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healthyHappy New Year, everyone!  I’m super-duper excited about this year and the promise of what’s ahead.  Can you feel the energy with me?  Everyone I’ve talked with and whom I’ve had the opportunity to see in person and hug with a New Year welcome so far feels it too!  I love it.  The hope and potential is boundless. Always…not only in early January but also on our ho-hum days in April and September, long after new year’s resolutions have likely faded grey.

Now, as some of you might already know, typically for the last decade or so I write off the first week of January health-wise.  Because I’m usually sick as a dog…down for the count with some sort of cold and/or flu.  With zero energy and zero appetite.  It doesn’t matter whether I’ve had a flu shot or not. Some years I get the flu even after getting a flu shot, and sometimes I don’t even without a shot.  What a crapshoot!  [For the record, I did not get a flu shot this year…and crossing fingers it’s January 7-8 and all is well.]

If I recall correctly, January 2012 was fairly healthy.  Take a look at last year’s posts and let me know what you think!  I remember getting snowed in for a week and having to work from home.  Oh boy, bring on the cabin fever!  This week we might get a little snow as well.  If it’s going to snow at all and stick around here in the Seattle area, it’s January and February for sure.

2013 is focused on my passion for increased health, fitness and wellness.  That might sound a bit overly cliché and cheesy for New Year’s goals, but I’m OK with that.  I know way deep down it will be my reality.  I had already gotten many wheels in motion (no pun intended) last fall with overall fitness.  Such as working out with a personal trainer and rowing at the gym.  I’ve worked hard on my goal of rowing 5000m in under 30 minutes and I’ve finally done it TWICE!  28:35 was my most recent time back in December – woot woot!  I can’t run a 5K anywhere near that pace (yet!) but it sure feels good to row it on a medium-weight resistance setting.  It’s a great alternative to the treadmill – which doesn’t take care of any work-related tension in my neck, shoulders and upper back, much less do any upper body muscle toning.

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted about health and beauty products…so here we go (again!)  I’ll go left to right in the picture up top:

Nutritional Supplements:  they say eating right is ideal, but I think we can all use a boost.  How many of us truly eat balanced meals every single day?  With our busy, on-the-go lifestyles?  I suppose many of you out there do, and my hat is off.  I just know that supplements can go a long way in keeping the immune system boosted year ’round.  At far left in the picture is the Ocean Essentials capsules from NutriLite.  These are Omega-3 softgels, 90 per bottle.  Great for heart health, blood flow and lipid levels!  I really like these because the capsules are small to medium-sized and easy to swallow.  There is a very faint fish smell and aftertaste (not surprising) but I think that’s only noticeable to me (or so I hope!).  After about an hour (and maybe a stick of chewing gum) it goes away. NutriLite offers other supplements containing concentrated nutrients from fruits and vegetables, plus others with anti-oxidants.  I don’t have any of those in the picture right now, as refills are on the way!  But both are highly recommended.  Each are also very easy to swallow…not too large and well-shaped.

Green Coffee Bean extract:  Who hasn’t heard about this craze?  With no caffeine buzz?  I admit I got swept up with quite a few friends’ raves about this product last fall and how they were able to lose up to 3 lbs a week.  That has not been my record to date, but I don’t think they could hurt.  Plus, I have not taken them on a consistent basis as recommended. Actually, the only thing that hurt was ordering them through Evolution Slimming, and I only say that because I’m on this side of the pond.  The fantastically helpful and nice people at Evolution Slimming are based out of the UK, so the shipping was slow and tedious given this is a food/supplement type of product so I’m sure the customs clearance process took awhile.  And I had to go physically drive to my post office to pick up the package as it was sent registered mail.  No problem overall, but a little time-consuming. 

Next up we’re back with NutriLite’s Slimmetry supplements.  This supplement is designed to suppress your appetite in a healthy way if you take a few prior to each meal.  Again, I don’t do this on a routine basis, but I do notice a difference when I consciously take 2-3 pills prior to breakfast or lunch.  I don’t feel the cravings quite as much between meals!  And they are also very easy to swallow, shaped well to go down easily. 

Moisturizer!  With sunscreen!  People, I can’t stress enough how essential daily sunscreen is! I don’t care if it’s cloudy or dark out…if you’re fair-skinned like me (or even if you’re not), you will thank me for this later.  And it’s never too late to start.  I wear a moisturizer with SPF every single day under my makeup (which also, usually, has sunscreen depending upon which brand I’m wearing).  I’ve used Neutrogena’s Healthy Skin Alpha Hydroxy lotion with SPF 15 for several years (on and off – switching between brands sometimes) and I always come back to it.  It disappears into my skin quickly, meaning it doesn’t leave my skin feeling oily and leaves it ready for liquid foundation and primer.  Note that alpha hydroxy lotions can sting a little at first until your skin gets used to them, especially on your face, so definitely avoid the eye area and alternate it with other lotions every few days at first.  You’ll also want to try this lotion on your arms, hands and elbows – expect amazing results!  I find it easily at my local Bartell’s or Rite Aid drugstores, but I see it’s no longer on Neutrogena’s website (which is why the link above is on Amazon.com).  I hope it doesn’t get discontinued any time soon!

Next up is my first official beauty splurge of 2013:  La Roche-Posay Anthelios sunscreen fluid with SPF 50.  I happened to be browsing an issue of Allure magazine and this popped up as a favorite product of 2012.  So I ordered it on a total random whim and so far I’m super happy with it.  Lightweight AND SPF 50? Sign me up!  I wear it under my makeup primer and liquid foundation and it doesn’t feel heavy at all.  It’s pricey ($32.95 for 1.7 oz compared with approx. $14 for Neutrogena’s 2.5 oz alpha hydroxy), but I’m very happy so far.  The true test will be how much “a little goes a long way” or not, just like with any other more costly beauty product.

Fragrance?  Well I have a large stash of them, but my newest favorite is L’Occitane’s The Vert (green tea) solid perfume.  I can’t find this scent in solid perfume anywhere on their official website any longer, but if you can find it elsewhere it’s well worth it.  It comes in a tin like a lip balm, and the scent is clean and fresh.  It’s impossible to overdo it!  This scent DOES keep me healthy.  The green tea aroma is powerful (yet gentle), soothing, healing and builds strength within me.

What else beyond products?  Well, the magenta scarf wrapped around the picture is another essential.  Keeping my neck and throat area protected and warm while commuting and walking between buildings for meetings at work during the rainy/cold seasons is essential to staying healthy.  Us Taureans’ throats are especially vulnerable and should always be protected from cold weather to ensure our health!  I enjoy my small but fabulous wardrobe of colorful pashmina scarves and wraps…a nice pop of color to punch up my typical wardrobe of grey, dark denim and black.

Sleep?  Exercise?  Yes and Yes!  After last fall’s workshop, I learned what the contents of my own personal operating manual are!  Right down to how much sleep and how much exercise I need!  7 hours a night and 7 hours per week, respectively…to be at my optimum self.  I can try going to bed a little earlier (as hard as it can be) to get more sleep, but how the hell can I get in an hour of exercise a day, every day these days?  I used to walk 5 miles a day, every day 9 years ago around my neighborhood (which was about 90 minutes, including hills).  How can I recreate that?  I truly was in the best shape of my life after 6 months of that (35 lbs dropped off)…and that was before joining the gym I currently belong to. 

So that’s what’s on tap for now.  Getting to bed an hour earlier AND squeezing in daily exercise (rather than 3-4 times a week) will be challenging, but I am determined!  Stay tuned for more!