As I approach the magical age of 50, I’ve noticed that my body isn’t quite what it used to be. Yes, I have a few lines around my face (I prefer to call them laugh lines), my stomach has expanded (slightly), and I just can’t seem to find my waist, EVER. What happened to my body? I guess with age, comes change. Although I’ve been standing in front of my freezer now for years to cool off (don’t ask) and blow my hair dry with the window wide open, I’ve come to accept the fact that it’s time for SPANX (sigh).

So, I’ve been trying on many styles and have found the perfect fit. There. I said it. The perfect fit. I’ve come to realize that wearing too-tight undergarments is no way to live! I usually feel like a sausage in shapewear, however the Spanx’s lightweight Trust Your Thinstincts Short has strategically placed paneling that smooths without cutting off my circulation. You can find them on for $58.

Trust me, you will have an “aha” Spanx moment once you try them on.

*The picture shown is inside out so you can see where all the magic happens!


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Image: paradecom


Who doesn’t love sweetheart candy, right? I remember freaking out when a boy in my third-grade class gave me one pink candy that said, “BE MINE.” I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world. Later, I found out that he gave another little girl (Jessica) in my classroom a yellow candy that said, “KISS ME.” Boy, oh boy, talk about drama occurring in an elementary school classroom!

Did you know the early treats-with-a-message had a candy shell with a paper note inside (like a fortune cookie)? Yuppers. These convections served as ice breakers for adult events, such as parties and weddings. They have changed (big time) over the years. In fact, nowadays, we can all eat our (emoji) hearts out.

A sampler of Sweethearts sentiments through the years.

1800s: Courtly and poetic

  • May I see you home after the circus?
  • Please send a lock of hair by return mail
  • Your lips are like a rose

1900s: Bossy and definitive

  • Be Mine
  • Kiss Me
  • Marry Me
  • The One I Love

1950s: Rock-and-roll pet names

  • Hep Cat
  • Hot Dawg
  • Sugar Pie
  • Yak Yak

1990s: Snarky Sweetness

  • 1-800-Cupid
  • As If
  • Fax Me
  • Let’s Do Lunch

2016:  Tech Talk

  • #Love
  • Holla
  • TXT Me
  • Sweet Tweet


The classic flavors-like the much missed wintergreen, banana, and cherry are returning this year! Woo hoo! Hey, they may spark a vivid sense memory of a childhood crush who was crazy 4 u


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Did you know there are more than 2.7 million breast cancer survivors living today in the U.S.? That’s enough to stretch across the country! Geez!!!

The good news is the 5-year survival rate for women with breast cancer has increased.

In the 1960’s the survival rate was 63%. Today it is 90%. That’s a shining moment!

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The Super Bowl craze is here. Do you know what you will be serving at your Super Bowl party? I’m into Mile High Nachos. They have top crispy baked tortillas with a mountain of beans, veggies, and double-cheesy goodness. I L.O.V.E. the double-cheese contrast here: Shredded cheese melts into a bubbly blanket over the tortillas, while crumbly queso fresco covers the veggies with a salty kick.  It’s an impressive dish for the Super Bowl. It’s fun to keep it in the baking pan and serve as a shared platter.


1 tablespoon canola oil

1 cup chopped red onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup chopped zucchini

1 cup fresh corn kernels

2 tablespoons thinly sliced jalapeno pepper

½ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon chili powder

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 (14.5-ounce) can organic black beans, rinsed and drained

8 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into wedges

Cooking spray

2 ounces shredded reduced-fat Mexican-blend cheese (about ½ cup)

¾ cup diced peeled avocado (about 1 small)

2 ounces crumbled queso fresco (about ½ cup)

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 medium tomato, diced

4 lime wedges


  1. Preheat broiler to high.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add onion; saute 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; saute 30 seconds.  Add zucchini and next 5 ingredients (through salt); cook 5 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Add beans; cook for 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
  3. Arrange tortilla wedges in a single layer on a large jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat tortilla wedges with cooking spray.  Broil 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned and crisp.  Sprinkle shredded Mexican cheese evenly over tortillas.  Broil 1 minute or until cheese melts.
  4. Top chips evenly with bean mixture, avocado, queso fresco, cilantro, and tomato. Serve with lime wedges.




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Although our weather has been freakishly warm on the east coast (aside from the blizzard, Jonas from last week), we know that the cold weather will hit us again. After all, it’s only the beginning of February. With the cold weather looming on my mind, I’ve always been concerned about our pets and the amount of time they spend outside.

So, let’s not forget to prepare our four-legged friends for the cold winter weather. My veterinarian, Dr. Reginald Royster is a ROCK STAR vet. Not only is he kind and caring to all his patients, but he insists on educating all the owners, too. He has a bulletin board in his office with informative material ranging from diet, disease, weather conditions, making friends, etc. that is changed monthly.  I thought I would help him get the word out for winter weather. Thanks Dr. Royster for all you do to help keep our four-legged babies happy and healthy.

My vet says it can be tricky to know whether a pet is cold, so keep a close eye on her when she plays outside. Shivering and decreased activity are both signs of freezing. Redness on the extremities, such as ears, means she’s been outside too long.



According to Dr. Royster, even a natural fur coat can’t fully ward off the chill. He tells all adults who come into his office to always provide a warm, dry place for your pet to sleep that’s off the ground and away from drafts.  A pet bed with an extra blanket will do the trick.  Outside, animals with short hair should wear a coat when temperatures drop. It should cover your pet from the neck to the base of the tail.


Low humidity, salted roads, and freezing temperatures can cause dry, cracked paws.  Dr. Royster suggests rubbing a small amount of petroleum jelly on your pet’s paw pads to prevent additional irritation.  “It’s like putting lotion on your hands,” he says.  Boots are another great option, as long as they fit snugly.  You can even find disposable rubber or latex ones for animals that balk at heavier shoes.


Antifreeze is poisonous to pets.  Dr. Royster recommends this easy cleanup trick: Pour cat litter over any spills to soak up the liquid, then sweep up and dispose of it.  Ice-melting products can also irritate animals’ skin, or upset their stomach if ingested.  Choose a pet-safe variety for outdoor walkways, and always wipe down your pet’s paws and belly after walks to remove any chemicals or ice on his fur.


Did you know pets are more likely to get lost in the winter, since excess snow masks smells that help them determine their surroundings? Yup. Dr. Royster recommends outfitting your dog or cat with an ID tag, consider having him microchipped.  The small, permanent implant helps shelters identify a lost animal and its owners.  Unlike collars, a chip can never fall off or go missing.  The quick procedure generally costs around $50 at the vet’s office.

Make sure you and Fido are prepared for the remaining cold winter months!


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Did you know the first Groundhog Day was officially celebrated in Pennsylvania in 1887, where Punxsutawney Phil is still consulted to predict the end of winter each year? Yuppers. But don’t fret if he sees his shadow-some say he’s only right about 39% of the time. Happy Groundhog Day!

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MM Feb 1

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I never get tired of sweet potatoes. Do you? Not only are there a gazillion recipes out there for sweet potatoes, but they are so healthy for you! I found this recipe from Martha Stewart’s magazine and absolutely L.O.V.E. it. Once you try it, you will do a face-plant onto your plate. You really will!



4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (6 cups)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 ½ pounds ground beef (90 percent lean)

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced (3 cups)

1 large onion, chopped (2 cups)

½ cup Pilsner-style beer

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 ¼ cups low-sodium chicken broth


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover potatoes with 2 inches water in a pot; bring to a simmer.  Cook until tender, about 17 minutes.  Drain and return to pot.  Mash with 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt.
  2. Place beef in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up large pieces with a spoon, until browned, about 11 minutes. Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon; pour off excess fat in skillet.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon oil, mushrooms, and onion to skillet; cook, stirring occasionally until browned, about 6 minutes. Add beer, cook until reduced, about 3 minutes.  Whisk together cornstarch, mustard, and broth in a bowl; add to skillet and bring to a boil.  Return beef to skillet; season with salt and pepper.  Top with mashed potatoes.  Bake until bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes.  Serve hot.


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While going through chemo, I was determined to find a Shining Moment daily, whether it was big or small. I kept telling myself over and over again that I just wanted to be happy. During my chemo days, trying to find happiness was really tough. I mean, REALLY tough.

I was thinking about happiness the other day as I was looking through my cancer journal. This is what I found:

Being happy means seeing the rain drops on the petals, knowing that it is the rain that makes them so beautiful.

Being happy means having a conversation with a friend whom I’ve missed.

Being happy means touching the lives of people we don’t know in ways we will never imagine.

Being happy means learning something new every day.

Being happy means finding Shining Moments on the darkest of days.

Being happy means laughing (hard!) every, single day.

Being happy means being mindful.

Being happy means taking a deep breath.

Being happy means caring for yourself.

Being happy means listening.

Happiness is waiting for you.  All you have to do is look for it, which I hope that you do!

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