Ladies...Go Red!

(I'm certain the above candy hearts are dark chocolate.)

 My sister-in-law sent me this video and I thought it was fitting to share it with you all today, the final day of the American Heart Association's February "Go Red For Women" campaign.

As some of you regular readers know, my mother suffered a heart attack a few months ago. Heart disease is serious stuff! So I wasn't sure how they were going to make a short, FUNNY video promoting heart awareness among women, but they did.

I'm sure every mom out there will relate to this. Check it out!

Take care of your heart!

Image by: Muffett

And So It Begins…

It was quiet.

Too quiet.

I couldn’t take it anymore!

Chris had been gone for a week and the loneliness sort of snuck up on me. I’d been putting in long hours on a writing project with a tight deadline. On Saturday evening, I rose to the surface, looked around, and realized I was alone. My social butterfly son Josh--who normally is happy to oblige me when I encourage him to invite friends over--just happened to have been gone two nights in a row. In general, I don’t mind alone time. I even enjoy it. But two full days was too much. I needed people!

People Who Need People

The following day was Superbowl Sunday. Josh was invited to a Superbowl Party and the hosting boy’s parents happened to be some of my favorite people. In a bold move I invited myself over. My darling friends not only gracefully agreed, but were kind enough to let me in the door after I admitted that I didn’t even know who was playing. (I know, I know--I’m un-American!) I do love the commercials, though. Here are two of my favorites!

"Space Babies" 2014 Kia Sorento Big Game Ad

Viva Young - 2013 Taco Bell Game Day Commercial

I ended up having a blast! As I drove home after the game, though, it occurred to me that this is my future. The loneliness I experienced while Chris was gone was a small taste of what I have to look forward to in a mere six months when our baby boy starts college in the fall. I’m dreading our upcoming status as full-fledged Empty Nesters (EN). Part of the problem is, as a freelance writer I work from my home. Alone. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE, LOVE my job, but it’s not like I can mosey down the hall for a chat with the person in the next office. When my hubby travels, will I turn into one of those people who leaves the TV on for company? Will my one-sided conversations with the dog become the norm?

Another thing is, I genuinely love the hubbub of having teens in the house. I adore when Josh’s friends are over talking, laughing, eating cookies, making noise and staying up too late. I’m going to have to make some serious adjustments. Push myself to reach out more--as I did on Superbowl Sunday. I’ve been assured by many ENs that there are benefits to the EN lifestyle. Like when I asked an EN couple at the Superbowl Party if they had any difficulty adjusting, they both shouted “NO!” at the same time. Hilarious!

Other people I’ve talked to acknowledge that while it’s hard at first--long weeknights with no games/concerts/conferences to attend--they swear that after that initial adjustment period there are loads of benefits, like: getting to know your spouse again, less laundry, cleaner house, and especially no more high-school-early alarm clocks. Plus, there will be time to pursue interests that were put on hold. Hmm…maybe I’ll join a book club, or learn to play an instrument. (Anybody have a nice, noisy drum set I can borrow?)

One EN friend pointed out that the bottom line is we’re sending our kids out into the world, and that’s what we raised them for. We’re doing our job, and that’s a good thing. But it’s still a little scary.

Any Empty Nesters out there with tips or advice for me?

Image by: Muffet

Chocolate is GOOD for you!

Lately, I’ve been working on some health, fitness and nutrition pieces for a client, and what with it being Valentine’s Day and all, I thought I would share some recent discoveries I’ve stumbled upon. Chocolate-related discoveries. I present to you, seven, count ‘em, SEVEN health benefits you get from eating chocolate. (They’re from legit sources and everything!)
  • Chocolate is heart healthy! Studies show cocoa may reduce risk of heart disease.
  • Some research has linked chocolate consumption to reduced instances of diabetes, stroke and heart attack.
  • It helps lower blood pressure and improves vascular function.
  • Chocolate boosts your mood! Chocolate makes us feel good.(Like we needed research to support this one! Clearly if it reverses the effects of Dementors, it's got to be powerful stuff.)
  • Chocolate makes you smarter. Seriously! A study published in the Journal of Nutrition says so. See, chocolate has flavonoids. And flavonoids have been linked to increased brain functioning.
  • And this one is a real winner. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego, reported in the Archives of InternalMedicine, that people who eat chocolate regularly tend to be thinner than those who never or very rarely consume chocolate. Is this cool or what?!

You’re welcome. Happy Valentine’s Day.

Now go eat some chocolate!

Disclaimer #1: The majority of the good stuff is most prevalent in dark chocolate (65 percent cocoa content and higher), than either milk or white. But hey, it’s chocolate, right?

Disclaimer #2: Chocoholics should still try to control themselves. Doctors remind us that it's important to keep a balanced diet and that all this cool research doesn't necessarily mean people should start downing daily bars of chocolate. Yaddah, yaddah, yaddah.

Disclaimer #3: I’m not a nutrition expert! I merely play one on this blog, particularly when it comes to the subject of chocolate.

Indulge at your own risk.

Image by 1la

Quote of the Week

“Perhaps the feelings that we experience when we are in love represent a normal state.
Being in love shows a person who he should be.”
~ Anton Chekhov ~

Image by: No lurvin here

Quote of the Week

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow”
~ Helen Keller ~

Image by: A. Witt