Early Birthday Gift- Fitbit

fitbit-fancy-free-nancyMy daughter, Clara decided to come home this morning to have brunch with my husband and me; it was so lovely seeing her. She also surprised me with an early birthday present, a Fitbit. I am so excited! I have been wanting one for quite some time. All the reviews are great and it sounded like something I would really use. Clara even helped me set it up this afternoon!

If you haven’t heard about Fitbit’s, they are awesome little gadgets. The company’s slogan:

“Fitbit is dedicated to helping people lead healthier, more active lives”

… is exactly what I hope it does for me. Fitbit is a physical activity tracker that is supposed to help you become more active, eat a healthier diet, sleep better, and just make you a healthier person in general.

It tracks daily activities throughout the day including the number of steps you take, how far you have walked, and the calories you have burned. It also is able to tell how vigorous the exercises are and how many calories are burnt. What I think is one of the best aspects of the Fitbit, is that is monitors sleep quality. I would love to know how I am sleeping and if it correlates to the days I fell tired.

There is even a feature on it that will send me messages that are supposed to encourage me to keep moving and working hard. A few of my friends from Tai Chi have them too and we are able to become “Fitbit” friends and work together and encourage each other.

The data gets sent to my smart phone when I connect to Wi-Fi, I have gotten pretty darn good at my smartphone since getting it.  Clara showed me how to look at it on the computer and see how much I have walked and all the other features. She is such a digital guru. 😀

I am really excited to start using it and seeing how much I actually exercise and how it compares to what I eat. I am not necessarily looking for it to help me lose weight, but more to help me stay healthy, motivated, and have fun!

I will keep you updated on how I like my early birthday present and how it is working!

Until next time,

Nancy

Everyone Wants Pretty Hands

Unfortunately, no one had found the fountain of youth yet. Today, while I was having my coffee, Clara was “Snap Chatting” me photos of her newly decorated living room. Yes, I said “snap chat”. She downloaded this app on my phone where you can send photos back and forth that only last for a couple seconds. I don’t really understand it, but she loves it. Anyway, I sent her a photo of me holding my cup of coffee and couldn’t get over how “old” my hand looks.
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I have never really spent much time looking at my hands, but I understand why they say your hands show all the signs of aging. I couldn’t stop looking at them in awe. I know I don’t look like I have aged as much as my hands show.  So I jumped on the internet to find some ideas how to get rid of these “aged hands.”

I read that hands really do show the signs of aging more than most parts of the body. The years of sun exposure, the exposure to the elements, hard work, and constant washing and scrubbing really take a toll on our hands. The skin on hands thins with all the exposure to daily life and more veins become visible, age spots appear, and it is common for hands to become dry. All of this information was pretty much common sense to me, and I wanted to know how to reverse that aging.

I found this website saying that taking care of aging hands is similar to the skin care during menopause; a subject I am pretty knowledgeable on. It suggested exfoliating your hands to remove all the dry skin before moisturizing. Buffing your nails also helps make your hands look younger. I never really thought about moisturizing my hands specifically, I just put lotion on them when they are dry, so this was a new concept for me.

The site also said the moisturizing and protection are the most important in having beautiful youthful hands. It said to use a good quality hand cream and apply it throughout the day to rejuvenate your hands.

After reading all of these articles I have decided I need to find a good hand cream to reverse aging. Do you use anti-aging hand creams? If so what kind do you use and is it effective?

Until Next Time,

Nancy

Seasonal Floral Arrangement Fun

Today at the floral shop we were unexpectedly busy in a great way.  We had a ton of people walk in and call to order arrangements to be delivered and picked up later in the day.  My boss and I were scurrying around making fabulous spring and summer arrangements and bouquets.  Today at the floral shop we were unexpectedly busy in a great way.  We had a ton of people walk in and call to order arrangements to be delivered and picked up later in the day.  My boss and I were scurrying around making fabulous spring and summer arrangements and bouquets.

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I love it when people call or walk in to order because it often gives us the freedom to use flowers that are in season and create a unique seasonal arrangement.  Today was no exception, I created about 7 arrangements that were all seasonal flowers and they turned out so gorgeous.

Sometimes we have clients ask us what flowers are in season to decide what they want the main focus of their arrangement to be.  Right now is my favorite part of the year for flower availability and the aurora they give off.  The flowers are bright, crisp, and have a wonderful smell…and, in my opinion, the best to work with.In case you were wondering here are the flowers that are in season during mid-June-

• Peonies

• Roses

• Tulips

• Yarrow

• Pomegranates

• Calla Lilies

• Lilies

• Viburnum

• Pincushions

• Veronica

• Chocolate Cosmos

After days like today, I am very grateful to have my couch at home to kick my feet up and relax.    It was such a busy day but I had a great time.  It amazes me how much I can learn each and every day from just working and practicing alongside my boss.

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Working with flowers all day really puts you in a good mood too.

Until Next Time,

Nancy

Create Positivity in Your Life

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“I won’t damage the healthy lifestyle I have worked for” -Nancy Bell

We are constantly bombarded with the ideas to eat healthily and exercise.

Although I have really found an enjoyment in living a healthy life and finding new recipes there are times when I just want to “veg out” and eat some pizza and read all day.

I woke up this morning feeling just that. Instead of falling into my cravings and sabotaging everything I have worked so hard for, I made myself a smoothie and gave myself a little pep talk. I have come so far in the past year and a half and really changed my life for the better, I couldn’t throw it all out of the window now.

After I had my morning smoothie I forced myself to go to the park, once I got there I suddenly got the urge to walk around. There were many times I just wanted to sit down and relax but I kept telling myself that after a few more minutes that feeling would pass, and it did. A couple of hours later, I had walked a few miles and was feeling really ambitions. It is incredible what some fresh air and positive thoughts can do.

I was still craving some pizza and knew that if I went home I would make it and my menopause and stomach would not be happy. So instead I went to our local market and got some fresh fruits and vegetable to make a yummy stir fry for dinner. The market was a quick fix for my cravings. Once I saw all the fresh produce and “healthy people,” 🙂 there was no way I was going to make a pizza anymore.

After I got home I was tempted to snack on my husband’s chips, and like the strong person I am, I made fresh kale chips with my fresh produce. After they were baked, I rewarded myself with a relaxing rest of the afternoon in the yard reading.

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May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears – Nelson Mandela

Sitting in the sun, reading and thinking about my day made me proud of the strength I have.

If I would have craved a lazy day and pizza 2 years ago, I would have gone for it without even thinking about the consequences. Now, the thought of damaging the healthy lifestyle I have worked for makes me anxious and makes me want to work even harder for the life I live. I am so thankful for all my lifestyle changes and the strength I have gained.

If you ever have those days where you feel like throwing in the towel and giving up, don’t. Power through those days, they only make you stronger. I would not have been able to do what I did today without the positivity I have created in my life. If I can do it, so can you!

Until Next Time,
Nancy

Baby Shower Flowers

This week brought, yet another fun event I was able to help create beautiful floral arrangements for. This week my boss and I made arrangements for a baby shower, a girl. After I found out we were doing a baby shower, I connected the dots and realized it was for one of my friend’s daughters. It was an exciting little surprise.

Because I know the family personally it was really easy talking with them deciding what they wanted and how I could make it happen. My boss lets me, partially take the lead, it was really exciting!

Our creations for the baby shower were fun, elegant, and girly 😍

We focused on the simplicity and beautiful aspects of having a child. We used roses, cut off the stems and put them into small glass votive candle holders. They were beautiful. In taller skinny glass vases we put a variety of long stem flowers in shades of pink and white. We also made a large piece for the head table.

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Since working quite a few events now, it is clear to me that a well-designed table centerpiece has the ability to pull a whole party theme together. The freshness of floral arrangements adds an element of delicacy from nature into a static indoor setting.

Helping create these beautiful pieces and know that I am actually going to the shower tomorrow makes me reminisce about Bobby and Clara and their baby showers. It seems like it was just yesterday my husband and I got the news we were going to have our first baby girl. Just thinking about it brings a smile to my face. 😊

I love creating arrangements for events like these. The energy and level of happiness that goes into creating them is reflected in the joy it brings to our clients. I can’t wait to find out the next event I’m going to help work.

Until next time,

Nancy

Clara’s New Beginning

Today was the start of a new chapter for Clara, she moved into a new “big girl” apartment. She had been living in an apartment that needed a revamp about 20 years ago, so moving into a new complex is a huge step up for her. The new apartment is closer to her work so she will be able to walk to work every day; saving money for this fancy apartment complex. Helping her move the past couple days have been quite the adventure, to say the least.

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I had no idea what I was getting into moving my daughter into a new apartment. I remember moving her into her dorm room and not being bad, moving Bobby into his dorm was a piece of cake; but moving Clara into an apartment after some time being on her own already…that was a challenge. How much can one girl accumulate? ….much more than I thought.

Being the mother I am I insisted on packing everything according to room and what it was. If Clara had packed everything herself, everything would be shoved together and unorganized. Even though she was complaining it was taking too long to pack, it was so much easier once we got there to unpack and organize it.

Her previous apartment was about half the size of her new one, but after we moved everything in it looked the same size. I can’t get over how many pillows my daughter has. I am not over exaggerating when I say she at 9 pillows…9. Who needs that many? She says they are just for decoration to make her bed feel cozy. I could only laugh, she is one of a kind and I love her for it.
Even though she asked my husband and me to help, she was complaining the entire time that we were “doing it wrong.” Oh girls, they never change. 😀 She won’t admit it but she was very thankful we helped pack, move, and unpack all her stuff. It would have taken her and her boyfriend so many more trips.
I am excited for her to begin a new chapter in an awesome apartment that is so close to her work. Once she gets everything unpacked and organized it is going to look so nice, it really looks like a “big girl” apartment. I am so proud of her.
Goodbye old apartment,

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Hello bright new apartment!

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Have you ever helped a daughter move? So much more work than a son… 😀

Until next time,
Nancy

GARLIC, GARLIC, GARLIC -with a recipe!

its-only-garlicIf you know me, you know I love garlic! Thank goodness my husband likes garlic as much as I do or he would never want to kiss my permanent garlic breath or eat my fabulous dinners every night. 😀 Ever since I can remember I have always loved garlic, it was one of the only things that my taste buds never grew out of and I hope never will.

This afternoon I made “Artichoke and roasted garlic” dip for my hubby and his friends that were over and they loved it.

As I grew older garlic became more than just something I loved to add to foods because of the taste, I began adding it for healthy benefits. I consider myself a bit of a garlic enthusiastic and history buff. Way back in the ancient Greek civilizations garlic was prescribed to treat a variety of medical conditions. I agree with the Greeks and believe that garlic can do wonders for your body when you consume it the right way.

Here are some of my favorite benefits of garlic

• Garlic might help fight against hair loss because it has high levels of allicin, a sulfur compound that was found to treat thinning hair. To reap this benefit, rub sliced garlic cloves on your scalp or add it to oil and massage it in.

• I always turn to garlic when I feel a cold coming on. It is full of antioxidants to fight off your illness. I find that eating it raw in a salad or other recipes is the best way for it to boost your immune system. Garlic tea is also a good choice.

• There was also a study done a while ago that said that garlic could help control your weight. Even if it is just an idea, I am going to try it.  😛

• Raw garlic or garlic extract can help reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels lowing the risk of heart disease.

• Garlic is very nutritious and it has very few calories…so start eating your garlic!

There are so many benefits from garlic, I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to eat it every day!

Here is my favorite Artichoke and Roasted Garlic Dip recipe-garlic-recipe

Ingredients-
• 2 heads of roasted garlic
• 6 oz. frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and drained, and chopped
• 4 oz. cream cheese
• ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
• ¼ cup mayonnaise
• ½ tsp. pepper
• 1 ½ cups shredded cheese, I like to use a blend of parmesan, asiago, and provolone

Instructions-
• Preheat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
• In a large bowl or baking dish, mash the garlic until it becomes a thick paste then add and mix all the ingredients together, setting aside ½ cup of cheese for the top. After the mixture is thoroughly combined, top with the remaining ½ cup of cheese and pepper to taste.
• Bake for about 25-30 minutes and broil for about 5 minutes until the top is browned. Serve and enjoy your wonderful garlic dip!

What is your favorite garlic dish or side?
Until Next Time,
Nancy

Post – Thanksgiving. With recipe!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family. We had such a wonderful dinner that lasted all night. I love having the kids home and being able to have my parents, my husband’s parents, and our friends over on such a special day full of gratefulness. I was also very proud of myself because even though I was planning on letting myself indulge a little but I really kept myself in check. It was a great Thanksgiving.

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Bobby and Clara hung around the house until Sunday. I love having them stay at home, it is just like they never left. I don’t even mind doing their laundry or picking up for them while they are home, but 4 days was enough of that. 🙂 As much as I love when they are home, I do like my new peace and relaxation at home.
After they left, I didn’t have much work at the floral shop so I thought I would get a head start on Christmas shopping. I avoided leaving the house at all on “black Friday,” and thought that going during the week would be better… boy oh, boy did I forget it is officially holiday shopping season. I was fighting the crowds just to get into stores and look at the racks.
I didn’t last long shopping at the mall and instead came home and made some hot chocolate. My hot flashes haven’t been acting up so I thought I could treat myself to some of my favorite holiday drink. Being the wonderful wife I am I waited until my husband was about to get home and made our favorite holiday hot chocolate. It is so thought, but delicious and has lots of fiber, and antioxidants here is the recipe.

Prune Hot Chocolate
Ingredients-
• 1 cup almond milk
• 3-4 medium prunes
• 2 tbsp. dark cocoa powder
• A pinch of salt
• ¼ tsp. vanilla

Instructions-
• Puree all the ingredients together in a blender then heat it in a pot on the stove. I like to top it with a marshmallow. ‘Tis the season to enjoy! 🙂

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November has been such a great month and sure has flown by. I am excited for December and for the New Year ahead.

Until Next Time,

Nancy

Yearly Check-up, what I wish I knew when I was Young

yearly-checkup-important-fancy-free-nancy.jpgYesterday afternoon I had my yearly check-up at the doctors and I am very pleased with my health. I am very diligent when scheduling my appointments every year. I believe it is important to see a doctor and have tests done every year to make sure you are healthy and be proactive in keeping your body running well.

I was happy to find out that my blood pressure and cholesterol were normal, just a little on the high side but still normal, and that everything else is “A-Okay” and normal. I still have some hot flashes, but new-found healthy habits have helped me manage my menopause symptoms and actually lose weight and feel healthier.

My doctor was so happy that I have taken my health into my own hands and done research into healthy lifestyles for women over 50. It is such a rewarding feeling when the doctor compliments you on your health and tells you that you are doing a good job. He complimented me what I have done and what I am doing to continue my health journey and said it is exactly what I should be doing.

I want to share with you the easy things I have done that have helped me become a healthy woman over 50.

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• Making sure I get 7 or 8 hours of sleep every night has been one of the most important things I have done.

• Eating more fruits and vegetables has been one of the biggest changes in my lifestyle. I try having at least two veggies at every meal and at least three servings of fruit throughout the day. I have discovered a new love for cooking and baking with fresh fruits and vegetables.

• I just fully committed, but giving up soda will help me health in the long run. Soda is full of sugar and acids that are harmful for your body. I have really tried to drink more water and find ways to incorporate it throughout my day.

• Staring Tai Chi and walking has helped me found an appreciation for physical fitness. It is hard to explain the feeling of accomplishment after a good work out. I really enjoy exercise and try having fun with it.

• Spending time outside doing activities to keep me active is not only a good way to get exercise but get fresh air too. I feel so much calmer and relaxed after spending time outside in nature.

• Spending time laughing and enjoying the company of friends and family keeps me sane. As strange as it sounds, after spending time laughing and talking with my friends I feel healthier.

• Taking time each day to reflect and be thankful for the life I have has made me a happier and positive individual. It is so important to mental and emotional health to feel grateful and reflect on each day to see the positives.

I have made so much progress and transformed my life for the better over the past couple years. It is very rewarding hearing that it is all paying off. I never thought I would have become this person I am today. Each day is a baby step in the right direction, I just have to keep truckin’ along!

Until Next Time,

Nancy

Fall Wedding Floral Arrangements

Tomorrow our floral shop has a beautiful fall wedding to make arrangements for. We have been diligently working and designing the bouquets, boutonnieres, and centerpieces for the tables. Fall weddings are so beautiful with all the rich colors and textures making them so unique and warm.

I love working with fall flowers because they are typically a little more “hearty” than other seasonal flowers. I feel like I am able to manipulate them more to create the kind of arrangement that fits the client the best. Even though I have been working in the shop for a while, I am still learning and a hearty flower is more forgiving when I am trying to figure how to do something.

I was excited to find out that the bridesmaid dresses were brown and our bride wanted to have bouquets created with orange, yellow, and deep red flowers. She was not picky on what kinds of flowers so we made her a few samples a couple weeks ago and she loved them. She choose the bridesmaids and her bouquet. flower-shop-fancy-free-nancyI am in love with her bouquet, it has orange calla lilies, yellow and cream roses, and accented with twine…they are having a barn wedding so she wanted a little bit of country vibe. It is so beautiful! The boutonnieres match and have one orange calla lily and twine. We stopped at the venue today to get a feel for what we will need to set up, and it was already decorated so beautiful. It is always so much easier for us when we do not do the decorating. The bride seems very crafty and made all the decorations for the venue and even set them all up today. We met her right as they were finishing up, she is such a sweet young lady and so easy going.

I am sure she is going to have an incredible wedding tomorrow, she was glowing with excitement today. Weddings are so special, no matter how many weddings I go to as a guest or work each one has something unique and magical about it.

Until Next Time,

Nancy