Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sue Rambles On About Great Boomer Websites

I admit it.  I'm only human.  But I get a real high when I hear that the sites I've recommended have helped people. 
Thus, I plan to continue to inundate you folks with the fruits of my research until you cry, "Uncle."

Here goes:

The U.S. Government supplies more information than you ever want to know.  Find out the top 10 ways to prepare for retirement or factors that may affect retirement benefits (and see the effect of retirement earnings on your Social Security benefits).

If you need help at home and want to know what to buy, check out one of my favorite internet "stores."  This site is not only easy to use,  it is clean and clear and is backed by the Better Business Bureau.  

I'm a fan of the Rodale Prevention Books.  Look no further than The Doctors Book of  Home Remedies and Disease Free at 60 Plus. 

Are you thinking about remodeling.  Don't make a move until you check out AARP home design.  By making your home accessible to people of all ages, you provide comfort for yourself throughout your lifetime and increase the value of your house for subsequent buyers.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Less is More: Reuse What You Already Have

Save Your Trash suggests alternatives to "disposable" items.  For instance, you can reduce waste simply by using a commuter rather rather than the paper thingies they give you at Starbucks.

Utilizing reusable shopping bags is become more popular.  I saw one today that said, "Plastic bags are so last year."

When you want to bring home restaurant leftovers, whip out your own to-go containers.

Finally, reuse your water bottle rather than discarding one of the 2 million water bottles used every five minutes.

It's simple to do your part to make this world a better place.  Why not start now?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

10 Great Senior Sites

I really like Smart Money. The articles are timely and relevant. The print can be enlarged for these sometimes-weary eyes. Back in February, 2004, it published 10 online resources for seniors. 4 years later I wouldn't debate the continued wealth of information provided by each of these resources, mostly government and nonprofit organizations and trusted companies.

For instance,
1. Go to Eldercare Locator to find help where you live.

2. Use a national database to find out what benefits you qualify for (veterans' assistance, rent assistance, prescription assistance, etc.).

3. explains this program simply and in detail. Here you can determine the level of care needed. You can even compare nursing homes.

4. Get help from a reliable nonprofit consumer-advocacy group about how to judge assisted-living facilities.

5. Sign up for Social Security online. Use the benefit calculator to find out how much money you can expect each month. Consider depositing your checks directly into your bank account.

6. Look for articles and references to other websites from ElderWeb.

7. Get your documents (wills, trusts, power of attorney, estate planning, etc.) in order with advice from National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.
8. Find easy-to-understand articles on AARP's website.

9. Caregivers lives are made easier with the help of geriactic care managers.

10. Get help locally while finding out all about caregiving from the Family Caregiver Alliance.

For 2009, add It will give you all the above information in one location!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Modern, Youthful Fashion

Some of us learn by seeing (me, for instance!). Others do better listening.  3 consultants discuss how to look modern and youthful. Sherrie Matthieson helps her clients pick the simple staples for their wardrobe to make each of them look genuine and ageless. 
Deborah, JoJami and guests discuss accessories and color (you have to be very careful how you use certain colors so that they don't make you look hard). Sometimes a charcoal gray may be a better choice than black because black soaks in color and depletes you. 

Have fun with color. Sherrie is partial to orange and plays on orange.  She also suggests mixing your greens (apple, hunter, and lime) with white jeans during the summer.  Stay away from mauve or peach with gray.  Check out men's departments for scarves (imagine a turquoise scarf next to your face).  And while you're there, pick out a men's watch and add your own band.

Look for high-end workout clothes and match with flats or boots and a great purse.  The more ladylike you look as you age, the older you look, according to Mathieson.  Stay clear of all knit suits (and that well-known brand), she advises.  

Clothes should skim your figure.  Collect the classics and then add the special pieces. 
Think sleek and simple for shoes (no bling).

A non-ornamental jean jacket goes a long way in your wardrobe. 

Mathieson suggests an over-the-shoulder good-sized (not huge) weather-resistant patent leather bag which may be adorned with zippers.    Think patent beyond dressy--it can really be sporty.  Try shoes with a patent stripe.   

Replace your heavy Coach bag with a more modern version.  You can find inexpensive eco-friendly bags that can be used everyday.  

Other Mathieson suggestions:

Use a scarf with a v-neck sweater.

Don't go for tight turtlenecks; cowl necks are better.

Replace some of your dainty necklaces with substantial ones--your eye goes to the necklace and not to your neck.
JCrew, Ralph Lauren, and MaxMara consistently carry classic clothes.  You can also find garments sometimes at Target, Banana Republic, and Ann Taylor. However, stay away from Chicos--don't confuse their glitz with fashion. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Best Websites of 2008 Continued Again and Again

If you wonder how mentally stable you are (this is easy for me--I'm not), try out Psych Central. Here you can take a "Do I Need Therapy" quiz. Find out the strength of your relationships and what kind of personality you have.

Desperate people take desperate measures to come up with gadgets to solve everyday problems.  Check out African ingenuity.  

Lay your gift-giving anxiety to rest for your grandchildren.  Check out picture books for the little ones and fun stuff and beautiful stuff for your discriminating pre-teen or teen.  

Are you always looking for ways to entertain mom and dad while you attend to other things?  University of California at Santa Barbara has come to your rescue with its collection of some of the oldest music and sound recordings, including vaudeville.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Simple Way to Make This World a Better Place

I was reading Shannon's blog, Ilivewithit.  On September 18, 2008,  she discussed the life cycle of paper.  Prior to the industrial revolution, this wood pulp-based product was naturally biodegradable. Now, unfortunately, in order to keep up its appearance and usability in successive products, it has become contaminated with toxins (yes, folks, these can hurt us). 

Shannon revealed that there is "paper" out there made of completely synthetic materials that can not only be recycled successfully (no loss of trees) but also it doesn't emit any harmful substances. 

The moral of the story: We needn't look far to find products which do what we want them to do but don't harm us or the environment! 

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Best Websites of 2008 Continued Again

Think Colourlovers, The Nest, and Apartmenttherapy if you want to redecorate your digs.  

If you're into healthy, find out how other people are rating foods and save big bucks at the supermarket.

Extra cash on hand (Yeah, right," some of you are saying) and you want to help someone out? Make a loan to an entrepreneur in a developing country for as little as $25.

Are you one of those people who doesn't share recipes?  Then Open Source Food isn't for you--except that you can peek at someone else's private stash.

Dumbfound your guests with photos, documents, and film clips taken straight from the National Archives
Are Mars and Venus that different?, a free men's online magazine, not only gives advice on dating and the secrets of love, it also delves into health, mental fitness,  loss,  and gadgetry, among others. 

Thursday, October 16, 2008

How to Prepare For Travel

We're going to a wedding in Huntsville, Alabama, and I haven't packed.  "Car-man" showed me the itinerary last night reminding me about essential things like in which airport are we going to eat. 

Then I got to work:

1. Hold mail and stop the newspaper.

2. Prepare our medicines for travel.

5. Deal with jet lag.

7. Brush up on our wedding etiquette.

8. Put on our dancing shoes and have a great time!

See you when we get back.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Best Websites of 2008 Continued

Time invites the rest of us to vote for our favorite website among the 50 presented.  Here's my boomer-slanted take on some of the choices:

Free Rice and Web Sudoku are already famous among people-in-the-know. Improve your vocabulary, test your problem-solving skills, feed the hungry, and entertain yourself for hours and hours.

Find the right pet for you in Petfinder.  Auntie Peggy found the cutest Yorkie. Make sure you can pass their 3rd degree so that you're not disappointed.

I'm a nut for genealogy (you mean a stork didn't deliver me?).  So is Cousin Larry, thank goodness, because we have the same relatives on both sides (my dad's sister married my mom's brother--and yes, that's legal).  Geni is your headstart on growing your own family tree.

ProFootballTalk wouldn't be one of my favorites but my son would kill me if I didn't let other fanatics in on his little secret.

Do-it-yourselfer alert:  Look no further than HowCast  for videos and step-by-step instructions (from people like you) relating to arts, media, crafts, environment, health, mind & body, personal care, pets, etc..  I love the sorting system--you can select videos and guides by "Most Viewed," "Most Recent," "Top-Rated" (I liked "How to Get Rid of a Hickey"), "Top Favorites," "Most Emailed," and "Most Discussed."

Is that you I hear crying out there?  You mean you, too, have been dealt the cruel financial setbacks by the economic mess we're in?  Check out Mint.  Here you'll get the tools (free!) to brush up on personal finance, money management, and financial planning.  

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My Little Secrets

I've been blogtagged which means that I was asked to reveal 6 things about myself that no one should ever know about me (so if you're reading this, stop now, it might get ugly):

1. I was supposed to be Steven.  Mom really wanted a boy after 2 daughters.  Her famous first words after leaving the delivery room (I can hardly remember--I was very young at the time):
"I should've had a boy!"

2. I've been stuck on a hotel balcony wearing only a towel (and I mean stuck--with the glass door locked behind me and no one around to rescue me).

3. I've jumped from an airplane (Not!).  You're lucky to get me on a plane.

4. I've stopped a moving car.  Now this IS true.  It was rolling in a parking lot (albeit at a turtle pace) and silly me thought to run behind it and stop it.

5. I'm a whodunit fanatic.  I love mysteries (and coincidences, for that matter).

6. Don't ever tell me something can't be done because I regard it as a challenge.

Now it's your turn to share with me (and the entire world) 6 or fewer things nobody knows about you.  Don't worry.  I won't spill the beans!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Favorite Boomer Fashion Site

Just when I thought boomer fashion was in the dumps, I got a comment on my blog from Sherrie, Mathieson, style consultant for all ages.  

I studied both her site and her blog and ladies, get your _____ over there right now.  Listen to the podcast on timeless fashion for tough times and aim for simple, well-made classics.  Can you tell I am very excited about this site????  

In her new book (which I'm going to buy today!), Forever Cool; How to Achieve Ageless, Youthful and Modern Personal Style, she rehabilitates the fashion-challenged (like me) with:
What will always last?  What will always be cool?  What is never cool?

Here are a few of her suggestions:
1. Besides the crisp white shirt, the little black dress, leopard prints, black tights, and a pencil black shirt, look for bootcut pants (tapers into the knee and flares out) joining classic styles.
2. Don't go for the extreme in shoes either.  The moderate budget is wise to stick with black and brown.
3. Furs are always in vogue.   Go for fake furs that really look real.
4. Men's pin-stripe suits for women (remember Annie Hall?) are always in but watch for a fitted cut.  
5. Shawls make wise investments; they never go out of style, they give you a chance to be inventive, and they take your simple black dress to alot of occasions.  
6. Learn to accessorize well.

I emailed Sherrie for names of fashion designers and fashion departments who target boomers and seniors.  Here's her invaluable list (however, you'll find gobs more on her blog):
1. Ralph Lauren and JCrew are excellent for larger sizes.
2. Michael Kors!
3. If your body shape is round, go to Eileen Fisher and please, stay away from constructed tailoring.
3. Saks and Bloomingdale's have good large size departments.

Learn to "see" fashion, Ms. Mathieson further asserts.  And keep the phone number of your trusty tailor close at hand.  He/she can work miracles.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Some of My Favorite Sites

You've viewed Time's list of best websites for 2008.  Below are some of my blogs which provide you with noteworthy sites you might want to check out:
For shoes, I wouldn't go any further than Footsmart.
From the company that provides "smarter, better products for lower body health," I can shop by brand or condition of my feet.

Familydoctor is a clean, clear, and concise health site. I love the format and ease of reading. 

I love used things at great prices   but I don't like to be scammed. 

Seniorclix suggests online courses via directories and a library and furnishes you with access to important forms. 

Clothes and fashion are a thorn in my side.  The Glam Gals are the closest thing to my own personal shopper.

At times like these, financial and retirement planning is a monumental challenge.  Let these sites and tools help you.  Good luck!

I'm all for making this world a better place.  Even though I find this website difficult to read, I love its concept and fresh approach to rating corporations.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Best Websites of 2008

You might not agree with her but you HAVE TO PAY ATTENTION to Time's Anita Hamilton and her 10 Essential websites.

The most popular multi-lingual online encyclopedia is drawing more credibility by the minute.

Yahoo! Finance is great for investors but I'd combine it with MSN's Money101 for novices.

If you're looking for used furniture, a date, or anything else, go first to Craigslist.

Sports' junkies, head for ESPN.

Find out what other people are saying about a restaurant, shop, or business.  Then hear how the proprietors respond.

I joined Facebook recently hoping to reconnect with old buddies.  You can too.

If you have something to say about news stories, here's your soap box.  Tell us what you think!

Google as only a search engine?  Not any more.  Boy, I wish I had purchased some of their stock when I had the opportunity.

If you find yourself picking up People or Us at the news stands, check out the most popular gossip site for celebrity tidbits, photos, and videos.

Picknik is free and it is an easy tool to manage your ever-expanding photo collection.

Ms. Hamilton doesn't stop at 10.  We are now privy to her opinion as to the 50 best websites for 2008.  

Vote for your favorite.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dad

Hey, Dad, Happy Birthday.

I miss you so much.  I miss your smile.  I miss our philosophical discussions.  I miss your practical sense.  I even miss your teasing and stubborn ways.

You should see your great-grandchildren.  They are the cutest bunch.  H, my sleepover pal,  swims and will be reading in no time.  She still enjoys "blankie and thumb" along with her cereal and whipped cream.  N is a "going concern" running in circles and pumping her left arm when she is excited.  J, the talker and a big Elmo fan,  shows promise as a gourmet cook using unusual ingredients found in the common garden. Strong and sturdy A has football player/scientist tendencies.  At 17 months he opens the fridge, uses his teeth to open food containers, fills his mouth with chunks of fruit and replaces the container.  And infant L is still checking out this world wondering why he left the warmth he was used to for the last 9 months.  

I hope you're loving heaven.  I am certain you are wielding a tennis racket or bowling ball and playing bridge with Mabel and Pat and the rest of your old Hazlet buddies.  Brenda's making you laugh the way she always did.  Dave is probably off fixing something with Danny.  Grandma and Minnie are making knishes for all the kids who made it there before they were finished here and Max M and Max L are teaching them.  And I wouldn't be surprised to find Harry and Eva collecting used wings and such for the Angel thrift store.   

I bet you are having a busier life there than you had here for the last few years. I hope you are happy and safe and know that those you left behind still think about you all the time and love you beyond words.

Buy Handmade This Holiday Season

Getting back to holiday shopping:
I just found a very cool website where everything is handmade.  Being the chocoholic that I am, the theobromine molecule earrings really fascinated me.  Theobromine (derived from Greek meaning "food of the gods"), according to the jewelers, is a "mild stimulant related to caffeine that makes up about 2% of cacao beans" and  it is thought (!!!!!!) to "uplift mood."  C'mon, folks, do you know ANYBODY who doesn't feel better with a chunk of chocolate between their lips?

Getting back to real life:
Help keep our pathetic economy going.  Give those nice people working with their hands some of your moola and give a unique gift at the holidays.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Coupons to Save Us Money

Keeping your money is a challenge these days.  So spending wisely what you have is becoming more and more a skill that I personally would like to hone. 

Nicole Paitsel (Associated Press) suggested that every time you plan your trip to the grocery store, you should first check its website for coupons.  You may even be able to load some coupons directly onto your preferred customer card.

Yesterday I got a jump start in learning the value of ecommerce coupons (you know that little "Promotion Code" box you practically never get to fill in to get added discounts?) from Ms. Paitsel.  Don't ever order anything online, she warned,  without first checking the more than 10,000 coupons on Coupon Winner such as "Most Used Coupons," "Expiring Coupons," or "Free Shipping." 

With the holidays creeping up on us (I heard Christmas music at Costco last week!), coupons, thankfully, can make a smaller dent in our pocketbook.