Take Control This Valentine’s Day

Take Control This Valentine’s Day

This Valentine’s Day, we´re doing things a little differently. It’s less about me, more about him. There is so much emphasis on men handling the Valentine’s Day arrangements, so I´ve decided I´m taking charge this year; it´s my chance to treat him.

The Action Plan

The stage is set and the treats are all lined up.

I´ve arranged hubby a massage at The Crescent Court Wellness Spa, a stunning hotel in uptown Dallas. It´s the perfect place to relax and recharge before a night of fun. As well as the treatment rooms, there’s  a hot and cold whirlpool, cryotherapy chamber, wellness center and nail bar. I may even grab myself a quick Mani Pedi while I wait.

Wine and Dine

To follow, we´ll be enjoying a lobster dinner at The Crescent Club, Dallas, whilst soaking up the stunning views from the 17th floor. My mouth is watering already!

↑ ↑ ↑

I’m still wondering where it all went! 

For Afters 

 

Once we´ve wined and dined ourselves to satisfaction, we´ll probably head out for a walk around the vibrant Dallas arts district. It´s only a few blocks away, so it would be rude not too explore a little.

 

And there we have it. My Valentine’s Day treat to my husband. Thanks to The Crescent Court Hotel for helping me to make it one to remember. I´m sure I´ll be sharing lots of snippets on my Instagram Stories so stay tuned.

How will you be spending this Valentine’s Day? Let me know in the comments…

Flying First Class to a Safari Shack

Flying First Class to a Safari Shack

This one was a trip filled with indulgence, adventure and inspiration. It began in the lap of luxury and ended in an African safari hut. Both equally delightful in their own unique way, but a trip full of juxtaposition.

Intrigued? Let´s join our resident traveler for the journey…

Flying First Class to Dubai

 

A real bathroom, a real bar, a huge TV, a cute desk, comfy pajamas, private space and food that is delicious beyond words. No, this isn´t a 5* hotel, it´s an airplane, honest!

This sneak peek is thanks to Emirates and our resident traveler, my sister. I’m told it´s the best 16 hours she´s ever spent in the air, however, this was one adventure that was not going to continue the way it started!

Boarding a Bush Plane

 

After disembarking in Dubai and enjoying the land of luxury, the next stage of the journey began. It was time to board a bush plane destined for Zambia. The environment couldn´t have been more of a contrast; leaving the land of luxury behind and becoming immersed in the understated magic of a Zambian reserve.

It was a change of circumstances for sure, but both were equally beautiful. The luxury bathroom 35,000 feet in the sky was replaced with an open-roof shack, and visits from the first-class cabin crew replaced with wild animals wandering free outside the door. Wow! The opulence was gone, and it was replaced with something very different, but equally unique and amazing.

The lesson of the trip? There is beauty in every situation, we just need to open our eyes and appreciate it.

This was one trip that was full of contrasts, but what an adventure! I hope you enjoyed joining our resident traveler for this beautiful journey.

Until the next time…

My Chinese New Year Celebrations

My Chinese New Year Celebrations

Do you stay up for New Year’s? I can’t do that anymore, so I started celebrating the Chinese New Year. This year it is January 25 and I make an occasion of it.

 

You can celebrate New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day; make it an event, learn a little bit about the history and the expectations for the new year.

 

In Chinese culture, superstitions are intertwined with food and traditional dishes are said to welcome in good luck and prosperity for the year ahead. I thought it could be fun to find out a bit more, so here we go… 

A whole fish is a staple for most Chinese New Year celebrations.

 

Why? It’s intended to welcome prosperity for the year ahead.

Dumplings are a popular choice.

 

Why? Their appearance is similar to a traditional currency used in imperial China. They are said to attract wealth for the year ahead.

A whole chicken is often served.

 

Why? It represents family togetherness and rebirth.

Spring rolls are a traditional favorite.

 

Why? Their name literally welcomes in the new spring season.

Extra-long noodles are served during the celebrations.

 

Why? They are said to represent a long life. It is customary to slurp down the noodles, so the strands stay intact. If you give this a try, please don´t choke!

The star of the dessert table is a glutinous rice cake, which translates to the New Year cake.

 

Why? It is said to symbolize growth, as the word for cake sounds like the word for tall or growth.

Fascinating and delicious, but If you don’t feel like cooking there is always your favorite Chinese takeout right around the corner.

Remember to decorate a bit, Pier 1 and World Market are great for that.

There was a fantastic window display at Neiman Marcus and I just had to capture it for you.

Don’t forget the tea or the sake if you were so inclined!

Wishing you a very happy and prosperous Chinese New Year.

10 Tips to Stay Active After 50

10 Tips to Stay Active After 50

The spirit of wellness continues….

The new year is a time when we´re supposed to feel energized and full of ambition, but instead the holiday over-indulge often leaves us feeling bloated and a bit lethargic. The best tonic to tackle the tiredness is to get moving, and so I’m sharing my 10 top tips to stay active after 50 and have some fun along the way.

 

Use it or Loose it

Staying active after 50, offers so many benefits. It helps to keep us strong, healthy, flexible and it also combats the effects of the menopause monster. But exercise doesn’t always call for your blood, sweat and tears. A healthy life is all about wellness. I love to stay active, whilst enjoying myself at the same time, so here are my top tips to do just that…

1 – Walk and Talk

Taking a walk is a great way to get outside and be active. To amp up the fun factor, invite a friend. After half an hour of walking and talking you´ll have caught up on all the gossip and completed your 30 minute work out for the day without even realising it.

2 – Yoga

Yoga is a great way to stay active, whilst improving strength, balance and flexibility. It comes in many shapes and forms and can be tailored to suit your needs and abilities. Some styles are more fast-paced or strenuous than others, so if you aren´t a full blown Yogi yet, then look out for a suitable teacher or gentle yoga class close to you.

3 – Shop till you Drop

Some partners might disagree, but shopping is exercise – believe me! Spending a few hours walking around the mall gives you (and your credit card) a great work out for the day.

 

I also like to don a pair of killer heels to up the ante and really get those calves workings!

4 – Pilates

Pilates is a fantastic way for us to stay fit, providing a range of mental and physical benefits. It allows us to tone and strengthen our muscles, without being too taxing on the joints. Attending a regular class is also a great way to meet and mingle.

5 – Swim and Sauna

Swimming is a great form or exercise that works the whole body, whilst being gentle on the muscles and joints. Select the stroke, speed and distance that works for you and off you go.

 

After completing a few lengths, I like to treat myself to a relaxing sauna. It´s a great end to the work out as it’s can improve circulation, ease pain, reduce stress and improve cardiovascular health. That´s a win for me!

6 – Respiration and Relaxation

Controlled breathing has been shown to reduce stress, boost your immune system, increase alertness and it’s a great way to start the day.

 

Take a deep breath, expanding your belly. Pause. Then exhale slowly to the count of five. Repeat this four times and the benefits are yours for the taking.

7 – Resistance Training

Don’t let the fancy name, put you off. Resistance training is simply using your own body weight to get stronger, which makes it great as it´s super easy to do at home.

 

Exercises can include planks, side planks, hip bridges, lunges and squats. Each exercise can be modified to suit your skills and abilities. For those looking to really challenge themselves you can start using resistance bands for an added challenge.

8 – Arm Toning

The bingo wings and toothbrush wobble are a real pain point for a lot of women. Arm exercises are a great way to tone up this problem area and banish the upper arm wobble for good.

 

Push ups, dips and arm curls are simple exercises that help to improving toning and all can easily be performed in the comfort of your own home.

9 – Morning Stretches

 

If you´ve been following me for a while, you´ll know I’m always zipping here, there and everywhere. Morning stretches are a great way to get your body warm and moving first thing.

 

Five minutes and a few simple exercises can improve flexibility, mobility and alleviate stiffness. A combination of neck, arm, and leg movements leave you feeling ready for the day.

10 – Local Classes

Be socially active. It´s no fun to exercise alone. Pop to your local health centre or gym and see what they have to offer. The after-class coffee with friends is always a welcome reward.

I hope you´ve enjoyed this share. A healthy body and mind are what it´s all about!

If you´ve got any questions, leave me a comment so I can reply below and don´t forget to share with a friend so the walking and talking can commence.

Sending wellness wishes to all for 2020.

Sonia x

My Wellness Journey at 65

My Wellness Journey at 65

As you might know, I started to live full-time In Montana about four years ago. I was finished with my large construction project there and we moved into a gorgeous home.  After that project was finished  I had nothing to do no one to talk to and the winters are cloudy and long.   I had no purpose and very few connections. I finally had to pull myself up by my bootstraps and reinvent myself.  So at 65 I finally started to connect on social media. I chose Instagram for the beauty there, the women I saw and the art I could create.  I had never even been on Facebook.

 

So when we were talking about wellness and it became such a large all encompassing topic I thought I would start with ‘the meat of the coconut’  as I put in my post. For me that was getting centered and finding my power.  All the creams workouts and detoxes can’t begin to help if your mind and your self-worth are not aligned. I took a few steps to begin to control just that.  Here  is what I ended up doing

1. Exercise every day!

 

Even if it’s 15 minutes on a treadmill or a long brisk walk.  Get out in nature when you can; it is very important to connect in that way.

 

The key here is consistency. Start small and consistent. It’s easier to stay on track that way. I used to think if I didn’t work out after some arbitrary time let’s say 10am I “wouldn’t get around to it” this time I worked out whenever I had the time but never let one day slip by.  I don’t know if this happens to you, but if I miss one day I can talk myself into missing others – Don’t do that!

2. Teach yourself to set boundaries and say no!

 

Trust me when I say this will empower you, lighten the load and remind you of your strength.

 

Not only that, it frees up your time so you have no excuse not to spend the measly 1/2 hour it takes to get centered .  It occurs to me now that we might fill our time with things for others in order to avoid doing something for ourselves.  I promise you will not lose your friends They might even admire you for it.

3. Start your day with a healthy quick and a tasty green drink.

 

I used to say I don’t eat breakfast, but you have to “break the fast”. if you want your body and mind to get going. I never thought I would like a green drink, but I have a recipe here for a detox that is an every day easy to make way to get your veggies from Jacquelyn Jones, Health and Wellness Coach and Vegan Chef.

Featured on the Food Network
Founder of SolFood Collective and Starving and Single
@solfoodcollective
@starvingandsingle

4. Take the few minutes to put on your make up.

 

When you look good you feel good you will be surprised how that helps.

5. Go through your closet and

put your comfortable but everyday prettier things upfront.

 

For a long time I had a tendency to wear my old sweats and that does not serve you well.  As our resident stylist once told me if you don’t want to look ugly keep your ugly things in the back of the closet.  Well, she used other words!

When I did that I never wore them again I’m not saying you should be fully decked out, uncomfortable or in any way out of place. Just show pride in yourself.

6. Finally Don’t play the victim

 

As Nelson Mandela was quoted saying it doesn’t serve you to act small.

 

5 Affirmations to Attract in the New Year

5 Affirmations to Attract in the New Year

A New Outlook

At this time of year, everyone is busy setting their resolutions and goals for the new year ahead. If I´m being honest, I´m not a huge fan of resolutions. They tend to focus on giving things up or taking something away, so this year I’ve decided to try something new.

 

 

Attracting not Subtracting

Ive chosen five self-love meditation affirmations that will replace my typical new year resolutions and allow me to focus on growth and attraction for the year ahead. I wanted to share them to remind each of us of the power of thought and visualization.

 

My New Year Affirmations

 

In 2020, I will express gratitude for what I am lucky enough to have and experience.

In 2020, I will celebrate my body and it´s unique and miraculous abilities.

In 2020, I will release the negative and make room for people and things that make me happy.

In 2020, I will enjoy expressing my boundless creativity, without apology.

In 2020, I will treat myself with the same kindness I offer to family and friends.

 

 

Happy New Year. Happy New Decade!

 

Sending you lots of love and happiness for the year ahead.

 

Love, Sonia x

DIY Winter Solstice Cleansing Ritual

DIY Winter Solstice Cleansing Ritual

For a long time, I didn’t think much about 21 December. It was a cold, dark day in the run up to Christmas, but I now realize this dark cold day is the perfect opportunity for growth and cleansing.

 

Winter Solstice Traditions

The 21 December marks the Winter Solstice, an event that is celebrated by many different cultures in a variety of ways. From welcoming in the sunrise on a mountain top, to dancing, gift-giving and celebrating the triumph of light over dark.

When you break it down, everyone is essentially seeking to center themselves, rid themselves of old energy and make room for the good fortune that is said to arrive with the rising sun.

 

The DIY Cleanse

This year I´m going to be ushering in the Winter Solstice by partaking in a simple, yet effective DIY Solstice Cleansing Ritual. It´s something we can all do at home, so I´m inviting you to join me. Follow these six simple steps to get ready to welcome the good vibes that 2020 will bring.

 

 

Step 1: Light a Candle

Settle yourself in a dim room, turn off all electrical equipment to avoid distractions and light a candle. This symbolic act of bringing light to the darkness will help to focus your mind and illuminate your space.

 

 

 

Step 2: Breathe

Controlled, intentional breathing helps to alleviate stress and relax your body. Spending just five minutes on this simple exercise can release toxins, expel bad energy and invigorate your whole nervous system. I also like to gather a few of my favorite crystals and meditate on what I want to invite into my world.

Step 3: Cleanse your Space

Now you´re relaxed and ready to receive, we can begin cleansing our space. I do this by smudging; the act of burning sage or palo santo to clear and cultivate the energy of your home.

A bundle of sage is said to boost your inner clarity and wisdom, whilst banishing negative energy. A stick of palo santo is said to encourage grounding, cleansing and good fortune for the New Year. Whichever you choose, it´s all about welcoming in good energy and dispelling negative ones.

Step 4: Exfoliate

Now that your room is cleared and cleansed, it´s time to clean and cleanse ourselves. I start by dry brushing my whole body. This removes any dry, dead skin and encourages new cell growth, leaving you feel invigorated and energized.

Step 5: Wash Away

After exfoliating, take a warm shower to remove any remaining dead cells and symbolically wash away all that doesn’t serve you.

 

 

 

Step 6: Moisturize

To finish off the cleansing process, treat your body to some sustenance and moisturize yourself all over. I also like to add a drop of essential oils and massage them into the bottom of my feet, so the benefits are felt as its absorbed into the bloodstream.

And Relax!

We´re finished. These six simple steps are the perfect way to relax, cleanse and welcome the rising sun with all the positive energy that it brings.

I hope you enjoy this DIY Winter Solstice Cleansing Ritual. From me to you, I wish you the best possible for the New Year.

 

For more on wellness and rejuvenation visit my Instagram or check out these other wellness blogs.

My Closet Treasures and How I Style Them

My Closet Treasures and How I Style Them

From the day I found my mountain home in Montana, I knew I wanted to create a closet that was deserving of my treasures.

I did just that and tucked away inside are these three trunks, which are filled to the brim with treasure; literally.

 

What´s Inside? 

 It´s a collection I´ve amassed over the decades and as you can tell from Maddie´s face, we´re going to be here for a while.

Let´s explore.

Accessorising with Costume Jewelry 

I´m a lifelong fan of costume jewelry. The creativity, the color, the vibrancy and the variety all totally hypnotize me. It´s taken me years to collect what´s inside these trunks and I also have a few of my favorites out on display.

 

How to Style 

I´m wearing a beautiful autumnal color palette today and I´m hunting for the perfect accessories to lift my look.  Costume jewelry is most definitely for the over fifty. Experiment play around and don´t be scared to layer, as long as the tones are in keeping with you color story.

This time I´ve opted for a subtle earring, gilded belt to synch me in, doubled-up long chain necklaces and some chunky gold bangles. Do you like how it´s pulled everything together?

 

For more styling tips or to see more of my closet follow me on Instagram

Thanksgiving Table Treasures & Inspiration

Thanksgiving Table Treasures & Inspiration

The Hunt Begins!

I thoroughly enjoy this time of year. I have what I refer to as a party cupboard. It’s a treasure trove of table settings, gilded glasses and serving platters that I’ve collected over the years and it’s the perfect season to select my favourites and bring them out to play.

There is not much that beats a winters evening spent around an elegantly laid table with family, friends and lots of laughter. The perfect table décor boosts the mood, warms the atmosphere and welcomes guests.

 

Preparations!

As I begin my Thanksgiving preparations, my thoughts turn to said party cupboard and I wonder what festive table decorations I will opt for this year. 

There is no set formula, but I want to create something interesting, welcoming and extraordinary. I utilise table runners for impact, decorative glasses to inject glamour, and autumnal produce to bring it all together.

Table Styling! 

If you´ve been following me on Instagram, the process is similar to how I style myself. I create layers, add texture and work with my key colour tones.

 

 

Festive Spirit! 

I particularly love the juxtaposition of the glistening glasses, polished platters, warm candles and natural shrubbery; it’s enough to put anyone in festive mood.

9 Principals For A Happy & Healthy Life | Power 9

9 Principals For A Happy & Healthy Life | Power 9

Can you believe the average life expectancy in the United States is 78 years old? Yet there are people all around the world who have the privilege to surpass 100 years of age. What are we doing differently than anyone else? I found this great article on Well and Good about this 9 habits of the Blue Zone, which are regions of the world where people live much longer than average. 

Where is the Blue Zone? 

  • Barbagia region of Sardinia – Mountainous highlands of inner Sardinia with the world’s highest concentration of male centenarians.
  • Ikaria, Greece – Aegean Island with one of the world’s lowest rates of middle-age mortality and the lowest rates of dementia.
  • Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica – The World’s lowest rates of middle-age mortality, second-highest concentration of male centenarians.
  • Seventh-Day Adventists – Highest concentration is around Loma Linda, California. They live 10 years longer than their North American counterparts.
  • Okinawa, Japan – Females over 70 are the longest-lived population in the world.

Culturally, these regions are VERY different from this American Life. Luckily, a team of medical researchers, anthropologists, demographers, and epidemiologists researched these cultures and created the Power 9, or 9 principals that you can start incorporating into your daily routine today. 

 

 

Power 9®

Reverse Engineering Longevity

 

1. Move Naturally

The world’s longest-lived people don’t pump iron, run marathons or join gyms. Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about it. They grow gardens and don’t have mechanical conveniences for house and yard work.

 

 

2. Purpose

The Okinawans call it “Ikigai” and the Nicoyans call it “plan de vida;” for both it translates to “why I wake up in the morning.” Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy.

 

 

3. Down Shift

Even people in the Blue Zones experience stress. Stress leads to chronic inflammation, associated with every major age-related disease. What the world’s longest-lived people have that we don’t are routines to shed that stress. Okinawans take a few moments each day to remember their ancestors, Adventists pray, Ikarians take a nap and Sardinians do happy hour.

 

4. 80% Rule

“Hara hachi bu” – the Okinawan, 2500-year old Confucian mantra said before meals reminds them to stop eating when their stomachs are 80 percent full. The 20% gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it. People in the blue zones eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening and then they don’t eat any more the rest of the day.

 

5. Plant Slant

Beans, including fava, black, soy and lentils, are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets. Meat—mostly pork—is eaten on average only five times per month. Serving sizes are 3-4 oz., about the size of a deck of cards.

 

6. Wine @ 5

People in all blue zones (except Adventists) drink alcohol moderately and regularly. Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers. The trick is to drink 1-2 glasses per day (preferably Sardinian Cannonau wine), with friends and/or with food. And no, you can’t save up all week and have 14 drinks on Saturday.

 

7. Belong

All but five of the 263 centenarians we interviewed belonged to some faith-based community. Denomination doesn’t seem to matter. Research shows that attending faith-based services four times per month will add 4-14 years of life expectancy.

 

8. Loved Ones First

Successful centenarians in the blue zones put their families first. This means keeping aging parents and grandparents nearby or in the home (It lowers disease and mortality rates of children in the home too.). They commit to a life partner (which can add up to 3 years of life expectancy) and invest in their children with time and love (They’ll be more likely to care for you when the time comes).

 

9. Right Tribe

The world’s longest lived people chose–or were born into–social circles that supported healthy behaviors, Okinawans created” moais”–groups of five friends that committed to each other for life. Research from the Framingham Studies shows that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness are contagious. So the social networks of long-lived people have favorably shaped their health behaviors.

 

Go to BlueZone.com for more information. 

 

UPDATE: Vote For GE’s Great American Grandma

UPDATE: Vote For GE’s Great American Grandma

I’ve been going on and on since January about GE’s Great American Grandma Job Search.

If you missed my video you can check it out here.

Well, GE has narrowed their search down to 10 candidates, one of whom will ultimately be named the Great American Grandma. Each of the top 10 impressed GE’s search committee with their energy, creativity, camera presence, storytelling ability, spunk and more.

Watch all 10 videos on their site, then go like, share or comment on your favorites to show them some love! (And you must be nice! Remember – Grandma is watching!)

GE will announce the final winner during the first week of April (and no, not on April Fool’s Day). But they will also give many of their applicants the opportunity to take part in future Great American Grandma projects, so stay tuned. GE’s Grandma will be hired part-time for a 10-15 hour per month gig, sharing the secrets of great recipes… of food, fun and family. The job will include:

  • $50,000 salary
  • Will receive 5 brand new, top-of-the-line GE Appliances kitchen products
  • Serve as a social media spokesperson on GE Appliances channels
A Valentines Treat For Your Sweet: The Easiest Cake You’ll Ever Bake!

A Valentines Treat For Your Sweet: The Easiest Cake You’ll Ever Bake!

Hello LOVERS! Valentines Day is right around the corner. No matter what your relationship with this holiday is, be sure to treat your sweet (or yourself and girlfriends) with this simple quick and easy chocolate cake recipe that will blow your mind! It is perfect to quickly whip up at home or wow your friends by bringing these ingredients to you Gal-entines Day soiree.

Cake 

  • 4 oz. butter 
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate 
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cake flour 

Toppings 

  • rose petal ice cream 
  • whipped cream 
  • health bar 
  • cocoa nib 
  • rainbow spinkles 
  • caramel sauce
  • chocolate sauce 
  • candied rose petals 
  • rasberries
  • blackberries 
  • marshmallows 

directions: 

  • melt butter and chocolate together 
  • whisk eggs and sugar together
  • whisk melted chocolate mixture into egg and sugar mixture
  • whisk in cake flour 

Pour cake mixture into the can, bake 350 degrees for 10 minutes until outside of the cake is set and center is still soft. Please note: baking times may vary. Top cake with your choice of toppings while still hot and enjoy!