Author Archives: adguru101

About adguru101

Formerly a creative director and writer in NY and NJ ad agencies, I'm now a freelance writer living in Austin, TX. With this blog, I hope to reach "mid-century moderns" -- women born in the '50's -- with content and observations about the issues we deal with every day.

10 Habits That Lower Your HQ (Happiness Quotient)

You feel it in your gut when things are going well. And it’s equally gut wrenching when they aren’t. We’re often told that happiness is a choice, which can seem banal at best and downright condescending at worst. Who are these Pollyannas prattling on about looking on the bright side? Makes you want to swat them upside the head!

But although there will be times in our lives when stress, loss or illness make it understandably difficult to stay positive, some daily habits can either cause us to be miserable or reinforce our sense of gratitude, accomplishment, laughter and love.

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1. CLINGING TO TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS

While it’s easy to ignore many people we truly can’t stand – an obnoxious co-worker, for instance – it’s often harder to walk away from a friend, romantic partner or family member.

Relationships should be a two-way street based on mutual respect and the recognition that compromise is necessary when you each have different needs or desires. If you sense that some of your relationships are unbalanced, and you feel that you consistently give more than you get or that most encounters leave you feeling drained, it’s probably time to re-evaluate.

A frank conversation may put things back on track, or you may find that a time out leads to a lasting sense of relief when they’re not around to push your buttons.

2. TAKING EVERYTHING PERSONALLY

The bitter truth: Not everything is about you. If someone is rude it could be because they’re having a crappy day. The waiter didn’t screw up your order to punish you. When an opportunity falls through it’s not because you “always” have bad luck. Habitually casting ourselves as a victim inevitably makes us unhappy.

3. SECOND GUESSING

It’s a fact of life that not everyone will agree with your every decision. Take an honest look at your actions. When you do your best and act honorably you can feel secure in your choices, even if you don’t do or say what somebody else wants to hear.

4. BELIEVING IN “MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY”

You may the hero of your own story, but inflexibility won’t do you any favors. While it’s great to be confident, feeling overly entitled is sure to bite you in the ass at some point.

5. SAYING YES WHEN YOU MEAN NO

Don’t let anyone “guilt” you into doing stuff you don’t want to do. You’ll resent every minute! Guilt is a major happiness time-suck.

6. PUTTING YOURSELF DOWN

While endlessly bragging about (or exaggerating) your achievements is rude and boring, it’s equally important not to beat up on yourself. Be your own best cheerleader, celebrate your successes, and forgive yourself for the legitimate mistakes you make.

7. REINFORCING THE NEGATIVE

Sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes we’re irritated with our partners. Sometimes our kids drive us nuts. But although we may feel vindicated after an occasional bitch session, constant complaining is likely to leave us feeling angry and dissatisfied.

Instead of focusing on the negative, especially petty annoyances, seek out friends and partners who reinforce what’s going right, encourage your goals and are truly happy – not jealous – when life goes well for you.

And when you DO need to work through a troubling problem, try to envision a positive outcome rather than dwelling on what can go wrong.

8. ENDLESSLY WAITING

“I’ll move when I find the right job.” “I’ll travel when I have more money.” “I’ll dump him after (fill in the life event).” Putting things off until the “perfect” moment is b.s. Because, guess what, no such moment exists.

Start small. Read about that exotic destination or acquire a new skill. Put aside some money a little at a time. Whatever you can do to move forward today puts you one step closer than you were yesterday. Anything’s better than standing still, and…

9. GIVING IN TO FEAR

We may obsess over past failures, hold on to worries, or be terrified of change. But taking risks is part of life and rarely occurs without discomfort.

Don’t waste energy feeding your fears. Challenges help us learn, grow, and discover how strong and resilient we are.

10. COMPARING

Chances are, someone else is (smarter), (prettier), (richer), (more accomplished) than you are. After all, look at their perfect Instagrams.

Wait a second; those images are all highly curated! The truth is, comparisons only add value to your life when they inspire you. Envying a friend’s happy marriage? Start dating. Wish you had that guy’s career? Learn more about it.

IN CONCLUSION

One foolproof way to boost your HQ? Take time to appreciate the small stuff: your good hair day; that beautiful sunset; a hot bath; the fact that you still have (almost) all your own teeth.

And it never hurts to eat dessert first.

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Snark Attack: There’s No Such Thing As a Stupid Question

Wanna bet? Here are some of my favorites:

“Does it hurt?” I’m in the emergency room with blood pouring out of me. What do you think?

“Did you find everything?” If I’m already at the register, what do you suggest if I didn’t? Alternatively, “Did you find everything you were looking for?” Such as world peace, thinner thighs, true love, the hair I used to have??

“Would you like fries with that?” Duh.

“Have you eaten here before?” Unless the restaurant is wildly different from any other restaurant, what possible difference could it make?

“Would anyone care for a cocktail?” Do we LOOK like teetotalers?

“Is everything wonderful?” Usually asked when your mouth is full. If you haven’t sent it back, it’s probably fine. Possibly not worthy of superlatives, but edible.

“Does this make me look fat?” There is only one possible answer.

“Do you love me?” Again, only one possible answer.

“Do you have any regrets?” Who, past the age of 8, hasn’t done something they regret?

“Am I your first?” This one’s a trap, folks. Yes means you’re a naïve innocent nobody wanted before; no means you’re a slut.

“Your place or mine?” Yours — because if you’re a dud I can go home. If we’re at my place I might never get rid of you.

“Do you want to know a secret?” With all due respect to The Beatles, who doesn’t? Similarly, “What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?” Why on earth would I tell you that?

“Is it mine?” We’re both white and the baby’s black. What are the odds?

Which leads me to…

Classic Howlers

Check out this link. I particularly like “How am I sure I’m the real mom of my kid?” The writer is asking because the baby doesn’t look like her but looks like her husband; she’s scared he was cheating on her with another woman. You have to read it to believe it.

This one’s funny, too.

What are your favorite dumb questions? (Besides this one.)

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Images from pixabay.com

Beauty Report: Cellulite — New Help For An Old Problem

About 90% of women develop lumpy, bumpy “orange peel” tissue on our hips, thighs and butts at some point in our lives, often due to hormones, poor lymphatic circulation and other factors like plain bad luck. (Men get it too, but may not care as much!)

It all happens within the fat just below the skin’s surface, a.k.a subcutaneous fat.  Bands of fibrous tissue connect the top later of skin to deeper tissues. When fat deposits push through the connective tissue, you get those characteristic little pockets or dimples. Ugh.

Help’s on the way, though I can’t personally attest to their effectiveness.

See Your Derm

A treatment called Cellfina was FDA approved in 2015 and is said to be minimally invasive. A numbing cream is applied before a needle-thin blade cuts the fibrous bands under the skin with little or no bleeding.  Most effective for the butt and thighs, patient satisfaction is quite high: In one clinical study, 94% of patients were still happy with the results after two  years and 93% were still happy three years later.

Visit the Spa

Handheld radio-frequency tools liquify enlarged fat cells and promote collagen production.  For best results, expect to need multiple treatments over a few months.  An acupuncture specialist may recommend cupping, an ancient Chinese method that improves lymph drainage while breaking up fibrous tissue.  And regular deep tissue massage can help too.

DYI at Home

A microneedling tool such as GloPro comes with two rollers: one for the face and a larger one for the body.  By creating tiny pinpricks in the skin, microneedling stimulates collagen growth, which can minimize the appearance of cellulite.  Follow up with a hydrating lotion to smooth things out even more.

I’ve had my GloPro for a year and never thought to try it on my bod.  Watch this space!

 

Hello, Gorgeous: Why You Need a Sheet Mask

Do try this at home… when you’re alone! The sight of you in a sheet mask could wilt the ardor of the most enthusiastic suitor.

(Think somewhere between Hannibal Lechter and The Mummy.)9547364_fpx

Scary factor aside, I’m addicted to these soft cloths for quick pampering and especially love the ones from Japanese brand SKII.

Reviewers consistently give them high marks for addressing concerns such as:

  • Dryness
  • Dullness and uneven texture
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Loss of firmness and elasticity

Admittedly, SKII is pricy, but I can get at least two uses out of each sheet since they’re well saturated. (Definitely worth it to buy the larger quantity and use monthly.)

How They Work

While traditional cream or gel masks sit on the skin and slowly sink in, a sheet saturated in the same active ingredients increases absorption by pushing them in more deeply. Soft cellulose masks including many cost-friendly Korean brands drape over facial contours  like a second skin. After you’ve removed the mask, rub in any excess liquid and apply a moisturizer to lock in the treatment.

Power Up

Always “add” to a mask by layering extra treatments underneath, say the experts. Before you slip under the sheet, prep your skin with any of the following:

  • Vitamin C, for general skin brightening and radiance
  • Hyaluronic Acid or any hydrating serum, to add instant moisture
  • A few drops of oil for dry, jet-lagged or post-sun skin

Lighter textures tend to work more efficiently, as the active ingredients are more easily absorbed into your skin.

Apply Pressure

Pressing down over the mask – or using a massaging beauty roller — helps the ingredients penetrate the top layer of skin smoothly and evenly.

Chill Out or Warm Up

Store your sheet masks in the fridge, as anything cool will quickly de-puff, smooth and firm up your face, which is ideal first thing in the morning or before an event. Conversely, using a warmed mask helps release tension and relax the face, and can even smooth out expression lines (temporarily of course). Fill your sink with warm water and submerge the packet before opening.

On My Wish List

Charlotte Tilbury’s Instant Magic Facial Dry Sheet Mask sounds intriguing. One reviewer wrote: “Infused with glow-giving, skin-plumping ingredients, the real beauty of these is that you can also wear them over makeup (unless your skin is very oily) to give the most incredible radiance to makeup and an almost porcelain finish to skin.”  She suggests wearing the mask for ten minutes over your finished look – even while being driven to a dinner or party, and whisking it off as the car is parked.

Personally, I’m not sure anyone should take the Hannibal Lechter look out in public – wet or dry – but I’ll bet her skin looked fabulous.

Traveling With Others/Business Edition

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In the rest of life you can choose your travel companions. A business trip is more of a crapshoot, some crappier than others. Do these descriptions remind you of any of your co-workers?

It’s All About Me. This person schemes ahead to make sure they get the best airline schedule/hotel room/seat assignment/you-name-it… even if they are junior to the rest of your group. WTF?

IAAMs often have menu demands that have nothing to do with food allergies or legitimate needs. “Instead of French fries I want twelve organic Zanzibar zucchini spears; ¼” thick, blackened but not burnt, no salt, just a dusting of imported turmeric.” Expect this to be sent back to the kitchen regardless.

The Road Hog. Ever had to ride with a really terrible driver who insists on doing all the driving while flipping the bird and swearing at anyone who passes him, oblivious to the gun rack on the other guy’s vehicle?

The Loudmouth. With or without alcohol, the LM manages to alienate everyone in the vicinity by screeching at the top of her lungs on a continual basis. It’s even worse if you’re traveling internationally — because we really need to reinforce that Ugly American stereotype, right?

 The Expense Account Cheat. I don’t know if people still get away with this, but I can remember several occasions when co-workers justified personal items as business “necessities”.  Like you need designer sunglasses because you left yours at home? C’mon. It’s raining.

The Dawdler. No matter how important the presentation, meeting, shoot or whatever, this individual keeps everyone else waiting. ‘Cause you’re not stressed enough already?

Rude-y, Rude-y, Rude-y. He snarls at the waitstaff, desk clerk, cab driver. You stare at the ceiling, hoping nobody will think you’re together.

Forgetful Frank (or Felicia). You gave them the list. You checked it twice. They still managed to leave a critical part of the presentation back in the office. Now it’s ten minutes ’til showtime and you are frantically texting your assistant to e-mail you the document you need before you make an utter ass of yourself.

The Leech. You have a precious few hours of downtime. Your colleague clings to you like plastic wrap. Is he timid? Lonely? An inexperienced traveler? Do you honestly give a s***?

Ethelred The Unready. They have one job to do. You have gone off to take an urgent call from your boss. You return to discover that they a) revealed the one thing they weren’t supposed to reveal, b) didn’t get the crucial shot and now the film crew has moved on to a new location, or c) agreed to an impossible timeline which forces you to backpedal  and convince everyone that the necessary delay is their own idea.

Mr./Ms. GrabAss. “Oooh, we’re out of town. Of course you want me to hit on you even though you’ve never shown the slightest interest before.” They’re THAT irresistible? Mmm, no.

Happy trails!