Fall Wardrobe Essentials

Welcome the Coming Holidays

 

Let’s grab a cup of hot apple cider as we welcome the crisp air, crunchy leaves, and cozy fall looks for this wonderful season. With the Midwest’s wildly transitional weather, we often wonder how to dress when it’s crisp in the morning, quite warm during the day, and downright chilly in the evening. Of course, layering takes top priority in the fall. It just makes sense!

 

This season, designers are offering what they are calling “cottagecore” looks. Cottagecore is a lifestyle that celebrates the traditional country life, and the corresponding aesthetic is something of an old-fashioned look. Think of wearing a dark-toned print dress or skirt with a chunky cardigan over it. Then pull in a one-of-a-kind artisanal item to express your modern individuality, like a macrame woven belt or a sequin-embellished vest. Sweater vests are hot this fall; try pairing one with something like a preppy plaid skirt. Add an oversized blazer for the cool weather and some loafers or booties to complete this modern fall look.

 

Denim is perfect for fall, too. Darker wash or black denim is a must-have for cooler days, along with the ever-versatile denim jacket. Comfort is still on trend, with oversized and loose-fit clothing. That said, we’re also seeing a big resurgence of partywear that is spilling over into daywear.

 

Dark tones are what we think of as fall fashion colors, but the Pantone Color Institute is predicting a brighter look, with red (Molten Lava), orange (Dragon Fire), green (Abundant Green), and yellow (Spicy Mustard) taking the stage. Neutrals are always important, as they pair effortlessly with all these gorgeous fall color tones.

 

Throwback trends are always resurfacing. Vintage is always in style; it just takes a bit of mixing with the modern to pull it off. Get groovy with fashion prints reminiscent of the ’70s. These graphic prints are fun and an artful addition to your wardrobe. Cardigans will be plentiful this year and work well with graphic prints. We saw the resurgence of matchy-matchy outfits this past year, and this cool trend continues with loungewear and two-piece suiting.

 

Athleisurewear is still important, but it’s time to level up your look. You can be comfortable and still look fashionable! Luxury fabrics like cashmere add an elegant touch to athleisurewear.

 

Another throwback trend this summer has been the wide-leg pant. This relaxed silhouette will stay in the limelight through the fall. Once you wear this comfortable pant, you don’t want to go back to skinny styles. Choosing a top that can be tucked in or stops just below the waist is important when wearing these wide-leg pants. It’s vital for proportion and to keep the look from appearing too oversized.

 

The holidays will soon be upon us, and what fun they will be this year! What should we wear at this season’s holiday parties? As Vogue magazine would say, “when in doubt, add some sequins!” When you want to feel glamorous, fun, and shiny, you can’t beat sequins. Picture an all-over black sequined top worn with your favorite jeans or an all-over sequined skirt with a chunky sweater. Mixing sequins with ready-to-wear is where it’s at for Holiday 2022. A long sequined skirt with a tailored white blouse would be very on-trend. Have fun with juxtapositions of sequins and other fabrics. Play sequins against everything in your closet to come up with your own personal style.

 

Black is always great for dressing up, and this year is no exception. Everyone looks sharp in black! It’s the perfect thing to mix and match with fall’s bright color palette and the perfect backdrop for sequins.

 

I have good news for bling-lovers who spent a minimalist summer longing to wear more statement pieces: Bling is back! Gold is the expensive look and a chic choice, while silver is usually reserved for a more casual vibe. Multi-purpose gold chains are perfect for fall and can even double as belts.

 

Never take accessories for granted! Accessories can elevate an ordinary outfit to extraordinary. Shine, sparkle, and glamour will be fun to add to our accessories this year. Shoes and handbags will feature metallic shine in unexpected places. Look for shimmer on the heel of your pump, the toe of your boot, or the inset on the side of your bag. Belts will also have a bit of shine on the buckle or maybe a chain handle for that Chanel vibe. Embellished sneakers with a little shine will also be the ticket for fall.

 

This fall and holiday season will be about experimenting with joy. Pair pieces you have never worn together. Add a little vintage and sparkle. Don’t be afraid to create your own style!

Editor’s Note: Holly has been in the fashion industry for over 30 years as a buyer, boutique store owner, visual merchandiser, and fashion show producer. She is currently the owner of a modeling agency. Holly regularly appears on local TV doing fashion segments.

Fashion Worthy

By Holly Bell

Weekend Gourmet

Harvest Moons and Shorter Days—Let’s Eat!

 

Sheridan’s Sweet Potato Bread

Whisk together 1 and 3/4 cups of flour, 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream 1 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1/3 cup of soft butter, and 2 beaten eggs. Mix in 1 cup of canned (or cooked) mashed sweet potatoes and 1/3 cup of water. Lightly mix in the dry ingredients. Add 1/2 cup of chopped nuts and 1/2 cup of raisins, if desired. Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan (or pans). Bake at 350 degrees for 50–60 minutes (do a toothpick test to check for doneness).

 

Shrimp Snacks

Rinse and drain 1 can of shrimp and pat dry. In a large bowl, mix 1 Tablespoon of melted butter, 1 Tablespoon of prepared horseradish, 1 Tablespoon of ketchup, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, and any additional spices you like—Old Bay, pepper, oregano, etc. Add the shrimp. Separate a can of refrigerated crescent roll dough, cutting the 8 triangles into 16. Place a teaspoon of the shrimp mixture on the center of each triangle, fold the short ends over the filling, and then fold the long end over the whole thing. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Brush each triangle with melted butter and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and sesame seeds. Bake at 375 degrees for 15–18 minutes.

 

Kentucky Butter Cake

Mix together 3 cups of flour, 2 cups of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 cup of buttermilk, 1 cup of soft butter, 2 teaspoons of vanilla or rum extract, and 4 eggs. Beat for 3 minutes on medium. Pour into a greased and floured tube or Bundt cake pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 55–70 minutes, until cake tester comes out clean.

Over low heat, blend 3/4 cup of sugar, 1/3 cup of butter, 3 Tablespoons of water, and 1 or 2 teaspoons of vanilla or rum extract. Cook over low heat until butter is melted and sugar dissolves. Prick the cake 10–12 times. Slowly pour the hot sauce over the cake. After 5–10 minutes, remove the cake from the pan. When cool, dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

 

Roast Beef Dinner

Rub flour and black pepper all over a 2–3 pound beef roast (chuck or rump or sirloin). Place in a slow cooker, add 1 envelope of dry onion soup mix and 1 envelope of brown gravy mix, along with 1–2 cups of cold water. Cook on low for 6–8 hours, until tender. Slice the meat, thicken the juices, and serve with mashed potatoes, fall veggies, and homemade biscuits.

 

Homemade Applesauce

Wash, peel, core, and cut up 2 pounds of apples. Place in a saucepan with 1/2 cup of water and bring to a boil on medium. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar, cover, and cook on low for an hour. Add cinnamon, spices, or red hot candies to taste, if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.

 

Meatballs in a Pouch

Mix 1 pound of ground hamburger or ground turkey with assorted spices—like bread crumbs, grated Parmesan, dried Italian seasoning, parsley, onion or garlic powder—to make your favorite meatballs. Make 36 meatballs. Take 2 tubes of refrigerated pizza or breadstick dough, cut into small circles or squares, and flatten a bit. Wrap a meatball in each piece of dough and make a pouch. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet (or on skewers). Bake for 20–25 minutes at 375 degrees, checking on them occasionally, until the meatballs are done (at 165 degrees). Sprinkle additional cheese on top and heat for 2–3 more minutes. Serve with warmed marinara.

 

Sloppy Joes

Brown 2 pounds of ground beef with 1 small, chopped onion. Drain the grease. Add the meat to the slow cooker. Mix in 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of yellow mustard, 2 Tablespoons of sugar, 1/2 cup of ketchup, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, salt and pepper as desired, and 1/2 bottle (or more, to your liking) of your favorite chili sauce. Mix well. Cook on low for 3–4 hours. Serve on toasted buns with chips, cut veggies, and cheese.

 

Oktoberfest Kraut and Brats

Cut brats into bite-sized pieces and sauté with 1 chopped onion until browned. Add 1 small head of cabbage (cored and sliced) or 1 bag of freshly prepared kraut. Add 1/2 can of beer or chicken broth. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add sliced garlic, salt, and pepper, as desired. Serve with rye bread or brat buns.

 

Apple Butter

Peel, core, and slice 12 apples (any varieties) and put in a crock pot. Add 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir well. Cook on low overnight (10–12 hours). Do a taste test—do you need to add a bit more cinnamon? Nutmeg, cloves, ginger? After adjusting spices, let cool and smooth out with an immersion blender, if desired. Put in jars in the refrigerator. Stays fresh for a week or two.

 

Chicken Thigh Bake

In 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, sauté 1 chopped celery stalk, 1/4 chopped onion, and 1 chopped carrot. Add 4 chicken thighs and brown on both sides. Add 1 cup of chicken broth, 1/2 cup of dried dates, and 1/2 cup of chopped apricots. Cover and place in the oven at 350 degrees for 45–60 minutes. Sprinkle in 1/4 cup of shaved almonds (optional). Serve with rice.

 

Fall Squash Casserole

Peel, seed, and slice a small yellow squash. Microwave or steam for 5 minutes. Grease a baking dish and pour in 1/2 package of herb seasoned stuffing mix. Sauté 1 small chopped onion in 4 Tablespoons of butter. Put in a mixing bowl. Add the squash. Stir in 1 drained can of water chestnuts, 1 small jar of pimientos (drained), 1 can of cream of chicken soup, and 1 cup of sour cream. Mix well. Pour the mixture over the croutons and spread the rest of the stuffing mix on top. Bake at 450 degrees for 35–40 minutes.

Editor’s Note: Kate has been an Omaha area culinary instructor since 1997. She attended The Institute for the Culinary Arts at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha.

By Kate Beiting
 

Zodiac Forecast

 

Libra September 23-October 22

 
Happy birthday, Libra! All of the leaves are changing colors, there is a crisp chill in the air, and the aromas of crushed leaves, bonfires, and baked goods awaken your senses everywhere you turn. Treat yourself in all the special ways this month. Start it off with a new book. Cuddle up by the fire and enjoy. Libras love a good mystery!

 

Scorpio (Oct 23–Nov 21) Lights flickering, laughter looming from nowhere? It most likely is drifting over from your neighbors outdoors. Get out and enjoy the merriment with the rest of the crowd!

 

Sagittarius (Nov 22–Dec 21) Go out and appreciate an evening with a loved one or some friends. Be careful to be home by midnight…before things start going bump in the night!

 

Capricorn (Dec 22–Jan 19) It is the picture-perfect time to gather your colleagues and be carefree! Go out to your favorite night spot, restaurant, or coffee cafe. Did someone say costume party?

 

Aquarius (Jan 20–Feb 18) You could ask for assistance from the spirit realm, but it might be better to ask your friends. Propose a night out and indulge in a different kind of spirits!

 

Pisces (Feb 19–Mar 20) Do you remember those scary stories you used to love? Dust them off, dim the lights, illuminate your space with flickering candles, and curl up with a spooky tale!

 

Aries (Mar 21–Apr 19) The October moon’s powerful forces

are gaining strength in your sign. Let’s face it—you’ve got this mysterious life down! But what if love could dance out of dreams and into reality?

 

Taurus (Apr 20–May 20) Start preparing today for a delightfully frightening trip in October. During this expedition, you will discover things beyond your wildest dreams…and perhaps your wildest fears!

 

Gemini (May 21–June 20) This October will be everything that your heart desires. Transformation will be your forte. Whether it lasts one night or longer depends on how daring you are willing to be!

 

Cancer (Jun 21–Jul 22) All of the spooky festivities are definitely worth the lack of sleep you’re getting this month. Be mindful on November 1st to catch up on your relaxation!

 

Leo (Jul 23–Aug 22) Work has been hard-hitting! Relax and indulge in seasonal pastry treats with your loved one. Still have the urge to scream? Pop in a frightening flick!

 

Virgo (Aug 23–Sep 22) Are you going to be giving away tricks or treats? Put some spice into your social excursions. Don’t let regrets come back to haunt you!

A Woman's Work

Dressing for Success

Work Fashion Through the Years

Coco Chanel once said, “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” If you want to be seen as successful and competent at work, you need to dress the part. This has not changed. However, the manner in which women dress for success has changed profoundly over the years. I have been in the communications and marketing field for 46 years, and I thought it would be interesting to explore dress styles for women in the workplace during that time.

 

In the late 1970s, professional women often took a signal from the men with whom they were competing for jobs. The power suit was a must, with impeccable detail, gorgeous blouses, and accent jewelry that was tailored and not too over-the-top. If earrings were worn, they were small, classic, and usually gold or silver. Too much color was considered gaudy.

 

In the early 1980s, I was fortunate to be stationed in Germany while working for the American Red Cross, and we wore uniforms. Gray skirts or gray twill slacks with navy blue or red blazers made up our business attire. Because the clientele we served were always in uniform, wearing uniforms ourselves was considered a sign of respect and solidarity.

 

When I came back to the United States to work in Washington, D.C., power suits were still in. You would see hundreds of women walking from the Metro to their jobs, wearing suits and tennis shoes. Once they arrived at work, they would open the popular tote bag and take out a pair of conservative dark heels. Nylons were always worn, but color began to be introduced. You might see a blue, green, or pink suit. Slack suits started being acceptable for women.

 

In the 1990s, there was a little more relaxation. Dresses, if not too flamboyant, were considered acceptable, though hosiery was still a must. Slack suits became the norm but were conservative and tailored. If you had a basic black suit, you wore it often with various blouses or shells. Colored jewelry was allowed, and earrings were getting bigger.

 

In the 2000s, everyday work clothes began to change. Slacks with tops were seen everywhere. The long sweater with pants was acceptable. Hose with dresses became a thing of the past, as long as you shaved your legs and had a nice tan.

 

Sandals, wedges, flats, and comfortable shoes became commonplace. During the summer months, women could wear summer dresses (often maxis) and capris to work. As long as workers looked clean and presentable, business casual was considered appropriate.

 

In the last decade, leggings were introduced and allowed a great deal of freedom for women to wear with long tops or sweaters and either flat shoes or boots. If skirts were worn, they were usually long and worn with a blouse.

 

With the advent of COVID, many women worked from home and just Zoomed in for meetings. There is a running joke that employees would wear nice tops but have sweats or pajama bottoms on because the computer camera only showed you from the waist up. As people come back to the office, business casual is the norm. Men no longer wear ties; many women wear yoga pants or leggings and only dress up when there is a company event.

 

No matter what you wear, there are still some basic tips for dressing for success in the business world. A great deal depends on your workplace—if you work in a computer programming firm or a creative ad agency, comfort is a must and business dress is much more casual. If you are in a legal or government office, more formal attire is usually warranted.

 

Here are some simple tips for dressing for success in any place of business.

 

Hygiene is important. Make sure your deodorant works, and limit the use of perfume. Don’t overwhelm your coworkers with fragrance.

 

Keep clothes clean and free from holes. This seems like a no-brainer, but I see lots of women wearing torn jeans. This might be a fashion trend, but it’s not appropriate at work. Also, make sure your outfit fits you—that you can move around comfortably without showing too much skin.

 

Don’t go overboard with accessories. Color is okay, but don’t go bawdy. When in doubt, keep it simple and tasteful. Scarves and accessories can spotlight your personality; don’t let them overwhelm it.

 

Dress for the job. Check out the fashion in your workplace. Your attire should help facilitate the work and help you apply your skills. Studies have shown that people feel confident when they feel good about how they look. If you aren’t feeling confident, you’re not likely to do your

best work.

By Deborah Daley
 

Fresh Concepts

Joint Replacement

Keep Your Active Lifestyle!

If joint pain is slowing you down, it’s time to check in with your doctor. Two commonly problematic joints, the knee and hip, connect where the ends of two or more bones meet. When they’re working properly, they’re nothing short of miraculous. When they no longer function the way they need to, the damaged parts may need to be replaced.

 

Degenerative arthritis often causes inflammation, resulting in pain and stiffness, but it’s not just disease that damages joints. Even simple wear and tear over many decades of use can disable a joint. Joint replacement surgery is a great option to remove diseased parts, replacing them with new, human-made parts. The result is a lifestyle that will likely go back to normal, with less pain as you move and a better range of motion.

 

Hips and knees are the joints most commonly replaced, but ankle, wrist, shoulder, and elbow replacements are fairly common, too. In some cases, a partial joint replacement will suffice; in other cases, the whole thing has to go. Let’s look at surgical options for joint replacement, how long those new joints will last, and alternatives to surgery.

 

Over the last decade, knee replacements have tripled in the baby boomer population. Why? Wear and tear is one reason, and osteoarthritis is another—often, those two go hand in hand. The loss of cartilage and cushion in hips, knees, and other joints is a common result of overuse, injury, and the aging process itself. Boomers often acquire tendinitis, bursitis, and arthritis; sometimes, all at once.

 

Seniors aren’t the only population jumping on the joint replacement bandwagon. People in their 40s and 50s are also having joints replaced. The sports-active younger set may end up with fractures, hip dysplasia, or even arthritis when they are as young as their early 30s. Factor in obesity rates for all ages, and replacement risk increases. Our joints can only bear so much weight, and they’re destined to wear out eventually. Surgeons consider age, weight, pre-existing health conditions, and how active your lifestyle is before committing to surgery. Joint replacement is considered major surgery, and proactive rehabilitation after surgery is critical to recovery.

 

Knee replacement surgery can be a full replacement or a half-joint replacement, depending on your knee’s remaining range of motion, stability, balance, and strength. When deciding on the most beneficial procedure for you, your surgeon will consider factors like surgical technique, your weight, your age, and your typical activity level (as well as the level of activity you’d like to return to).

 

“Knee replacement surgery can help relieve pain and restore function in severely diseased knee joints,” according to the Mayo Clinic. “The procedure involves cutting away damaged bone and cartilage from your thighbone, shinbone, and kneecap and replacing it with an artificial joint (prosthesis) made of metal alloys, high-grade plastics, and polymers.” The metal and plastic parts cap the ends of the bones that form the knee joint and kneecap. The newest surgical technique for knee replacement uses the same reliable implant but takes advantage of a shorter incision, which spares quadricep muscle damage.

 

For a traditional replacement, recovery lasts about 6 months, but your body may need up to 12 months before you get back to normal activities. After about three weeks, walking without crutches for a period of 10 minutes is likely possible. Don’t be surprised if your physical therapist pushes you into actively working through the pain. They’re usually spot on! Follow all the advice from your doctor and physical or occupational therapist, and you’ll increase your chances of a smooth recovery.

 

Partial knee replacement removes damaged bone and tissue when only part of the knee is damaged. If a partial replacement is an option, you’ll better preserve range of motion and function, since healthy tissue and bone are still present in the knee. Recovery time is up to six weeks, and physical therapy is a must for rehabilitation and maximum movement. You might even be able to climb stairs and shift full weight to one knee in a few days, or drive to work in about one week, but you’ll likely begin with a cane, walker, or crutches. After rehab, talk with your specialist before returning to the golf course or the gym.

 

Ask anyone who has had a hip replacement, and most will give you success stories. Maybe they’re back to riding a bicycle or walking up stairs with no pain. Doctors often advise that you start moving soon after surgery to stop the replaced hip from becoming stiff. Recovery time may be two to four weeks, though everyone is different. Full replacement patients can resume normal activities after about six months.

 

Hip replacement surgery removes and replaces parts of the pelvis and thighbone that structure your hip joint. The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. That means that the ball moves around in the socket, allowing your legs to move in all directions or to rotate. Soft tissue and cartilage cover the ball and socket so that they glide past each other. If this tissue wears down, the glide becomes restrictive, stiff, and painful. That’s when it’s time to book an appointment with your physician to discuss the three most common types of hip replacements, especially if alternatives like pain meds don’t work.

 

Total hip replacement is the most common, where damaged parts are replaced with an artificial implant.

 

The socket might become a heavy-duty plastic cup, possibly with a titanium shell. Metal alloys and porcelain are often used to replace the femoral head. Success rates are high for total hip replacement, and you’ll notice a substantial decrease in pain, including arthritic pain. Walking will become easier, and overall well-being will improve. As with all surgical procedures, there are still risks, and this option for hip replacement may take the longest to heal.

 

You may be able to get by with a partial hip replacement if only one side of the joint is damaged. Partial replacement is common in older patients with fractured hips. Recovery time, including rehab, may take up to six weeks, which is less than a full hip replacement. The risk of a hip dislocation or restrictive mobility is lower with partial hip replacement than with full replacement. Partial surgery is also less demanding.

 

If you’re young and active but still have hip pain, your doctor may elect to resurface the femoral head and socket in a procedure that is aptly called hip resurfacing. Crutches may still be needed at first, along with physical rehab. Consider taking three weeks off per hip for resurfacing recovery, a far shorter recovery than replacement. An active life should resume in a few short weeks.

 

How long will your new hip replacement last? “Unlike older implants that were metal, modern hip prosthetics are made of a combination of metal, plastic and ceramic parts, so they are more durable and cause fewer issues,” according to researchers at Johns Hopkins. “These implants can last 20 to 30 years, and the risk of failure and the need for repeat surgeries is low.”

 

What about shoulder replacement? Replacing damaged shoulder bones (another ball-and-socket joint) with metal and plastic implants helps patients young and old alike, whether the damage was caused by arthritis, a fracture, or a rotator cuff injury. As with hips, there are total and partial replacement options, depending on the joint damage. Your arm will likely need a sling for four to six weeks after surgery. The artificial shoulder joint can be expected to last up to 10 years.

 

Even surgeries with high success rates have risks, so surgery is rarely a first-line treatment. Before committing to surgery, physicians generally pursue less invasive treatments, like injections or pain patches. To avoid joint replacement surgery, prevention and preservation are worth their weight in gold. Good nutrition and a healthy diet are at the top of the list to keep your body and joints running like a lean machine. Even if you’re predisposed to joint damage because of genetic factors or bad luck, diet and exercise can only help the cause. Low-impact exercise, like swimming, strength training, yoga, and Pilates, helps maintain a healthy body weight and helps strengthen muscles that surround body joints. Stretching (stretch only after a warmup!) helps to lubricate joints and enhance range of motion. Take care of your joints, and they’ll take care of you for as long as they can!

 

Sources for this article included: medlineplus.gov, hopkinsmedicine.org, aaos.org, and mayoclinic.org.

By Janette Calabro
 

Good Looks

Micro-Needling

Skin Rejuvenation Therapy

Have you seen the meme that says, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could put ourselves in the dryer for 10 minutes and come out wrinkle-free?” Wrinkles and fine lines in the skin are an inevitable part of the aging process, and they can make us look old and tired. Tumble-drying may not be an option, but there are many treatments out there to give us smoother looking skin and improve our skin tone. Micro-needling is one of those options.

 

Micro-needling (also called collagen induction therapy) is a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure during which thin needles are used to create tiny punctures in the skin’s top layer. The resulting small wounds cause the body to produce more collagen and elastin by stimulating the skin’s healing process, helping the skin to look younger, softer, and smoother. Most micro-needling is done on the face, neck, or hands, but you can also get it on your legs, back, or other areas where you notice damaged or aging skin.

 

Its benefits include smoothing fine lines and wrinkles, minimizing pores, evening out skin tone, diminishing the appearance of dark undereye circles, and fading stretch marks and scars, including acne scars. Micro-needling does not result in skin discoloration, making it a good choice for people of all skin tones. Recovery time is minimal, with few side effects. You may notice some redness and irritation for the first few days following treatment. Micro-needling is not recommended if you are pregnant or nursing or if you have eczema or rosacea.

 

Research has also suggested that micro-needling may promote hair growth in individuals with alopecia. The process that stimulates healing in the skin is thought to also regenerate the health of hair follicles, resulting in new hair growth. It has also shown promise in thickening thin hair for individuals with male or female pattern baldness.

 

The micro-needling procedure can be performed by a board-certified dermatologist, a cosmetic surgeon, a plastic surgeon, or a trained and certified aesthetician. Verify that your selected provider has experience in performing the procedure. One session lasts between one and two hours. Results may be visible after just two weeks, with optimal results taking up to three to six months to develop. Most patients undergo four to six treatments, depending on the areas treated and the desired outcome.

 

There are two types of micro-needling: basic micro-needling and radiofrequency (RF) micro-needling. In traditional micro-needling, a device is rolled over the skin, creating the tiny puncture wounds. As described, this stimulates the skin’s natural healing process, increasing collagen and elastin production, which thickens and smooths the skin. RF micro-needling adds radio-frequency energy to the needling process, enhancing the benefits of traditional micro-needling and stimulating the skin’s growth factors even more. It also penetrates deeper into the skin, further increasing production of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. The added RF energy heats the skin’s deeper layers, for even greater skin tightening results. It’s also more customizable than traditional micro-needling. Your provider can advise you as to which method is better suited to your needs.

 

Your provider may ask you to avoid using certain topical treatments, such as retinol creams, in preparation for your micro-needling treatment. They may also ask that you discontinue taking some medications before the procedure, including ibuprofen. For the procedure itself, a topical anesthetic is applied to the treatment area to minimize discomfort.

 

As the micro-needling tool is rolled across the treatment area, the needles make small cuts in the skin, which may result in a small amount of bleeding. The cuts are miniscule, and you probably won’t even be able to see them following the procedure. You may notice a warm or scratching feeling during the treatment. Afterwards, a growth serum or calming treatment is usually applied.

 

After the procedure, your skin will be extra sensitive. You may also experience some skin flaking and tightness. It’s important to avoid sun exposure, and don’t apply makeup for a few days. Also try to avoid excessive sweating. Staying hydrated is important. As part of the aftercare regimen, you may be advised to apply topical products containing peptides or other creams that promote skin plumping. The micro-needling process enhances the skin’s ability to absorb these products. Keep your skin well-moisturized.

 

After your initial series of treatments, you likely won’t require maintenance treatments for six months to a year. Older patients, and those who have more significant skin damage, may need touch-ups sooner.

 

If you’re looking for a proven path to smoother skin that involves minimal risk and minimal downtime—and no tumble-drying—micro-needling may be the solution you’re looking for. Ask your skin care provider if it’s right for you.

 

Sources for this article included: clevelandclinic.org, realself.com, and webmd.com.

By Loretta McCollum
 

Income Outcome

The Little Things

Enjoying the Journey

 

Remember when you were a kid and there was a revolving door you had to go through to get into the department store? I loved those! My mom would usher all six of us kids through the door. Sometimes, though, we were ornery, and we wouldn’t get out when we were supposed to. Mom would seem irritated, but I could see the smile she was trying to hide. Nowadays, you typically find these revolving doors only in hotels…the exception is Bone Fish Grill here in Omaha. They have one. 

 

The other night, my husband Manny and I headed over to Bone Fish to grab a bite to eat. We got into the revolving door, and before I knew what was going on, Manny didn’t exit into the restaurant. He kept on going…and going…and going, and I went right along with him. We were laughing hysterically. A man eating dinner in the restaurant saw what we were doing, and he started laughing, too…along with the people at several other tables who had noticed what was going on. Every time we came around, they waved at us and laughed!

 

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” —Victor Borge

 

Laughing out loud is a medicine that so many of us forget. A good belly laugh, about something so silly as playing like a kid again, is life-giving, healing, energy-giving, and just plain fun! So many of us get wrapped up in the reality of our day-to-day responsibilities that we fail to breathe, step back, and enjoy the journey. 

 

“Life is a journey, not a race.” —Unknown

 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve come to realize that for many, many years, I felt as if I were in a race. I raced to hit that next business goal. I raced to get my kids through college. I raced to go on vacation. I raced to get past wherever I was. I am sorry to admit that I rarely…if ever…enjoyed the journey.

 

“Let go, let life, and enjoy the journey…!” —James A. Murphy

 

I have learned that laughing is a sure way to bring me into the moment, to create mindfulness in any situation. Think about it—when we are laughing, we are totally in the moment. We are not thinking about our list of things to do, the kitchen that needs to be cleaned, the proposal we have to write for work. We are here—right here—right now. And THAT is enjoying the journey.

 

“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” —Jon Kabot-Zinn

By Janet Van deWalle
 

Kids Comments

Teaching Perseverance

Keep On Keepin’ On!

 

I’ve recently seen a lot of posts online regarding the first day of school. Mommies post pictures of their little darlings, neatly dressed and smiles beaming (well, most of them are smiling). To each kid’s photo, I respond with something like: “Have a great year!” or “Have fun!” or “Remember to always do your best!” For those who have already shown they’re achievers: “Keep on keepin’ on!”

 

Every year, some kids take what might feel like a giant leap from one level of education to another. Whether kids are stepping from grade school to middle school, from high school to college, or that big step into the world where they have to find and keep a job on their own…kids are stepping into the unknown.

 

To help them with the transition, one of the best things we can teach our kids is perseverance. No matter how hard a task may seem, we can see it through to the end. I’ve heard kids moan that that something is just too hard. I hit that wall in sixth grade when we had to learn long division. Math had been easy up to that point, but when we were suddenly working with multi-digit numbers, I was overwhelmed. Dad tried to help. As I recall, his terminology was different from the teacher’s and only served to make the task more difficult. Finally, he said, “You can do the easy stuff, right?” “Yes,” I replied quietly, “but—” He cut me off. “No buts! You can do it. Take it in small steps, a few digits at a time, one problem at a time.” With patience, he soon had me solving the first problem on the page and gaining the confidence (while he sat beside me) to complete the entire assignment. He taught me perseverance.

 

In school, as in life, most of the things we learn are based on previous knowledge…the stuff we learned getting to this point. Even long division falls back on addition, subtraction, and multiplication. Sometimes kids need to be reminded of what they’ve learned before. They may not recognize how this knowledge will be used in the future, but it’s their job to do the best they can now. Each small success leads to bigger successes.

 

We also need to help our kids realize that our “best” can be better at some times than at others. If we’re sick, our brain doesn’t work as well. We may be worried about something else happening in our life that temporarily supersedes the demands of doing our best right now. The idea is to not give up. Remember the adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try again.”

 

Years ago, the famed trumpeter Clark Terry advised a young pianist having difficulty with a complex musical arrangement needed for competition to “Keep on keepin’ on!” The student persevered—and won!

Editor’s Note: Marge has three children, two grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. She holds advanced degrees in education. Her life’s mission is to teach everyone that kids are people, too.

By Marge Shoemaker, BS, MS
 

Interiors By Design

Interior Designers

Making the Most of Your Space

Whether you’re building a new home or remodeling your existing one, creating beautiful and functional spaces will enhance your lifestyle. Achieving the results you want, however, can be challenging! Depending on the scope of your project, the coordination and management can be a complex process—one that requires planning, scheduling, oversight, and endless design selections. For many homeowners, this can feel overwhelming. For homeowners who want to optimize their space to best suit their needs, both in terms of functionality and visual appeal, an interior designer is an excellent resource. Hiring one for your project is a smart investment.

 

When considering a home improvement project, many homeowners aren’t certain whether they need an interior designer or an interior decorator. What’s the difference? Interior design is the art and science of creating functional, well-designed spaces. Interior decorating is the furnishing of spaces with decorative elements to achieve a desired aesthetic. In short, interior designers may decorate, but interior decorators do not design. Interior design is a multifunctional profession that encompasses conceptual development, space planning, site inspections, communicating with project stakeholders, construction management, and design execution. If your project requires more than furnishings and decorative selections, then an interior designer is your best choice.

 

Your interior designer will start by identifying your lifestyle needs, understanding your personal aesthetic, and assessing the possibilities of your space. Bringing on an interior designer early will help you balance your space against your design wants and needs. Whether your project is big or small, whether it involves a new build, a remodel, or simply a refresh, every project has three components: cost, time, and quality. The interior designer’s role is to balance and manage these elements throughout the entire project.

 

From understanding the big picture concept right down to managing the small details, the earlier you bring on an interior designer, the smoother your process will be. A designer has a trained sense of what needs to be done and when it needs to be done and can anticipate obstacles that may arise. For example, electrical outlet placement will depend on where you want furniture placed—you don’t want your outlets to be inaccessible, nor do you want them front and center. This issue should be addressed before any construction. An interior designer will know the right time and with whom to bring up these kinds of issues. Interior designers are accustomed to working closely with other professionals and can function as your liaison with contractors and vendors. This coordination will save you a lot of time, energy, and money.

 

An important and often-overlooked benefit of hiring an interior designer is in the area of budgeting and planning. Interior designers are well versed in costs and can be invaluable in keeping you within budget without compromising on style. They can access products that are in line with your aesthetic but at a better price point than you could get yourself. Their knowledge and trained eye can help you avoid costly mistakes. In practical terms, an interior designer can assist with space planning, floor plan layouts, the purchase and placement of new and existing furniture, and advice on custom furniture, cabinets, and millwork design.

 

An interior designer can add value to your home, making it more enjoyable and comfortable for you, your family, and your guests. When it comes time to sell your home, interior designers know which design features add more value to a home, so they’ll know what to highlight. Potential buyers take note of a well-designed home. A designer can guide you to the features and finishes that stand the test of time and will appeal to a variety of buyers.

 

Every homeowner knows how difficult it is to find qualified and reliable resources. Interior designers work in the world of home improvement and have access to the reliable professionals you need. Whether it’s a plumber, electrician, or painter, a designer can connect you with tradespeople you can trust.

 

Your home is a reflection of who you are and what you love. It’s the place where you can express your personal style and your personality. You want it to be as unique as you are. Using their resources, you and your interior designer can work together to create a home that’s truly your own. With space planning know-how and an eye for design, an interior designer has all the resources and tools to pull all the elements together. When your project is complete, your home will be beautiful and cohesive, well thought out, and highly functional…thanks to the expertise of your interior designer.

 

Sources for this article included: houzz.com, hgtv.com, and architecturaldigest.com.

By Robyn V. Powell
 

Home Works

Winterize Your Home

Are You Ready for the Cold?

Is your home ready for winter? Winterizing your home isn’t just about checking the pipes. You’ll want to look into things like cleaning your gutters, windows, dryer vent, and fireplace; checking your roof, insulation, and furnace; and pruning your trees and shrubs.

 

While you may think of gutter cleaning as a springtime chore, it’s actually best done in the fall. Between summer storm debris and fall foliage, there’s usually a lot of buildup in your gutters this time of year, and it’s something you’ll want to address before the first freeze. If you live in an area that gets a truly excessive amount of seeds, leaves, and other bits falling from trees, you should consider installing gutter guards. Gutter guards also help prevent the mold, mildew, and frozen pools that gutter blockages can cause, as well as helping with pest control by eliminating standing water.

 

Having your windows cleaned may not seem vital for winter, but getting them done by a professional has a lot of additional benefits. Window cleaning helps avoid buildup of lime and eliminates unhealthy mold and allergens that naturally build up over time. Regular cleaning also discourages insects and pests from making homes out of your windows or sills, and clean glass panes will allow more sunlight to enter your home during the colder months. Professionals also do a regular check on every window they clean, informing you about problems like window integrity, broken or loose casings, or ill-fitting screens—all things that are much cheaper to fix when you catch them early!

 

Like windows, your dryer vent is another thing that should probably be cleaned more frequently than it actually is. Calling a professional to clean the whole vent thoroughly (not just the lint trap) is a great idea. With a clean dryer vent, your clothes will dry faster, allowing your dryer to last longer with fewer repairs, lowering your power bill, and, of course, reducing the risk of dryer lint fires.

 

Cleaning your fireplace and chimney before the winter has obvious benefits. Fireplaces function the best when clean and free of ash and debris, and all experts recommend cleaning your hearth at least once per year. Generally, the best time to do so is after it has been sitting unused over the summer, right before the time of year it gets used the most. Hey, that’s right now!

 

With cleaning out of the way, the next item on the winterization list is pruning. Trimming healthy branches right before trees go into hibernation is not recommended, but dead tree limbs are okay to cut…and it’s best to get them out of the way before heavy snow and ice cause them to break. Shrub roses, perennials with disease issues, suckers, and plants prone to slugs are also good to prune during the fall.

 

When you’re checking your house for anything that may prevent it from staying warm all winter, the first item to check is your roof. Like gutters, the roof puts up with summer storm damage and debris. Having your roof professionally inspected before winter will help ensure that your roof will last longer and keep you safe and warm through the cold months. Ultimately, regular inspections will likely save you money on what could end up being larger repairs by catching them early.

 

Your roof isn’t the only thing keeping the cold out of your house. It’s also important to check your insulation. The most important spots of insulation to check are your attic, doors, and windows. If you’re able to safely access your attic, you can do a quick visual inspection of the insulation—if you can see that the insulation is level with the floor joints or lower, you’ll need to add more for maximum protection. It’s always most efficient (and safest) to have a professional perform checks and install more insulation, if necessary. Windows and doors can also be home-tested for seal leaks, but checking the insulation around the frames (and fixing any leaks) is a job for a professional.

 

Last, but not least, have the furnace checked. Calling a furnace repair tech to come out and do a regular inspection is an essential part of winterizing your home and preventing catastrophic breakdowns in the middle of January! Having your furnace checked can also bring the added bonuses of reducing your energy bill, extending the life of your HVAC unit, maintaining healthy indoor air quality, and detecting any dangerous gas or carbon monoxide leaks.

 

The last thing you want is to have to hire an expensive emergency repairman in the dead of winter, so it’s best to check everything and address small issues now!

 

Sources for this article included: forbes.com, hgtv.com, linkedin.com, and energystar.gov.

By Anne Yankus
 

To Your Good Health

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

37 Years of Surviving and Thriving!

The first Breast Cancer Awareness Month was in October 1985. Through increased awareness and research opportunities, the focus on breast cancer each October has led to higher survival rates. It has also opened the public conversation about breast cancer and spreads the word about early detection and the importance of mammograms.

 

Estimates for 2022 are that about 288,000 women and 3,000 men in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. The exciting news is that the average 5-year survival rate with invasive breast cancer is now 90 percent. When cancer is only in one breast, the 5-year survival rate jumps to 99 percent.

 

Regular breast self-exams help people become familiar with the normal look and feel of their breasts. Any changes can be discussed promptly with a doctor. During an annual exam, the doctor will carefully check a patient’s breasts and under the arms for anything unusual.

 

The best line of defense against cancer is a mammogram. Tradition mammography is a low dose x-ray system that produces a film to be reviewed. With a digital mammogram, the results are quicker, fewer exposures are required, and discomfort is limited. It is effective at detecting breast cancer in women younger than 50 who have dense breasts and those who are pre-menopausal. A 3-D mammogram helps doctors better distinguish masses or tissues that might be cancerous.

 

It significantly reduces false positive callbacks and more accurately detects breast cancers early.

 

Should every woman have a mammogram every year? Not necessarily. The current guidelines place women into specific screening groups according to individual risk.

 

For screening purposes, a woman is considered to be at average risk if she has not had breast cancer and does not have a strong family history of breast cancer (first-degree relative who had breast cancer under the age of 50). If she does not have a genetic mutation in a BRCA gene and didn’t have chest radiation therapy before the age of 30, she would be at average risk.

 

Women aged 40 to 44 years who are at average risk have the option to start screening with a mammogram every year. Women aged 45 to 54 should get mammograms annually. Women 55 and older can opt to reduce every other year.

 

A woman is considered at high risk for breast cancer if gene testing confirms a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, if she has a first-degree relative with the gene mutation, if she had chest radiation therapy between the ages of 10 and 30, or if she has certain syndromes. Women at high risk for breast cancer should talk to their doctor about doing a breast MRI and a mammogram every year, starting at age 30.

 

The kind of breast cancer and its stage of advancement determine which treatment is best. Treatments can include surgery, which is when the cancer is removed, or chemotherapy, which is the use of medication to shrink or kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy is when high-energy rays are used to kill cancer cells. Hormone therapy is used to block cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow the cancer. Biological therapy or immunotherapy is when the patient’s immune system helps fight cancer cells; this therapy can also be used to control the adverse effects of other cancer treatments. Immunotherapy for breast cancer is rapidly developing, and there currently are three approved options.

 

Work on a breast cancer vaccine is very promising. If successful, this vaccine would stop the recurrence of breast cancer and may even prevent cancer from developing.

 

The process to heal after breast cancer does not end with the removal of the tumor. Many women have reconstructive surgery. The two main options are implant reconstruction and autologous or “flap” reconstruction. The flap technique uses tissue from another part of the patient’s body and may also include an implant. For early-stage breast cancers, lumpectomy or partial mastectomy can conserve breast tissue but often results in breasts of different size and shape. To solve this problem, many doctors are using a technique called oncoplastic surgery. This procedure combines the cancer surgery with the reconstructive surgery.

 

A 2014 study found that about 44 percent of women who had surgery to remove a tumor did not have subsequent reconstructive surgery. This decision is often called “going flat” or “living flat.”

 

Physical therapy is recommended after surgery to regain range of motion and strength, to help with lymphedema, and to manage pain. The range of motion therapy is important not just for daily tasks, but to ensure the patient can raise their arm high enough for radiation treatment.

 

This October, celebrate the latest advancements in beating breast cancer!

 

Sources for this article included: breastcancer.org, mayoclinic.org, komen.org, and cancer.org.

By Leslie Byrne
 

Focus On Finance

What’s In a Name?

Recession or Not, It Still Hurts

For a quick lesson in English literature, let me refresh your memory of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet: “What’s in a name?” asks Juliet. “That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.” Juliet loved Romeo but was forbidden to see him because his last name was Montague (her family’s mortal enemies). If Romeo’s last name had been Smith or Jones, all would have been sweetness and light, she suggests, and they would have lived happily ever after. Wall Street and the politicians are in the midst of a similar “what’s in a name” game revolving around whether or not the economy is in a recession and, if it is, who is to blame?

 

The United States economy has been through 12 recessions since World War II. There are two conditions which helped define all 12 of them: A declining gross domestic product (GDP) and a rising unemployment rate. While not part of the equation, it is generally believed that the convergence of these conditions would lead to a benign or falling rate of inflation.

 

Today’s economic environment presents us with a number of perplexing data points. At the end of the fourth quarter of 2022, the GDP numbers were negative, and early indications are that the second quarter will produce similar results. The job market, however, has showed surprising strength. The jobless rate went from 4 percent in December of 2021 to 3.6 percent in May 2022.

 

To sort out this conundrum, I reached for the economics textbook I used as a college freshman. When I opened it to the index, the word “recession” was nowhere to be found. What I did find was a full chapter on the business cycle. The author’s definition of the business cycle boiled down to the fact that sometimes the economy is growing and sometime it is contracting. There was no mention of unemployment or inflation rates.

 

Although nobody is sure how it got to be this way, the unofficial arbiter of what is and is not a recession is the National Bureau of Economic Research. The NBER is a group of mainly academic economists who define a recession as two consecutive quarters during which the growth rate of the GDP is negative. This definition resulted in a quizzical situation during the subprime crisis of 2006 to 2009, during which the GDP would be negative one quarter, positive the next, and negative the third. People felt the economic pain and nobody got the blame.

 

Herein lies the rub. Because current conditions don’t follow the tidy conditions of previous recessions, everybody views this as license to provide the name that makes them look best in the eyes of the public. Politicians don’t want to take the blame for causing a recession because we are scant months from an election. The mantra for those in office is, “The economy is fine. Recession? No way!” If you are out of office, the battle cry is, “This is a recession, big time.” If you are a Wall Street guru? “I saw it coming, and you need me (and my big fees) to weather the storm.”

 

It is important to recognize that recessions do not impact everybody in the same fashion. If you are just entering the workforce, a recession can make your job search or job retention difficult. If you are retired and on a fixed income, the traditional recessionary conditions are of little concern to you because prices and interest rates are stable. The current economic conditions, no matter what you call them, have thrown a monkey wrench in the works. Those entering the workforce are seeing multiple offers, many with a hiring bonus. Those on fixed incomes are being punished with a rising cost of living.

 

In the midst of all this confusion, there are some green sprouts. Because of the pandemic shutdown, American households are holding larger amounts of cash than normal. The unprecedented rise in the inflation rate seems to have shaken the Fed from their Rip Van Winkle snooze, and they have taken an aggressive inflation-fighting stance the likes of which we have not seen. Last, but not least, the pandemic-induced work-from-home paradigm has caused employers big and small to rethink how to provide their labor force with the most productive working environment.

 

What’s the takeaway from all of this? No matter what you want to call it, we are in a period of challenging economic conditions. Nevertheless, I think now is a good time to remember the often-spoken sentiment of the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett: “Never bet against the great American economic engine.”

 

Editor’s Note: George Morgan has five decades’ experience in all phases of the investment process. He is currently the Founder and Principal of Morgan Investor Education. His website is morganinvestoreducation.com.

 

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investments may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing.

By George Morgan
 

Seasons of Life

Senior Alert!

How to Avoid Fraud and Abuse

Seniors are at a higher risk than ever when it comes to phony home repair schemes, travel club fraud, or identity theft. Unfortunately, there are dishonest people eager to prey upon a generation that tends to trust others. In addition to senior fraud, we have a disturbing incidence of elder abuse.

 

Fraud issues are serious enough that the U.S. Department of Justice has a consumer protection branch dedicated to stopping fraudulent schemes and prosecuting such crimes. Because such practices are not limited to national borders, a transnational strike force investigates and prosecutes transnational scams.

 

Every year an estimated five million older Americans lose money or property to con artists. Elders often have sizable savings or other assets, making them attractive targets for schemers. Avoiding these schemes is the best strategy—knowing the warning signs is much better than trying to recover stolen funds.

 

The number of fraudulent ploys is truly shocking. We’ve all heard of the more common ruses: illegitimate charities, internet and phone messages saying your account has been compromised, or “you’ve won the lottery” schemes. Some of us may have actually gotten a phone call saying a grandchild is in desperate need of cash. Those ploys just scratch the surface. Investment fraud, identity theft, travel clubs that don’t deliver, home repair cons, online dating scams, deceptive IRS notices, and phony tech support schemes are just a few.

 

It’s easy to think that only someone with diminished mental capacity would fall for tricks like these, but that’s not the case at all. Fraud can happen to mentally sharp individuals who are a bit too trusting or who are unaware of the risks. What can we do to steer clear of cons? Watch for red flags in order to avoid being victimized. Any promise of free or easy money is a red flag. Pressure to “act now” so you “don’t miss out” should be a warning sign. As they say, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Take your time, ask a lot of questions, and never give out personal information. Protecting personal information also means properly disposing of any bills or papers that include account information, Social Security numbers, and the like.

 

Technology has been a boon to those wishing to defraud older adults. Tricksters can make an email appear to be from your bank. Don’t click on any links or call a number listed in an email message. Instead, call your bank using their usual phone number. Scammers can fool your caller ID. Forty-six percent of all fraud is identity theft, and it is growing exponentially.

 

Perhaps even more unfortunately, not all fraud is committed by strangers. The elderly are especially vulnerable to financial exploitation by a trusted friend or family member. The improper use of funds or property can have devastating results. Legal advice may be needed, and many attorneys are now specializing in cases of elder fraud or abuse.

 

An attorney experienced in elder law can also help with legal documents that will help protect an older adult. They have the expertise to create wills and trusts, draft powers of attorney for health or financial affairs, and assist with issues of guardianship or conservatorship.

 

Abuse can also be physical, psychological, or emotional. This can be an action causing injury or it might be inaction or neglect that causes harm. Elder abuse can occur with family members, with in-home caregivers, or within care facilities. Signs of abuse or neglect can include weight loss, bed sores, bruises, cuts, poor personal hygiene, unpaid bills, or unclean living conditions.

 

Self-neglect occurs when an older person is not meeting their own personal care or housekeeping needs. Known to be a risk factor for early mortality, self-neglect can have serious consequences. The warning signs are similar to neglect. Mental health professionals can also be helpful when self-neglect becomes a concern.

 

Authorities believe that many cases of senior fraud are unreported. An abused older adult may be too afraid or embarrassed to report abuse. If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, talk to them alone and express your concern; offer to take them where they can get help or to bring a mental health professional to them. Of course, if someone is in imminent danger, call 911 or the local police. In less urgent situations, when a more subtle approach is needed, you can call a local abuse hotline for advice or speak to the abused person’s personal physician.

 

Reporting abuse can help prevent others from being victimized. If you or someone you know has experienced elder fraud, call the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-372-8311.

 

Sources for this article included: ovc.ojp.gov, aarp.org, nyceac.org, and justice.gov.

By Linda Barnes
 

Peak Performance

Chiropractors

Treating More Than Spines

Chiropractic care is a holistic approach to health and wellness that focuses on the whole body and the whole person. It is a preventative approach that can keep you feeling happy, healthy, and active. Chiropractors are trained to adjust and treat your entire neuromusculoskeletal system. This includes nerves, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones. Your spine has 31 pairs of nerves weaving through and around 100 joints, 120 muscles, and 220 ligaments. Your spine is the primary conductor of information to your brain and throughout your body. The bad news is: If one nerve or muscle is repressed and not functioning at optimum levels, it affects your entire body. The good news? When your spine is operating at peak performance, it has the potential to heal your whole body.

 

One of the reasons that adequate sleep is so important to good health is that the body heals during sleep. The pituitary gland releases hormones that help your body grow and repair. Cells are rejuvenated during sleep. When pain or pressure in your back or neck keep you from sleeping, your entire healing system goes haywire.

 

Chiropractic care can also restore impaired mobility, allowing you to be more physically active, which increases the strength of your lungs, heart, and muscles. When your body is in alignment, it is working at prime levels—all the nerves in your spine are firing, and your brain has everything it needs. This whole-body health is the benefit of chiropractic care.

 

The goal of a chiropractor is to keep your spine and entire musculoskeletal system properly aligned so it can heal itself. Usually, people seek chiropractic care due to back or neck pain. Chiropractors will make adjustments with their hands or other non-invasive tools to alleviate pressure. The “pop” you hear during the adjustments is from the ligaments snapping around the joint as trapped nitrogen bubbles are released.

 

The immediate results after an adjustment by a chiropractor often include increased range of motion and pain relief. Continued care can result in long-term benefits, such as healing after a sports injury, enhanced brain performance, relief from allergies, and so much more. The nerves in your spine control your whole body. Like a finely tuned piano, if one key is pressed, it reverberates throughout the entire system.

 

There are several different methods of chiropractic care. All are non-invasive. Some involve a quick thrust to a specific area on the spine to force it into alignment. Others use movement to flex the spine. Decompression methods stretch the spine to allow fluids to flow between the discs. Your chiropractor will likely start with x-rays and an examination to pinpoint problem areas before treatments.

 

When the top bone in your neck, called the atlas, is misaligned, it can limit the ability of your brain to communicate with your body; this is known as atlas subluxation complex (ASC). Thankfully, there is a chiropractic method that is specifically geared toward treating ASC. The NUCCA (National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association) method uses x-rays and mathematical measurements to establish the precise misalignment pattern. Treatment is done with the Grostic technique, which is very gentle and precise. Not all chiropractors are skilled in the NUCCA procedure.

 

Because chiropractic care is gentle and non-surgical, it can be used to treat back pain in pregnant women. If you have ever been pregnant, you know this is great news! The baby’s weight forces your posture to change, which can cause significant pain, leading to trouble sleeping. Chiropractic care can solve these issues and help the pelvis adjust for the baby’s delivery.

 

There are no age restrictions for chiropractic care. The parents of some very young patients attest that it helps babies with colic, acid reflux, and other minor ailments. As of yet, no medical studies have proven this, but chiropractic care is certainly not harmful to infants or children. Children in sports can use chiropractic care to heal after a sports injury and to prevent future injuries.

 

Preventative care is under-rated; after all, most of us don’t think about seeing a doctor when we are well. When it comes to holistic health, though, chiropractors really shine. Their training includes nutrition and exercise. They can cure your back pain and headaches and prevent them from coming back.

 

Being healthy isn’t about a lack of illness. It is about enjoying life and feeling good. When we can carry bags of groceries up the stairs and into the house, we feel productive. When we can scoop up our children and grandchildren without pain, we feel young. When we can enjoy fun physical activities, we enjoy life. Gain all the benefits of whole-body health by speaking with a chiropractor.

 

Sources for this article included: webmd.com, nucca.org, healthline.com, and mayoclinic.org.

By Charlene Pierce
 

Auto Wise

Leasing a Vehicle

What You Need to Know

 

It’s that time again—time for a new car. Boy, have the prices gone up! Then a friend suggests you look into leasing a new car instead of buying one. Of course, a responsible consumer would learn all about leasing versus buying before making a decision. As luck would have it, we have learned it for you! Sit back, relax, and let us tell you what you need to know about leasing a vehicle.

 

The first thing you may not realize is that there is a good time and a not-so-good time to sign a vehicle lease. Traditionally, Labor Day and Memorial Day are known for the best deals. Another good time to look into leasing is any “end of sales” period. That could be the end of the month, the end of the quarter, or the end of the year. These usually are good times to lease a car because salespeople may have an incentive to reach a specific quota…this motivates them to move more vehicles in a small amount of time. As December winds down, lease deals are excellent because dealerships all over are aiming to hit yearly sales targets.

 

What goes into leasing a vehicle? If you think about it, leasing a car is similar to renting a property. When you lease a vehicle, you promise to keep it in good condition and drive it under normal circumstances. That includes adhering to a regular servicing schedule and not driving more than your allotted mileage.

 

There are several factors that play a part in determining your monthly lease payments. Included in them are the mileage limit, the residual value, the capitalized cost, and the money factor.

 

Mileage is pretty self-explanatory. Usually, you are allowed 10,000 to 12,000 miles per year on a lease, (occasionally, you might get 15,000). The residual value is the probable value of the car at the end of the lease term…that is, the amount you can likely buy the car for at the end of the lease. A high residual value means the car is expected to hold its value well and depreciate less over the term of the lease. Less depreciation can mean lower monthly payments.

 

The capitalized cost is the down payment (often known as a cap cost reduction). Putting money down on a car lease isn’t typically required unless your credit is not great. You might be able to reduce your lease payments by putting more money down up front. The money factor on a car lease is basically like the interest rate for an auto loan. It is the financing charge added into your monthly payments.

 

So, is leasing a car a good idea? That depends on your circumstances.. Lease payments are generally lower than loan payments because you are paying only for the car’s depreciation during the lease term. In addition, leasing is a good way for automakers to package incentives and rebates into an attractive monthly payment, which can mean lower payments for you. In some instances, these incentives may even be more generous than the discounts or low-interest rate offers that are given to consumers buying a car.

 

What about fees and taxes on a leased vehicle? Whether you own or lease, you will have to pay the dealer fees and state licensing fees. The dealer documentation fees can vary, and the rest of the fees are official state and local fees that the dealer collects and forwards to the appropriate government agencies on the lessee’s behalf. Keep in mind that these fees are not negotiable. Typically, the dealership will also want the first month’s lease payment at lease signing. In most states, taxes are paid only on a portion of the vehicle (the depreciation value during the lease.) It is best to check with your local DMV before leasing to learn about your state’s tax requirements.

 

The amount of time you can lease a car varies, but 24 and 36 months are common term lengths. There are longer-term leases out there, and longer terms mean lower monthly payments. What are your options after the period of the lease is over? You can trade in the car for another leased vehicle, return the car and walk away, or buy the car you have been leasing.

 

It is always a good idea to do a pre-inspection a few weeks before the end of your lease. That way, if there is anything you need to fix before turning the car in, you have time to do so. It should be noted that a dealership may waive some additional charges if you are planning on purchasing another car through them. Be sure to ask!

 

Sources for this article included: cargurus.com, kbb.com, and thecollegeinvestor.com.

By Linda Sutherland
 

The Good Life

Water Systems

Quality Water at Home

Do you drink enough water every day? We all know that we must drink water to hydrate properly. However, did you know that dehydration can lead to serious issues like cloudy thinking, mood changes, overheating, constipation, and kidney stones? Water provides several health benefits, helping the body maintain normal temperature, aiding digestion, carrying oxygen and nutrients to cells, lubricating joints, protecting organs and tissues, and eliminating waste. If you hesitate to drink water because you don’t like the taste of what comes out of your tap, consider a home water treatment system.

 

Home water treatment systems offer many benefits besides improving the taste of water in your home. These systems can also remove chemicals and decrease chlorine levels. Water systems that include a water softener can reduce the effects of hard water. Common signs of hard water include mineral buildup on faucets, lingering residue in the shower and bathtub, itchy and dry skin, dull hair, and cloudy glassware. There are several types of water systems available to address your specific needs.

 

You may have heard the terms water purification and water filtering. What is the difference? Water purification removes contaminants such as biological, chemical, and organic or inorganic material. Filtering is a method of purifying water and is often combined with other purification methods to achieve the desired water quality. Water treatment solutions range from whole-house systems to filters for specific areas and portable solutions such as pitcher or countertop filters. Options include filtration, reverse osmosis, distillation, ultraviolet treatment, and water softeners.

 

Organic contaminants commonly found in household water include parasites, bacteria, and viruses. Each water system removes different levels of contaminants, and some systems also remove common chemical contaminants like sodium, chloride, copper, chromium, lead, and arsenic. It is important to note that no filter completely eliminates all contaminants. Understanding each system will help you choose the right one for you and your family.

 

Mechanical filtration traps larger particles such as dirt, sand, clay, and rust with a mesh filter or cartridge. This type of system does not remove very small particles or chemicals. These systems are often used with other water treatment equipment to filter out bacteria and other microorganisms. Activated carbon filtration systems can improve the taste of water. Filtration devices vary in effectiveness against parasites, bacteria, viruses, and chemicals.

 

Reverse osmosis puts water through a multistage filtration process. Water is forced through a sediment prefilter to screen out large particles, a carbon filter to remove organic materials, and a semi-permeable membrane to remove chemical contaminants. Reverse osmosis effectively removes parasites, bacteria, and viruses, and this method also removes common chemical contaminants and improves water taste.

 

Distillation systems heat water to boiling and collect the water vapor as it condenses. Distillation effectively removes household water contaminants, including parasites, bacteria, viruses, and common chemical contaminants.

 

Ultraviolet treatment with pre-filtration uses ultraviolet light to disinfect water and reduce the amount of bacteria it contains. Ultraviolet treatment effectively removes organic water contaminants, including parasites, bacteria, and viruses, but it is ineffective in removing chemical contaminants.

 

Water softeners use ion exchange technology to reduce water hardness caused by minerals such as calcium and magnesium. These systems can also remove things like iron and manganese, some radioactive contaminants, and heavy metals. Water softeners do not protect against protozoa, bacteria, and viruses.

 

How do you choose the right system for your home? The first step in selecting a water system should be determining your water quality and what contaminants you want to reduce. Common reasons that people use water systems are to improve water taste, reduce lead in drinking water, remove arsenic and nitrates, and soften hard water. Think about what you want to accomplish. Do you only need to filter your drinking water, or do you also need to filter cooking and bathing water? Review all the features of each system you are considering to determine which ones you need.

 

A water delivery service is an option for those seeking a simple solution for safe, delicious drinking water. Most services offer purified water, although some offer spring or glacier water. When reviewing delivery services, ask about the water source and how the water is purified and bottled. Inquire about the delivery schedule and flexibility to make changes. It is also essential to review contract details for cancellation or early termination fees and any required lock-in period.

 

Improving the quality of water in your home can provide healthier and better-tasting water, reduce plumbing issues, and contribute to cleaner skin, hair, clothes, and dishes. With so many options, you can find a system best suited for your home, family, and lifestyle.

 

Sources for this article included: bobvila.com, cdc.gov, extension.uga.edu, forbes.com, and health.harvard.edu.

By Angella Arndt
 

Great Escapes

Colorado Train Trips

Leaf-Peeping Routes

If you haven’t decided on a fall foliage trip for this year, you still have time to go! If you are already booked, then here’s an idea for next year: a train ride through Colorado. Colorful Colorado offers some great fall foliage options by train. You’ll see terrain that’s still wild, you’ll travel to places you can’t drive to, and you’ll see all the stunning fall colors.

 

There are several old railroad lines still open today that travel from the Front Range to the Western Slope. One of the most famous is the Georgetown Loop Railroad, one of the state’s first visitor attractions. Completed in 1884, this historic three-foot, narrow gauge railroad takes passengers for a 75-minute ride alongside Clear Creek, over Devil’s Gate High Bridge, and through a Rocky Mountain pathway. You can also book a silver mining tour in conjunction with the ride. There are specific “Fall Colors” excursions, some of which include guided hikes where you can follow the trails and wagon roads used by miners in the 1800s and take photos of the train passing by up close. The colorful aspens are simply gorgeous.

 

A ride on the Leadville, Colorado and Southern Railroad takes you to see the Continental Divide, the Arkansas River Valley, and beautiful views of two of the tallest peaks in Colorado. Ride through the San Isabel National Forest on this 2 and 1/2 hour adventure, where you can meet the engineer and tour the caboose and engine. You can even bring your own picnic lunch and well-behaved dog along with you. The wildflowers are delightfully colorful in the summer, but the autumn foliage is truly breathtaking.

 

The best-known western railway lines on the Western Slope were founded by Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad in 1880. Experience traveling on a historic coal-fired, steam-powered locomotive as you wind through the canyons and wilderness of the San Juan National Forest. You can choose a round-trip train ride or, if you want to take a different route on the way back, a combination of train and bus ride. Take advantage of the Durango Brew Train or Wines and Rails for some local tastings during the best leaf-peeping times in Colorado.

 

The next option is the Royal Gorge Route Railroad. Formerly the transcontinental link between Denver and Salt Lake in the 1880s, four trains would pass through the Royal Gorge each day. Reestablished in 1998, it has become a premier visitor’s attraction in Colorado, carrying over 100,000 guests each year. Picture yourself winding along the Arkansas River and being amazed by the granite cliffs of the Gorge.

 

The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad takes you between New Mexico and Colorado and on the highest mountain pass reached by rail in the United States. Imagine the sheer rock faces, wildlife, and dramatic scenic landscapes as you pass by. The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad takes you through the stunning La Veta Pass and offers the Fall Colors Explorer train, with staged photo locations in the Rockies and a route that takes you through canyons, meadows, and foothills. If you are looking for a longer and speedier train trip, there is Amtrak’s famous California Zephyr. This train runs coast to coast daily and has six stops in Colorado. It is said to be one of the most beautiful train rides you can take in the United States.

 

As you now know, there are plenty of options to choose from for a fantastic fall foliage train ride through Colorado. Make sure to get the timing right, as peak colors vary each year. September tends to be best in the central and northern area, with October being the prime time for the southern part of the state. Your travel agent can help you nail down the best time to visit.

 

Colorado’s railroads are historic, not only for their part in gold and silver mining but for some of the country’s most amazing views. Your travel agent can easily book you a package with flights and accommodations along the way so you can ride more than one train (since most are short day trips). Choose from a rustic riverside cabin or a charming bed and breakfast in the mountain towns; stay at a modern boutique hotel in the larger cities. The railroads and local outfitters offer side excursions for outdoor lovers who would enjoy hiking, biking, mining, fishing, camping, and photography in addition to the train ride. Sit back and relax as you enjoy views that only those who hiked to 14,000 feet high would get…but without the hard work. Your next leaf-peeping trip awaits you—all aboard!

 

Sources for this article included: durangotrain.com, colorado.com, and georgetownlooprr.com.

Editor’s Note: Jackie has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her work has appeared in publications including Colorado Golf, Desert Golf, and Canadian Architecture & Design. Her blogs can be found at BoardandRide.com and the luxury and adventure travel website, ArtofTripping.com. 

By Jackie Williams
 

The Green Thumb

It’s Pumpkin Season!

They’re Not Just for Lattes

 

It’s pumpkin time! For some of us, that means it’s time to harvest the pumpkins we grew all summer. (For those of us who did not plant pumpkins, it’s time to head over to our favorite produce stand and pick out a couple of beauties.) Ideally, pumpkins should be harvested when they are fully mature. How do you know when a pumpkin is ready to be picked? A pumpkin that is ready for harvest should be fully colored, and the rind should be firm. If your fingernail easily pierces or makes an indentation in the skin, the pumpkin is not ready for harvest. When harvesting, use sharp cutters and leave a decent pumpkin stem so it can dry out properly.

 

If you have a solid crop and do not want to pick them all at one time, you don’t have to. Pumpkins can be left on the vine until the first frost in autumn is near. Also, keep in mind that if a pumpkin is healthy when picked and there were no diseases in the garden, the pumpkin can last eight to 12 weeks in storage. When you store them, use a cool, dry place such as a garage or basement. They should be stored upside down, and do not place them directly on the floor. Use a piece of cardboard as a mat for your chubby orange cultivars.

 

Now that you have some pumpkins, what can you do with them? The best and most obvious answer is to carve them as jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. There are so many unique and artistic stencils that are available now for carving pumpkins! Personally, I like to arrange three to five pumpkins of varying sizes on my front porch during the season, but I do not carve them until the day before Halloween.

 

As soon as you cut into a pumpkin for carving, you jump-start the progress of decay. A really neat tip to slow down the rotting process of a carved pumpkin is to spray a bleach/water mixture all over the fruit (including the inside). Use a mixture of one tablespoon of bleach per quart of water. You can also immerse the pumpkin in the bleach water for about a 20-minute soak.

 

I also like to paint my pumpkins. If your pumpkins are still whole and firm at Thanksgiving, you can use them for festive table decorations for your Thanksgiving feast.

 

I have also seen people lucky enough to still have firm pumpkins in December paint them red and green and use them as part of Christmas decorations.

 

An awesome and clever way to use pumpkins of various sizes is to hollow them out and place vases inside of them. After you fill the vases with water, you use the pumpkin holding the vase inside to create beautiful fall flower arrangements. It looks like the pumpkin is the vase! I particularly love this idea and have done it several times. I have also taken those little, tiny pumpkins and written people’s names on them to use them for place cards at the table. I have seen people use freshly hollowed-out pumpkins as soup tureens or smaller ones for individual soup bowls. If you let your imagination run free, there really is not much limit to what you can create. Bird feeders?

 

No matter how you use your hollowed-out pumpkins, the fact is that they will provide you with a great deal of seeds that you can roast in the oven. Rinse off the muck and dry the seeds very well. Then you can coat them in olive oil or coconut oil, sprinkle them with a seasoning you enjoy, and roast them for a perfectly crunchy snack. Some people like to boil the pumpkin seeds in salt water before roasting them because it is supposed to make them easier to digest. Pumpkin seeds are extremely healthy and good for you, shell and all. If you are a salty and crunchy snacker, this is the ticket for you! It is also worth mentioning that roasted pumpkin seeds are great sprinkled on salads or in a bowl of soup.

 

Whether we’re baking or just eating, pumpkins can bring us all kinds of delicious seasonal treats, like pumpkin pie, pumpkin bars, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cake, pumpkin bread pudding—oh, the list is endless. I have had a delicious African pumpkin soup that is to die for, and I could go on and on. Apparently, there are seasonal pumpkin spice M&Ms now, and a pumpkin pie vodka? Okay, I may be willing to give those a try. Don’t you love pumpkin season?

By Linda Sutherland
 

Cuddly Critters

Professional Pet Grooming

Shaggy Pets Made Beautiful

When you get a dog or cat, you call it your “pet,” and that comes from all the luxurious petting! Petting a dog or cat can lower stress levels in the person and the pet alike. The next step for bonding and good health is to do some brushing. Brushing removes dead hair that might otherwise end up on your sofa (and if that doesn’t lower stress levels, I don’t know what does!). It also gives you an opportunity to check your animal for sores, lumps, or bumps. Add combing to your routine to eliminate ticks and keep your pet’s coat healthy and shining. Regular home grooming strengthens your bond with your pet and prepares your pet for the next step: professional grooming.

 

The process of finding a professional pet groomer is similar to finding a veterinarian—ask people who have pets! Your vet, family, or friends may have local recommendations. Professional groomers work in a variety of places, including pet salons, pet stores, veterinary offices, or even as part of a mobile grooming business that brings the salon to you!

 

When you visit a potential groomer, be sure to take your pet along to see how they interact. Watch the groomer tending to other people’s pets; make sure that the pet owners are consulted before grooming begins.

 

Ask potential groomers what services they perform and how much they cost. Groomers should bathe the animal and blow the fur dry. Combing, brushing, trimming, and stripping the coat should all be provided. In addition, groomers might clip nails, clean ears, brush teeth, and express the pet’s anal glands. Not every service is needed at every appointment, and services may be packaged or a la carte.

 

Coat stripping detangles hair and removes dead and damaged hair from long-haired or double-coated dogs and cats. This allows new hair to grow and gives the animal a shiny coat.

 

If your pet is purebred or a show dog, you may want a breed cut. These specific cuts vary by breed and can be viewed online. A puppy cut is a common choice for many breeds—this is essentially a short cut where the fur is the same length all over the body.

 

How often you take your pet to the groomer depends on what breed and coat type your pet has and how much time your pet spends outdoors. Short-haired dogs and those with puppy cuts should be groomed every four to six weeks. Pets who are prone to matted hair need to go often enough to detangle and remove mats. (You can help between appointments by brushing two or three times a week.) If your dog spends a lot of time outside and gets into mud, burs, and brambles, you’ll need to visit the groomer more often. If most of your dog’s outside time is on a manicured lawn, less frequent trips may suffice.

 

The professional grooming situation is different for cats. Cats self-groom daily—in fact, they spend up to 50 percent of their time grooming. Because they lack shoulder blades, they can reach most places on their bodies. In hot weather, evaporating saliva helps keep them cool. A cat’s tongue has tiny hooks that remove hair as needed during self-grooming.

 

Despite all their hard work at home, cats do still need professional grooming. Short-haired cats do not need grooming as often as cats with long, thick coats. Ears and teeth need regular attention.

 

You should not shave or cut your cat’s hair yourself! If you want a fancier clip for your cat, talk to your groomer about the options. A kitten clip is an all-over trim to keep matting under control. The popular lion cut shaves the body but leaves hair on the legs, tail, head, and shoulders, giving the look of a lion’s mane. The panther cut is even more extreme—almost like a full shave. This is sometimes used therapeutically, to expose the skin, and sometimes used just for fun.

 

Both cats and dogs need the curved tips of their claws trimmed, as overlong claws can become ingrown in the foot pads. Just the tip of the claw is trimmed (not the quick). Long nails can also adversely affect the animal’s balance. Even if they use a scratching post, cats’ claws need to be trimmed regularly to keep them healthy.

 

Dogs and cats do prefer being well-groomed and may get cranky when they have a lot of uncomfortable matted fur on their bodies. Develop a relationship with a groomer that you and your pet love, and it will do a lot to keep your pet happy and healthy.

 

Sources for this article included: conversation.com, paws.org, and akc.org.

By Jackie Byers
 

Positive Perspective

Let’s Go Downstream

Let the Current Do the Work

 

“Everything that we want is downstream…and you don’t even have to turn the boat and paddle downstream. Just let go of the oars; the current will carry you.” —Abraham/Hicks

 

I remember the first time I read this quote. It was in the mid-1990s. I was overworked…running Women’s Edition, having a family that included a teenage daughter who was getting ready for college and a five-year-old son. I would fall into bed exhausted, but I did it all! Floating downstream? The idea seemed just crazy. After all, I wasn’t lazy!

 

“We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.” —Thomas A. Edison

 

The thought that things could be easier downstream was very foreign to me. I had worked hard my whole life. Started out as a waitress (that’s what they called servers back then) when I was 15 years old. I had always worked—hard. It was like a badge of honor. I was not balanced—at all.

 

Then, that quote Abraham/Hicks quote appeared in my life. I began to think and feel my way through what I was doing. I began to realize that if I kept going at this pace, I would be worn out by the time I was 50. I am 67 today. I began to start finding and following easier ways to live my life. I began to feel my way through life. I began to find more balance.

 

“The only awareness that you need to have is you want to utilize the guidance system that you were born with, is that you want to know one thing and one thing only, moment by moment, thought by thought: is this upstream or downstream?” —Abraham/Hicks

 

For years, I took that advice and lived this way. Then, I forgot. I threw it all away and dove back into being the workaholic that I had left behind in the ’90s. I bought a restaurant/bar and found myself working my tail off again, falling into bed totally exhausted. Why? I’m not really sure!

 

This went on for more than five years. Then, I remembered…thanks to my now-husband, Manny. He consistently brought to my attention to how unhealthy my life had become. He not only helped me return to a more balanced life, he taught me so much about myself and how to be a better person. He changed my life.

 

“Whenever in doubt, turn off your mind, relax, float downstream.” —John Lennon

 

Manny taught me how to have fun again. He taught me how to let go of the oars and let the current take me to a much better place. He taught me to be calm. He taught me to listen to myself. He taught me so much. Thank you, Manny!

 

“Life’s a beach. Find your wave.” — Anonymous

By Janet Van deWalle