F Simple and Serene Living 09 10
Thursday, May 21, 2015


Outdoor dining doesn't have to be elaborate to be fun and entertaining, and I found some great ideas for simple outdoor dining at Country Living

Pulling out some vintage items from around the house to use as props for an impromptu Friday night fish fry is always fun.

I love old fashioned picnic tables. This one has been painted white and topped with a basket of lemons for a fresh simple look.

An eclectic mix of vintage china and chairs under the shade of an old tree is a wonderful way to cool off on a hot summer day.

Summer is the perfect time to bring out those colorful table accessories. A brightly striped galvanized tub is a fun way to serve up cold drinks at a summer picnic. 

Summertime entertaining doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. A little imagination and using items you already have on hand may be all you need for a fun gathering for friends and family.

All photos via Country Living.

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P.S. I am busy helping my mom move this week so Women Speak will return next Thursday. Past weeks of Women Speak can be found here.

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Monday, May 18, 2015


I recently had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with four other bloggers and a renowned gynecologist, Dr. Mary Jane Minkin in a Google Hangout, to talk about changes women can expect before, during, and after menopause. Like many women in this age range we had many questions we wanted to ask the doctor. 

I have to admit that I was just a wee bit nervous beforehand. First of all, I hate being videotaped and secondly I come from a generation that doesn't always sit down and openly discuss these topics. However, once the Hangout began there were no nervous butterflies. I felt like I was sitting around my coffee table talking with a group of friends I had known forever. 

I am not sure when the last time was that I laughed so much. I knew that we were all in this together. We were kindred spirits who all shared many of the same problems and concerns about our aging bodies. This was true even though we ranged in age from the late forties to the early sixties. Three of the women were married, one was a widow, and I have been single for a long period of time. 

Not every question that was asked pertained to each of us, but I think we each could relate in some way. 

This Hangout was sponsored by Replens vaginal moisturizer, and I was particularly excited about getting more information because I had just recently purchased the product. About two months ago I went to see my woman's health care provider because I had what I thought was a stubborn yeast infection. Turns out I have a common problem that happens to many women as we age. Apparently our vaginal walls tend to dry out, thin out, and become itchy as we age due to lack of estrogen. Not very comfy I am here to tell you. So what's a girl to do? I knew enough to add lots of moisturizer to my drying skin, (I love hearing people say I am young looking for my age, but believe me there are days when I feel like my whole body is turning into a dried up prune) but I wasn't quite sure what to do about this problem. That is where Replens came in. My healthcare provider said it would really help my problem. Still, I am ever the sceptic and I am not one to add things to my body without lots of research. My research was handed to me in the form of the wonderful Dr. Minkin.

Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., F.A.C.O.G, is a Clinical Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Yale University School of Medicine.  Dr. Minkin has a special interest in reproductive health and menopause, and has written several books for women on these topics.

I felt like I had the best expert right in my own home. It was just like a good old fashioned house call where you can take your time and share all of your concerns with a caring doctor. 

There is so much more I could tell you about our get together, but lucky for all of us our session was videotaped and you, my sweet readers, have the opportunity to learn what those of us in the group did. Although I am being compensated by Replens for this post, all opinions are my own and I am very, very happy with the product. I hope you enjoy the video.

The opinions expressed in this video are those of the participants and are not those of Church & Dwight Co., Inc.

Replens is the clinically tested, doctor recommended brand of long-lasting vaginal moisturizer. As with dry skin that you experience on your face and hands, regular moisturizing treatment with Replens Long-Lasting vaginal moisturizer may be necessary to prevent dryness from recurring. Replens Long-Lasting vaginal moisturizer is different from most other lotions or lubricants because it contains a patented bio-adhesive ingredient that allows it to attach to dry vaginal cells and deliver continuous moisture for up to three days. Click here to learn more. 

What questions would you have had for Dr. Minkin? Leave a comment below to enter for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card!

Entry Instructions: 
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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 5/18/15 – 7/31/15.
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Saturday, May 16, 2015


When I woke up this morning the rain was slashing against the windows, the tires were swishing past in the puddles, and you were on my mind. 

You see, I haven't been able to be with you as much for the last week and I worry that you will think I am neglecting our friendship. Of course I would never do that, but sometimes life gets in the way of blogging, and visiting, and just keeping up. 

The independent living apartments, where my mom has been living for the past two years, were just not working out. Too expensive, too many internal problems, and no real security system in place. So last year we put her on the waiting list for a different apartment and her name finally came up. Yesterday we signed the lease and she took possession of what will be her new home. 

That means I am busy helping her with her move and it means a few other things are having to slide. By the end of next week I hope to have her all settled in with the pictures hung on the walls, and I will be able to get back to my normal routine. 

In the meantime, please know that you are on my mind. Oh, and that is my new antique iron bed I bought this winter. I've been meaning to show it to you, and here it is now in a post that has nothing to do with finding the perfect iron bed. That's just how things happen sometimes. 

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P.S. Make sure you check back here on Monday. I will be here and and you will get to see what I did recently with a group of other women bloggers. I haven't seen it yet and I am a bit nervous about it. 

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Friday, May 15, 2015


There are many reasons I love summer, but one of the main ones is that I can walk barefooted. As a child I would kick off the flip flops, unbuckle the sandals, and toss aside the Keds so that I could run through the grass in bare feet. Yes, there were the occasional stings from an angry bee because I invaded his turf, but the feel of the grass and the earth was worth it.

Now I am finding out all of the wonderful benefits of barefooting.


Walking barefooted is also known as "earthing", and besides the benefits listed above it has other remarkable health advantages "such as increasing antioxidants, reducing inflammation, and improving sleep". You can read more at Mind Body Green. 

Maybe we knew a lot more than we thought we did as children. So get out there and enjoy the feel of the grass on your bare feet. Your body and mind will thank you.

Barefooting is simplicity and serenity at its best.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Family, we all have one in some form or another, and with family comes a certain number of obligations. 

Help me, Give me, Take me, Show me!!!

For the most part we love our families and we want to help in every way that we can, but sometimes obligations are inconvenient. That is when the problems arise. This is especially true if you have been the go to person. You are somehow made to feel guilty for not doing your familial duty even if there is another family member who can help, but just doesn't. 

Obligation is a very weighty word that implies a requirement, a duty, and that weight can wear you down. It can very easily foster resentment. I know, because I have been feeling that weight and resentment. 

So instead of looking at something as an obligation, I decided that I would instead look at it as a choice. I have the ability to make a choice for or against something. I can take what I consider to be either the moral high road or the moral low road. It is up to me. 

I choose the moral high road because it gives me a sense of satisfaction and empowerment. I feel good about what I am doing and suddenly I no longer feel like the victim. The weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. 

How do you handle family "obligations"?

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P.S. Find more of Women Speak here

P.P.S. I have moved Women Speak to Wednesdays because I am cutting my posts back to three or four times a week. I want to spend more time on each post and hopefully make each one more relevant to your lives. 

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Monday, May 11, 2015


"Unless someone can look into the core of your heart and see the degree of your passion, or look into the depths of your soul and see the extent of your will, then they have no business telling you what you can or cannot achieve. Because while they may know the odds, they do not know you. Nor do they know the power of your angels."
                                                          -Sandra King

I need to paste this on my mirror and read it several times a day to remind myself that I am the expert on me.

What makes others want to hold us back, to determine the course of our lives? Is it their fear that we may follow our dreams and be happy? Is it their fear that we may somehow surpass them?

While they are clinging to their old ways, we are forging ahead and taking the road less travelled. Because taking the road less travelled leads us to unexplored and unimaginable places.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 
Robert Frost

We have to be willing in life to make mistakes, because those mistakes help to teach us and they help to set us on our own right path. We have to be willing to dance to the beat of our own drum, to move forward with purpose. 

It may not always be easy and it may be met with resistance, but in the end we will know that we have followed our hearts and that is where satisfaction lies. 

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P.S. Find more Monday Inspiration here.

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Saturday, May 9, 2015


Tomorrow is that most special of days for mothers. It is the day where those of us who are mothers get lauded for something that we love more than anything. The privilege of being a mother.

I don't think that any mother will tell you that every moment is bliss. There are ups and downs and joys and sorrows in the relationships we have with our children. There are also seasons in those relationships. There is nurturing of the mother for the child and nurturing of the child for the mother. 

There is the relationship I have with my own mother, the relationship I have with my now adult children, and the relationship I see my daughter have with her own children. I remember a time when I wondered if I could ever fully love anyone in this world. Then I gave birth to my daughters. It completely changed my perspective on love. 

I would never claim to have been a perfect mother. Like all mothers I made my share of mistakes. Some big and some small. I continue to make mistakes as I weave my way through the ever changing relationships of a mother with her children, but I know that as a mother, I would lay down my life for those daughters. 

Tomorrow we celebrate motherhood, but I believe for a mother every day is in some way a celebration. For we are given a privilege that only comes with being a mother.

Happy Mother's Day!!

I am taking Mother's Day off. It will be difficult to not pick up my computer, but that is my plan. I will be spending the day with my mother, who is ninety years young. My mom and I have not always had an easy relationship, but I know there are probably not a lot of Mother's Days left for us to be together. So I plan to enjoy the day.

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