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Happy New Year!

1 Jan

What better day than January 1st, to start a 365-Day Happiness Challenge?  Not every item is for everyone…i.e. I will not be trying Nail Art, but, perhaps I will, again, wear some of my favorite things!  Like I try and do every day.  And, I will Not be getting a “new tattoo”, as I don’t have an old one and will keep things that way.  Like many items I blog or pirate, these are just ideas.  Even if you can get a few nuggets from this my job is done!

Happy, Happy New Year!!  Start the year off on the right foot.




The Best is Yet to Come…Happy New Year!

31 Dec


I always think the Best, the very best, is yet to come…and while I always look back on the past year and think of things I didn’t do, things I couldn’t accomplish, people I didn’t get to spend enough time with or things I should have done better, I always think of how happy and blessed I am, and look forward to an even better year ahead… This blog has 3 parts:  Champagne; Hangover Cures, in case you overindulged on champagne, and New Year’s Resolutions!  And yes…the best is yet to come!

CHAMPAGNE…Everything you needed to know

Whether you’re into Champagne that’s sweet, a splurge or even pink, we have the bottle that will make your New Year’s festivities a hit.

First, where does Champagne come from? To be truly called Champagne, it must come from the Champagne region of France — otherwise it’s just a sparkling wine. More than 300 growing areas  produce all of the world’s Champagne, which is either vintage or non-vintage (NV). Vintage Champagne is made from the harvest of a particular year. Exclusive and more expensive, vintage Champagne is only made when the harvest’s quality allows for it. The other type of Champagne, non-vintage, makes up 80 percent of all Champagne bottles and is when winemakers blend different harvests from several areas.

Depending on the sugar content, the taste of Champagne can vary widely. There are several varieties to choose from (from driest to sweetest):

  • Extra Brut is the exact opposite of sweet and is very, very dry. (6 grams or less of residual sugar per liter)
  • Brut refers to Champagnes that are dry, and this is the type that’s the most popular and easiest to pair with foods. (12 grams or less of residual sugar per liter)
  • Extra dry makes a great aperitif and is less dry than Brut. (12-17 grams of residual sugar per liter)
  • Sec contains slightly more sugar. (17-32 grams of residual sugar per liter)
  • Demi-sec is sweet and pairs well with fruit and dessert. (32-50 grams of residual sugar per liter)
  • Doux is the sweetest variety and is not widely available in the U.S. (50 grams or more of residual sugar per liter)




Holiday weight gain is not inevitable if you make smart choices. Get your New Year’s drink on in a diet-friendly way with Laurent Perrier’s Ultra Brut. At only 65 calories a glass, you can have two! ($40)

Budget option

Short on cash? In a setting where a luxury bottle won’t be appreciated? No problem! Budget Champagne doesn’t mean bad Champagne. There are a bunch of wallet-friendly options to choose from including the crisp Möet & Chandon Impérial Champagne. ($37)

The Splurge

If you really have something to celebrate this year, maybe a Champagne splurge is in order. For those looking to drop a little extra cash on a worthy bottle, the 2003 Moet et Chandon Cuvee Dom Perignon gets our pick. This gorgeous bottle oozes luxury and is quite the way to ring in 2013. ($239)

Pretty in pink

If rose Champagne is more your style, opt for a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Brut Rose. With fragrant notes of raspberry, cherry and strawberry, this is one Champagne that deserves to be at your New Year’s party! ($60)  Veuve, happens to be my personal favorite, and since this one happens to be Pink, my favorite color, we will be toasting the new year in with this one. 🙂


And when you’ve had your Fill of Champers… here are some Hangover “Cures”, courtesy of


  • Sleep. Rest is your best friend at this point because your body needs an opportunity to recover. It is best to stay in bed so call in to work if you have to, tell them you have the stomach flu. You will sound so horrible on the phone that they may believe you (unless they saw you at the bar last night, then this is not a good idea).
  • Liquids. Replenish your body with fruit or vegetable juice and water.
  • Avoid caffeine. A weak cup of coffee may be okay, but a lot of caffeine will continue to dehydrate you, which is the opposite of what you want right now.
  • Vitamin C. Drink orange juice for Vitamin C.
  • Food. Eat mineral and protein rich food, even if you don’t feel like it.
  • Pickles. In Poland, drinking pickle juice is a common remedy.
  • Drink a Bloody Mary. While the popular phrase “hair of the dog that bit you” may sound logical with a shot of whiskey left in the bottle next to your bed, it will only provide temporary relief. Try a Bloody Mary instead, while your blood is dealing with the new alcohol it is ignoring the old and in the mean time, the tomato juice and celery are full of replenishing vitamins. If you drank the last of the vodka, make a Virgin Mary or Bloody Maria. Other spicy morning after drink options are Hair of the Dog, in which gin and hot sauce are sure to bite your hangover back, and the Carrot & Cilantro Cooler, another vitamin-packed savory drink.
  • Take a shower. This will not only clean you up a little bit, but freshen and wake up your sense. Some people will also switch between cold and hot water, though don’t take this to an extreme.
  • Try Alka Seltzer Morning Relief. One reader says that it’s all that he and his wife have found that really works for them. He stumbled across this “cure” while his wife was still suffering after two days, within 15 minutes after taking the Alka Seltzer she was fine.
  • Get some exercise. Another reader suggests doing some sort of physical activity. He writes, “In the rare case of having hangover I usually drink about 1-2 liters of water and go outside to do some exercise like mountain climbing, swimming, cycling or just about anything that keeps me sweating.” It takes willpower to move like that when standing seems like a challenge, but there is truth to this for making both the body and mind feel better.
  • Avoid pain killers if possible. The side effects of aspirin, Tylenol, and ibuprofen can be magnified when alcohol is in your system, so it is best (even though it may be the first thing you reach for) to avoid them to kill the hangover pain. Aspirin is a blood thinner, just like alcohol, and can intensify its effects and Tylenol (or acetaminophen) can cause more damage to your liver. Ibuprofen can also cause stomach bleeding. So be cautious when going for the quick relief.
  • Vitamin B. As an antidote, one reader takes a little extra multi B vitamin and drinks a lot of water before going to sleep.
  • Bury me? In Ireland it was said that the cure for a hangover is to bury the ailing person up to the neck in moist river sand. This may be folklore as I don’t know of anyone who has tried it and it seems like too much work, especially if your friends were partying with you, but it’s a little fun trivia for such a heavy subject.



My resolutions are always the same…be kinder, more patient, connect more with friends, exercise more, eat better, live in the moment, blah, blah, blah… Here are some better ideas, from the Daily Beast…I’m just providing the link, to check out on your own:

Popular Resolutions, courtesy of the US Government…because Big Brother is always watching!

Lose Weight
Volunteer to Help Others
Quit Smoking
Get a Better Education
Get a Better Job
Save Money
Get Fit
Eat Healthy Food
Manage Stress
Manage Debt
Take a Trip
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
Drink Less Alcohol

And here is when a Picture is worth a thousand words…

This year



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Happy New Year…Hello 2014!!







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New Year’s Resolutions and Hangover Cures

30 Dec

Out with the old (2011) and in with the new (2012)…It’s always a bit melancholy saying goodbye to the past year, lamenting about loved one’s lost, things you didn’t accomplish, memories in the past…but it’s always nice to look back and reflect on the past year, the highs and the lows.  In regards to “light” moments…My favorite TV moment…Meredith Vierera saying goodbye on the Today Show, which still makes me cry every time I see it, much to Mer Mer and Paddy’s dismay ( and the Low…which Has to be the Chicago Bears Fall from Playoff Grace!  But again, Out with the Old…and with the new, comes New Resolutions…Every year I resolve the same thing:  To be a better Person.  I do believe I still have work to do in that area so I shall, once again, make the same resolution  for 2012…I love the idea of a New Year, as a friend  told me this week, it gives him a clean slate.  A clean slate…I like that, and shall take one for myself, thank you very much. 🙂

And, what are some of the other Top New Year’s Resolutions?

Popular New Year’s Resolutions (thank you Wikipedia)

These New Year’s resolutions are popular year after year:

*Improve health: lose weight, exercise more, eat better, drink less alcohol, quit smoking, stop biting nails
*Improve finances: get out of debt, save money
*Improve career: get a better job
*Improve education: improve grades, get a better education, learn something new (such as a foreign language or music), study often,
*Improve self: become more organized, reduce stress, be less grumpy, manage time, be more independent, perhaps watch less  tv,  play less sitting-down video games
*Take a trip
*Volunteer to help others, practice life skills, use civic virtue, give to charity
For the year 2012, the Top 5 resolutions, as identified by a SlideShare survey are:

*Be financially savvy
*Read at least one book per month
*Eat properly
*Get enough sleep
*Keep a journal of awesome moments – and I do hope there will be Many awesome moments!!

Keeping those New Year Resolutions ( compliments of the Huffington Post):

So if you really want to see results this year, it’s critical that you set your goals with sincerity, and set yourself up for success. Read on for six practical tools for making realistic, attainable resolutions — and actually sticking with them.

1. Get Specific – A common mistake people make is setting big, nebulous goals like, “I’ll be healthier.” Instead, make your resolution specific, with a tangible, achievable outcome. Rather than saying, “I want to save money,” determine how much, exactly, you want to save. What are you saving it for, and what will you do once you hit your goal?

Then, visualize what good will come when your goals and desires are met. What does it feel like? What does it look like? It also helps to have something simple, tangible, and positive to repeat to yourself over and over again. “I will be able to run a 5K because I’m healthy and strong,” is not only positive reinforcement, but it’s a quantifiable goal that you can check in on and make your reality.

2. Write it Down – Write down your goals and outline the small, manageable steps you’ll need to take in order to achieve them. If you set a big goal — say, learning a language — without a step-by-step plan, it can be overwhelming and trigger frustration or negative thoughts that get in the way of your success. But by planning and accomplishing one small thing at a time, you’ll stay on track, focused, and positive.

3. Make Time – Be sure to set aside ample time for yourself to achieve your goals. If you really want to write that book chapter, you might set aside three regular four-hour blocks during the week, and plan one day every month to track your progress. If you want to exercise more, plot out time in your weekly schedule for runs and time at the gym.

4. Move Past Doubt – Keep tabs on how often you “unset” your goals with your thoughts. Pay attention to self-sabotaging mind chatter, like: “I’m not good enough” or “I can’t do it.” Every thought you have is an intention. It’s normal to feel fear, doubt, or worry — but to make progress, it’s important to move past those negative feelings.

If you find negative thoughts surfacing, don’t criticize yourself, but stay in control. If your thoughts don’t support you or your goals, let them go — they’re not doing you any good. Replace them with your positive mantra, instead.

5. Get a Partner – Having a group, partner, friend, or professional to encourage you can be a great way to keep you going. Try finding a friend who has a similar resolution, and check in with each other every week to talk about your progress and challenges. Or, ask a family member or significant other to keep you accountable — just make sure they’re supportive and positive.

You can also seek professional help, whether that’s a personal trainer to help you meet your fitness goals or a counselor who can help you tackle larger, looming issues such as low self-confidence or a lack of direction. If you are dealing with issues of self-doubt, these can seriously get in the way of you meeting your other goals — so do yourself a favor, and address such issues head on.

6. Be Still – You’re more likely to slip on your goals when you’re stressed or overwhelmed, so spend time every day to getting out of your thoughts and reconnecting with yourself. Try a breathing exercise, meditation, yoga, or just going for a walk. The more practice you have being still and calm, the more present you’ll be for each step of achieving your goals.

Setting and reaching goals isn’t about willpower, it’s about the power of your intention. Once you’ve mastered these few steps, you’ll be well-equipped to follow through on your resolutions — this time, for good.

And just in case you overindulge during the New Year festivities, here are some “tried and true” hangover cures:

Hangover Cures – Now you’ve done it and it’s official, you have a hangover. Now what? No matter what you do sleep and water or juice should be included. There are many folk cures that are supposed to help cure a hangover. Many of them will help you cope by replenishing the vitamins and liquid you lost over night, while some like avoiding caffeine are very important to a quicker recovery. There is no one size fits all cure, find what works for you but the list below is a good place to start. There are also a few suggestions from readers who found their own way to cope.

Sleep. Rest is your best friend at this point to give your body a recover. It is best to stay in bed so call in to work if you have to, tell them you have the stomach flu. You will sound so horrible on the phone they may believe you (unless they saw you at the bar, not a good idea then).
Replenish your body with fruit juice and water.
Avoid caffeine. A weak cup of coffee may be okay but a lot of caffeine will continue to dehydrate you, the opposite of what you want right now.
Drink orange juice for Vitamin C.
Drink a sports drink like Gatorade or Powerade.
Eat mineral rich food like pickles or canned fish.
In Poland, drinking pickle juice is a common remedy.
Drink a Bloody Mary. While the popular phrase “hair of the dog that bit you” may sound logical with a shot of whiskey left in the bottle next to your bed, it’s only temporary. Try a Bloody Mary instead, while your blood is dealing with the new alcohol it is ignoring the old and in the mean time tomato juice and celery are full of vitamins. If you drank the last of the vodka make a Virgin Mary. Another spicy morning after drink option is Hair of the Dog, in which gin and hot sauce are sure to bite your hangover back. Yet another classic option, sans spice, are the aptly named Corpse Reviver drinks: #1 (brandy), #2 (gin), #2011.
Take a shower, switching between cold and hot water.
In Ireland it was said that the cure for a hangover is to bury the ailing person up to the neck in moist river sand.
Try Alka Seltzer Morning ReliefT. One reader says that it’s all that he and his wife have found that really works for them. He stumbled across this “cure” while his wife was still suffering after two days, within 15 minutes after taking the Alka Seltzer she was fine.


And lastly, This story was shown all over the news last night, regarding a young man who made a you tube video prior to his death…An inspiring message, from an inspring your man.  I dare you to watch it and not get teary-eyed.

2012…Bring it on!  I’m Ready!

Happy New Year!




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The Holiday Hangover…and New Year’s Resolutions

31 Dec


I am suffering a big time holiday hangover.  While I love Christmas and the holidays, I become quite relieved when they are over.  The pressure, the stress, crazy schedule, worrying if people like their gifts…Love the holidays, but oh so happy when they are over.  And, then come Jan 1st, guess who rears their ugly head?  The New Year’s Resolution Police! 

These following “resolutions” were listed as the Top 10 resolutions by some magazine or newspaper…

1.  Spend more time with Family and Friends – this hit the nail on the head!  Patrick and I had the best time with Meredith over break…and she actually seemed to enjoy us as well (oh, and Kevin too).    Of course, let’s not discuss the 5 hour drive home from Minneapolis.  🙂  This will be my number one goal.

2.  Fit in Fitness – I have come to realize that it’s not actually owning the fitness tapes that make you fit, you actually have to do them.  I mean, who knew?

3.  Tame the Bulge – and the older we get, the harder it is to tame.  I’m speaking from experience…unfortunately.

4.  Quit Smoking – I probably don’t know 5 people who smoke…but I think a lot of young people do…Don’t do it!  You look stupid.

5.  Enjoy Life More – ain’t this the truth…life is short.

6.  Quit Drinking – I don’t think so. 🙂

7 .  Get out of Debt – would probably be helpful if this didn’t come out right after the holidays and all the shopping.  We shall revisit this in March, right before spring break.

8.  Learn something new – I am making a concerted effort to do this, and will report back at the end of Jan.   Though it will not be a second language.  3 years of French in high school was plenty.  Bon Jour!

9.  Help Others – I think about this everyday, and realize how fortunate we are.  While we all have our trials and tribulations, it never seems to be as bad as some people have it.   It’s important to pay it forward.

10.   Get Organized – this is a work in progress.  I shall start with my closet.

So… to cure the Holiday Hangover…the real one.  Here are a few things that I’ve heard help the hangover (as we know, I very rarely drink…unless prompted or provoked) 🙂

1.  BEFORE bed, take 2 Aleve, and large glass of water.  Not Tylenol, as that goes right to the liver.  Aleve or Advil.  I like Aleve.

2.  Something salty when you wake up.  Bacon, or black olives (yes, black olives).  Having microwavable cheeseburgers on hand, is always a good idea.  The best burger that I can think of would be a Juicy Lucy, from Minneapolis’ 5-8 Club.  You have to get there by 11:15AM, or you won’t get a seat.  It’s a burger, filled with cheese…it’s chock full of tasty goodness.    Fabulous, not at all low-carb, and would be just what the Doctor ordered!   And, talking while others at your table are speaking on their cell-phone at the table is Absolutely encouraged. 🙂

3.  Coffee?  Hmmh…I think cranberry juice, with a chaser of ice water is the way to go.  Or a Gatorade.  I have a friend who used to drink Pedialyte.  Not a bad idea.  They say that black coffee is a diuretic, so stick to juice, sports drinks and water.

4.  Steam Shower – I happen  to have one in my house, but have to admit the idea of sweating in 108 degree steam, doesn’t always pop to the top of my head, when I have a wee bit of a headache.  I have never tried this solution, but others have and swear by it.  Others say a sauna helps.  I think it can be hit or miss.

5.  A mid-morning nap if you can swing it.  My sister-in-law, Beth  told me of a time when she woke up, after an evening of festivities, and wasn’t feeling at the top of her game.  She had showered and planned on going to work…then decided against it, and went back to bed for a 2 hour nap.  She woke up feeling, and looking, like a champ!  That’s the way to go!

6.  Hair of the Dog…well, truth be told, I don’t think I could ever partake in a glass of chardonnay the “morning after”, however, a bloody mary really has helped “take the edge off”…Spicey, celery salt around the rim, and lots of olives.  there, you have your salt and olives…2 cures I just mentioned.  And, I have heard of a “friend” who has broken into the hotel mini bar and downed a Lite Beer, or 2.  Told me it works.  He’s not one to lie, but is one to over-indulge.

7.  And don’t forget about preventative measures…not drinking on an empty stomach.  Always drink a glass of water for every cocktail…and sometimes 2 glasses of water per 1 adult beverage.  Eat throughout the evening.   Take a vitamin B-12 before indulging.

Happy New Year!



Clothes aren’t going to change the world, but the women who wear them will…

***Anne Klein