Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York

The view of Manhattan from Greenpoint. Like a postcard!
   I always say the anticipation of a journey is almost as fun as the trip itself, especially since the Internet came along and made the research part so freaking easy. Next week's destination is Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and I've been scouting must-do's on hyper-local websites, including one called Greenpointers, because that's the best way to find out what's happening in the neighborhood. I've found that if you Google the name of your travel destination along with the word "local," "best-kept secrets" or "neighborhood," you'll typically find a great site full of insider tips, including the all-important restaurant recommendations. (Fortunately, we have a couple of food-loving locals who are eager to show us around, so my research is more fun than necessity.)
Greenpoint is known as the location for HBO's "Girls" and for its large Polish population. As a collector of Polish pottery, this makes me happy although most Polish food is long on gluten. Oh, well. I'll take my probiotics and hope for the best.
 Despite a half dozen trips to Manhattan, I've never been to Brooklyn the Burrough before, so this site run by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Explore Brooklyn, has been helpful, as well. There will be at least one Saturday trip to Manhattan to see Hedwig and the Angry Inch (starring new lead, Darren Criss of Glee) followed by a myriad of cultural experiences NOT planned by me. And, that's great, too. I'm the kind of traveler who likes surprises around every corner. As long as they're good ones.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Blonde Angel by Kevin Murphy

I stopped coloring my hair almost ten years ago and never looked back. I love not having to spend that two extra hours in the beauty salon every 6-8 weeks. I love saving the money I would have spent on highlights and lowlights. I love not putting chemicals on my head on a regular basis. And, I love the compliments I get on my silver hair, which I'm growing to my shoulders so I can achieve the perfect ponytail come summertime. The only real challenge with gray hair, for me, is keeping it shiny. I've tried all the purple shampoos on the market and my favorite, hands-down, is from Kevin Murphy. Blonde Angel Wash gives my hair a lovely sheen, keeps the yellowing at bay, is gentle enough to use every time (but I alternate it with Kevin Murphy's Hydrate Me Wash) and it smells freaking fantastic which is HUGE in my book.

I don't use the Blonde Angel Rinse because I find the combo too drying, so I use the Hydrate Me Rinse as my go-to conditioner. KM can be pricey since it's available only at salons, but my daughter is in "the industry" and can get it for me at her cost which helps ease the pain. Still, I'd pay full price for this one...and that's saying a lot for a penny-pincher like me.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Vitamin D-3 Softgels from Trader Joe's

I had my annual physical yesterday and it was one of the best in recent memory. Blood pressure on the low side of normal, weight down 14 pounds from last year (a triumph I celebrated with a huge lunch and dinner) and blood work nothing short of stellar. Except for my Vitamin D levels which were slightly low. I suspect they were a lot lower a month or so ago before I started taking supplements.  I had a bad winter, people: Dark mood, low energy, overall malaise.  It got bad enough that, in late February, I broke out the Happy Light and invested in some Vitamin D.  D is the "sunshine vitamin," the deficiency of which is tied to depression, bone weakness, heart problems, stroke and more. My doctor recommended 1000-2000 I.U.s per day. Supplements can get pricey, which is why I tend to buy mine at Costco or  Trader Joe's. For $4.99, I can get a 90-day supply of happiness in a bottle and - bonus! - the softgels are small enough to pass my ultra-sensitive gag reflex test.  By the way, Vitamin D is the only supplement my physician recommended for me. She said studies have shown baby aspirin, fish oil, glucosamine and others to be largely ineffective.  I will still take magnesium to fight muscle cramps and valerian root to help me sleep. But, I'm about to free up a helluva lot of space in my medicine cabinet!

Monday, April 6, 2015

True Match by L'Oreal + Body Shop Vit. E Oil

I've had a love-hate relationship with foundation my whole life. Blessed with acne-free skin but cursed with freckles, I used it reluctantly as a teen until the freckles faded. Later, when I got into TV reporting, foundation (aka warpaint) became a part of my daily routine. After I moved out of the camera's glare and into print (adopting a delightful new 'who gives an eff?' attitude about my appearance) those freckles came back in the form of sun spots and makeup was again desired, on occasion. I won't say I've tried every foundation known to woman but I've tried all the types including mineral powders and, most recently, BB creams. This is my current favorite. Old school liquid makeup AND it's only six bucks at Target!
My mom turned me on to True Match a few years ago. I liked it for it's blend-ability and "true matched" color to my pale (some might say ghostly) skin - C2, Natural Ivory. Sometimes, it feels a little heavy for my whole face so I'll use it full-strength on my darker spots, then mix it with a drop or two of Vitamin E Serum-in-Oil (The Body Shop) for a lighter dewy finish with coverage that's good enough.
And, I say 'good enough' because, like the leopard, I don't mind a few spots showing through anymore.
"A leopard does not change (her) spots, or (her) feeling that spots are rather a credit." - Ivy Compton-Burnett

Thursday, April 2, 2015

New name, new focus, same old BoomerGirl

    With this post comes a wholesale change: A new format on BoomerGirl featuring my unabashedly subjective reviews of products, services, destinations, trends and other things that are of interest to boomer-aged women. For those who remember the early days when BoomerGirl debuted as an online magazine (winning the 2007 EPpy Award for best newspaper-affiliated Web Site!!) this move is almost coming full circle.
    BoomerGirls continue to reign as the "power consumers" of the planet. We make buying decisions for ourselves, our partners, our children and grandchildren AND, in many cases, our parents. We control 70% of disposable income in the United States and spend more money than any other generation. Impressive, aren't we?
    What this will NOT be is an "anti-aging" product review site. (Aging. What a stupid thing to be 'anti' about.) I will not be trying Botox or the latest injectable cheek filler or a jawline lift. Nope, needles are out. As is hair color, because that ship sailed nine years ago and I couldn't be happier with my silver locks. Purple shampoo, on the other hand, is on the table.
    Some of the things I review will be of my own choosing; others will be suggested or sent to me by the brand or their PR team. I will be sure to make that distinction in each review.
   Most importantly, I would like your reviews as well. I encourage everyone to leave comments - good, bad or indifferent. Go ahead and name the brands, the product lines, prices, your favorite (or least favorite) colors and flavors. Who knows? The marketers of the world might actually start paying attention. Did you know that less than ten percent of all advertising is targeted at baby boomers? Did I mention there are 77 million of us?
  There may still be a few tidbits about Mom's move out of my childhood home (it's done) or my son's wedding in the fall. (Heck, I could write a whole week of posts on the prevalence of matronly mother-of-the-groom gowns.) But, essentially, BoomerGirl is changing. And, despite what you've heard, change is good.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mother of the Groom Etiquette for Dummies

The date has been set for late October and I can now feel free to take the next step: Boning up on MOG do's and don'ts.  I'm happy to have found this little guide on The Knot. But, I am more than a little perplexed by this....
Wait! Speeches to spellbind your audience? What speech? When? Where?  I was gearing up for a killer mother-son dance (my son has moves like James Brown and I can still shake at least one tail feather.)  But, speeches? Does anyone out there know about this? I need input, people! Thank you in advance.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Red glass plates and the mysterious copper pan

I spent yesterday afternoon with my mother, cleaning and sorting (again) for the last time before she moves to her new apartment in the retirement place.  (If it seems like this has been going on for months, it has.)  My sister found Mom a guy who will cart all manner of stuff away to sell, donate or dispose of, and we all couldn't be more thrilled about him. There is still a lot of stuff to sort through, but that will be up to us - the kids - after Mom moves and is sure she has everything she needs and wants in the new place. Yesterday, she had the dining room table full of kitchen and dining stuff, and my sisters and I carted some of it home and left the rest for "the guy who we're all thrilled about." I came home with these red glass plates...
For the record, I have taken none of the fine china my sisters wanted as I am not the 'fine china' type and probably never will be. The red plates, however, I have always coveted.  They look great with my informal china from our wedding (I did not register any formal china), as well as with the Polish pottery I've collected over the years.  And, by the way, red plates by themselves make your food look really sexy!
I also took home this old copper pan, which I'm dying to cook in if, by doing so, I won't kill my family. (Research on safety of cooking in old copper pots ongoing.)  Doesn't it just scream Julia Child at the Cordon Bleu?!?
What is mystifying is this inscription on the side of the pan...
I can't make heads or tails of it, even on Google. Antiques Roadshow, where are you when I need you?!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Back in the saddle again

Phew-eeee, cowpokes! It's been a wild ride these last couple of weeks. But, I'm back in the saddle and ready to rope the topic of the day which is..... Fat Tuesday!!!  Yeehaw! This is (yet) another day on the calendar when I give myself permission to indulge in rich, unhealthy food and drink. But, wait. Isn't that what I've been doing all weekend? Who cares?!??!! Today, after a mountain of laundry, tons of catch-up work in my virtual office, and a restorative stop at the liquor store, I think I'll prepare a classic Fat Tuesday meal which is.... what, exactly? How do you pull off a classically decadent FT feast like this in Kansas? My kingdom for some beignets!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The play's the thing!

I've been busy, dear readers. This Saturday will be the first public reading of my first play, co-written with my dear friend Carol Starr Schneider aka Short Jewish Gal. It's a big deal, but it's not....but it really is. We'll be in a small theater space in the Crossroads District of Kansas City, testing the script with real, professional actors - rehearsal all day, performance at 6 pm that night.... because it's Valentine's Day and people need to get to their candlelit dinners by 8. Even with a supporting cast of a wonderful producer and directors, there's a lot to do before a reading. Obtaining workable props, for instance.  This week, I purchased one of these....
Official name is the Kong e-Collar, for the record.
 Not the dog, the cone of shame.  Then, I bought one of these (by mail order, mind you....)
Yes. This is a thing. A real thing they actually sell.
I don't think I'm giving too much away here but, if you're intrigued, there might be a couple of tickets remaining. Here is the info. And here is our Facebook page. 

After this weekend, I will get back to blogging with some regularity and may finally weigh in on the whole Brian Williams mess.  I gotta tell ya, my jury's still out on this one....but if he made up that robbed-at-gunpoint-selling-Christmas-trees story, I'm done.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Super Quiche Sunday

Quiche perfection
With so much going on in my life, I have found a needed diversion in my kitchen: The pursuit of the perfect crustless quiche.  In the past two weeks, I have tried the following varieties: Artichoke, fennel and brie; turkey bacon, carmelized onion and Havarti; and apple-smoked bacon, onion and salmon.  The other variable is always the egg-to-dairy mixture I carefully pour on top which has always been some artery-clogging combo of fresh dairy cream or Half & Half. (Note: cream and eggs are perfectly acceptable on the Atkins Diet to which I - er, fairly often - subscribe.) Sometimes, I use 4 eggs; other times, 3 or 5. Each quiche was satisfying in its own right, for various reasons, but perfection? Not quite. Yesterday, I broke the mold and did an asparagus & carmelized onion, Swiss/Gruyere cheese blend in a base with 1/3 fresh cream, 1/3 Kefir, 1/3 low fat ricotta cheese and 4 eggs.  As Henry Higgins said about Eliza Doolittle: "By George, she's got it! By George, she's got it!!!"

Monday, January 26, 2015

My week in pictures

Last week was one for the record books: My son got engaged to a fantastic woman whom he's known since first grade, my sister sailed through brain surgery, President Obama came to town, my mother's first grandchild (and my grandniece) was born; my husband finally got a high-tech hearing aid after ten years of my nagging, and my daughter landed a new job through which she can give me chemical peels! (Suffice it to say, I slept a LOT yesterday.)
These little babies are controlled by the coolest app on the hubs' new iPhone. Relationship changer. 
The picture that will live on Jayhawk fans' phones forever.
The happy couple sailing off into the sunset. Wedding in October.
My first beautiful grandniece.
Baby sis looking alarmed for nothing. All is well.
My esthetician daughter's new line of products made just for me. Just in time for a wedding.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Barack Obama slept here

Air Force One's arrival last night in Topeka
Last night, the POTUS slept just 1.4 miles from my house. (I will refrain from commenting on the Holiday Inn's Holidome as the Secret Service's presidential lodging choice.) Today, he is speaking a half-mile away on the campus of Kansas University. The town is abuzz and, although I am not attending the event, I will be glued to the TV and computer, watching Barack Obama address many of my friends and former colleagues. Rumors have it that Obama - college basketball fan that he is - will meet the Jayhawk basketball team(s?) before or after his speech at Allen Fieldhouse. Meanwhile, enterprising downtown merchants are printing t-shirts and creating Obama burgers, in hopes of attracting attention.
Since I live so close to campus, I plan to keep my eyes peeled for the presidential motorcade - and take a morning walk to see how close I can get to the action - but keep my car off the streets until POTUS is winging his way back to the White House. I've never been a big fan of gridlock.