CURRENTLY Fall 2016 Blog Hop: How I’m Finding My Bliss

Back by popular demand: a new CURRENTLY Fall 2016 Blog Hop.

Along with some blogger friends, I’m sharing where I am currently in life, what I’m reading and watching and what I’m loving and dreaming about this fall.

Sit back, have a read, and check out some of my recommendations if you’d like. Then visit the other #Gr8Blogs listed at the end of this post for more Fall 2016 CURRENTLY inspiration.


book-glassesThe last book I read was All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda. The novel caught my eye because of the unusual way it is told in reverse, going backwards in time.

As the book begins, the reader learns about Nicolette’s current life. She’s from a small town in North Carolina and escaped to Philadelphia, but returns home to take care of some family business. Nicolette is quickly pulled back into the mysterious disappearance of her best friend a decade before. Only days after her return, another girl goes missing. The plot thickens.

The novel was a bit confusing, but the story definitely kept my interest. My perspective and suspicions shifted drastically as I moved backwards in time. Not to brag, but I did guess the ending about a quarter way through the book, but maybe because I’m a writer who looks at plot lines very closely. Everyone I know who read this book was surprised by “who done it.” I’d give it four out of five stars.


Just finished Season Five of Longmire. If you haven’t seen this series, you’re missing out. Check it out on Netflix. I love, love it. Robert Taylor plays the charismatic sheriff and is supported by Katee Sackhoff (from Battlestar Galactica) and Lou Diamond Philips, who so marvelously plays my favorite character, Henry Standing Bear.

My husband and I also recently watched the Ron Howard documentary, The Beatles: Eight Days a Week, which covers their touring years from 1963 to 1966.

If you’re a baby boomer like me (or even if you’re not!), you’ll love the great footage of the Fab Four’s earliest – and most joyful and optimistic – performances. Howard provides a real feel for these four extremely close young friends on their exhilarating and crazy journey as Beatlemania kicked in and how it affected them.

beatlesThe first wave of baby boomers were reaching their teens and, as the documentary points out, there were more teenagers in the world during that time than any other age group. As you watch the footage, once again, you’ll be amazed by and wonder exactly what inspired such hysterical pandemonium – the massive shrill screaming, fainting, and weeping of completely obsessed girls. Not even The Beatles themselves could figure it out.

The four, only teens themselves when they were starting out, formed a special tight camaraderie. As the documentary shows, they lovingly looked out for each other, as the only ones on earth who truly knew what it was like to experience the insanity that ensued. In fact, The Beatles were so close that decisions had to be unanimous, Paul McCartney explained. That included their brave refusal to perform if the audience was segregated as was typically the case in the Deep South during the 60’s.

The documentary demonstrates brilliantly how the fame and chaos sadly took away The Beatles’ pure and innocent joy of performing their music. And no wonder. Suddenly it took hours to restore a semblance of order at their concerts, people were injured, and the band received death threats as a result of John Lennon’s remarks comparing the group’s popularity to Jesus. The lyrics from their song, “Help!” takes on new meaning in light of these events: “When I was younger, so much younger than today…And now my life has changed in oh so many ways.”

The Beatles swore off touring and went into the studio to experiment with their music a few days after they were forced to perform during a torrential rainstorm in an open-air stadium. Tour roadie Ed Freeman confesses in the documentary: “My job was to sit backstage with my hand on the plug and the instructions were: If anyone fell down, knocked out by the shock, then I would pull the plug and that would stop the show. It was a joke.”

I saw this documentary after attending Desert Trip which featured McCartney. Considering all the challenges this band faced in the past, it was good to see that he has rediscovered the joy of performing in front of a large audience once again.

A nostalgic must-see. The documentary is currently available on Hulu.

*Thinking About…

book-light-bulbMy next book.

As a professional writer, many people encouraged me to share my experiences as a full-time caregiver for my Mom who suffered from Lewy Body dementia (a cruel combination of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s) to help other caregivers and family members with loved ones who have this debilitating disease.

At first, I couldn’t do it. The heartbreaking experience of watching my Mom rapidly deteriorate both physically and mentally before my eyes, the difficulty of taking care of her at the end when she began to lose all bodily functions, as well as her death were all too painful to relive.

Although it still won’t be easy, after a year and a half, I’m ready to tell my story and put all my feelings into words in honor of my dear mother who I loved more than life itself. She faced her disease courageously.

It is my hope that my experiences, my successes, and my mistakes can help other caregivers and all of those who are losing their loved one a little bit at a time like I did. I want to help them cope with the challenges, learn how to take care of themselves during this challenging time, and succeed with their noble and important role as a caregiver.


My God and my refuge, who saw me through the last few challenging years and continues to bless me in so many ways. My loving husband who has supported and loved me for more than 38 years. My children and grandchildren who bring me such joy.

family-visiting-chrisThe above photo of our family was taken at breakfast while visiting my youngest son and his wife who live up near Sequoia National Park. Later, we all visited Kings National Park – my first time there and it was gorgeous. Loved that quick weekend trip too!


I live in the California desert where we have long, long hot summers. November is the first month we’ll have temperatures that hopefully are no longer 90 degrees-plus. We planted our fall garden with the grandchildren last weekend. I’m looking forward to many pleasant evenings on the patio with a roaring fire, a good book, and a glass of wine. Also anticipating some relaxing time on our sailboat as the summer crowds at the beach die down and we enjoy our new slip in a quieter area.


Still wishing for that trip to Africa and it looks like my lifelong dream may become a reality in the the next year or so…stay tuned.

*Making Me Happy…

That I am privileged to live another day.

So there you go. Thanks for stopping by and sharing a bit of my life with me. For more Currently Fall 2016 inspiration, visit the #Gr8blogs below. If you are so inclined, please share some of what’s inspiring you these days in the comments below.

Image courtesy of [in order of appearance] everydayplus, artur84, and Master isolated images at

Leisure Time at Home Makes Grandchildren Happy

Can’t afford that pricey vacation to Disney World with the children or grandchildren?

family-vacationA new study from Baylor University points out that family happiness is often found right at home.

If you’re a baby boomer like me, as a kid, you probably spent a lot of time at home eating family dinners, playing board games, and watching “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” and “Wonderful World of Disney” every Sunday night.

But have you noticed that today’s exhausted families seem to be constantly on the run dashing from one destination to another?

Turns out our parents may have been on to something back in the day. Sure, it’s fun and exciting to go new places and create memories. But simply hanging around the house enjoying familiar activities also has its benefits.

In fact, this new study points out that leisure time spent at home may actually be a more effective way to foster true, long-lasting happiness.

“When the brain is focused on processing new information—such as taking part in an unfamiliar activity with unfamiliar people in a new location—less ‘brain power’ is available to focus on the family relationships,” lead author Karen K. Melton, PhD., assistant professor of child and family studies, said in a press release.

family-home-drawingIn other words, a quiet evening spent together participating in familiar activities inside the home – while reducing distractions such as cell phones – makes it easier to reap the emotional benefits of quality time together.

There’s another benefit too.

Family members can feel free to “express stress and conflict as well as pleasure during leisure time” if they’re at home, Melton added. This necessary and natural process of blowing off steam that can lead to solving family issues is something that probably won’t happen in public places where people are watching.

Although many experts recommend eating together and discourage watching TV, Melton said there is not a one-size-fits-all schedule for leisure activities that guarantees happiness.

“For some families, quality togetherness is having dinner together or playing games; for others, it may be hobbies, videos or TV, music,” she said. “At the end of the day, what matters is that we are social beings who crave a sense of belonging and connectivity.”

This idea also fits into studies that show children do well with regular, predictable, and consistent routines at home.

That’s good news both for parents and grandparents limited on time and resources.

If you’re a grandparent like me, that means when the grandchildren come to visit, you don’t have to feel the need to run out and do something new and exciting every day. Quit trying so hard, slow down, and enjoy simple activities at home with the children.

Want a few ideas of activities you can try out with your children or grandchildren at your house? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Read a favorite book and have your child or grandchild add his own twist for a unique ending.
  • Have some old-fashioned fun in the backyard. My grandchildren love to play “Eat it or Wear It” with various foods. Want something tamer and less gross? Try good ol’ Freeze Tag, Kick the Can, or Red Light Green Light. They’ll love it! Make an obstacle course. Or pick up a piece of rain gutter at the hardware store, add water and a soap “boat” and voila! You have a race track.
  • Grandma and Grandpa, show the kids some of your groovy moves during the disco era. Dim the lights and give each child a flashlight to turn on and off for that full disco effect. Break out your old Bee Gee, ABBA, and KC and the Sunshine Band albums. Or younger parents, share your favorite dance moves like the Sprinkler, The Macarena, or the Robot with MC Hammer or New Kids on the Block playing in the background. Or choreograph a dance routine to your kids’ current favorite songs.
  • Ready for some quiet time? Lie on a blanket outside and do some star gazing. Do a puzzle together. Make a shoe box dollhouse using cardboard, matchboxes, toilet paper rolls, and scrapbook paper (I spent countless hours doing this as a kid!). Remember string art and play dough? They still work like magic!
  • Kids love to perform. Hold a family karaoke night. Give out “awards” for the silliest performance, best duo, most dramatic voice, or best outfit. Make a “runway” out of folded blankets, play some music, and have a fashion show with exaggerated catwalks and poses. Try a comedy show complete with corny kids jokes, a puppet show based on the children’s favorite story, or a magic show displaying their favorite card tricks.

Save money and take the time to veg out at home. In the long run, your children or grandchildren may be happier!

Images courtesy of digital art and graur codrin at

Desert Trip Rocks with The Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney!

Talk about baby boomer bliss! “Can’t Get No Satisfaction” certainly did not apply to Desert Trip – a music extravaganza with rock legends The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Roger Waters, and The Who.


The iconic festival was held this last weekend, October 7, 8, and 9, 2016, at the Empire Polo Club in Indio and I was thanking my lucky stars to be in the audience.


The Empire Polo Club in Indio Friday afternoon before the event began.

The massive grounds where the epic concert was held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio Friday afternoon before the event began.

The lineup was every baby boomer’s dream team. Yeah, they made fun of us, dubbing the festival held on the same grounds as Coachella, “Oldchella.” Who cares? We baby boomers are embracing the title. This was a historical moment that has never happened before and may never be repeated again. It’s certainly a weekend I won’t ever forget.

Call it whatever you want. I blissfully and joyfully sang “Hey Jude” with Paul McCartney, as he took the lead cheerfully oozing charisma, with 75,000 other fellow humans in a massive chorus, waving our arms in unison. It was a magical awe-inspiring moment. (See the video under the Paul McCartney subheading below to get a glimpse of what that was like.)

Completely awe struck that I was actually listening and watching Sir Paul, the profound moment reminded me of the Beatles legacy of joy, hopefulness, peace and optimism that we all found so addictive when we were young – and still do during a turbulent time in the world.

Besides, some of the humor about Oldchella is downright funny. Ellen DeGeneres, a baby boomer herself at the age of 58, says, “It’s like Woodstock, but with prescription drugs.” 20161009_180415In a hilarious segment , she shows a chart comparing the Coachella with Oldchella:  “Coachella: You go because you’re excited to see your favorite band live. Old-chella: You go because you’re excited to see that your favorite band is alive.” Funny stuff.

There was even a pick-up and drop-off parking lot, an actual spot where middle-aged kids could drop off their gray-haired parents ready to boogie down til midnight and pretend they were back in the day.

Surprisingly – although there were tons of AARP eligible fans like me crossing off bucket lists – there were plenty of people in their 20s and 30s too. Even teens attended in their fringed and tie dyed shirts enjoying the hippy vibe. It was fun to see them experience the glory days of rock ‘n’ roll with such abandonment and enthusiasm – arms in the air and rocking out right along with us.

Second Weekend Tickets

The event repeats this weekend starting Friday, October 14, 15 & 16 and there are tickets available at reduced prices. I’ve seen prices on StubHub ranging from $139 for a one night pass and three-day passes for $225 in the grand stands.

desert-trip-lawnThis is quite a deal since prices for three day passes originally ranged from $399 for bringing chairs and sitting in the grassy area to $1,599 for the standing pit area directly in front of the stage. Thankfully the epic concert was held in my own backyard and I saved money on travel expenses and shuttles.

According to Billboard. Sean Penn, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christian Bale, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones with their kids, Rob Lowe, Cindy Crawford, and James Spader were some of the big names that could be found in cushy areas in the grandstands and  in the mosh pit .


Where the action was!

The elite crowd was not to be seen in the cheap seats where I sat with my family in the lawn area. In my opinion, it wasn’t a bad place to be with everyone on their feet singing, dancing, and whooping it up the entire time.

Attend the Concert Vicariously

If you’re unable to attend, I’m happy to share my incredible weekend with you including lots of photos and videos so you can live vicariously through my once-in-a-lifetime experience. Enjoy!


Bob Dylan

desert-trip-bob-dylanCall me unsophisticated, and some of you will be appalled, but I was never that into Bob Dylan. I respect the icon – he was just awarded the Nobel Prize in literature today. He is an iconic singer/songwriter, a spokesman for the baby boomer generation, culturally significant with his political, social, philosophical, and literary influence.

I enjoyed chilling to some of this influential musician’s songs with a few classics that included “Rainy Day Women.” The way he sang “Everybody Must Get Stoned” with a smirk at the age of 75 cracked me up.

But exciting, he was not.

desert-trip-scott-and-julie-nightFamous for being reclusive and, as a rule, refusing to be photographed, at first, he allowed his image to be displayed on the gigantic screens as he was seated at a piano so everyone could see him. But after a few songs, only black and white historic scenes played on the screens. (There was a rumor that this was due to a glitch, which is possible.)

Perhaps not surprising, there was no stage banter whatsoever. I can’t remember him saying anything to the crowds, in fact.

Nonetheless, when the Rolling Stones took the stage after Dylan, both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards called him their “opening act,” I gasped with the rest of the audience.

The Rolling Stones

rolling-stone-collageI was up on my feet singing and dancing when the crowd-pleasing Rolling Stones literally roared onto the stage with the energetic and fun “Start Me Up.”

Mick Jagger, not about to act his age, rooster strutted down the catwalk and gesticulated all over the stage with seemingly endless energy and stamina. Keep in mind this 73-year-old is still producing children.

His powerful voice led the way as Keith Richards with his blaze of white hair dangled a cigarette and played alongside with obvious joy and abandonment.

Don't say good-bye! Can't we start over and do it again?

Don’t say good-bye! Can’t we start over and do it again?

Their nonstop hits included “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (but I Like It)”, “Honky Tonk Women,” “Brown Sugar” and even the Beatle’s “Come Together. In honor of a forthcoming blues album, they treated us to one of the great songs, “Ride ‘Em Down.”

Unlike Dylan, Jagger chatted it up with the crowd and we were thrilled. At one point, he raised a guitar into the air and danced toward crowd: “If you know how to party, say, ‘Oh, yeah!'” We were more than pleased to comply.

Before I knew it, they were playing an encore of “Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” Best concert ever!

Here’s a video of their opening song, “Start Me Up.”


Neil Young

desert-trip-neil-youngPerhaps best known for his number one hit, “Heart of Gold,” Neil Young’s stage setup was unique with tepees and two women in plaid shirts and overalls walking the stage throwing seeds on the floor.

Songs included “Mother Earth” which included three men in hazmat suits acting as if they were spraying the grounds.

Neil Young is known for his explosive guitar skills, and “Down by the River” lasted about 20 minutes. Personally, the intense, loud, overpowering guitar lasted too long for my ears which literally hurt from the crashing sounds as Young shredded his well-worn guitar.

Maybe I am getting old.

Here’s Young’s famous Heart of Gold:

Paul McCartney

The rock legend was as warm, funny, personable, and delightfully enchanting as you would expect. I couldn’t quit thinking in disbelief – I get to see a Beatle! How lucky am I?

desert-trip-paul-and-neil-duoHe fired up the crowd with the classics “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Jet” and “Can’t Buy me Love.”

Then he took a moment to look out at the massive stadium with people as far as the eye could see. “This is cool to be here, right?” the 74-year-old star asked. “I’m going to take a moment here to drink this all in for myself.”

Although McCartney treated us with many of the classic Beatle songs, he also included the newer “My Valentine” he dedicated to his wife, Nancy. It was their anniversary the next day, he said. A little oddly, but sweet at the same, he next performed “Maybe I’m Amazed,” and dedicated it to his late first wife, Linda.

McCartney shared interesting and funny stories for our entertainment. For example, he explained that “Blackbird” was inspired by the civil rights movement – something I never knew. The funniest moment was when McCartney told us he knew which songs we liked because the masses raised their cell phones when he played classic Beatle songs. “When we play one you don’t know it’s like a black hole,” he said.

desert-trip-fireworksMcCartney brought Neil Young back on stage for three duos, including the raucous, bluesy  “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?” According to legend, the song was written after McCartney saw two monkeys doing the deed on a road in India,  The song fit perfectly with Young’s rowdy guitar.

Oh, how I hate to say this, but McCartney’s voice did quiver just a bit during a few of the slower songs at the top of his tenor range, You’ll have to believe me that It didn’t matter one bit. McCartney still rocked the concert, made his sophisticated melodies seem easy, and his falsetto was pure as ever.

Before we knew it, “Live and Let Die” was accompanied by a spectacular explosion of flames, lasers, and fireworks as McCartney pounded the keyboard. Then the magical moment of Hey Jude (don’t miss the video below for both those numbers that gave me goosebumps!) Graciously, he performed three encore songs, staying on the stage for almost three hours. We loved every minute.

As promised, here’s the video of the magical moments – Live and Let Die is followed by Hey Jude:


The Who

Pete Townshend’s signature windmill move as he strums the guitar and Roger Daltrey’s famous microphone cord swing were still intact as they sang their famous hits like “My desert-trip-the-whoGeneration,” “You Bet,” “Who Are You?” and “Pinball Wizard.”

Looking back on the band’s American breakthrough with “I Can See for Miles,” Townshend said, “Roger and I are so glad to be out here at our age.”

So were we!

He went on to express appreciation for all the young fans in front of him. “You young ones, we love you for coming to see us,” he said. “It must be pretty tough out there for the old ones. Why don’t you make a little chair for them, and they can sit down and rest.”

I’d be offended, except for the fact that Townshend is 15 years older than I am!

In their finale, their 1970s anthem, “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” Daltrey nailed his famous big scream, to bring their set to a rousing close. Enjoy the video!

Roger Waters of Pink Floyd

deesert-trip-roger-watersThe night turned political when Roger Waters took the stage using it as a pulpit to express his feelings about the election, Trump, and Israel’s occupation in Palestine.

During his performance of “Another Brick in the Wall,” school-age children came onstage wearing T-shirts that read, “Derriba el muro” — Spanish for “Take down the wall.”

20161009_233100His set included classics like “Money,” Shine on You Crazy Diamond,” and “Wish You Were Here.”

He closed out the festival with his famous inflatable pig floating above the audience. This one had Trump’s face painted on the side with the words “ignorant, lying, racist, sexist pig.” Just in case you somehow failed to make the connection, the big screens flashed “Trump is a pig.”

Helpful Hints:

If you’re lucky enough to attend the second weekend here are a few tips:

Slightly excited to be there!

Slightly excited to be there!

  • Don’t come too early. It is still hot here in the California desert. The first day, my husband, my sister and I got there when the gates opened at 2:00 p.m. to stake out our seats. It was 98 degrees and the mile hike from day parking made me sick. Hardly anyone was there – and there wasn’t a huge difference in the grass section. However, don’t come too late either – the traffic and lines to get in can become annoying. About 4:00 is a good enough time to arrive in my opinion. If you do get there early, the photography exhibition has air conditioning and couches.
  • Again, it’s hot here. Use sunscreen, drink plenty of water, and put a wet bandanna around your neck to stay cool.
  • The combination of cigarette smoke, pot fumes, dust, and grass was not pleasant. Some people wore a paint mask, scarf or bandanna over their face. Not a bad idea, especially if you have any respiratory issues.
  • Thankfully, my son who has attended Coachella, warned me not to tighten your wristband too tight, because you can’t loosen it afterwards.
  • The lines for food and drinks in the grandstand areas on the side were longer and the staff unorganized. Eat and drink in the rear in the Twelve Peaks/General Admission area where the food is better and the lines shorter.
  • Some of the bathrooms were air conditioned, some not. Look for the AC ones – whatever you do, do not use the outhouses! (Unlike Coachella, we have this option. Catering to us older folks, I guess!)

Let’s Do It Again!

Three nights getting home around 2:00 a.m. is killing me this week. I don’t consider myself old at 55, but I ain’t exactly 20 anymore either. There’s definitely some recoup time involved.

Still worth it!

We baby boomers are a hardy bunch. There was a lot of discussion about the possibility of another event and who could perform.

My top choices: Elton John, Billy Joel, the Eagles, and Fleetwood Mac. Who would your dream team be? Please share in the comments below!

Posing in front of the Rolling Stones poster after the concert sadly ended.

Posing in front of the Rolling Stones poster after the concert sadly ended.

A big thanks to my husband, Scott Gorges, my son, Jonathan Gorges, and my sister, Joanie Hacker, who contributed photos and videos to make this post awesome!

Spreading Joy with Inspirational Messages

Are you tired of all the bad news lately? Seems like every time I turn on the TV there is another mass shooting. Then there’s the upcoming election news with all the nasty insults flying and disheartening debates.

Looking for the perfect uplifting anecdote? I read about a fun trend that is SkyROCKeting (hint,hint) across the country.

I found out about this motivational movement in an article about Hannah Barnes. She is 19 years old, lives in Texas, and is battling stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She endured six rounds of chemotherapy.

rocks-laughingBarnes and her cousin were on vacation in Houston and heard about a rock painting trend. People were hand painting stones with inspirational messages and hiding them in public places. Those lucky enough to find the painted rocks either relocated them or made their own to replace it.

They decided to start the tradition in their own community with a “Wilbarger County Rocks” Facebook page. Members post pictures of rocks they’ve found or plan to hide for others to locate.

The two young women claim that the creative act of painting a rock with an inspirational message and hiding it for someone else to find is downright therapeutic. The process took their mind off of negative things as they envisioned the looks of delight as their rocks were discovered.

The good news is that Barnes recently found out she is cancer free.

This idea is marvelously simple and some of the stories behind the movement are touching. The goal is to brighten someone’s day and spread a little happiness, love, and inspiration. Those that participate say the small gesture can make a huge difference in someone’s life.

painted-rocksThink of a less dangerous and more artistic version of Pokémon Go. Or a less complicated type of geocaching. The trend connects people and encourages them to explore their communities without a Smartphone. More like a treasure hunt.

A similar Facebook group was created by Cathy Tomko and Connie Quatermass in Kitsap County, Washington. Quatermass tells the story of how a man with cancer was on his way to a cardiologist appointment when he found a rock painted with a heart. The man was on his way to get his heart checked before beginning treatment. He received good news about his heart and says he’ll be carrying the rock in his pocket during his treatments.

Love it.

Ironically, it seems the rock painting trend began with a tragedy in Oregon. Susan Dieter-Robinson and Tom Robinson got married and their daughters, Anna Dieter-Eckerdt and Abigail Robinson, glued fabric in the shapes of hearts to rocks as decorations for the wedding. Tragically, the two girls were later killed in a hit-and-run crash. Their parents began painting and distributing similar rocks to honor the girls’ memory. In 2014, they launched the Love Rocks Facebook page.

So began a tradition that began spreading to other communities across the country.

Of course, many of these groups have some simple rules. That includes keeping artwork and comments positive and G-rated so children can participate and being respectful of private property, national and state parks, cemeteries, and businesses.

If you want to give this trend a try, you can use acrylic paint found in craft stores or Sharpies. Spray your rocks with a clear gloss spray paint to protect paint from the weather. Community rock groups are easily set up on Facebook if you’re so inclined.

good-job-stickerMessages can be short and simple: Don’t give up. You’re Amazing. Unleash Your Silly. You Are Brave. Live Your Dreams. Take a Moment and Breathe. Create. You Rock. Imagine. Forgive. Thrive. Stop and Smile. Pray. Dance in the Rain. Nurture Hope. Stay Curious. Believe. Be Fearless. Find Joy. Give Freely. Live in the Moment. Laugh Loudly. You Are Enough. Be Blissful. Seek Adventure. Take the Next Step. Let it Go. Relax. Try Something New. You’ve Got This. Have a Grateful Heart. Give Someone a Hug. Take a Chance.

If painting rocks isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other simple ways to brighten someone’s day.

Write down positive quotes and place them in library books for someone to find. Leave a workmate a compliment on a sticky note. Write a love note on the shower door for your spouse to discover. Etch a positive message in the sand. Put a love note in a lunch box for your child to read at school.

I’m sure you can come up with some ideas of your own. Just brighten up someone’s day!

Images, in order of appearance, courtesy of suphakit73, BJWOK, and David Castillo Dominici at

Five Ways Living Frugally Can Make You Happier

Unfortunately, we are a country of  credit card addicts.

On average, an American has $4,717 of credit card debt. Only 35% of credit card users don’t carry a balance. That means if you pay off your bill every month, like you’re supposed to, you are in the minority.

cheapskateFor most of our lives, my husband and I happily fit into that latter category. We lived debt-free with the exception of a mortgage and at times a car loan.

We wisely stayed out of credit card debt which was incredibly freeing.

Perhaps part of that reason is that we’re baby boomers.

Our generation was taught to stay home if we couldn’t pay for a trip with cash. The same goes with buying new furniture, designer clothes, the latest technical gadget, or unnecessary stuff we couldn’t afford. My father, who went through the Depression as a child, always taught me it was a huge no-no to fall into the trap of credit card debt.

In today’s world, however, it’s oh-so-easy to use plastic to pay for things we want. In addition, even with the best of intentions, sometimes debt is unavoidable. Credit card debt isn’t always a result of a lack of budgeting or over-spending. For example, a medical emergency or the loss of a job may leave people no choice. Recently, my husband and I were forced to use our credit cards for legal expenses.

This turn of events in our financial lives has motivated me to take a closer look at living more frugally. If you’re in debt and tired of the stress or just want to save more money for retirement, to travel, or to pay off your mortgage early, living more simple and prudently is certainly worth a look.

Why Live More Simply?

Living frugally or as a “cheapskate” may have a bad rap. Now, I’m not talking about reusing plastic bags, making my own shampoo, dumpster diving, or foraging through the forest for food like some of the cheapskate websites suggest. Kudos to you who have that kind of self-discipline, but I don’t have the time and patience for all that.

Just some simple lifestyle changes, such as eating out less, carefully considering purchases, and setting spending limits.

Still, making changes is never easy. Trying to adjust spending habits without good reasons to motivate you will likely fail, leading you to return to your old ways. So, let’s dig a little deeper on the benefits of living frugally for some inspiration.

Jeff Yeager has been dubbed the “Ultimate Cheapskate.” In his book, “The Cheapskate Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of Americans Living Happily Below Their Means” Yeager personally interviewed 300-plus self-described cheapskates. He noted that, surprisingly, for the vast majority, their decision to live a frugal lifestyle wasn’t based on money.

“Their attitudes and approaches to money were most often grounded in something bigger, such as spiritual, religious, or ethical beliefs,” Yeager writes in his book. “They weren’t hoarders or people intent on amassing a large bank account for the sake of having a large bank account. Rather, they were people who were content, by and large, with what they already had.”

Let’s examine what inspired these cheapskates more closely. What are some significant benefits of living frugally and debt-free?

charityNurture Your Spiritual Side and Help Others

If you live prudently, you’ll have more time and money to help others.

This may surprise you, but frugal people tend to be quite generous when it comes to giving to people in need as well as contributing to charities and other social causes. As you know, helping others is a surefire way to make you happier.

When you’re chasing the almighty dollar and working around the clock to support an extravagant lifestyle, it only stands to reason that your spiritual life will be pushed to the side.

If you’re a Christian, you may be familiar with Bible principles that tout the wisdom of keeping money in its proper place, being humble, content, and grateful, avoiding envy, the value of careful planning, and steering clear of borrowing. Living frugally will help you put all those principles to work in your life.

Living below your means will provide you enough wiggle room to do something meaningful with your money. In addition, when you live frugally you are more appreciative of what you have and learn to make the most of your resources.

Freedom to Live the Life You Want and Retire Early

“Let’s face it- being fashionable and hip is time-consuming,” Brook Raymond points out in his article, Frugal Living: Seven Hidden Benefits. “When you’re intent on always having the best, you have to spend time figuring out what that really means. You have to shop around. You have to read product reviews. You have to flip through consumer magazines to see what other people are wearing, doing, and using in order to get up-to-date on all of the hottest trends.”

True, true. When you’re not trying to keep up with the Joneses, you have more time for what really matters. You’ll be free to follow your dreams.

Debt is a burden that can sink you into despair. It can tie you down to a job you hate or a place you don’t want to live. You can easily become a slave to money and things – spending all your time working to keep up with your neighbors to the detriment of your family and other important relationships.

What’s your perfect day look like? I would bet it’s not slaving at a job all day to pay for things you really didn’t need in the first place. Perhaps it’s waking up without an alarm clock, doing something meaningful with your day, spending time playing with your kids or grandkids, or strolling through nature. Financial freedom is the ticket to do the things you really want out of life.

retireIf you’re older and still saddled with debt, in all likelihood, you’ll watch your retirement dreams slip away.

On the other hand, being frugal now means that you can put more away for retirement. Instead of spending your golden years working, you’ll have the freedom to spend time with your family, volunteer, travel, enjoy hobbies, garden, or any other number of pleasurable activities.

If you learn to live frugally now, you won’t be accustomed to an extravagant lifestyle that you’ll strive to maintain when you’re older. You can live on less and still be happy, which means there’s less to put away.

Sounds good to me!

Benefit the Planet You Live On

Here in California we’re in a severe drought, so our family has saved money and water by using artificial grass in our yard. Oh, I balked at the idea at first, but I adore the low maintenance and the much lower water bill. We also got off the grid with solar power which lowered our electric bill here in the hot desert by about $300 a month during the summer months. We planted our own garden and started a compost pile. Love it. The beauty of all that is it saves us tons of money while we’re helping the environment.

On average, each American creates approximately 4.38 pounds of waste or trash per day. That adds up quickly in an alarming way. If you live frugally, you’ll make fewer purchases which means you’ll throw away less. Instead of automatically tossing out stuff that stockpiles in landfills, you’ll find ways to fix, recycle and re-purpose things. Because you’re grateful for what you have, you’ll refuse to let things go to waste.

You’ll drive your old car for 10 years instead of buying a new fancy one every three years. During that time, you’ll save money so you can buy your next used car without going into debt. You’ll use fuel efficient cars or public transportation, reducing the greenhouse effect and global warming. You’ll find simple ways to use less electricity by turning down the thermostat, flipping lights off when not in use, and planting trees for shade.

You get the picture.

Enjoy the Benefits of Better Health

fit-as-a-fiddleObviously, people who live frugally tend to have lower stress levels, which we all know means better health.

In addition, eating simple, healthy meals at home saves a ton of money and is much healthier than fattening dinners at fancy restaurants. Buying fresh food and produce that is in season tends to be cheaper than packaged junk foods.

While saving money on gas, cheapskates walk or bike whenever possible which provides exercise with all its health benefits.

Using homemade cleaning products instead of all those chemicals is healthier and less expensive.

Be Happier, More Fulfilled, and Content

Spendthrifts, compulsive shoppers, and those trying to impress others often picture frugal people as tightfisted, Grinch-like, miserable types who pensively pinch every penny until the day they die.

However, that’s a misconception. Living frugally does not mean a life of deprivation. Quite the contrary, frugality can lead to happiness and make you more satisfied and fulfilled.

As Yeager writes in his first book, “I’m afraid we live in a culture that’s more concerned about amassing a quantity of stuff rather than amassing a quality of life.”

Studies have repeatedly shown that putting experiences before things fosters long-term feelings of happiness rather than brief bursts of excitement.

What have you got to lose? Try living more frugally and reap the benefits. Become part of the “cheap pride” movement. Make cheap the next cool.

Images in order of appearance, courtesy of Mister GC, hyena reality, and Stuart Miles, at


Five Ways to Keep Positive While You’re Sick

How’s my morning going? I just sneezed out a glob of mucus the size of a ping-pong ball. I’m snot feeling so good.


Oh, come on! Don’t look so appalled. Like you’ve never coughed up a loogie before. Even you prim and proper folk have snot – I know it!

So, I’ve caught my first cold of the season and it’s not pretty.

Last night was miserable. While I was trying to eke out five minutes of sleep – every time I rolled over, the phlegm flooded from one nostril to the other in a deluge. How does it do that? Is there some kind of secret tunnel between my nostrils? Now that I think about it, I totally took for granted breathing out of both my nostrils at the same time when I was well.

That was a mistake.

Anyhow, I woke up in the middle of the night and my loyal companion, the Kleenex box, was empty. I have fuzzy memories of squinting through blurry watery eyes at the back of my husband’s pajama shirt which suddenly appeared alluring as a solution to my problem. My beloved was snoring blissfully while I suffered alone, waging my war with all this goo and slime. It just seemed like too much work to get out of bed and find another Kleenex box in the dark. To blow or not to blow – that was the question.

I just can’t quite remember what happened next. I blame the cold medication. Well, whatever.

Getting back to my article, since adults get an average of two to four colds a year, typically between September and May, this is just the first and I have a few more snot fests to look forward to – oh goody!

Men have a reputation of being whiners when they’re sick, but I confess, I’ve done my share of complaining this week. I mean, really, how much snot can one person produce?

A lot, it turns out.

Our bodies make about a liter of mucus a day – and that’s when we’re well. That’s 34 whopping ounces, people! To compare, a Big Gulp has 28 ounces. If you’re sick, you produce even more.

Are you properly grossed out?

I had nothing better to do, so I checked out this article by Everyday Health’s article: Seven Facts About Mucus, Phlegm, and Boogers.

kleenixThe first fact was annoying. Snot and phlegm keep your nasal passages moist for protection and are actually full of all sorts of potent antiviral, antibacterial, and other protective chemicals that work to keep you healthy.

Like that’s supposed to cheer me up. Shut up! I don’t care if mucus is good for me. I hate snot!

Even so, that doesn’t keep me from talking about it – so let’s proceed…

Did you know that sneezes travel 30 to 60 miles an hour, and can fly 30 feet through the air? That fact was kind of fun. But, as soon as you sneeze some of the snot out, the body makes more mucus to replenish it. Bummer.

Okay, so I got off the subject. Don’t ask me why I find this stuff oddly fascinating. Maybe my stuffy head along with the cold medicine is making me a bit deranged.

So how do you stay somewhat positive while you’re sick?

Here are a few ways:

  • I’m guilty of this, but don’t grunge around in your three-day old pajamas and figure that there’s no need to bathe if no one is going to see you anyway. Take that long hot steamy shower and slather on your favorite lotion afterwards. Put on some pretty clothes that make you feel better.
  • Look at beautiful things. Venture out into the backyard if the weather permits and look at your garden. Surround yourself with things that soothe your soul – a pretty potted plant, a picture of happy times, or your favorite knick-knack. Keep the area around you tidy – throw those tissues away instead of allowing them to pile up like Mount Everest.
  • Drink lots of water and eat healthy. It’s good for you. Okay, you can indulge in a few comfort foods, you deserve it. But boundaries. After all, you don’t want to add guilt on top of all your miserable symptoms for eating an entire bag of potato chips that only made your stomach feel worse.
  • Don’t isolate yourself. Call a friend or family member who loves and puts up with you no matter what and have some fun whining. Post that you’re sick on Facebook and enjoy all the sympathy and well wishes you get.
  • Stay away from all those depressing tearjerker books and movies. If you’re lucky and have a day off, enjoy reading or watching something so compelling or funny or uplifting that it takes your mind off your misery.

And one more important tip. if you didn’t get this from the beginning of my blog – don’t lose your sense of humor. Remember, it’s always better to laugh than cry.

And if you thought I was through being gross, you were wrong. To help you chuckle, get ready for some good ol’ booger jokes. Share the cornball jokes with your kids and grandkids. They’ll love them!

Q: What do you call a skinny booger?

A: Slim pickins.

Q: How do you make a tissue dance?

A: You put a boogie in it.

Q: Where does your nose go when it gets hungry?

A: Booger King!

Q: If you were a booger…

A: I’d pick you first.

One more. I saw this funny tweet, you may have seen this before, but it still makes me smile:














Like the joke goes: I used up all my sick days, so I’m calling in dead.

I know, I know, I have one sick sense of humor! Bahaha-ahchoo!

Image courtesy of khumthong at

How the Recession Changed Our Viewpoint of Happiness

During the recession, our family civil engineering business took a nosedive. We went from 12 employees to two. The two remaining – my husband and my brother – both worked part-time.

recessionThis was a huge adjustment to our finances. The previous boom years provided the most income we’ve ever earned. In fact, our income was cut in half.

Instead of moping about it, my husband and I decided to take advantage of the extra time and became full-time ministers, learned sign language, joined a sign language congregation, and started doing volunteer work with the deaf community.

You know what? We were never happier.

That’s why I found an article, Post-recession Americans Don’t Need Money to Find Happiness, written by Courtney E Martin for the New York Post, last week so fascinating. In the article, Martin pointed out that “the American Dream is being remade in the wake of the Great Recession.”

“Just as necessity is the mother of invention, a recession can be the father of consciousness,” she wrote. “More and more of us are becoming conscious of the ways in which money, and all of the stuff it can buy, doesn’t reliably lead to happiness.”

recession-2Although Martin argues this isn’t a hippie movement, you baby boomers may relate to this concept.

Does it remind you a little bit of the 60s, when many thought society had been corrupted by capitalism and the materialist culture it created? Although a more radical time, during that tumultuous decade it dawned on many young people that while pursuing “success,” people lost sight of the more meaningful experiences life had to offer.

Seems some of those attitudes are with us again after the recession, causing profound changes in the way people work, think, and live.

How so?

Changes in the Workplace

A recent article from Inc. “10 Ways Your Office Will Change in 2016,” pointed out that the top search term in 2015 at was “part-time.”

“A growing number of white-collar workers are opting not to return to staff positions in the post-recession economy, working instead as contractors in roles that offer more flexibility but less security and benefits,” Beth Braverman wrote in the article.

And in many cases, less money, I would add.

recession-4In fact, a third of American workers free-lanced last year, with 60 percent of freelancers doing so by choice, according to a study by Upwork.

Once again, I am one of those people. A freelance writer who, in fact, does much of my work through Upwork, I’m apparently part of a growing crowd. In fact, it’s estimated that half of the US workforce will be freelancing by 2020.

I’m not getting rich, but I like the flexibility and the extra time it gives me to concentrate on spiritual matters, volunteer work, the important people in my life, and my health and well-being. Turns out, I’m not alone.

The recession taught many that there is more to life than climbing the ladder, working around the clock, and accumulating things that collect in garages and storage units.

I hope that as the economy recovers we don’t lose that insight.

Changes at Home

recession-3Many bought extravagant homes they could not otherwise afford and lost them during the housing bubble burst.

You know what? Those people learned that life went on. Buying that home they always “dreamed of” turned into a nightmare and many discovered it wasn’t worth all the stress that resulted.

Turns out that owning a fancy home wasn’t the answer to finding contentment, satisfaction, and joy after all.

In fact, home ownership rates are at their lowest since 1995. in the years since the housing bubble burst, many have come to the conclusion that home ownership isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be and are now renting a less expensive apartment instead.

Others opted for home ownership, but decided to downsize. This idea spawned the whole tiny house movement.

These days, more and more people are choosing experiences, adventures, and seeing the world over a big house with a huge mortgage.

recession-4Another popular alternative? Over 50 million Americans are living in multi-generational households and sharing expenses.

Our family fits into that category. For the past year, my husband and I have shared our home with our youngest son and his wife as well as our divorced oldest son and his three children.

Last spring, my youngest son and daughter-in-law moved up north. However, after an extended custody battle that left our oldest son financially devastated,  we still live with him and his three children.

Yes, it was an adjustment after being empty nesters for a couple of years. But you know what? In the end, we liked the arrangement.

After losing my mother as well as my mother-in-law last year, it was nice to have a safe, secure, and loving cocoon of family around us. The grandchildren cheered us up and kept us young.

Three houses down and across the street, my sister and her family live in a main house and my brother and my other sister live in two casitas on the same property. Yup, we got a regular family compound going and you know what? It’s working for us.

We’re not alone.

This multi-generational trend has even reached the White House, with Michelle Obama’s mother living with the President and his wife and often spotted shuttling grandchildren to school. The fact is, studies show that people who live in multi-generational homes actually like it.

Finding Balance

Of course, poverty doesn’t bring happiness either. After analyzing Gallup poll data, the Brookings Institute found that Americans who reported the lowest levels of well-being also made less than $2,000 a month, which coincides closely with the the federal poverty guideline level for a family of four.

However, wealth does not necessarily bring happiness either. An often-cited Princeton study from 2010 found that a salary of $75,000 per year was the level at which security and happiness reached a pinnacle, but that increases beyond that didn’t result in greater happiness.

Experts say being rich brings its own kind of suffering. Wealth can lead to sleepless nights of worrying as well as an unhappy family life and relationship problems. It can lead to comparing yourself to others, jealousy, or, in the language of the tenth commandment, coveting. The love of money can inspire greed and an insatiable appetite for more wealth which results in frustration and a lack of contentment.

Maybe that’s what some of us learned during the recession. Indeed, the old adage that money does not bring happiness turns out to be true.

Now that the economy is beginning to recover, let’s all resolve to remember that fact and I think we’ll all be a lot happier.

Do you agree? Has your attitude about life changed since the recession? Let me know in the comments below.

Images in order of appearancce, courtesy of David Castillo Dominici, scottchan, jk1991,    jscreationzs, and Ambro at

How Facebook Can Make Us Happier

Want to spread a little happiness to those you love?

FacebookAccording to a new study, simply leaving a personalized comment on a friend or family’s Facebook post can make them feel like they’re walking on sunshine and brighten their day.

New research conducted by Carnegie Mellon University and Facebook published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication suggests personal interactions on Facebook could make you just as happy as if you got married or had a baby. The study was based on 1,910 Facebook users from 91 countries during a three month period.

Really? I’ll admit a personal message or comment definitely perks me up, but are they saying it can make you as happy as having a baby?

Apparently. Turns out that some Facebook interaction reminding you of the people you care about in your life is good for you. The researchers found that 60 comments a month from close friends were linked to people reporting satisfaction akin to experiencing major life events.

The research debunks former studies that reported social media makes people depressed and lonely. Perhaps checking Facebook obsessively 300 times a day could be isolating and prevent you from having real relationships. As always, balance people! But the study shows that staying in touch with friends with a few positive comments is a positive thing for everyone involved.

Facebook LikeInterestingly, Facebook “likes” did not have the same power to alleviate negative feelings.

“We’re not talking about anything that’s particularly labor-intensive,” said co-author Moira Burke. “This can be a comment that’s just a sentence or two. The important thing is that someone such as a close friend takes the time to personalize it. The content may be uplifting, and the mere act of communication reminds recipients of the meaningful relationships in their lives.”

So there’s your assignment for the day. Take just a few moments to make an uplifting comment on one of your friends’ Facebook pages. Not a Facebook user? Pick up the phone or send a text to someone you love. You’ll feel happier for bringing some extra joy into someone’s life.

Images courtesy of arztsamui and Stuart Miles at


Making Your Bladder Gladder

As you get older, do you find that it’s tinkle time all the time?

As I wrote in an article for Hot Flash Daily, thanks to menopause and aging, I now pee more than my father with his enlarged prostate and my five-year-old granddaughter after drinking three glasses of apple juice.

Toilet 3In other words, suddenly I’m the old lady who never turns down a bathroom.

If you’re getting older – whether you’re a man or woman – you may be facing this issue as well.

Remember that line in the funny movie, Paper Moon? Addie (played by a young Tatum O’Neal) is trying to break up the romance between her father (Ryan O’Neal) and good-time gal Trixie Delight (Madeline Kahn) who says, “She always has to go to the bathroom! She must have a bladder the size of a peanut!”

Yup, that’s me. Even so, God forbid I utter that line that made my Mom cringe every time someone said it: Gotta pee.

According to the proper etiquette I was taught – and often shamefully ignore – even saying, “I must use the toilet” is way too vulgar. Toilet and pee should NEVER enter the conversation if you are a true lady. “I gotta tinkle,” is not even allowed.

ToiletEven worse? “Where is the john?” or “Where is the head?” or “I need to take a leak,” or “I’m going to take a whiz.” Any of those phrases may have made my Mom faint.

Or once again to quote the movie, Paper Moon, “This little girl has to winky-tink!” Nope, none of that.

By the way, have you ever wondered why we say, “I gotta pee like a racehorse?”

Turns out that poor racehorses are sometimes given diuretics so they get rid of all their pee and weigh less thus can run faster. That’s why before a race, you may see a bunch of horses peeing their brains out. Which is kind of cruel, right?

So, I say we put some diuretics in the tea of those in charge at the Kentucky Derby and see how THEY like peeing like a racehorse! Tee, hee. Did I mention that menopause makes me feel mean sometimes?

Anyhow, back to the subject at hand. Since the phrase, “peeing like a racehorse,” is not allowed either, the following were my mother’s suggestions for polite ways to say you need to expel urine from your bladder:

Toilet 4Tolerable options: “Can you please tell me where the restrooms are?” “I’m off to the loo.” “Can you direct me to the nearest water closet?” “I must visit the lady’s room.”

Better options: Vague terminology such as “May I ask, where are the facilities?” or “Nature is calling.”

Best options: “Excuse me, I need to wash my hands.” “I must excuse myself for a moment.” “I need to freshen up.” Or the ever-popular polite terminology: “Excuse me while I powder my nose.”

As you can tell, my Mom took after eloquent European women who only talk about Eau de Toilette when they’re referring to perfume they dab on pulse points.

My Mom sadly died a year ago and sometimes I miss hearing her chiding voice in my head, “Didn’t I teach you, it is never polite to refer directly to any excretory function, my dear.” God bless her.

But now that I’m in my 50s and my Mom is no longer here to control my rebellious ways, here are five of my favorite creative and fun ways of saying, “Gotta pee.”

Number One: “I gotta give my pee ration at the urination station.” (Love creative poetry.)

Number Two: “I must go oui oui.” (French style).

Number Three: “I need to squirt the dirt.” (Although this applies more to men, who says we women can’t accomplish it as well?)

Number Four: “Gotta shake the dew off the daffodil.” (Doesn’t hurt to throw some floral imagery in there.)

And drum roll – my favorite phrase I used for the title of this blog: “Gotta make the bladder gladder.”

If we have to pee more as we get older, we may as well have a sense of humor about it. So there you go. Sorry, Mom. A menopausal woman has to do what a menopausal woman has to do.

For more humorous and informational articles, be sure and check out Hot Flash Daily.

Images courtesy of artur84, nuttakit, and SweetCrisis at


How to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables to Boost Happiness

Your mother told you to eat your veggies. As usual, she was right.

Fruits and VeggiesWe all know that eating more fruits and vegetables makes us healthier, but now a new study from Australia suggests it can make you feel happier as well.

Researchers discovered that people who switched from eating almost no fruit and vegetables to eating eight servings a day felt an increase in life satisfaction similar to how an unemployed person feels after finding a job.

Yippee! I’ll take some of that!

More than 12,000 adults participated in this study and kept food diaries answering questions about their lives and their mental and emotional health. Those that increased their fruit and vegetable portions reported increased happiness within two years of the changes to their diets.

Happy Couple“Eating fruit and vegetables apparently boosts our happiness far more quickly than it improves human health,” study co-author Redzo Mujcic, a health economics research fellow at the University of Queensland in Australia, said in a statement.

The new findings may help doctors convince people to eat more fruits and vegetables, she added. “There is a psychological payoff now from fruit and vegetables, not just a lower health risk decades later,” he said.

Want to get on the happiness train? Here are six easy ways, according to Heather Mangieri, a nutrition consultant and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

#1 Start First Thing in the Morning

Start eating fruits and veggies at breakfast, Mangieri suggests. This is a recommendation I happen to follow already. Super simple. Just toss some frozen blueberries or diced bananas on top of your cereal or add to yogurt. Or add veggies to an omelet.

You can also use fruit to make a smoothie. Mangieri recommends using yogurt with no added sugar. “We have this heightened sense of sweetness just from overdoing it on sugars,” Mangieri says. We should try to get back to basics and let fruit be sweet enough for our taste buds, she adds.

#2 Keep Fruit and Veggies in Sight

Make fruits and vegetables visible to encourage everyone in your family, including yourself, to eat them, Mangieri says. Keep a fruit bowl in your kitchen. Put carrot sticks, snap peas, and celery in the refrigerator where you can see them along with some hummus for dipping. Yum!

#3 Frozen is Fine

Frozen vegetables, such as peas, broccoli, and carrots, are a great way to make sure you always have vegetables in the house, Mangieri says. They are easy to prepare and keep for a long time. Mangieri recommends steaming the vegetables and adding them to casserole dishes.

Frozen vegetables are usually just as nutritious as fresh ones , according to Keri Gans, who is a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

Salmon#4 Fill Half Your Plate with Fruits and Veggies

No measuring involved. The new USDA guidelines recommend filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables.

Center your meals on what vegetables you’ll eat and then think of what grains and protein to add, Mangieri suggests. Make fruits and veggies a focal point and you’ll have an easy time meeting the dietary recommendations.

#5 Add Fruit to Desserts

Let’s face it, we’re all going to indulge in some ice cream or cake sometimes. Of course, it pays to remember portion control when it comes to your sweets. But if you’re going to treat yourself, why not add some fresh berries on top?

“Fruits are nature’s natural candy,” Mangieri says. She recommends pureeing berries and adding them as a sauce to desserts.

So there you go! No time like the present to eat a little happiness. Grab a piece of fruit right now and be on your way to a more joyful day!

Images, in order of appearance, courtesy of Suat Eman, photostock, and mrsiraphol at