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

Feeling Ill after busy weeks

After these busy, busy weeks I am feeling a little under the weather. I have never had so much fun working and learning so much than I did over Valentine’s Day weekend. But running around like crazy has affected my immune system and made me feel ill.

Since my epiphany a while ago about natural remedies, I have been searching for different ways to nix illnesses before they happen. There are so many options that can help you feel better that are all natural and help you in the long run.

Here are some natural remedies you probably already have in your house that can help treat a cold or the flu.
• Not only does garlic make everything taste wonderful, it is a powerhouse natural antibiotic, antibacterial, and antifungal. It really is a super food! I use garlic very often but for potent illness fighting, mince 1-2 cloves and let them float in a small glass of water and drink it quickly. It might not taste the best, but it will help.
• Hot liquids have been a natural remedy for many years. But I swear by hot herbal teas and lemon water at the first sign of a cold. The herbs and lemon help amp up your immune system and kick that cold out. There are many herbs that are known to fight specific infections and illnesses like nettle leaf, ginger, chamomile, peppermint, and catnip.

 

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• Cinnamon is good for stabilizing blood sugar and is also an antiviral and antibiotic. I like making cinnamon tea using cinnamon and honey. I find that it helps with coughing, scratchy throats, and congestion.
• Staying hydrated is key to fight an illness. If you have a fever it is extremely important to stay hydrated by drinking water and teas. Getting enough rest is also necessary. When your body is running in high trying to fight off whatever you have, it is important to get a few extra hours of rest to help your body reboot.
I know that WebMD is not the most reliable source for health related issues but there is a lot of information that helps initiate a search for reliable sources. The article 8 Tips to Treat Colds and Flu the ‘Natural’ Way, is a great place to start gathering natural remedy information.
Do you have a secret recipe or herb to help feel better when you are ill? I would love to hear more and try new natural ways to treat illnesses.
Until Next Time,
Nancy

Abroad?

Bobby has always been adventurous and wanted to try new things. This past week he has been talking about how he wants to study abroad for a semester in Europe. As you can imagine, the thought of Bobby living in a different country for a couple months pulled at my heart strings. I want the best for him, but isn’t moving away to college enough; not moving to an entirely different country.
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His freshman year he did not declare a major, but now after his first year completed and now about to begin his second year, he is thinking he wants to major in international business or studies; which would be a good fit if he does study abroad. As much as I didn’t want him to move out of the house for college, I am happy with who he has become. He has grown so much and I have as well.

travel-164574_1280I know Bobby would thrive in a new country and environment; he has always love meeting new people and leaning about different cultures. I have seen him mature so much in the past year it is incredible. I know that studying abroad in college requires a lot a maturity and I am sure he has it. He would be living in a country where he is unfamiliar with the surroundings, most likely not fluent in the language, and have to be responsible to go to class with all the opportunities around him. I feel like he would be able to learn to manage his time, and with his maturity, excel in a new way.

I found this website called College Parents of America with some good information and questions to ask as a parent of a child that wants to study abroad. I personally felt assured reading about the reasons why a wonderful young man like Bobby would want to leave his loving mother to live in a different country. Here is what they said-
• Study abroad allows students to experience a new culture.
• Study abroad gives students a new perspective on the world, and on their own culture.
• Study abroad experiences provide new challenges for students to overcome.
• Studying abroad increases student’s sense of independence.
• Study abroad allows some students to extend their curriculum by taking things not offered by their own institution.
• Study abroad looks good on a resume.
• Study abroad may fulfill particular personal goals of the student.
• Studying abroad is an adventure.

I am trying to convince myself that this study abroad thing will be the best for him in the long run. I know it will be hard for my husband and me, but I want the best for my children. And who knows, maybe we could go visit him if he decides this is something he would like to do.

Have you had a child study abroad? I would love to know how you managed to be childless for so long and how you coped.

Any pointers about the study abroad process for parents would be greatly appreciated.

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Until next time,

Nancy

Wedding Decorations

This past weekend I had the opportunity to make floral arrangements and help decorate for one of the most precious wedding I have ever seen.  The couple was so sweet and had an incredibly special day.  I learned so much and had a blast making arrangements, bouquets, and boutonnière’s.

The couple had themed their wedding with lots of bright spring colors and lively plants.  They also choose to a unique flare to add to their flowers with feather accents and old costume broaches for added for sparkle.  I don’t know where she got all her ideas but they were absolutely incredible.

wedding-flowers-ringThe bride’s bouquet was unlike anything I have ever seen.  It was so much fun assisting my boss create it for her.  She used pink peonies and added white feathers and a broach to it.  It was the most unique and beautiful bouquet I have ever seen.  Her husband’s boutonnière was also accented with a white feather.  The subtitle beauty of the feather and broach added so much elegance and glamour.

Post 35-NancyBell (3)I created what I believe is my best work yet.  I worked on two of the center pieces, one of them was pink and the other one was yellow.  The bride gave me direction of what she wanted but gave me the freedom of creativity.  She wanted each centerpiece to be special and unique.  I absolutely love my two centerpieces and so did she.  I actually surprised myself with how great they turned out.  It was fun making such a bright loud arrangement.  It wasn’t hard to smile the entire time creating it because the bright flowers radiated happiness; good pick on the bride and grooms part. 🙂

I really enjoy working alongside my boss at this wedding.  She continues to teach me so much every time we begin a project.  She was very pleased with my work at the wedding and invited me to do a few events with her in the upcoming months.  Of course I said yes, after this wedding I think I prefer events over daily arrangements.  I enjoy working with someone to create their floral dreams a reality.  There was something about making wedding arrangements that brings romantic emotions.  I left feeling like it was my wedding night again.

Post 35-NancyBell (2)It has only been a few months since I began creating floral arrangements but I have grown so much as a floral designer.  I hope to continue learning and getting better.  I really think I found my passion.

Until next time,

Nancy

Pulling out all the Pizazz; High School Reunion

Well it is that time of year…class reunion time.  I have only been to one reunion since high school…there is something about them that was so terrifying before.  But this year I built up the courage and decided to go to see some old friends and see what everyone is doing.  I was excited to see everyone…not just my friends but everyone! 🙂

keep-calm-high-school-reunionI was also excited because I have been feeling so great lately.  I haven’t lost an extreme amount of weight but I am feeling so much more confident with myself….. (Shh secretly I want to strut my new found confidence to all those mean kids from high school…ha)  I also wanted to go back to my hometown that I love so much now.  It’s funny because I couldn’t get of there fast enough after high school.

Last night was the first night of the high school reunion weekend.  I met up with a few close friends I hadn’t seen in a while.  We had dinner at a restaurant we always used to go to after football games…oh the memories with this old crew.  I was excited when one of the girls I haven’t seen in a while complemented me on how good I was looking.  It was little, but meant so much!
After dinner we met back up with our husbands and went to the sports bar where the actual reunion weekend was beginning.  It is great to see so many familiar faces and see how they have changed.  I have to laugh when the big “jocks” in high school have let themselves go and how the “nerds” are millionaires with super model wives.  It is funny to see how tables turn.

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I was friends with everyone in high school so it is great keeping in touch through Facebook, but seeing everyone in person at a reunion is even better.  The evening was so great! We stayed out much longer than we intended too, but it was so worth it.  My husband had a great time; he graduated two years before me so he knew quite a few people.

Today they had a golf outing planned but the hubby and I decided to stay home and get some yard work done before the big party tonight.  They are having a fancy dinner at a local banquet hall with a DJ…I can’t wait to see how this evening is going to go! 🙂

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I am so happy I decided to pull on my Spanx, put on some make-up, get all dolled up to go.  I can’t believe I was debating if I should go.  I have only been to one night of reminiscing and can’t wait for another.  Tonight is going to be spectacular and I feel great in my new dress….yes I went shopping again!

Cheers to a night of old friends and making more memories!

Until next time,
Nancy

New Technology

Along with not being very fashion forward, I have never been tech savvy either. My kids have always made fun of my out of date cell phone and laugh when they try to Skype me and I have no idea what I’m doing…what mom of college students hasn’t been laughed at during a Skype call. 🙂 A couple days ago my phone decided to take a swim in the park river, so I had to get a new phone, and decided to get a “smart phone!” I thought it was a good time to join the tech world and try to master social media and video calling my kids.

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I never really wanted a smart phone, but with the technology and society today it is hard not to have one. I hope now that I have one, I will be able to figure out social media a little better and use it to communicate with Bobby and Clara more. I already have a Facebook and Pinterest, but now with my new phone I will be able to go on it everywhere. A bunch of my old friends from high school have a group chat on Facebook that I didn’t really get to participate in because I only check my Facebook on the computer a couple times a week. But now with my brand new smart phone I will be able to talk to them all the time. …now that I’m writing about everything I can do on my phone, I think I’m realizing how excited I am! 🙂

My husband is also happy I got a smart phone! He always is up on the new technology trends and what is coming out next. Now that we have the same type of phone we can text easier and send photos quicker….at least that’s what he tells me. I’m sure he will help me figure it out.

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Since I got this new phone two days ago, I have spent so much time on it, it’s ridiculous. I have been figuring out how to work all of the bells and whistles on it. Luckily for me, not only is my husband tech savvy I also went out to coffee with one of my good friends yesterday who is a cell phone guru. She is always posting pictures on Facebook from her phone and talking about how often she Facetimes her children; hopefully after her instructional coffee date some of her knowledge rubbed off on me.

After coffee and my cell phone tutorial I was feeling so much more comfortable with my phone. I even tried Facetiming Bobby at college when I got home. Although it didn’t really work, the picture was really delayed, it was so great seeing Bobby and hearing his voice. He laughed at me trying to figure out how to point the camera at myself and not the celling. It was so incredible seeing him and hearing his voice together, it was almost like I was there! I really miss him.

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I feel like when I started writing this post I wasn’t thrilled about my new phone and now that I’ve actually thought about all the things I am going to be able to do on it, I am really eager to learn more! I am ready to take on my new smart phone, Facetime, and social media. Find me on Facebook and Pinterest!  Watch out techy world, Nancy is coming! 🙂

Until Next Time,

Nancy

First Tai Chi Class

I just got home from my first Tai Chi class and feel wonderful!  I had been anticipating this day since I signed up at the end of August.  It wasn’t quite what I expected but it was perfect for my wants and needs.  I feel rejuvenated and satisfied with my first class.

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I was nervous what to wear and if I would be “good” at it, but once I got there I had this sudden feeling of confidence; it was great.  I wore my new workout capris and tee shirt to the first class…I really like shopping for workout clothes now. And after reading Beginning T’ai Chi by Tri Thong Dang I felt like I had a basic knowledge and was ready to give it a try.  Not everything I read I implemented in this first class but I think it will be useful in my tai chi future.  (I really enjoyed it, so I hope I stick with in for a while hence “my tai chi future”)
We began the class with loosening movements to open up our joints and relax our tight muscles.  My hamstrings were sore from biking a couple days ago, so the slow flexibility moments really helped stretch them out.  We learned a sequence of postures through the hour class.  I found myself focusing on my body and the feeling each movement gave me.  It was hard for me to go at such a slow pace at first, but I got into it after a while.

I loved my first tai chi class so much, I can’t wait for next week’s.  I think the thing I was most excited about was that I didn’t have a hot flash the entire class!  I am not sure if my hormones were just being nice to me or if the slow movement and breathing help subdue the flashes?  Either way I am very happy about it!
I think I am going to suggest my husband and friends to join my class, maybe I will wait until after a few classes to make sure I really love it.  🙂   After this first class my body feels great and I feel like I cleared my mind and centered my thoughts.  It really is an exercise for the mind, body, and spirit.

Until next time,
Nancy

P.S. If Bobby knew I was taking a Tai Chi class, he would laugh so hard.  He thinks I am the clumsiest person ever.  I don’t think he would even believe me if I told him.  It will have to be my little secret for a while. 😉

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Movies and Make-up

This weekend my hubby and I decided to go to a movie together. So many great movies have come out recently I couldn’t wait to go. We went to The Hundred-Food Journey, it was really cute. I loved it and I think my husband did too!
The movie was about a French family who owns a restaurant and an Indian family who opens an Indian restaurant right across the street. The son of the Indian family is the chef at the new restaurant and the French restaurant’s owner takes him under her wing. It is a great story-line that kept my eyes glued on the screen.

Before we went out on Saturday, I had a girly urge to get dressed up and put on make-up for our date. I watched a few make-up tutorials and visited the old trustworthy, Pinterest for make-up ideas when you are over 50. I am not make-up savvy I usually never wear makeup, so almost all tips are new tips to me.make up over 50
I found some great ideas and that made my make-up looked great. I felt like a whole new woman. Here are a few tips I found online. I kind of sound like an expert now… not at all, but I’ll pretend I am. 🙂

• Focus on skin. Well hydrated and exfoliated skin needs less make up and is much healthier. I always make sure that I wear sunscreen to protect my skin from damaging rays and exfoliate frequently.
• Use moisturizers and primers. No moisturizer is going to get rid of all the wrinkles but using it before foundation can make fine lines and wrinkles less visible.
• Find a good lip plumper. I have never had luscious lips and with age, my lips appear even smaller. Apply lipstick a few shades darker than a natural lip color, but not too dark, and then add gloss for a DIY plump.
• Make highlighters and illuminators your best friend. When I first looked at this tip, I had no idea what highlighters and illuminators were. But after watching some tutorials I think I need to start using highlighters to “lift” my face and knock off a few years. 🙂
• Menopausal women know that dry skin is pretty usual, so it is important to use creams instead of powders. The powders sit on top of dry skin and fine lines, accentuating them. A good cream can fill them in and create a visually smoother complexion.

make up over 50Just a little “Pinterest’ing” and it is amazing how much I learned. I loved the way I looked on our date, but I don’t think I will begin wearing make-up every day. It’s the little things that make you feel good and have a wonderful date with your husband.
Until next time,
Nancy

A Pinterest Addicts New Lifestyle

I have been doing so good keeping up with my exercise routine this week. I got my husband to join me three times this week to go cycling, I’ve been making a point to take the stairs more often, and I did a living room workout twice this week. I may be speaking too soon, but I am feeling healthy and active. There is just something about being active that changes your mindset and makes you have a great day.

I have been trying to eat healthy, but it is just so hard. I am used to making quick meals for the kids that were easy and not necessarily that healthy. I want to commit this upcoming week to eating healthy AND keeping up with my activity schedule.
I am aware of what makes food taste good and how to use fresh ingredients, I struggle in portion control. I need to be conscious of how much I’m eating and pacing my consumption. I read that putting the food in a different room while you are eating, makes you think about how much you’re eating and prevents you from getting seconds or even thirds. And if you do decide to get more, you have to get up and walk to get it. I think this is a great idea; I am going to try that this week and see how it works.
I feel like Pinterest is such a good place to get motivation, workout ideas, and recipes, I think it’s safe to say I’m a Pinterest addict. This morning I pinned a bunch of recipes I want to try and found some great boards on eating healthy. Better Homes and Garden has a board called healthy dinner recipes, it is so many different recipes.

pinterest-nancy-2I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted and not gain any weight, but now that I am a woman of menopausal age, it is important to be aware of what kinds of food are going into my body. If I stay motivated and keep going in the direction I am now, I will be managing a healthy lifestyle in no time.

Thanks for reading!

Nancy

No more comfort food

This weekend was pretty tough without the kids. I tried coming up with ways to continue my new healthy lifestyle to help with my menopause symptoms, but I was not in the mood for healthy food or exercising. I found it extremely difficult to keep my mind from wondering to the kids and what they were doing. Needless to say I definitely indulged in some comfort food and spent way too much time on the couch; not helping my hot flash situation at all.

This weekend was filled with doughnuts, pasta, chocolate and everything in between. I am really regretting it now…and so is my waistline. It felt like I was up all last night from night sweats. It really made me reevaluate my goals and how I want to take care of my body and my symptoms. Menopause just has so many lovely symptoms. I have noticed a slow weight gain since I began my transition into menopause. I really need to keep up with my healthy lifestyle to help with the hot flashes and the weight gain. I need to get in the right mindset and really commit to creating this lifestyle change.

After my cup of coffee and a quick read through of the newspaper this morning, I felt groggy and weighed down. The aftermath from this weekend is not very pleasant. I really wanted to have a productive day. I decided to go on a walk to the grocery store down the road to pick up some HEALTHY food for dinner. I have never walked to the grocery store before, but I really enjoyed it. I ran into a few friends along the way and got to chat about Bobby’s big move and the latest news in the neighborhood.

After getting back to the house from my walk, I was beginning to feel better. I really need to keep adding exercise into my daily routine. I really enjoy cycling, so I’m going to try to convince my husband to either go for a bike ride or walk with me three times a week for 30 minutes. It will definitely be a fun way to get moving and have fun with my husband.

I just opened a Pinterest account and found a bunch of good workouts that I can do at home in my living room during the day. You can find my Pinterest account here http://www.pinterest.com/nancyfancyfree/
Hopefully I find motivation each day to keep doing it…maintaining the hot flashes should be enough. J I think I want to find a group fitness class to take. Having exercise planned with a group, will hold me accountable and make me want to better myself. Any suggestions of good classes to take are welcome. 🙂

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Until Next Time,

Nancy