Fitness Trackers—Fitbit V. Apple Watch

I love the Fitbit. The main reason: It makes you move. I play a fun little game where I try to get more steps than yesterday, more than my husband, or my Sister-in-law or my neighbor. I do everything I can think of to rack up steps: I park far away from the store, I do as many loads of laundry as possible, I play tag in the yard. Anything and everything. I’m obsessed.

The app is very cool. Probably the coolest thing about Fitbit. I love the ‘Friends’ feature.

The graphics are great


It all started with the Fitbit Flex. I got it last year on my birthday (October 2015.) I loved it. I loved tracking my steps. I obsessively checked the App on my phone. You see the Flex doesn’t tell you your step count. It just has 5 dots. Each one represents 20% of your daily goal: 10,000 steps. It buzzes and flashes when you reach it. But, I desperately wanted it to at least tell me the time.


My husband had used a pedometer for a while so he was happy when he got the Fitbit Zip that Christmas. It tells you your step count and the time! Jealous.


At the same time, my kids got UNICEF Kid Power bands as Christmas gifts from my lovely cousin who works at UNICEF. Score. Saved us having to buy them Fitbits (which we really weren’t about to do.) These things are amazing! They tell the time, step count, power points (get enough points and you can contribute to kids around the world.) A great way to trick your kids into moving as much as possible and teach them about helping others. Bonus: they can get a little wet (they’ve survived the pool and the washing machine) and we received free replacement when one stopped working.


So, by now I was seriously wanting an upgrade. I held off until March when I impulsively ordered the Fitbit Alta. It wasn’t the top of the line but it was simple and sleek and an obvious improvement from the Flex. It tells the time! And step count and active minutes and mileage and calories. It tracks your sleep and has silent alarms. It doesn’t track your heart rate or amount of stairs climbed but I didn’t care. I was also so happy to switch from my now grimy orange band to a black one that goes better with my outfits. Best thing about it: It vibrates when I’m getting a phone call or text and the name or number of message scrolls across the screen. I’m in love. The charger stopped working a fews weeks in but Amazon quickly replaced the whole thing.


I was very happy with the Alta, I wore it all the time.


On my birthday this year I got the big boy: the Blaze. I was SO EXCITED. I might have screamed. Yes, I did. Like a girl. The Blaze does everything! On top of what the Alta does, add heart rate, stairs climbed, notifications (like you can read whole texts), music controls. And it has that Apple Watch look.


I really liked it. It has so much cool stuff. I hate to even say this, but I just didn’t love the graphics and the interface. It had some features I just wasn’t going to use. And the more I thought about it I thought the design was just to clunky. I asked my husband if he would be very upset if I took it back. I kind of just wanted the Alta back. But I had already given it to him. Not only did he say he didn’t mind if I returned it, he had been wondering why I didn’t want the Apple Watch, it was so much cooler.

So after much agonizing — if I should spend more money, if I should get the 38mm or the 42mm, if I should get black or white — I went ahead and did it. I got the Apple Watch. I knew immediately it was the right choice.


I’ve only had it for a day. We’re still getting to know each other. If you’re interested, I’m happy to write a more extensive post about all it’s features and functions.

Through all of this I have sort of cringed at spending the money. A part of me thinks its a little showy. But I justify it like this: if it gets me to be more active and healthy (and encourage others to do the same) it’s so worth it.

(This is not a sponsored post. I did link the images to where you can purchase them though.)

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My Jeans Inventory

Shout out to my Dad who, when I was little, would always make me inventory my clothes before I was allowed to get new ones.

“Dad, I need new jeans.”

“What’s wrong with all the ones you have?”

Then I’d try on each and every pair of Toughskins to show him that they were either too tight, too short or had holes in the knees. (Wait, that describes the exact jeans I’m looking for today!)

Then out would come the iron on knee patches.

That was grade school. In Junior High and High School I earned my own money and bought Guess, Jordache, Levi’s and even Marithe & Francois Girbaud. I am so dating myself!

So, here they are, every pair of jeans I own to see if I could justify buying just one more pair of jeans. (Spoiler alert: I did.) And to make recommendations for anyone interested.

Note: I’m almost always a 29, but I indicated where I sized up or down.


Lucky Lolita. There’s a tragic tale that goes along with these jeans: a gift from my husband, an attempt to exchange them because they were too long, a botched hemming job at the dry cleaners. In the end they became my favorite jeans. I’ve since cut off the hem. I sort of feel that they’re little too low waisted. One size down. Here’s their latest version with the coveted let-out hem.


Citizens of Humanity Emerson Slim Boyfriend. These are so soft. They’re loose and stretchy but fairly slimming. They look best with a sexy-ish heel. One size down. Get ’em here.


Lucky Charlie Skinny. These are lovely. Soft and stretchy in a dark, crinkly blue. Should have listened to the Lucky salesperson and sized down one size.


H&M Girlfriend Fit. I loved these at first, more flattering that the Gap pair I had, but they bag out quickly. I like the higher waist. I always go up 2 sizes with H&M. You can’t beat the price.


J.Crew Toothpick. Everyone needs a pair of classic dark wash jeans. These aren’t the most comfortable, but they are flattering. On sale!


J Brand. These jeans! My first pair of really expensive jeans (that means different things to different people obviously) that I bought before I had kids, they’re that old. I was pulled into Barney’s COOP while shopping with my cousin Anna in DC. The woman working the “denim bar” argued with me that the 28s fit perfectly and the 29s were too big. To emphasize her infallibility, the model-looking ingenue said, and I quote, “I’ve worked in denim for seven years.” I bought the 29s. I had them hemmed and then re-hemed recently. Every time I’ve worn them I’ve felt like a celebrity. However, they’re not really my style any more — the bootcut-ness of them — I’m considering selling them. Similar pair.


Kensie “You Look Pretty Skinny.” A score at Marshall’s. Everyone needs a super-light-wash pair, right? Soft, stretchy but slimming. Yay!


Zara. Sort of scandalous black waxed jeans with gold zippers. A gift from my bestie Jen. I love how other people’s picks say what they think about you. Apparently she thinks I’m Joan Jett, right? Surprisingly comfortable. Keep, but reserve for sexy night out and with long shirt.


Banana Republic Skinny Ankle. I love these. I ended up cutting them to shorten them and have fringe and I don’t regret it. Great waist height. Great stretch. SLIMMING. Buy these right now.

That’s it for jeans. Chinos, cords and trousers will be for another day.

And so I bought these:


J.Crew Distressed Toothpick in Pamona Wash. Hello perfect Jeans. High-but-not-too-high waist, soft, stretchy, keep their shape, distressed without big knee holes, nice length with or without a roll, slimming and a great blue color that goes with everything. Denim Heaven.

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Mother-Daughter Journal


A friend told me about this idea: a journal that you and your daughter share. I bought a copy of this journal for my cousin to share with her daughter and she loved it so much, I bought one to share with mine. I love this so much because:

  • img_2720It encourages my daughter to practice writing (she’s currently 8 years old)
  • She shares things in it that I don’t think she would ever say out loud
  • I share things with her that I would never say out loud — things about myself as a girl and things about myself now
  • We connect in a really special way and bond even more than I think we would from just talking or hanging out
  • I reminds me of a journal I shared with my 3rd grade teacher (that helped me so much at a time in my childhood that things were really hard)
  • I think it helps to heal the relationship I have with my mom


This particular journal has all sorts of cute writing prompts, but of course you don’t need to buy a fancy journal, just a plain one will work, too. I must admit I do love the cover design and even based my daughter’s room makeover on its color palette.

One last thing: the journal guidelines: Everything stays between you two. Either person can decide that they don’t want to talk about what’s written. No judging—keep it positive. Be honest, have fun.

So try it out. I think you’ll like it.


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How to become the person you want to be


My secret to happiness is this: Journaling.

(I know, “journal” is not a verb, but “writing in a journal” is sort of cumbersome.)

Flashback to 1978. A little girl opens a Christmas gift. It’s a Holly Hobbie diary—small and new—with a little brass lock and so much promise. I wrote in in faithfully … for three days. This happened over and over until around 1994 when I found a book entitled, “The Artist’s Way.”

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, is a new-agey, self-help book that aims to help creative people become unblocked and become their best artistic selves. It came into my life at a time when nothing was working. I had tried almost everything to get my life, my relationships and my career in order. I was willing at that point to do almost anything.

Unlike so many of these kinds of books that you read and quickly go back to the way you were, The Artist’s Way teaches you to change by doing. There are contracts to sign and all sorts of assignments, but the core of it resides in what are called, Morning Pages.

Morning Pages are non-negotiable. It is a commitment to journal every day no matter what. You are asked to handwrite three pages of stream-of-consciousness unedited drivel. Do it first thing in the morning. No exceptions. Ever had writer’s block? Well, this is the cure. It’s also the cure for any creative block. Possibly the cure for any block, period.

I urge you to try it. I can attest that it works. The years that I made it a habit changed my life in every way imaginable. I learned about who I am, what I want and what I don’t want. And, voila, I created the life I always dreamed of. And I am recommitting myself to it today. Let’s do it together. Here are the guidelines:

  • Write three pages — longhand
  • Write without thinking, without stopping, without editing
  • Write first thing when you get up — set an alarm if you need to
  • Don’t, at first, go back and read it
  • Don’t let anyone else read it
  • Don’t judge it, just do it
  • You don’t need a fancy notebook to start
  • If you “mess up” just start again
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My Bucket List


“Bucket List” is a term that I use way too much. As in, “I just had my very first Pumpkin Spice Latte! #bucketlist”

We all have things we dream about doing.

Like buying a classic car. Last year my husband bought a 1966 Mustang. (And I get to drive it.) He had been talking about it for as long as I’ve known him.

Not everything on your “list” has to be a big thing. They could be anything that you’ve always wanted to do that will bring you joy. But, I’ve found that writing down big dreams can really help you to attain them. Some things happen easily, some things take a while. Some things will evolve. You may realize that you don’t really want something after all or that in reality you already have it.

Lately I’ve been thinking of things, out of the blue, that I’ve never done. This month I drank my very first Pumpkin Spice Latte and went to a demolition derby.

Things that are currently on my things-I-have-never-done-before list:

  • Go see the Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Learn to play a song on the guitar
  • Go to a rodeo
  • Go see a UFC match
  • Go to a Nascar race
  • Go to the horse races
  • Play golf
  • Go snowmobiling
  • Go dogsledding
  • Go fishing
  • Go to Scotland
  • Donate blood
  • Run half marathon

What’s on your bucket list?

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8 Fall Outfits I Like

Ah, Fall.

I tried on a ton of clothes trying to come up with a few options I liked. You’re welcome, because it was a lot of work. I really did it for me, though. Now when I get up I have some idea of what to wear in this season of 80°-90° F “Fall” days.

I thought a lot about what to write for this week’s post and in the end I decided to write about what I’m most interested in. So even if it seems boring or superficial, I’m being true to myself, right?

Whenever I go through my closet like this I find things. Some of these items I don’t wear that often, but realize I should (Hello chambray shirt.) And I was happy to be able to “shop my closet” and not run out and buy a lot of new clothes because it’s Fall. So, yay me. Some pieces and some combinations did not make the cut. I edited my shots down to my absolute favorites.

Note: I started this blog in order to learn how to blog, and learn more about WordPress. I’m a graphic designer, not a model. And I don’t make money from my blog. Unless you count the $1.05 from Ad Sense, which I don’t. I do love blogs, and fashion, and sharing ideas. I added links (if the items are still available) because I find it really helpful when other bloggers do. It helps fuel my shopping addiction! So, that’s where I’m at, for what it’s worth.

Here they are:


OUTFIT 1  Gap Dress  |  Lucky Shoes


OUTFIT 2  LOFT Dress  |  Nine West Shoes


OUTFIT 3  Banana Republic Shirt  |  J. Crew Pants  |  Banana Republic Shoes


OUTFIT 4  LOFT Shirt  |  J. Crew Pants  |  Banana Republic Shoes


OUTFIT 5  J. Crew Shirt  |  J. Crew Jeans  | Lucky Shoes


OUTFIT 6  J. Crew Shirt  |  Gap Chinos  |  Marc Fisher Shoes


OUTFIT 7  Lucky Shirt  |  Citizens of Humanity Jeans  |  Dr. Scholl’s Shoes


OUTFIT 8  LOFT Shirt  |  Citizens of Humanity Jeans  |  Nine West Shoes

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How Do You Take Care of Your Skin?


I have never been big on cosmetics. I just don’t… well, I just don’t care. Or maybe I’m just lazy. I also dislike going to the cosmetics counter. It’s intimidating. I feel like I don’t “speak the language”, that I can’t seem to communicate what I want.

What do I want?

I guess I want to look radiant, beautiful, healthy. With very little effort.

Let’s back up a little.

The first brand I purchased was Clinique. If I bought anything it was always Clinique. Skin care and Make up (I’ll talk about make up in a future post.)

Years later, a friend asked me to buy Mary Kay. For some reason, up until then I had always resisted buying a system, you know, “cleanse-tone-moisturize.”  I tried it.

Another friend was selling Arbonne. I tried that. She got me hooked with the free sample. It had everything: cleanser – toner – anti aging cream – eye cream – SPF moisturizer – night scrub – night cream. It really seemed to make a huge difference. I bought the whole line. But when it came time to re-up, I couldn’t bring myself to drop $275 again. I replaced a few of the items. (I do love the orange-y smell.)

I filled in the gaps with recommendations I got at Sephora or ULTA: from new-to-me brands like Lancome, L’Oreal, and Dermalogica.

Over the summer I just got lazy. And my skin was not looking younger.

Then, just last month, another friend invited me to a Beauty Counter party. I ended up trying a mascara and the Balancing Face Oil.

So now I have this strange, incomplete mix of products:

Clinique eye cream. Clinique moisturizer. Clinique make up remover. Arbonne eye cream. Lancome exfoliating cleanser. L’Oreal anti aging cream. Dermalogica cleanser. Beauty Counter Oil.

I was really impressed with Beauty Counter, especially their commitment to using only healthy ingredients. I’ve only tried the oil and I haven’t used it a lot. I’m trying to decide if I should invest in more of their products.


While I was at the party, my friend told me about this new App. It let’s you look up or scan products to see how many toxins are in them. Not all beauty products report on their ingredients (they don’t have to), but you can find a lot.

So that’s where I am. Kind of in skin care limbo. There are so many options out there. I want something that works, doesn’t cost a fortune.

And it has to be simple.

I think I’m ready to grow up a little bit and really take care of my skin.

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The Most Important Thing for Your Health: Meditation

my favorite place to meditate. this is what meditation looks like for me.

Do you meditate? Do you want to (in theory) but can’t seem to ever get around to it?

Over the last few years meditation has become more and more essential to my health and well being than anything else.

Every time I forget this fact, something comes into my life to remind me.

The first time I really ever meditated was in a yoga class (around 2001.) Most of you are probably familiar with Savasana (my translation: “lie flat on the floor and do nothing.”) It’s at the end of class when you get to relax. It was a rare experience to be still and quiet. I was always moving, always thinking.

Then, over the next 10 years or so, I would make a half-hearted attempts to meditate. I knew a guy named Dan who was always telling me how great it was. He was the one who told me it was okay to lean against something, with or without my legs crossed, when I meditated. I didn’t have to be uncomfortable. He also gave me a copy of a CD of Pema Chodron and a CD of A New Earth by Eckart Tolle. I tried again to make meditation a regular thing but I didn’t stick with it.

I occasionally went to a meditation group. I found that it’s very different meditating with other people. There you are, sitting in a room, with all these other people and all sorts of sounds and distractions, with your eyes closed. It’s odd at first. Then it’s amazing. I was instructed to focus on my breathing, to watch my thoughts come and go, but keep returning to my breathing. I would always drift off to some story, or a to do list. I couldn’t quiet my mind. I always felt like I was failing.

It helped that a lot of people I knew made regular use of meditation. It wasn’t like some weird 70s commune thing. It was a normal way to manage the stress of life. I’m constantly coming across articles that explain how meditation changes you, mentally, emotionally, physically.

I kept trying.

My (Lutheran) church offered a 6 week class in “Centering” or “Contemplative Prayer.” It was nice. We did some singing and some guided meditation. I’d always thought of meditation as being an Eastern Religion thing, but obviously there are plenty of Christians who meditate.

About a year ago, a friend invited me to try Quaker Meditation. I’d been to a Quaker service, so I had an idea about what it would be like. This was not the same as Quaker Meeting on a Sunday morning. This is called Experiment with Light. There are readings interspersed with silence. The second half of the hour people speak about their experience. I was immediately hooked. It didn’t hurt that it is held in a 300 year old building that feels absolutely steeped in spirituality. Every week is basically the same small group of incredibly kind, welcoming people who don’t seem to mind that I’m not a Quaker. Here are a couple links if you’re interested. The first one is the text written out. The second one is an audio file you can use to try it at home. Or you can seek out a Meeting house near you. |


Then, last month I read The Dharma Punx by Noah Levine. I was convinced more than ever how important this was!

Every time I drifted from regular meditation, life got crazy. And every time something would be put in my path to remind me: MEDITATE. I know. I will. I promise. Why is it so hard? It’s actually very easy. But hard. My mind is too loud, too busy. Exactly. Which is why you have to get quiet. I keep trying.

I think we make all these rules about how it has to be. It doesn’t have to be any particular way. As you experiment, you’ll find out what works for you. My advice is: just do it! Do it:

  • for just 5 minutes
  • eyes closed or open
  • siting on the floor or in a chair
  • on a cushion, or 3
  • on a sofa
  • flat on the floor
  • walking
  • listening to a recording
  • alone or with a group
  • focusing on breathing in and out
  • being non-judgemental about your thoughts
  • even though your surroundings are not quiet

I hope some of this is helpful. Make a start. You’ll be amazed.

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What I’m Reading This Summer

UnknownThe Chaperone
by Laura Moriarty

This has been on my to-read list for so long I forgot who recommended it. I sort of thought I wouldn’t like it, but then I DID. It starts in 1922 and goes almost until present day. It is filled with secrets. Funny, I really liked The Secret Keeper and this has a lot in common, and soon I’m going to start The Husband’s Secret. The Chaperone proves that we can all change, be less judgmental and get second chances. I recommend it!




41+b8t5VrOL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_The Circle
by Dave Eggers

Think George Orwell’s 1984 only Big Brother is not the Government but Corporate America. If you live/lived in Silicon Valley like I have you’ll recognize and be quicky seduced by the fun, cutting edge, rule breaking Circle (Google? Facebook? A combination?) I read this on vacation and even though I wouldn’t call it a summer read, it was a page-turner.



Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
by Susan Cain

I only recently became aware that I am in introvert. I never wanted to believe that because I think I’m pretty outgoing and social. I have fought against the stigma of being shy and thought I was winning. This book has changed the way I look at everything. I am quiet. I like quiet. And there’s nothing wrong with that.


Next: The Dharma Punx

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Staying active on vacation



I obsess.

I’m always worrying about getting out of the habit of working out and eating healthy when I’m on vacation. How am I going to work out when I don’t have access to the things I normally do? Should I pack clothes for running? Should I buy a travel scale? Crazy, right?

Then last month I went on a trip and I actually lost weight. Granted I did a lot of walking, but I certainly didn’t watch my calories. This experience helped me relax a little. I recently read an article about how restrictive dieting causes weight gain and that allowing yourself to eat foods you enjoy can help you lose.

So, along the lines of letting-go-of-how-you-think-you-have-to-be-active, relaxing and enjoying food and having fun on vacation, here are my suggestions for vacationing (in my case, at the Jersey Shore):

  • Ride a really old, rusty bike with a basket around as much as possible
  • Wear a fitbit
  • Take off your fitbit so it won’t get wet in the ocean
  • Jump in the waves for hours
  • Forget about the fitbit
  • Play mini golf
  • Go to yoga
  • Go standup paddle boarding
  • Go for a walk on the beach to clear your head
  • Fly a kite
  • Go to the arcade
  • Have a chin-up contest at a playground
  • Do suicide sprints at a playground and accuse each other of cheating

Do all of these things and you can eat ice cream every night. 🙂





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