsey) performed with you on the song Preacher. Was there something about that song in particular that motivated you to work with him?
Preacher was such a fun song to track! Never have I felt cooler recording vocals. During a pre-production meeting with, Joe Michelini, (co-produced this album with me), suggested I try it as a duet. It wasn’t initially that way. I had sort of thought of the same thing but was afraid it would be too cheesy.
But we just leaned all the way in on the duet vibe, which was fun. Chuck has more of a pop/rock voice which was really energizing for this track. That might be as close as I ever get to being a rocker.
And, of course, it’s fun working on something with your husband. You just have a natural way of relating that I think really works on a song like this.
One of my favorite songs on this album is Up in The Air. What was your inspiration for it?
Thanks, yeah. I think it’s super relevant these days in particular. No one knows what’s coming next and what the future will look like.
The inspiration was just my life at the time I wrote it—feeling stuck having quit my job but not able to see the road ahead very clearly.
I wrote this one really quickly and set it aside for a few weeks and when I came back to it I thought… this is good. Who wrote this? (laugh) I had sort of forgotten I wrote it but it said everything I had been wanting to say.
I’m glad it’s a favorite of yours. It feels good to share this sentiment, right now, in a way that I obliviously, never expected.
The last time we talked was in 2018 shortly after you quit your job. Here you are two years later and two full-length albums behind you. That sounds like success to me, but, how do you feel things are going? Do you have any regrets about quitting your job?
Thank you! My last and first album Green Hearts came out in 2017. I’ve been chomping at the bits to do another one. I am happy with what I’ve done, where I am and I have absolutely zero regrets about quitting my job.
But man, I have to be careful with the word ‘success.’ I feel like that word has too much power for me. Like, if I’m not successful in the way I want to be, I’m a total failure.
Maybe that’s not what it is— I don’t think success and failure are total opposites. I think I’m learning they are much more interconnected than I realized, before.
I’m just trying to focus on making music. That’s my vocation, as I see it.
What do you want people to know about this album?
I think what I want people to come away with is the idea that you can’t live your life and perform your life at the same time.
Living your life is what you do for the real you, the higher self. Performing your life is an act for the benefit of others.
It’s really easy to perform, today, because of social media and the internet. And there is great danger in everyone changing who they are in response to some sort of weird market-testing of your own community.
I think when you choose to live your own life, you’re choosing kindness, you’re choosing a life of service, you’re choosing to slow down. All things we need more of today,
Amen to that Lesley!
Thank you for allowing me to share you, once again, with my friends, here. And the way I see it, if you have figured that out, and you stick with it no matter how much money or fame you acquire in your lifetime, you will have cornered your definition of happiness.
Lesley’s single, “Woman Looking Back at Me” is out now. It’s a song that draws attention to the internal negative dialogue we all experienced (as women) at some time or another.
If you want to learn more about Lesley, follow her in social media or support her Patreon you can find her below: