End of an Anti Hero? Or beginning of girl power?….

Last night was the season finale of Mad Men. Don’t worry if you haven’t seen it yet, no spoiler alert, I haven’t watched it either but Im pretty sure it includes sexism and alcoholism all at a very very slow pace.

For weeks now, columnists and talk show hosts have been building up the suspense by referring to the end of the dramatic series as an “end to an era”, which I disagree as the era ended like 40 years ago but , yea.

Some critics, however, are claiming that it’s finally the end of the “anti hero”- which is Hollywood’s way to describe a crooked, shady, unethical, yet ironically likeable and easy to connect to, star of the show.

I have to say, that I am not sure what these critics are talking about since we still have so many anti-heros that are still on TV such as Frank, from House of Cards (corrupt politician) , Orange is the New Black (jailbird), Real Housewives franchise- any- (vanity, drama, stupidity and shallowness).

Image result for real housewives drama funny

It’s not like Sopranos or Weeds or best one yet, Breaking Bad, were that long ago that would make Mad Men stand out as the last – or most compelling – of the anti hero series. Admittedly, although I still watch the show, I find Don Draper to be pathetic and well, boring.

Alcoholic, fraudulent, sexist, womanizer.…Yea, yea, yea- I get it. But still boring.

But I had to admit, watching the finale made me think about just how far we’ve come – and I’m not just referring to women’s rights or equality in the work place, (those are obvious wins and yet still not where they should be). I’m referring to the appeal of what tv viewers find interesting to watch.

For instance, yesterday- just hours before the Mad Men series finale, I took my two girls to see “Pitch Perfect 2”. I can’t remember laughing that hard – and smiling for 2 hours straight- in a movie in years. Aside from Jack Black, no other actor –male or female- makes me pee my pants the way Fat Amy’s character did.

 

I walked out of the movie theater with my girls smiling ear to ear- even though some lines were stupid it was still a very “feminist feel good/girl power” movie. There was no bitchy, catty girl drama, or eating ice cream straight from the tub when depressed – to speak of. (Although there was one pillow fight scene but they called it out and made it funny).

I thought to myself, look how far we’ve come.

Funny, the very same thing I thought after I watch Mad Men.

Lesson Learned:

Be it an anti hero or a fat female comedian, television, or movie; whatever entertains and intrigues us enough to “think” is what is compelling to watch.

Think more, hate less. Peace out to Mad Men and here’s hoping there’s a Pitch Perfect 3

 

 

Think before you click “Like”…..

Facebook fishing

[feys-boo k] [fish-ing]

Definition: When someone posts a status on Facebook that is very open ended or mysterious in the hopes of getting people to comment on their post. It is often used to gain sympathy from the posters friends.

It used to be, back in the good old days, we would only get to hear about our passive aggressive friends problems when we ran into them in person. Nowadays, we are lucky enough that we get to read about them – and everyone else in the world’s – problems on our social media feeds.

What is it about the Internet that offers people the comfort of complaining to literally the world about thier daily – and often mundane- lives? Does everyone in your inner and outer circle and Timbuktu really need to know that you are making chicken Marsala for dinner?

I was watching a taped show of Dr. Oz last night (I told you about how amazing my DVR is that it picks up on my Reality show watching habits and once in a while throws in a talk show just for fun) and he was talking to a dermatologist about common skin problems. He asked the audience to raise their hands if they have skin issues. One woman got up and told the Dr. that she has red bumps around her pubic area. She proceeded to describe them and also admitted that she is too embarrassed to talk about this problem with her own doctor. (can’t say I blame her after hearing about them in gross detail)

I could not help myself from wondering: is she really that oblivious to the fact that she is not only sharing this personal information – the very same info that she was too “embarrassed” to talk about with her own doctor- with the world– on national television? Or perhaps, more likely, she just wanted to see herself on TV?

I

I suppose it was the latter, but nevertheless it reminded me of all the posts I have been seeing in my FB feed lately; you would think they were coming from kindergarteners the way they are written.

For example: “ My life sucks. Apparently I am a terrible person and have no friends”. (*This is a real post I read the other day from a woman age 45.)

The chain of comments that followed were somewhat along these lines:

“I’m your friend – love you!”

Or

“Hang in there. It will get better”.

All very nice and encouraging, but it made me wonder what the real reason was behind her Facebook fishing.

Was she merely trying to reach out to her network and let them know she is feeling under appreciated?

Or was she trying to instigate something bigger?

A chain reaction of lovers? Or a chain reaction of haters?

It Could go either way when framed in that way.

Which made me think even more….

Does social media give us the platform to write what we really think yet are too afraid to say out loud?

Lesson Learned:

Pay attention- this is an important one: Don’t post what you wouldn’t have the courage to say out loud to someone’s face or to more than just the person you intend to direct it to. Think before you click send. Teach this lesson to your children and then Share, Like and Comment!

10 super foods for radiant skin, overall health and weight loss

Lol. Eat real food.

Back by popular demand! …. My super foods list!

So many people have asked me over the years –  what do i eat? What is my diet?  My answer is always the same: I never diet. I eat the same natural, whole foods everyday. Long before the popularity of kale and the accessibility of pinterest boards, I have been eating the same delicious foods everyday- I have always refered to my list as my “Super foods”.

For those of you not interested in hearing about the easiest, fastest and best way to get into amazing shape, both internally and externally, please ignore this post and move along with your day.

For the other 99% of the world, you’re welcome!

There are so many opinions of what to eat for optimal health. I keep my shopping list simple and inexpensive. I eat as much as I want of these same super foods every day and feel energy, have great skin, maintain a healthy weight and always feel satisfied.

What are super foods?

Super foods are easy to find, natural, fresh, whole foods (ie; not processed or packaged) that not only taste delicious, but also help prevent chronic diseases, reduce risk of cancer, and improve your overall health and weight loss goals. There are plenty of high end, expensive foods out there that are all the rage right now, but you don’t need to break your budget to find these inexpensive powerhouses of nutrients:

Eat these 10 foods everyday  in any combination: 

  1. Berries. Any kind.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could just take a pill to lose weight, prevent disease and help keep your brain sharp? Actually, there is something  better than a prescription, and you can find it in your local grocery store or farmers market. Berries not only taste delicious and are easy to eat alone or blend into a smoothie, but they also have high levels of phytochemicals that help protect cells from damage. They are low in sugar and are a great way to curb your sweet tooth!

  1. Avocado –Don’t be afraid of healthy fat! Fat is your friend and sugar is the enemy!  I repeat:Fat is your friend and sugar is the enemy! These healthy fats that go well with other vegetables are actually a fruit and are packed with 20 essential nutrients including potassium, fiber and folic acid. They are a good source of Vitamins B, K, C and E, and help enable the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients such as beta-carotene and lutein, which offer outstanding health benefits when absorbed into your cells.

  1. Eggs. Just one egg is loaded with vitamins and essential nutrients such as, riboflavin, which helps your body break down food into energy. Eggs also contain a good amount of Vitamin A, retinol, that is great for your eyesight, as well as Vitamin E that fights cellular and tissue damage and prevents cancer. Eggs can be eaten in a variety of ways and help in weight loss by keeping you fuller longer. Contrary to popular belief, although eggs contain “dietary cholesterol”,  eating eggs does not increase your “blood cholesterol” and are a low calorie, inexpensive protein source.

  1. Nuts. My favorite on-the-go snack or just a great add on to my salads! These heart healthy fats  contain omega- 3 fatty acid and Alpha-linoleic which are proven to reduce LDL (the bad) cholesterol and maintain HDL (the good) cholesterol. Besides, they are easy to take on the go, very satisfying to chew and keep you full for hours in between meals. I prefer to add them to my salad for an extra crunch! P.S.- make sure they are raw and unsalted!

  1. Sweet potatoes. (Or spelled Potatos if Youre George W bush )These orange complex carbohydrates are packed with alpha and beta-carotene,  which the body converts  into Vitamin A and assists in keeping bones, immune system and eyes healthy. They also contain phytochemicals which act as antioxidants to defend against disease producing free radicals. Just one potato contains Vitamins A, C, B and potassium lutein and manganese; all make this sweet treat one of the healthiest vegetables to eat.
  1. Broccoli and Kale. These tiny green tree look alkies are loaded with vitamins C, A and K that help with bone health and fight cancer. They also stimulate the body’s detoxifying enzymes. Cook them up in a skillet with red peppers and mushrooms and a splash of olive oil for a delicious (and easy!) stir-fry. My kids love to add a little sea salt and make them extra crisp.

  1. Spinach. Although easily stuck in your teeth, this vegetable is packed with fiber, iron, calcium, potassium, manganese and water soluble Vitamin A, C, K and vitamin B, which helps form new healthy cells. I eat so much of this superfood I don’t even care that it takes 3 pieces of dental floss to get the part that is stuck in between my teeth.
  1. Greek Yogurt.  I have been eating greek yogurt since before it became cool to eat greek yogurt…my best (not so kept secret!!) The creamy thick texture of this supper food makes it one of the most  delicious desserts that can actually add on years to your life. Yogurt has “good bacteria” that aids in gut health and helps prevent digestive issues. This inexpensive snack is also rich in calcium, zinc, vitamin B12 and protein. I love to add cinnamon, stevia, and 100% rolled oats and berries to my yogurt in the morning for a fast on the go breakfast! Greek yogurt is also a fantastic base for smoothies.

  1. Tomatoes. These juicy red fruits are loaded with lycopene, an antioxidant that can prevent cancer and protect your skin. They contain fiber, potassium and vitamin C and help protect against the harmful UV rays. But don’t get cocky- still slather on the sunblock!

  1. Oats. These whole grains that are loaded with fiber can replace any recipe that asks for all purpose flour and are great for baking or just adding to some of the above super foods such as Greek yogurt and berries for a delicious and easy morning meal. I also love to mix oats with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and liquid egg whites prepared as a pancake in a skillet – delicious!! ENJOY! See my Recipe section for other ideas. http://www.jordanabalsam.com
  • Note: I used to have salmon on my list of super foods but I have since removed it and I’ll tell you why: Wild salmon is so expensive ($30+/lb. and the way I used to eat it would cost over $400 a week – seemed wasteful. ) Farmed salmon, while more affordable, is absolutely horrible for you because of all the antibiotics and hormones they pump into them so it deflects from any of the health benefits of eating fish. Stick to the above list and you will look and feel amazing!

Lesson Learned:

Keep your meal planning simple and inexpensive: stick to the same above list of super foods and you will have a complete nutritionally balanced diet that will keep you full, give you radiant skin, shiny hair, prevent disease and keep you slim!!

4 things to do to get rid of that stubborn belly fat

Trying something different today (send feedback if you picked up on it)

Belly fat, also known as the ‘spare tire’, is probably the most difficult part of the body to reduce – especially for women. That’s because this area is made up of visceral fat, which is stored around many of the important internal organs such as the pancreas, intestines and the liver.

If too much fat is stored around your vital organs, it can interfere with how your liver functions and can lead to insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Hormones, age and genetics all factor into how your belly fat is stored, but you can take charge of your own body and take these 4 simple steps to reduce this fat and get that flat belly you always wanted.

  1. Eat a Bigger meal. I know, that sounds weird, considering you want to lose weight. But the simple act of just skipping dessert will help. When you eat too many processed foods, your body reacts to the refined sugars with increased inflammation which ultimately leads to that visceral – i.e.: belly- fat.

Instead choose fruits, vegetables and whole foods which all contain anti-oxidants that have an anti- inflammatory effect on your body. These natural foods fight off that belly, so go ahead and eat more natural whole foods at mealtime and then close the kitchen!

  1. Eat more fat!

My favorite phrase that I preach is: “Fat is your friend and sugar is the enemy!” Eat the right kind of fat to fight that stubborn belly fat! When you eat monounsaturated fats they have an anti inflammatory effect on your body.

Don’t be afraid of healthy fats like salmon, raw nuts, avocado, olive oil. Do cut down on meat, fried foods and dairy for a total anti-inflammatory effect.

  1. Go to bed!

You’re mama was right when she told you, as a kid, to go to bed. Those people, who average less than 5 hours of sleep a night, are more likely to gain 25+ pounds per year than those that sleep at least 7 hours a night. So take a chill and go to bed early.

  1. Relax Don’t Do it when you want to go to it!                                                             Frankie goes to Hollywood was right. Relaxation helps in fat loss. When you are stressed, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol, which can actually enlarge your fat cells! I don’t know about you, but I always reach for the peanut butter jar when I’m stressed and I feel it in my belly the next day. Stress can sometimes lead to over eating and ultimately overproduction of cortisol, which leads to that belly fat!

Lesson Learned:

Sleep, eat fats, take a chill and linger at dinner  for optimum health and to lose that stubborn belly.

If you can’t change it, complain silently…..

 

I once went camping with a group of friends. I say ‘once’ because to this day, I cannot understand why people CHOOSE to sleep on a hard bed of rocks in a zipped up blanket which allows easy access for insects and vermin to come for a sleepover, in the middle of the woods –on purpose. Haven’t they ever seen any of the Halloween movies? Blair Witch?

Image result for halloween movie

 

Anyway, one of the guys in our group complained the entire time – so the rest of us referred to him as “toowettoodrytoohottoocold”.

I find that when people complain about mundane things like the weather it’s usually to cover up for something else that’s really bothering them.

For instance, does the lady in my Monday morning yoga class really need to complain every week that it’s too cold in the room? She can easily wear another layer like the rest of us, but instead she chooses to complain instead. I often wonder what’s really bothering her? …. Everything! People like her just like to complain. It’s a distraction from what is really troubling them in their life.
In school we referred to the kids who complained as tattletales (even though now, in this day and age I advocate kids telling me everything – you can never be too careful with the nutjobs out there) but in daily life these complainers are just – well, distracting.

For the most part, complaining is stemmed from discontent about some, or every, aspect of their life that they find it easier to complain aloud about it to anyone who will listen.

Sometimes I am that person. I complain in a way that it’s almost therapeutic to release my discontent. I have learned to control or at least limit my complaining to just  my husband – (lucky man). He tells me the I have a weekend job of : “busting his balls”. I know, I’m a workaholic. )

So if I find myself getting annoyed about something,  I think twice before saying it aloud and decide if it’s worth repeating the obvious.

We all have the potential to be winjers (pronounced “win-jer”: a British friends word for whiner that I picked up years ago and just adore how it sounds- go ahead; say it: “win-jer” – kind of rolls off your tongue, no?) mostly because we are so used to having our way, or at least having the ability to control what we can that when something goes wrong we immediately demand retribution and make a big stink about it.

But what would happen if we all worked on keeping the discontent to ourselves? Maybe by not complaining we will set the tone that it’s ok to accept that which we cannot change and just go about our business anyway. We may even accomplish something great this way.

Lesson Learned:

Sometimes it’s ok to voice your dissatisfaction to anyone who will give you the attention. But  know that they are just being polite and really don’t care. Why not practice changing the negative to something positive – you may just find that you’ll have a more genuine audience willing to indulge you.

Which Pro are you?….

proactive |prōˈaktiv|

The act or action of creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened

procrastinate |prəˈkrastəˌnāt; prō-|

to delay or postpone action; put off doing something

Proactive and Procrastinate….two very similar sounding words yet could not be any more different in meaning.

What causes one person to procrastinate and another person to be proactive? Is it a personality trait we are born with? Does it develop over time? Is it something we learn in our upbringing? Perhaps the same person procrastinates doing one thing and is proactive in all other aspects of their life.

For example getting in a daily workout ….. if I didn’t need to get up early anyway, I would most likely be that person who procrastinates exercising. (one of the reasons I rarely show up at the gym on weekends). But since I have to get up to take kids to school and get ready for work anyway, I typically get my workouts in early in the day. That is not to say that those who prefer to work out late at night are procrastinating – perhaps they are being proactive by getting all other things done during the day and hold the best for last when they have more time.

Either way, it is all how you identify to it. For instance, if you dread exercising and associate it with the feeling of pain or agony, then you will most likely procrastinate and push it off altogether. BUT if you associate exercising with the feeling of pleasure and the natural “high” you get from releasing all those endorphins, then it doesn’t matter what time of the day you actually do it- you’ll just be more likely to be proactive about it.

Growing up, one of my favorite throw pillows on my friend’s grandma’s couch read:

“Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels

….such an old hackneyed phrase and yet oh, so true.

But that pillow begs the question- does feeling thin a better sensation than eating something that tastes delicious?

For that matter, what makes us associate pleasure to anything?

Most often it is the feeling we get subsequent to completing it.

I actually enjoy exercising. I love to lift weights. I love to bike. I love to row. I love to swim. I love it all (except running, I hate running). BUT I only love it AFTER I have done it! That feeling I get when my face is beet red and my eye makeup is smeared like Tammy Faye Baker and my hair looks like RoseanaDanaDana- it’s just the best feeling to be done!

Aspiring Olympic athletes spend an average of eight hours a day, seven days a week training their bodies. I doubt any Olympian is excited to wake up at 4:00am to begin the grueling 5 hour morning workout only to return to train again later in the day for another 5 hours. But the response  a well trained athlete’s body has AFTER a grueling workout is what they associate working out to….that feeling of PLEASURE derives from the change they see in their bodies.

Image result for olympic athlete jenner

Ok, that was a lay up that I could not resist  but you know how inspired I am by him so chill.

Lesson Learned:

Regardless of how much you DREAD putting on your LULU’s and recoil from the thought of yet another round of ‘Uptown Funk” in spin class……allow yourself to just go with it because no matter how you associate the BEFORE period of exercise to PAIN you will guaranteed to associate EUPHORIC PLEASURE to the AFTER burn.

If you write it, they will come…..

Once in a while I submit one of my articles to my friend who works in publishing. I’m not sure if he is humoring me or not but he always makes me feel good by telling me I have good writing skills despite the fact that my grammar is always off, and I often write in CAPS which is like screaming “F U” to an Editor.

His main critique is that instead of the normal Times New Roman font size 12, I prefer to write in Cambria at font size 20 –mainly because it’s a fun font that makes me smile, but more so because I refuse to wear reading glasses an that’s the only font size I can actually still read with out them.

So when I sent him one of my articles recently and asked him what he thought about the idea of me writing an “eBook” or several of them- his reply took me by surprise. He asked me; why limit myself to an “eBook” and reminded me that there are still tangible, paper, hard cover bound books – in print – which you can actually hold and turn the pages with your hands.

I had to stop and think about that for a minute.

I use technology for almost everything I do. I text myself ideas on my phone, transfer them to my computer, go online to spread them to the world. The only time I actually use a pen and paper is when I write up my grocery-shopping list.

I DONT ALWAYS MAKE A GROCERY LIST BUT WHEN I DO, I FORGET IT AT HOME The Most Interesting Man In The World

It used to be that I would leave a notepad and pen on my night stand to write notes to myself in the middle of the night if I have a creative idea –but I could never read my own handwriting in the morning and would spend the remainder of the day frustrated at my lack of penmanship skills – so I nixed that long ago.

But it occurred to me that we truly are a digital world and everything we do depends on technology.

I kind of think there’s something so genuine and sincere about handwritten notes.

Longhand cartoons, Longhand cartoon, funny, Longhand picture, Longhand pictures, Longhand image, Longhand images, Longhand illustration, Longhand illustrations

When my kids were little, before they even knew how to write, I taught them the importance of sending handwritten thank you notes when they received gifts. They started with just a drawing and as they grew they did not need to be reminded to sit down and write beautiful handwritten thank you cards. Now they leave me notes all the time (probably because they think kissing up to me will soften me up enough to indulge them in something- it always works, I’m so easy).

So I asked myself why it threw me off when my friend suggested I write an actual hardcover 30,000 word book rather than a short 3000 word eBook.

I suppose the answer was simple: it meant I had to actually sit down and write it.

Lesson Learned:

Sometimes we procrastinate and end up missing out on life opportunities. All it takes is a little push from an outside source to get you to accomplish what you ultimately dream of doing.

Stay tuned for my hardcover/paper book!!!!