Good News Monday: 5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Bones

Despite alarming statistics (during their lifetimes, 50% of women over 50 in the US will suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture), there’s a lot we can do.

  1. Lift weights. In addition to your usual strength training regimen, try HiRIT (High Intensity Resistance and Impact Training) twice a week for 30 minutes, lifting heavier weights more slowly in a variety of moves.
  2. Eat Mediterranean. The general rules of this diet: high amounts of fruits, veggies, grains and olive oil; moderate fish and wine; low meat and dairy. In research, postmenopausal women who ate this way were less likely to have lower bone mass.
  3. Go probiotic. Increasing “good” bacteria in your gut reduces intestinal inflammation, which is linked to bone degrading activity.
  4. Say hello to yoga. It improves overall strength, coordination, balance and range of motion. And in a 2016 two-year study of women whose average age was 68 when they started, daily yoga was more effective at improving spinal bone density than medication.
  5. Step to it. In another study, adding 1,415 extra steps a day increased bone density, especially in the hip.  And just a minute or two of daily weight-bearing activity triggers the release of chemicals that rebuild bone. Dance, run, jump rope or climb stairs to boost your heart rate as well as your bone density.
    selective focus photography of skeleton

    Photo by Chris J Mitchell on Pexels.com

    (Adapted from September O magazine article by Karen Asp)

Unboxing: One of Life’s Small Pleasures

I’m a sucker for a great presentation.  And what’s more enjoyable than ordering something you want or need, and having it arrive beautifully packaged? Suddenly, it’s a special occasion that’s all about YOU.

My old passport case was getting a bit ratty, and it was a dark brown, always difficult to find in my bag. I finally found what I wanted online and decided to treat myself.

  1. Plain carton arrives.  I know what’s in it so no surprise there, right?
  2. But… when I open it, a beautiful card pops up on the lid.IMG-1347.jpg
  3. Cool! This has my initials on it. IMG-13484. A box within a box…IMG-13495. And now, the box my item is actually in….IMG-13506. Safely protected in its little pouch…IMG-13517.  The perfect shade of red.IMG-13528. With lots of room for credit cards and money too.IMG-1353 (1).jpg

Why shouldn’t something practical also be beautiful? Just looking at this makes me eager to plan my next trip abroad.

Treat yourselves to a great weekend, dear readers! xoxo, Alisa

Good News Monday: Ailing Orchids

Admittedly, this is not everyone’s #1 healthcare priority, but I was amused to read about Chadwick’s orchid “hospital”, which restores problematic plants to their former glory.

For a $2.00 per month boarding fee, the Richmond, VA shop will nurture your sick orchid in their greenhouse until it blooms again. Each flower receives a “physical” when it arrives, and is checked for conditions such as excess sun exposure and overhydration. Repotting, if needed, may cost a bit more.

Chadwick’s top tip: Keep plants in indirect light and water them only with warm water. They are tropical, after all.

pink and white orchids

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Reflections on #ThemToo

I recently learned of sexual misconduct allegations against someone who used to be a good friend.

Although I am unfamiliar with all the sordid specifics or accuracy of these allegations, they don’t align with this individual’s character as I knew it.  That doesn’t mean they aren’t true, but they just don’t jibe with my own experience.

As I was attempting to wrap my head around this, I started thinking about other victims we don’t hear about: an accused person’s friends and family. They may or may not have been aware of a problem.  They may or may not have been complicit.  But surely they must be experiencing some fallout themselves — perhaps from friends, family, colleagues or neighbors who want to distance themselves from someone connected to scandal.

That’s a pretty lonely place to be.

My point is, it’s always more complicated than the headlines suggest.  And maybe, amongst all our collective outrage, we might spare a little compassion for #themtoo.

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Good News Monday: Even One Exercise Session Has Benefits

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A single exercise session that ups your heart rate can lower blood pressure, improve sleep, reduce anxiety and improve insulin sensitivity on the day you do it.

The big benefits such as lowering your risk of many chronic diseases and cancers start adding up within days or weeks of starting regular physical activity.  The current guidelines are:

  • Move more, sit less. Some physical activity is better than none.
  • Spread aerobic activity through the week. Aim for at least 2.5 -5 hours of moderate intensity or 1.25 – 2.5 hours of vigorous intensity.
  • Strength train at least twice a week. Your bones, joints and muscles need love!
  • Add balance training as you get older.  Yoga, tai chi and other activities help prevent falls.
  • Anyone with chronic conditions should be as physically active as
    their abilities and conditions allow.
  • Pregnant? Stay moderately active, per your doctor’s advice.

What’s moderate vs. what’s vigorous? Per the guidelines, moderate activity means you’re breathing hard and can hold a conversation, but you can’t sing. (OK, some of us can’t sing no matter what.) “Vigorous” means you can’t get more than a couple of words out without a breath.

Exercise with others and live longer! A recent Mayo Clinic study of more than 8500 participants found that playing team and partner sports added years to their lives vs exercising alone:

  • Tennis: +9.7 yrs
  • Badminton +6.2 yrs  (I am not making this up)
  • Soccer +4.7 yrs
  • Jogging +3.2 yrs
  • Gym +1.5 yrs
  • Group exercise classes or clubs also boost longevity
panoramic view of people in bicycles

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In Praise of the Bolide, a “Stealth” Hermès Bag

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Can anything “Hermès” ever be truly under the radar?

While those of us who are familiar (dare I posit, “obsessed”?) with the brand can likely identify almost any bag, belt, piece of jewelry etc. the house makes, even someone uninterested in fashion can likely recognize a Kelly or Birkin bag, due to endless media coverage of the KarTrashians, et. al.  For some, the association with celebrities — and the difficulty of buying these styles without a long relationship with a boutique sales associate — can make these bags too “in your face” and diminish the appeal of even the most beautiful design.

What to do if you love the house but don’t want to be seen as someone who buys into the hype? In my opinion, the Bolide offers the perfect combination of Hermès history and impeccable craftsmanship in a style less likely to telegraph your income or invite unwanted commentary. It’s also a more user-friendly style than the fussy Kelly or the “I’m so wealthy I can leave my bag open and not worry about pickpockets” Birkin.

The Bolide bag has a glamorous yet practical history, dating back to 1923 when Emile-Maurice Hermès created it for his wife — the first handbag designed with a newfangled invention called the zipper.

In 1916, M. Hermès had traveled across North America. In the course of these travels, he met Henry Ford, toured his many automobile factories, and discovered an ingenious fastening mechanism used on the cloth top of a car. Hermès returned to Paris with a two-year patent for the zipper, planning to adapt this odd skeletal sliding system for use on leather goods, hand luggage, and suitcases.

By 1923, the French fashion house was ready to introduce a carryall that replaced traditional metal clasps with a zippered compartment. This simple yet innovative motoring bag kept jewelry and other valuables safe at high speeds, and could be easily stowed in the trunk of a sports car.

Originally called the sac pour l’auto, the bag was later renamed the Bolide, the 16th-century word for meteor. As automobiles became more ubiquitous and the Bolide design was adopted and customized for car, train and transatlantic travel, Hermès became associated with speed and elegance in motion.

A smaller version — a true handbag rather than a carryall or travel case — debuted in 1982 with its characteristic dome shape, single zip closure, removable leather shoulder strap and a padlock with keys in a leather covering called a clochette.

Hermès is known for its many different leathers* — some no longer produced — which give the Bolide two distinctive shapes and look. Mou, in soft leather such as taurillon clemence, tends to be more casual, while the Rigide is sturdier and harder.

Often spotted in Paris and Tokyo, the Bolide remains a timeless example of understated chic. Plus, I love the fact that you can buy online if you don’t happen to live near a boutique. With the current trend towards smaller bags, the 31cm and 27cm are perfect day sizes depending on how much you lug around with you, while the mini 1923 is a really cute evening option. The larger 35cm, not available on the Hermès website these days, is often available (and less expensive than the 31cm) on the secondary market. And if you’re looking for a larger travel or business size bag, the 45cm can easily fit a small laptop computer or iPad.

L’amour, toujours!

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Bleu Abysse taurillon clemence “mou”, left. Rouge H vache liegée “rigide”, right.

 

*Current Bolide leathers, per the Hermès website:

Volupto calfskin (1923 Mini)

A transparent, very sensual, delicately satiny heritage leather similar to the leather used for clothing. Its extreme suppleness and minuscule, barely visible grain are the result of a long drumming procedure.
First appeared in the collections: 2013
Appearance: Quite smooth; satiny; mottled; clearly visible natural characteristics; subtly contrasting wrinkles
Feel: Silky and slightly waxy
Hand: Very supple; no roundness; richly sensual; full
Change over time: Softens; acquires a patina; darkens; becomes shinier in areas most handled. Gains resistance as patina develops

Swift calfskin (Bolide 27)

This extremely supple, sophisticated leather is named after Jonathan Swift, the author of Gulliver’s Travels, to highlight its resemblance to Gulliver calfskin, which no longer features in today’s collections.
First appeared in the collections: 2004
Appearance: Almost smooth with a delicate shine; lightly marked grain that is sometimes hardly noticeable
Feel: Soft and tender
Hand: Supple and generous
Change over time: Becomes even more supple

Taurillon Clemence leather (Bolide 31)

Named in tribute to the daughter of the designer who introduced it into the collections, this leather was developed for luggage and is the ultimate example of a grained leather that has been drummed. This process softens the skin and brings a generous grain to the surface.
First appeared in the collections: 1992
Appearance: Semi-matt, generous and irregular grain
Feel: Soft and smooth
Hand: Yielding
Change over time: Becomes more supple

Taurillon Novillo leather (Bolide 1923 – 30)

This leather has a tiny marked grain and is appealingly responsive at heart. In Spain, where this leather originates, “novillo” means “bullcalf”.
First appeared in the collections: 2015
Appearance: Tiny, uniform grain and a satin effect
Feel: Waxy
Hand: Supple, full and responsive
Change over time: Becomes satiny and more supple

 

Is Every Day Cosplay?

One of my favorite aspects of blogging is how many new things I learn from my fellow bloggers: history, book recommendations, recipes, philosophy, etc.

This week, I was introduced to the term, “cosplay”, which has been in use for over a decade but had not blipped across my radar. For anyone else unfamiliar with this word, it’s an amalgam of costume + play, and is defined as the practice of dressing up as a fictional character from a comic book, movie, book, TV show or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and anime. For some, their alter egos may emerge only at conventions; others dress up whenever the mood strikes, which may include sometimes dressing as men and sometimes as women.

Reading about this, I wondered: Don’t all of us, to some degree or another, “dress up” for our forays into the wider world?  We sheathe ourselves in the armor of a well-fitting suit, feel braver, and do daily battle in the role of “successful businessman” or “boss”.  We wear designer clothes and appear richer than we might really be.  Some of us are drawn to clothes from our youth, such as bohemian styles that telegraph: Yes, I may work in a corporate job but I’m basically funky.

My own natural inclination is a “uniform” of jeans and a silk shirt or cashmere sweater.  I gravitate towards scarves and accessories that make me feel pulled together at even the most casual gathering. Put me in a dress or skirt and I’ll never feel 100% like “me”.  And at heart I’ll always be a New Yorker, so black is my favorite color. The occasional bright or pastel I wear probably has some element of role-play attached to it.

I’ve now lived in Texas nearly ten years — who’d-a-thunk-it?!– but I would definitely be cosplaying if I pulled on cowboy boots, even if I looked like everyone around me.

How about you? Does your outside match your authentic self? Does it vary? Please share!

shallow focus photography of person wearing multicolored costume

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