Keeping up with Tai Chi

I have been practicing tai chi for nearly 4 years and couldn’t be happier with how it has changed my outlook and wellbeing. I began only taking one class a week, now I am in two classes a week and practice at home almost every day. It was the catalyst I needed to jump start my physical activity and wellbeing of becoming an empty nester.

I have been able to witness my body change through lifestyle changes in addition to my tai chi regimen. Tai chi works with the internal energy and channels it to be useful in physically ways. It physically works your muscles and joints to unify the breathing and improves circulation of the blood and lymphatic glands to increase the effectiveness of the immune system.

I have felt my physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing increase through tai chi. I never expected it to impact my life so much, I am so happy with who it has helped me become. I try practicing it as often as I can at home even when I don’t have much time.

I have learned a few techniques through tai chi that I use when I am stressed and feel my body and emotions acting up where ever I am.

• When I have feeling stressed or can feel a hot flash coming on, I simply sit down and relax by taking deep breaths. Breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth has been a tai chi technique that has benefited me in countless ways.

• When I need to release tension or frustration I tense up my entire body, from my toes to my forehead. I hold it for a few seconds then release my muscles and my tension and frustration.

• While I am waiting for water to boil, the oven to preheat, or a timer I do a few opening movements to open my body and my mind. It is really simple and when practiced with the breathing, can really help focus and clear my mind.

Tai chi has inspired me to try some other group fitness classes because of how much I enjoy being around others and working towards a goal together. I have heard so much about jazzercise from you lovely readers, I set out to find one. I found out my gym doesn’t offer it but I signed up for a zumba class instead. The woman at the gym said it was very similar and that they had replaced the jazzercise class with it. The first class is next week and can’t wait to see how I feel after it.

Until next time,

Nancy

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Halloween Party Flowers

Happy Halloween all you spooky readers! 🙂
There is something about Halloween that brings out the child in me.  Every year my husband and I decorate our front porch for all the little goblins to come up and get treats for some tricks!  I love seeing the little kids dressed up and so excited about the treats.  To make this Halloween a little better, my floral shop made some spook-tacular floral arrangements for a Halloween party.

I think I have decided making floral arrangements for fall and Halloween parties are my favorite.  I love mixing beautiful flowers with gourds and pumpkins to create a unique and almost dark feel.  This event was really fun because the client was a close friend of my boss so we had a lot of freedom to design haunted creations! 🙂

I made one of my favorite decorations thus far for the Halloween event.  We put small pumpkins into large fish bowls and wrapped red garland and black calla lilies around the interior of the fish bowls.  They somehow looked “spooky chic.”

spooky chic

We also made an arrangement using yellow roses, greens, and purple leaves to create an old eerie feeling.  My boss has this spray she uses often in Halloween decorations and flowers.  It makes the flowers look aged and grungy, I love it!

Another customer just wanted one centerpiece for a Halloween party.  I was able to get creative with this arrangement.  I used some bright flowers, cat tails, wheat twigs, and other grasses to create an almost mystical looking combination.  To make it more fitting for a Halloween party I put the arrangement in a skull vase.  It looked even better than I thought it would.

I am so happy I found my passion working with flowers and helping decorate for events.  It makes my life so much fun and each day is a new adventure.  Like the saying by Confucius goes, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

orange-flowers

I have yet to work a day.

🙂

Happy Halloween!

Until Next Time,

Nancy

Day with the Hubby

Today I got to spend all day bumming around town with my hubby.  I love lazy days spent together!

affection afterglow backlit blur

Instead of our normal coffee at home we went to a local café to relax and start our day with a little pizazz. I love this café, they have such a great coffee menu that offers such a wide variety and it is low calorie and fat.  After we finished our coffee and catching up with the daily news we went for a walk in the park nearby and enjoyed the beautiful fall colors and each other’s company.

We had a few errands to run after we left the park. My husband wanted to the hardware store to look at a new set of tools that were on sale. He is such a handy man and uses his equipment all the time so he really needed a new set. The set that was on sale was exactly what he was looking for, he was like a kid in a candy shop.

We also went to the grocery store where he insisted on having beef for dinner. I am not a huge fan of beef but I figured I could find a good healthy recipe in one of my cook books at home. He also wanted apple crisps for dessert. He thought it was “his day” to decide what to eat!

I ended up finding a really good recipe for Beef Stir-Fry and Avocado Salad, here is the recipe. I made it so that we will have left overs so this recipe can feed four.

selective focus photography of beef steak with sauce
Ingredients-
• 12 oz. beef tenderloin, cutting strips
• ¼ cup fresh lime juice
• 1 tbsp. and ½ tsp. chili powder
• 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
• 1 medium onion, sliced
• 1 red bell pepper, chopped in slices
• 1 poblano pepper, sliced
• ½ tsp. salt
• ½ tsp. pepper
• 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
• 1 avocado, diced
• ¼ cup Cotija cheese, crumbled
• ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
• Tortillas to eat the stir fry with, or whatever you prefer

Instructions-
• Mix the beef, lime juice, and 1 tbsp. chili powder in a bowl and let marinate.
• In a large skillet heat the oil and sauté the onion, bell pepper, and poblano for about 5 minutes. Add the beef mixture to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, cook for about 5 more minutes.
• Combine the beans, avocado, cheese, cilantro, remaining chili powder, and a splash of lime juice in another bowl.
• Serve the beef stir fry on the tortillas and top with the avocado salad. I hope you enjoy it as much as my husband did!

Here is my recipe for apple crisps is so delicious and easy, I make them individual size so we don’t eat too much.  This recipe makes 4 individual apple crisps.

three red apples on wooden surface

APPLE CRISPS

Ingredients-
• 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
• 1 tbsp. sugar
• 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
• ¾ cup rolled oats
• ¼ cup flour
• 2 tbsp. brown sugar
• 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
• ¼ tsp. salt
• 2 tbsp. melted butter
• 1 cup low-fat whipped cream

Instructions-
• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
• In a bowl toss the apples with the sugar and lemon juice, separate into four oven safe bowls
• In another bowl mix the oat, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and butter together until it becomes a crumb-like texture. Sprinkle over the apples and bake for about 10 minutes, let cool, and top with whipped cream. Enjoy!

I hope you had as great of a Saturday as we did!

Until Next Time,

Nancy

Feeling Fabulous, DIY’s to “Glam”

Yesterday I went over to my friend’s house to drop off my crockpot; she is borrowing it for her daughter’s birthday party. It also gave me a little excuse to see her and chat a bit.

When I got there she looked beautiful and so put together. I don’t know about you, but when I am preparing for a party I look like an animal, the opposite of put together. She had her pretty lip gloss on, her hair looked so healthy and done up nicely, and her skin was radiating. I must have looked dumbfounded because she asked what was wrong.

She said she pampered herself the day before to prepare for the chaos of the weekend. I assumed she just went to the spa so I asked which one, surprisingly she said she gave herself a little spa day with DIY’s. WHAT? I know the classic cucumber on the eyes but she looked great. She had gone to a “DIY party” where they shared easy beauty DIY’s.

Being the wonderful friend she is, she made a copy of the DIY’s and shared it with me.
Before I even left her house, I took a glance at the list and realized I had most of the ingredients for many of the “easy beauty hacks.” This morning when I got up, I decided to have a relaxing Sunday and give myself an easy beauty and spa day. All the DIY’s were so easy and I feel so great I couldn’t keep these beauty hacks to myself. Here are the relaxing and rejuvenating beauty DIY’s I used.

If you are going through menopause you know that your hair and scalp can get so dry, so I gave myself a DIY moisturizing hair treatment.

avocado blur close up focus

Ingredients-
• 2 tbsp. honey
• 1 medium avocado
Instructions-
• Mash the avocado in a bowl until it is smooth then add in the honey and mix thoroughly. Apply the mixture to dry or damp hair and let it moisturized for about 15-20 minutes. Rinse with shampoo and conditioner after.

With summer officially over, my feet have been through a lot because I never wear shoes. This DIY foot soak was the greatest thing that has happened to my feet in a while.

feet summer dress sandals

Ingredients-
• 1 cup traditional Listerine mouth wash
• 1 cup vinegar
• 2 cup hot water
Instructions-
• Combine all the ingredients together in a shallow bowl, I used a Tupperware container if that doesn’t gross you out that much. Let your feet soak for about 10 minutes, towel dry, then you can use a pumice stone if you want to get all the dry skin off. My feet thanked me after!

And who doesn’t want a refreshing face mask, this DIY refreshing face mask was so wonderful.

sliced cucumber on white table
Ingredients-
• 1 small/medium cucumber, chopped, grated, blended
• 1 egg white
Instructions-
• Wisk the egg white in a medium bowl until it is frothy, then add the cucumber “mush” into the egg bowl and mix together. I loved the feeling this mask gave my skin. The egg was supposed to tighten the skin and the cucumber refreshes and soothed my skin. I loved it.

I feel so refreshed and glamorous after my DIY spa day at home. Sometimes being in the comfort of my own home instead of an unfamiliar spa is so much more relaxing. I turned off my phone, turned on my favorite music and had a delightful afternoon treating myself.

Do you have any easy DIY beauty tips? I am not a diva but I like to treat myself every once in a while.

Until Next Time,

Nancy

Taking care of the garden

Our raised garden and flower bed is now up and in action. Since building it a couple of weeks ago I haven’t had much time to tend to my beautiful bed, so I dedicated today to planting everything and making it look beautiful. I love how it looks in our backyard, I feel like it should be on HGTV or something like that.

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Before I planted everything this afternoon, I did more web researching about how to keep the soil healthy and full of nutrients. I really want to make the most of it while I am trying to eat healthy and keep my menopause symptoms at a distance.

I read that planting a “cover crop” like alfalfa keeps the soil aerated. Alfalfa has deep root systems that pull work to pull the nutrients from deep in the soil to the surface so they are there for other plants. They also add nitrogen to the soil so the plants grow better.
Another fun fact I found out about raised flower beds is that because the plants have a smaller growing area they shad out weeds. The close spacing makes it easier to water and pick the vegetables that are growing in it.

Because it is the fall I decided to plant transplants that are about a month old so they will grow faster and fill in quicker. I read that replenishing the soil with compost when I replant will help keep the nutrients in the soil. I will definitely try compost as much as I can.

After all my great information I got on the web, I got planting. Living in Florida allows me to plant and garden year round, yay for me. I can’t wait to have my own fresh veggies and flowers. I planted broccoli, lettuce, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and radishes. I also planted some herbs like dill, garlic, and ginger. I bought a few already potted flowers from the store and transplanted them into my garden so it looks colorful and beautiful now. I got some English marigolds, Johnny jump-ups, petunias, among others.

I am very pleased with my raised garden so far. I can’t wait until the vegetable and herb plants start yielding so I can cook using my own veggies.

Until next time,

Nancy

Happy Father’s Day

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Happy Father’s Day to all the daddy’s out there! I think it is important to celebrate our mothers and fathers every day but especially on these days. Bobby and Clara got their father the greatest gift imaginable a couple of years ago, so I had no idea how they would be able to top that. I don’t know how they did it, but they came up with a great idea that their father absolutely loved.

We got him a brand new infrared grill and a cookbook and he was the most surprised I have ever seen him. Bobby and Clara are so cleaver and good at surprising both of us. This year I helped them brainstorm a little but let them take the reins. We decided since we went with such a huge gift in the past, we are going to keep the gift thoughtful and more realistic.

To go along with that gift, Bobby and Clara wanted to get him some new grill tools. I thought it was such a good idea. They found a good deal on a grilling set and got him some “man” spices and sauces that he can use.

This morning we made him breakfast in bed and brought the paper up to him. Bobby and Clara always laugh at the little things that make their father so happy. It is just a reminder to them that it is the little things that really matter.

Because it is Father’s Day and we usually always cook for him, he told us last week that he wants to grill a big juicy steak his way. He is so funny sometimes. I am sure he will love his gift and the spices and sauces and will use them for dinner. Obviously we weren’t opposed to that, it makes it easier for us.

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It is going to be a great rest of the afternoon spending Father’s Day relaxing and then having my husband grill dinner. 🙂

Happy Father’s Day!
Nancy

Garage Sale Finds

Today one of my other friends and I decided to get in our thrifty moods and find some gently used treasures. We went garage sale hunting! I wouldn’t call myself a garage sale guru, but my friend is quite the expert. If it was up to me we would have just drove around the neighborhood and then called it quits. But she had already planned our day’s agenda of bargain hunting, and I was not ready for what was to come!

My friend know all the secrets to good garage sales. I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular but my friend was in search for a trunk or bench for the end of her bed. Instead of hunting around our neighborhood we went to a little “nicer” neighborhood because they have “better goodies” as my friend said. We actually found some really good home decorations and cutlery.
After a FEW HOURS, I was ready to call it a day and get some lunch but my friend had an entire agenda for the day. We left that neighborhood and headed into town to do some antiquing, she was really on a mission to find a trunk or bench. I love shopping in antique stores, they have the most unique and beautiful things.

We visited a few and no luck for my friends hunt. We took a midday break to have a little snack and smoothie. I definitely needed it after such a busy morning. After we finished we left to visit the last antique shop in hopes that we could find the “forbidden treasure.”
When we walked in, it didn’t seem that promising. There was a lot of furniture and a beautiful vanity that really caught my eye. If I had the space, I would have definitely gotten it. My friend had almost given up hope until we found a little back room and at last we found a trunk! It was so beautiful! It was an earthy green color with leather and very unique embellishments. She immediately fell in love and had to get it.

It was a very long day but quite successful! I had a great time garage sale hunting! I forgot how much fun it is; the next time I need something I will definitely be taking my friend on the hunt with me.

What is the best thing you found at a garage sale?
Nancy

Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mothers out there! Who doesn’t love a day dedicated to you! ❤ This year my wonderful kids came over and had a fun little day planned for me. Each and every year they come up with something to make me feel so special!

 

happy-mothers-day

Happy Mother’s Day 

 

They have been making it a tradition to make me breakfast in bed and they did not disappoint this year. They made me scrambled eggs with fresh veggies, a fruit salad, and fresh squeezed orange juice. YUM! There is something about food cooked by someone else that makes it taste so much better.

After breakfast Clara took me to get a manicure and pedicure. Having my nails done makes me feel like such a woman, it really makes me feel complete. With Clara’s job, it is hard to spend mother-daughter time with her so mother’s day is the perfect excuse to catch up. She is such a wonderful woman, I am proud to call her my daughter.

I wanted this color!

After getting our nails done we went to my favorite French café and have some coffee and crepes. I hadn’t had a crepe in forever, I figured it was okay to treat myself because it was “my day.” There is nothing like a good coffee, crepe, and your daughter; it was the perfect Mother’s Day Afternoon.

When we got home my husband and Bobby surprised me and made me a garden bench. I had no idea they were planning on doing it. They are so sneaky, getting Clara to take me out so they could build it. I might even make a project to paint it. But for now it is absolutely perfect.

We hung out in the backyard all afternoon and then the kids and my husband made me a delicious dinner. They made herb stuffed pork chops and fresh veggies, I allowed myself to indulge because I have been doing so well with my healthy eating. For dessert, they made strawberry shortcake Jell-O bites. They were so good, I am stealing the recipe from Clara.

It was another fabulous Mother’s Day! Each day is special when I get to spend it with my kiddos!  They make life so much more fun, I am blessed to have had such well-rounded children.

I hope you had a great Mother’s Day!

Nancy

Hearth Healthy – with 3 recipes :)

While reading the paper today I stumbled across the fact that 71 million Americans have high cholesterol.  Seeing this fact made me really happy I am not part of that statistic and definitely do not want to be.  In the article, it said that diet is extremely important in lowing cholesterol.  Eating whole grains, beans, a variety of fruits and vegetables, nuts, avocado, and limiting animal products can help your ticker become stronger.

There were also showcased recipes that were “heart healthy.”  I was really pleased to see that I eat a good majority of the main ingredients and even have similar recipes.  There were a few recipes that I thought looked like they were worth a try.  Here they are,

I cannot wait to try, Thai Chicken Crunch Wraps

Ingredients for the wrap-

  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ sweet onion, chopped
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • ¾ cup cabbage, finely shredded
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced

Ingredients for the sauce-

  • ¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tbsp. crunch peanut butter
  • ¼ tsp. fresh chopped ginger
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • Crushed red pepper flakes to taste

For topping-

  • 3 large whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 ½ cup lettuce, chopped
  • ½ cup peanuts
  • Handful of green snap peas

Instructions-

  • Heat the wrap oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the chicken, garlic, onions, salt and pepper.  Cook stirring occasionally until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.  Add the carrots, cabbage, and green onions, cook for a few minutes until the veggies are tender.
  • Combine the sweet chili sauce, ginger, peanut butter, soy sauce, and red pepper in a bowl. Stir until smooth and add to the skillet along with the cilantro.  Stir until mixed and heated.
  • Spoon the mixture into the tortillas, top with lettuce, peanuts, and peas. Roll tightly and enjoy!

An easy breakfast that is heart healthy and has a little spin off the original, Apple Pie Oatmeal

Ingredients-

  • ½ cup steel cut oat
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup chopped apples
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. all spice
  • Honey to taste

Instructions-

  • Combine all the ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until cooked and apples are mushy. Enjoy!

The photo of Dark Chocolate Brown Rice Pudding doesn’t look healthy at all, definitely trying this recipe.

Ingredients-

  • 1 cup short grain brown rice
  • 3 cups unsweetened Almond Milk
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • Berries to top

Instructions-

  • In a medium pot mix the rice, almond milk, cinnamon, and sea salt and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer with the lid on.
  • Cook for about 1 hour stirring to keep the rice from sticking on the bottom, cook until the rice is tender. Add the maple syrup and cocoa powder stir and serve warm topped with fresh berries.

I can’t wait to try these recipes.  I also searched on Pinterest and found some more great “heart-healthy” recipes to try!

Until Next Time,

Nancy

Employee Appreciation Day 🌼

I had no idea it was employee appreciation day when I went into the floral shop 🌼 for work today. It is easy to get stuck in a rut at work and forget what your purpose is. Luckily for me, I have an incredible boss that treats me with res
pect and really takes the time to teach me something new each day.

flowers-employee-appreciation-dayWhen I walked into work my boss had made me a floral arrangement and asked to take me to lunch. I was flabbergasted at such a kind gesture from her. She has helped me with so much it felt as though, I should be taking her out to lunch. I accepted her invitation and when to lunch.
We went to this very nice Italian restaurant and had a wonderful lunch together 😋. I realized I hadn’t really taken the time to get to know her on a personal level. We had a great conversation and laughed so much we barely finished our food. I was surprised to find out we had so many things in common, including our empty nests at home. She is such a delightful woman with a truly kind heart; I am happy I get to work with her every day.

fancy-free-nancy-lasagnaOver lunch, she stressed to me how much I have grown over the last years and how I’ve really become an asset to the floral shop. I was so happy to hear that I am making an impact and my work is being noticed. She made sure I was aware with how much she appreciated my hard work and dedication to constant learning.

I feel honored to be working at such a wonderful floral shop; if I can even call it work.  I have fun each and every day I am there. I truly believe that if you love doing something you can find a way to make it part of your life. I never expected to have found a calling in floral arrangements and party decorations but it has helped me grow in ways I never expected to.

I found a quote that fits perfectly with how I feel working in the floral shop; “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius

Happy Employee Appreciation Day!

Until next time,

Nancy