Hide Under Eye Circles and Bags

Exhaustion is a part of life in 2017.  Everyone has many responsibilities, working long hours, fitness routines, childcare and associated activities, and we spend a lot of time on our devices.  Exhaustion can manifest itself in many ways — skipping workouts,  poor eating, dark circles, and puffy bags under your eyes.  Sometimes it is a night of fun and over indulgence that will do those eyes in.  Allergies can cause swelling under the eyes, as can changes in the weather.  Too much sodium in the diet will also cause bags.  Whatever the cause, we all want to make under-eye bags and circles go away.

It is important to evaluate your diet and hydration.  Hydration is extremely important for your skin.  Back in September of last year, I wrote an article on hydration and how to treat it.   Refer to that for tips!

For topical treatments, use cool compresses.  Items found around the house will suffice, such as cucumbers, raw potatoes, cold tea bags, cotton balls soaked in milk, or a cold spoon applied to the under eye area.  Also available are gel masks which are kept in the freezer and applied as needed.  Eye creams are an essential part of the beauty routine and can help reduce bags and circles.

Check out the FAQ sheet with my favorite eye care products and how to use them.  Also on the FAQ sheet are a few makeup tips to hide the bags and dark circles.


Week 4: New Challenges with Running

Saturday we woke up to snow, more snow on the ground.  It was April 8th, and we had snow.  Not cool, Mother Nature!  I struggled with our run on Saturday, and I was exhausted after.  So tired, I did not want to hang around for the trainer that I had been looking forward to.  I struggled with my joints and my breathing, and I felt frustrated.  According to my Fitbit, I had sufficient sleep the night before, so that was not the cause.  My daughter took off like a shot and finished the run.  She caught up to me after.  She became concerned and backtracked looking for me.  I was really lagging far behind.   I chalked that near failure to the very cold temperatures, and figured I had better call my rheumatologist or my PCP to discuss the joint stiffness that was impeding my progress.  It was not a total failure because I did manage to complete the route with only 1 cut corner.  Exercising in any form, even slowly, is better than giving up, right?

By Monday, the start of our week 4, I was feeling better.  My joints did not ache, and it was balmy out.  In the 80s.  I decided to hold off on phoning the doctor until after I gauged my progress on Monday’s run.  Compared to Saturday, I did fabulous.  I almost kept up with my daughter, I could see her ahead of me the entire time out on Monday.  With the 80-degree temperature my joints were feeling good, and my legs wanted to run.    I was excited because I was doing well.  But then my lungs could not keep up, in an extreme deficit.  I could NOT catch my breath.  Then I started coughing.  Then my throat hurt, and I felt sick to my stomach.  I discounted it and kept going, doing a funny sort of speed walking, slowing down when the breathing was too hard and speeding up to a jog when I could manage it.

On the way home, I was completely beat.  I did not let on to my daughter just how exhausted I was.  I kept coughing for hours after arriving home.   My throat is still sore It is now Tuesday afternoon, and I feel like another coughing fit could be just around the corner.  Then I had an epiphany…I think I’m suffering with exercise-induced asthma.  Two of my six children have it.  My mother struggled with asthma at times.  It is allergy season and my allergies are severe in the spring.  I did some web hunting and found I  have all of the symptoms.  I did call my doctor, and I have an appointment next week.  Now I have to figure out how to cope between now and then so I do not wreck my training.   I may end up at urgent care before my appointment (my doc is out of town until next week).

I have never been diagnosed with asthma, and I have struggled with breathing before, but I never challenged myself to running before.  All other times I was able to recover from the breathing.   Interval training, cycling, boxing, kettle bell, walking/hiking, etc. all allow for more recovery time, or are in a controlled environment.  Running demands more of your cardio system, and I’m running outside in my peak allergy season.  This seems a very logical and likely diagnosis.  I am looking forward to getting a little inhaler and seeing if that makes a difference.  I really feel like my legs can do much more than my lungs can.  If I can get that sorted out, there should be no stopping me!

WEEK 3! No Longer a Pretender!

Yes, that is right!  For the first time, I feel like I may be a runner.  No longer a pretender, I was able to mostly keep up this week!  I was not in the back of the pack.  I moved up to the bottom third, definitely forward from previously.   I would be happy to be last on June 3rd.  I just want to finish the race.   The weather on Monday was spectacular!  Let’s hope spring has really sprung!  In a few weeks I will be complaining about the heat, so I had to mention the perfection of Monday.

This week our training plan is to run 90 seconds, walk 90 seconds, then run 3 minutes and walk 3 minutes.  I was able to complete the full 90-second runs.  The first 3-minute run I lasted about 2, walked 30 seconds and then ran the last 30.  The second 3-minute run I started coughing, likely a residual cough from the cold/bronchitis I am recovering from.  Since Monday I did start my spring allergy remedy, so if allergies were responsible, that will resolve shortly.  The cough could also be from shortness of breath with a new sport; my cardiorespiratory system is struggling to keep up.  Whatever the cause, it should clear up quickly.

Monday was a huge improvement for me.  Sunday, my daughter and I did an independent run on a hilly road.  Huffing and puffing while running up and down those hills resulted in better endurance and a slight, noticeable improvement in my breathing the next day.  We will do those hills again on Wednesday.

My daughter, as always, was way ahead of me, and she is also improving.  As I move up in the pack, so does she.  I may never catch her during the runs, but I walk faster than she does.  On the walking sections I do close the gap a little.  It is going to be interesting to see what happens as the walking time diminishes and the running time lengthens.  Last week I thought the 3-minute runs would do me in.  Progress is exhilarating!  I might be starting to understand why so many of you love your runs.

I managed to get the hydration right for Monday, so a few of my mistakes are being righted with practice.  We hit some traffic getting to the Crossings on Monday, so I only caught the tail end of the breathing instruction.  I will have to work on that a bit more.

One of the coaches mentioned that my running is too noisy.  I had to laugh because my mother always said that my gait was heavy; though, she told me I sounded like an elephant coming down the stairs.  I did discuss this with one of the trainers during our walking time on Monday.  Now I will be practicing walking between runs.  So much to learn!


Interested in joining us?  It is not too late.  Sign up by April 8th to get in on the Freihofer’s Couch to 5k training that we are doing.  What are you waiting for?  It is never too late, so get going, Starting Today!  Hey, if I can learn to run, so can you!


Fleet Feet Running Form Clinic

We learned so much on Saturday from the Running Form Clinic held at Fleet Feet in Albany!  And I learned more during our run after the clinic!  This Freihofer’s couch to 5K training program is fantastic for the complete beginner.  I am sure it is also fabulous for the intermediate and advanced, but I can only speak for the experience my daughter and I are having as total newbies.  I have read about running and running form, but never having experienced it, this in-person clinic was a huge help.  We learned about how shorter strides and more steps is actually better and creates speed.  We learned how to “set” our form by relaxing the knees and putting our hands over our heads, and how we are to lean from the ankles not the waist, and lots more.

Our instructor was Charles Woodruff, the owner of Fleet Feet in Albany, and he made our experience very enjoyable despite the delightful “spring” weather of the wintry mix and freezing temperatures.  He was so cheerful for so early on a dreary Saturday morning that I almost forgot how cold I was!  But his information was worth every bit of discomfort.  Charles also asked us to state our goal.  I said my goal was to finish the race.  This is so far outside of my wheelhouse that if I finish I will be very pleased.

Other things I learned was that my spring allergies need to be handled better (duh! but I had not really thought about that.  Newbie, remember?)  I need to be more in tune with my body.   On day 1, my biggest problem was the lack of restroom facilities.  After discussing with my friend, who is an experienced runner, I hydrate the day before and stop drinking 2-3 hours before I run, then hydrate again after.   The mistake I made on Saturday was that I had nothing to eat or drink since Friday evening because we ran early in the day.  Therefore, I ran out of steam really fast!  Lesson learned.  It is better to get up early enough to eat a light snack and drink something than to skip food and drink completely before a run.  Maybe it won’t be that pineapple upside down bundt cake I’ve made before, but I will definitely eat something.

I also learned I give up on myself WAAAY too easily.  I had a coach/mentor running with me at the end, and she challenged me to run towards a landmark.  I did it!  That felt great!  During the cool down I spoke with a 65-year-old lady who told me she runs the 5k in 44 minutes.  That is awesome!

Back to our goals, my daughter and I have decided we are excited to find out what our first time will be in June.  We are talking about looking into other races.  To give the sport a fair try we want to stick with it all summer and see where we are come fall.

Today, Sunday, my daughter and I ran locally.  We ran down a dirt road near our house, and it was hard!  There is a huge hill that I did not factor in when deciding to run there.  When we finished, our ankles were aching.  I’m not sure why that happened, but with Aleve in the house, I think I should be ok for tomorrow night.

We got our training plan for this week, and I’m nervous about the 3-minute runs.  I might die.  Just kidding.  I fully expect to survive and continue the training.  Looking forward to the lessons of week 3.



Weather Wimp

Today’s training plan for our 5k prep was tanked because I’m a wimp with today’s weather!  I intended to go out when I was working this morning, and the photo above reflected the weather outside my front door.  Before my workday was finished; however, the weather changed to freezing rain and high winds.

I totally wimped out.

Tomorrow, come rain or shine, high winds or freezing and snowy conditions, my daughter and I will be at the running clinic.  No wimping on that!

Now I have a question for the experienced runners.  How do you deal with dogs that want to growl and lunge at you while you are running past their homes?  Dogs that are not leashed, and think runners look like snacks…how do you handle that?  Our last run was re-routed due to a scary, unleashed dog.  Looking forward to learning new coping techniques from all of you!


Week 2!

Monday night!  We got our shirts!  This pic is Maureen modeling it for you.*  Getting something new is always fun!  And now I can pretend I’m a real runner when I wear it.  I know you will say I am a real runner.  I do show up and run, but I feel a bit like a cheat because I haven’t been able to really keep up yet.  I have been sick more than well since 2017 rolled around.  A bad bout of the flu got me early in the year and it delivered a knock-out punch!  That led to opportunistic stomach viruses, colds, and now I’m trying not to let the latest cold settle into bronchitis.  Fingers crossed.  But illness and winter weather produced less activity and low endurance.  So, I feel a bit like a pretender.

I know that cardio gains build quickly though.  I am just going to keep at it, and hang in there.  I think all of this fresh, clean, mountain air is good for the immune system.  My body feels like it can handle much more than my lungs can right now.  (Shocking!)

My daughter is outrunning me; seriously, she is leaving me in the dust!  Since this was her idea to start a running program, I am thrilled to see her doing so well.  She is feeling really pumped about her success, and looking back at mom gives her a thrill.  I’m looking forward to giving her a run for her money in the upcoming weeks.  It would be an accomplishment for me to run side-by-side with her in June without holding her back.  Goals!

We learned about runner’s etiquette last night.  The ID issue was not one I had thought much about.  Now I’ll be looking to add some safety ID items to our gear.  “On your left” proved a challenge last night.  Am I the only one who mixes up left and right when I’m not driving?  I’m going to have to devise a memory trick.

We decided we are going to try to run Wednesday and Friday this week, in an attempt to build that cardio faster.  As long as I can ward off bronchitis, I’m all in.

Happy Tuesday, and let’s hope tomorrow’s weather is better than today!  Rain, rain, go away!


*Maureen is wearing Heartbreaker LipSense.  (Hey, it’s my day job!)

Run, Car, Run

This ugly thing, a serpentine belt, interfered with our training with the Freihofer’s group Saturday.

We got up early.  We drove far.  It was cold.  We did not want to.  And on the way, the serpentine belt broke.  It was a little nerve-wracking, but we made it all the way to the Colonie Park.  It was cold and rainy, and we were going to run anyway.  Then I decided to call Triple A, figuring it would be a long while to get assistance.  I thought we would be able to get the run in, but bless their hearts, they were there in less than 20 minutes.

We sat crammed together in the front seat of a (very clean!) tow truck for over 30 miles, with a very kind driver.  Then we met up with my husband at the garage for a ride back home.  At that point, we had decided to just enjoy breakfast, and we warmed up with a nice, home made egg sandwich.

But then, we felt bad we missed out on running.  So, around 2 p.m. we suited up for the icy, cold rain and we headed out the door.  WE DID IT.  We ran even though we missed the group.  We ran even though we did not have to.  Maybe we can learn to like this.  And my joints haven’t been aching yet, so maybe there is something to this.  Looking forward to tomorrow night.  I hope I have my car back from the mechanic.  Or, maybe we will have to do it on our own again.



Day 1: Journey to the finish line


Our first ever attempt at jogging is now in the books! I promised a journal of drawbacks and discomforts, gains and pains, and the journey to the finish line.

When we arrived at the Crossings last night, we had no idea where we were supposed to meet. So, I parked in the middle, near the bathrooms. Let’s just say being a 50-year-old mom of 6, means having a bathroom nearby is of great importance; hence, the chosen parking space. Most unfortunately, the bathrooms lock at 5 pm this time of the year, and we arrived at 5:45. Yikes! Discomfort and Drawback #1. While jogging/walking last night I talked to a few women…apparently, this is a common runner’s curse…say what? I’m a little worried about this one. Someone confessed to me that soggy shorts are normal for joggers. Is that true? I guess I should plan better. We left the house at 4:30, ran an errand, but mostly my drive is long. I will have to find a very nearby pit stop location before next week!

After we left the parking lot, I was not sure which way to turn, I thought maybe we’d meet up near the entrance, but I was completely wrong, as in a LONG walk from where we were supposed to be. But that’s okay, we got a warm up in before our warm up. I like to walk, so I only minded being a little late for the introductory remarks, missed them completely! We also missed the fact that we were supposed to sign in, but that was rectified at the end when someone asked me if I had signed out.

In the gain column is meeting some nice women. We met one on our way in, and I chatted with another fellow bladder sufferer towards the end. Cold plus jogging, enough said. I also talked with one of the timekeepers/coaches. Everyone I met was very encouraging and friendly. A definite positive for entering the running community, are you all so nice?

It turns out my hips were right to be afraid…my hips are stiff. It could be from a long winter of illness and less-than-normal activity. Or it could be from my osteoarthritis. Either way, I have a rheumatologist on speed dial, so I’m not concerned. With regular practice, these little pains will go away. I always feel better when I am more active. Time to get those joints moving again!

Overall, I think this whole thing is going to be fun! My daughter and I high-fived on the way out because we made it through night one. With a little better planning, I hope to be able to run for the entire training time next week! Next up, our independent run.

Why don’t you sign up and join us? https://runsignup.com/Race/NY/Albany/FreihofersRunforWomen?raceRefCode=yeZCp9MQ&utm_source=RunSignUp&utm_medium=Referral&utm_campaign=yeZCp9MQ

Starting Today: Journey to the Freihofer’s Run for Women 5K

“Any change, even for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.” ~Arnold Bennett

My daughter and I are trying to change. Challenge ourselves. I have never tried running as a sport. I never liked running much, not even as a child. I preferred softball, biking, and hiking. Or nothing at all. Now at my age, my 13-year-old daughter and I are trying this new thing. We are have entered the Freihofer’s Run for Women 5k on June 3rd. We will be training starting today.

My arthritic knees, hips, and ankle joints are afraid. But, I’m going to do it. We are going to do this.

I have thought about this for a couple of years but I have been afraid of the drawbacks and discomforts. No more fear going forward. The journey of discomfort and drawbacks, the journey of gains and pains, the journey to the finish line will be documented here.

This is my daughter and I on her 13th birthday last September. Follow along as we prepare.


I have been missing, working on employment options and school.  I am working on new content!  I have to get a system down for posting!  Next post, coming soon.  Let’s say you are in for an olfactory treat!


Interrupting regularly scheduled programming for a slide show of beautiful things.

Often I find pictures after on my phone after my daughter uses it.  Here is a slide show of beauty through the eyes of a 14-year-old girl:

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O Coffee, Coffee! Wherefore art thou?

Coffee, why are you so important to me?  Most days start like this, half asleep, in my work chair, in front of the computer, white mug in hand.  I get up between 4 and 5 a.m. nearly every day to work out, make breakfast for the family, and start work by 6.  Over the years, I have tried to give up coffee because of the caffeine, but is it really so bad?


Happily, according to WebMD, it is not so bad.  The article states it may reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cholesterol, liver cirrhosis and even liver cancer.  Even without all of that, I would drink it.  The workout boosting effects of coffee are pretty well documented.


Coffee is a part of my daily routine; I average about one and a half cups a day, well under the 5 daily cups that is considered to be too much.  Being pretty much dairy free, I put coconut creamer in my coffee.  Delicious!  Black coffee works on occasion, but not very often.

As I’m a bit of a coffee snob, I really love French press coffee.  In fact, if the French press breaks, it is considered an emergency.  I get up so early that nothing is open around here(not even Cumberland Farms or Stewarts).  If my coffee is not ready to go, it ruins the whole day.    My kids know this, and they make sure my coffee pot is clean, placed safely on the counter, next to the electric tea kettle, and that my white mug (it’s just the right size) is clean.

Coffee is so much a part of daily life, routines well established.  As there are many benefits when consumed in moderation, go ahead and enjoy your cup of java.  You have less to worry about than poor Juliet; your love of coffee is not star-crossed.