Hanes® approached me late this summer with an offer I simply couldn’t refuse. They sent a pair of Hanes® SilkReflections for me to try, and three pairs to giveaway to you, dear readers! But wait for it. Here was my experience first.

I opted to wear them during yet another trip to the office supplies store for my kids the first week of school in mid-September. It was the eighth trip in five days and I was feeling a little out of control, if you know what I mean. The panythose’s silky run resistant sheerness was, well, sheer pleasure as the control top allowed me to slide neatly into a skirt I wasn’t sure would fit (it was a great summer after all – a five-week sabbatical I’ve blogged about ad naseum). Thanks to Hanes®, the skirt fit just fine.

I was going to wear these shoes, but only did for the picture. After all, a power of slow mom has her limits (and I wore them for a role as a mean pimp recently on a cop show so I needed to give them a rest). I chose a smaller heel to dash (slowly) to the store for the sake of my children’s education.

I swear the store clerk winked at me. He never does that. It must have been all that silky leg I showed.

So here’s how to enter for your pair of Control Top Sheer Toe silky sheer hosery (a $10 value!):

Leave a comment telling me one thing you’ve done to slow it down a notch this week, month, season. I have three pairs to give away so let’s hope we get lots of input! Then I’ll draw three names from the hat, alert you, mail them, and feel really good about myself for passing on the sheer joy.

So let’s do this. Shall we? 🙂

Editor’s Note (October 4, 2011): CONGRATS to Jenny, Ashly and Kimberly for winning a pair of Hanes® SilkReflections!!

Life’s Little Surprises

September 28, 2011

You wake up an hour later than you thought.

Your job description has been turned on its head.

The weather takes a sudden turn.

Change, and the way its managed, can impact our lives more than we realize. As I recently read somewhere, long-term success is not based on what you do right, but what you do when things go wrong.

Life’s little surprises hold a nugget of wisdom we often cannot see. The day I got up a full hour later than I had intended, I managed to get to the TV studio earlier than anyone else.

How was that possible?

It’s a little secret I am about to share. If you take it on, magic will happen. Wait. Before you turn the dial (or click the mouse), hang on. It is real.

It is called time abundance, embracing time so you have more of it. I literally did what was necessary instead of fretting about what I could or could not change. And the full extra hour of sleep kept me focused as I drove down the autobahn (at the speed limit!) without any distractions. No radio. No CD. No cell phone. Nada. I simply looked at the road and assured myself that I would arrive at the exact time I needed to. And wouldn’t you know? I did!

When your job takes a new direction, see it as an opportunity to learn something new. It’s a stretch, for sure. Change is merely the cause for bringing back into our awareness that things happen just as they should. We are reminded in those moments that uncertainty lurks just beneath our consciousness at all times. We work with probabilities. This or that will probably happen. We rest in the hope that it will.

The weather is a great example of how we have tried to harness the wind with our metrics and gizmos. Can we ever really know for certain whether things will happen as we think? All we can really do is raise the likelihood that they will.

One never really knows. And that is the beauty unfolding.

Life is full of little surprises. They are treasures wrapped in mystery. When we meet them with wonder, life takes on a fullness that can mend our broken hearts and restore us to whole.

Take a moment today to reside in that wonder. I bet you’ll be surprised at what you find underneath.

Post-trip blues? U R not alone. Many Americans feel sad about returning to work after time off. The answer? Plan the next trip! http://ow.ly/6G4ic

Flu season is upon us. As my eyes swell shut and my throat feels like daggers, I am reminded that prevention is the best medicine (along with laughter, but that’s another story). If you want to avoid the flu this season, check out what WomansDay has to say in their October issue. They offer up really practical advice about how to avoid germs in public places, including bathroom stalls (always opt for the stalls on either end of the row. They are used less – statistically speaking). Remember to wipe down those frequently used items like your phone and your remote control. Believe it or not, they house bacteria, just like your kitchen sponge. Believe me. Once you read the article on how to avoid germs, you will never use the same sponge for wiping counters as for cleaning dishes!

Why am I so SAD?

September 20, 2011

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as the “winter blues”, is known to be caused by the lack of sunlight in the winter months. Its symptoms include irritability, weight gain, lethargy, and mood swings.

Experts do not agree as to the prevalence of the syndrome. While some purport that over 10 million are affected in the United States alone, others say that there is a lifetime prevalence of 10%, meaning that 10% of all individuals are affected by the disorder in some way. Regardless of the actual numbers, there is a general consensus that it is a world wide condition that affects millions of people each year.

According to Dr. Arnold Licht, Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry, Long Island College Hospital, Brooklyn, New York, 75% of all SAD sufferers are women. In his view, it is not only light deprivation, but also an “innate vulnerability that lead to the syndrome.” Women are more susceptible to depression over all.

What types of things can women in particular do to combat the winter blues? Dr. Carol Kaufmann, instructor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, suggests that women in particular should increase their self-care during the winter months. “We are biological-social-emotional- beings Anything we do to increase our internal resources helps the balance of our lives.” Dr. Licht suggests regular exposure to sunlight and exercise. “Natural light is the best even on overcast days, and an outdoor walk in the sun of about an hour is great.” He recognizes, however, that not everyone has that much time outdoors, especially in the winter time when days are short, and the nights are long.

In such cases, Dr. Licht has an answer, too. “Exposure to bright light of 30 minutes daily is best provided through the use of commercial ‘light boxes’. This must be done regularly or it will not work. Affected individuals who work in windowless buildings are greatly in need of this type of light exposure.” For more information about “light boxes,” you can visit this Web site.

For more severe cases, Dr. Licht reports that an appropriate dosage of medicine and cognitive behavioral therapy can assist SAD sufferers to lead normal lives.

“Some patients,” comments Dr. Licht, “with established patterns do very well by starting their antidepressant meds in late August or early September tapering off with the increase in light with the coming of early spring.”

Moving Beyond Depression author Dr. Gregory L. Jantz might not agree. His whole-person approach to healing involves a rigorous examination of each individual’s condition that involves nutrition as well. He not only treats people with SAD, but also with other types of clinical conditions such as eating disorders and sexual addiction. He argues that each person’s path into depression is unique and therefore each person’s path out of it would be, too. His healing center, simply called, The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, Inc, treats the entire individual, inside and out.

Another simple way to get over the dumps while you’re waiting for your light box to arrive? Listen to uplifting music. BeliefNet is featuring a few great videos to help you get your mojo back!

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Work with What You’ve Got

September 18, 2011

As autumn returns to the Northern Hemisphere, I always get extreme nesting symptoms to the beat of the descending leaves that blanket my lawn. It is also the time of year in which local communities hold children’s bazaars to earn money for schools or charity projects. In return, we get a stand somewhere on an auditorium floor to sell our kids’ old things.

“Time to batten down the hatches, mates!” I bellowed with mop in hand recently. The kids got that fearful look in their eyes.

“Oh no. Mom’s on another purging spree.”

After an entire year of toy domination in one particular part of our house, I was ready to reclaim the space as the reading nook it was meant to be (and has never been). My daughter wanted to earn some cash for a new cell phone so I asked her what skill sets she had and how she planned to earn the money to buy one. She came up with some impressive ideas, including pet sitting, baby sitting and helping around the house more. Then she eyed her most valuable toys that had done a great job gathering dust over the last twelve months.

“Let’s sell all my Playmobil stuff.” And so we set about putting all the hundreds of pieces in their right order, each belonging to a specific set, and put them on eBay. People are bidding like crazy and my daughter has well exceeded her financial goal.

“Work with what you’ve got,” I told her as we manned the bazaar booth that showcased her old clothes. She worked the people, offering fashion advice and giving away a free children’s magazine for every purchase made, no matter how small. I was quite proud of her for her slow crawl to financial freedom.

As I cast a view across the dozens of tables that overflowed with things, I realized the less we possess, the more we have.

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Contagion is not just a movie

September 12, 2011

The movie Contagion is all the rage right now (thanks, Gwyneth!). But there is another kind of contagion we need to be thinking about as we enter the flu season.

Family Values @ Work, a national network of state coalitions fighting for paid sick days and paid family leave, created a great seven-minute video that highlights just a few examples of the 44 million Americans who have gone to work sick because they couldn’t afford to stay home.

Some shocking stats as cited on Family Values @ Work’s Web site:

  • During the H1N1 outbreak, 7 million Americans caught the flu from their co-workers, due in large part because of the lack of paid sick days.
  • More than 44 million workers do not have paid sick days while only 19 percent of low-wage workers have access to any paid sick days at all.
  • Workers earning low-wages are the least likely to have paid sick days.
  • Many workers with a significant interaction with the public do not have paid sick days. This includes three in four food service workers, three in five personal health care workers and three in four child care workers.
  • 1 in 6 workers have been fired or threatened with being fired for taking time off work to care for a personal or family illness.

Let’s help turn the US workplace into a human place to be. In sickness and in health.

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Terror has no place here

September 11, 2011

If you have a living memory of this day ten years ago, it is a day you will never forget. The atrocities, the suffering, the heroism and the long-lasting impact of September 11th have forever marked our world’s landscape.

It was also the day that air travel changed. Forever.

For anyone who has had to nearly disrobe at security, suffer the scrutinizing scorn of a guard who thinks your ten-year-old might be hiding something under his hat or feel the pervasive insecurity of being airborne for, you hope, the entire flight, the wave of terror still rings in our ears.

You may have watched the tributes, read the decade-later stories or even attended a commemorative service today. But one thing I would like to mention is that humanity lives on — even in the face of such inhumane events.

When my son boarded a United Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Chicago recently, he proudly wore his pilot’s hat. The stewardess suggested we meet the captain at the end of the flight. I thought perhaps he would come out of the cockpit and meet us in the safety of the jetway. But no, he invited us into the cockpit itself. I got to take a picture of my son sitting in the co-pilot’s seat. I even was allowed to flip a few switches to which the pilot mock-yelled “Don’t touch that one!” after I had. I jumped a foot in the air (which is hard to do in the confines of a cockpit). He was as kind as could be and even though we had under sixty minutes to meet our connection to Munich, I took the time because I wasn’t sure if my son would ever get to live in a world that allowed this again.

The kindness of the United Airlines folks goes further. Because a gate crew member reminded my husband that his frequent flyer miles had not yet been recorded, Husband asked for the crew to record his miles at the gate in Chicago. And from that request came another offer, this time from Lufthansa (our connecting airline): a free upgrade to Business Class, which Husband graciously offered to me.

Kindness goes around and around, from the ground crew to the air crew to the next one at O’Hare.

There is humanity in this world, even at airports and on airplanes. Terror has no place where love can grow so beautifully. And it can grow anywhere. Even in a cockpit four feet wide.

Unsticking the Stuck

September 10, 2011

The other day I was tasked with a quick-turnaround piece that someone asked me to write. My head had been filled with a variety of topics so by day’s end I felt fried. Stepping away from my desk, I decided to engage in some manual labor to get my mind off my thoughts and my hands on something I could actually feel. The act of dipping the watering can into the rain barrel felt like a christening of sorts. I could feel the fog peel away from my brain as I walked to and from the barrel to feed my indoor plants.

By the time I had dipped my hands into the sink to wash up a few dishes, an idea flashed across my mind about how I could approach the writing assignment. Fifteen minutes later I had whipped up something I thought mightily presentable.

People often say they get their best ideas in the shower. Research shows that a rested mind is a creative one. So the next time you are stuck, push yourself away from your normal surroundings and go somewhere new. You might just get that lightning bolt of inspiration that was lurking behind the door. Only this time you’ll have the key to unlock its glory!

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Shift happens.

September 6, 2011

Shift happens.