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Celebrities Like Us

Finishing up the book, “My Name is Barbra,” I never thought celebrities were like us.  But after reading this book it made me realize you can have all the fame and money in the world and still have setbacks.  Here are the lessons learned from music and cinema legend, Barbra Streisand’s 60-year career.

Stand Up for Yourself

Ms. Streisand had to overcome a great deal of prejudice in her career, and not just in the beginning in the 1960’s. As a twenty-year old Broadway star to a 40-something director, she prevailed despite unfair treatment. I love how she was a rule follower, (even when there were no rules) wanting to “do the right thing.”

When she was harassed on a movie set for more than year, she tried to “toughen up” and work with the famous actor.  It wasn’t until months later when her health was at risk, the situation changed for the better.  No one stood up for her, she had to advocate for herself. Be your own support system and act. If you are in a bad situation, you need to make it better. Seek help and take action.

Take Risks

Barbra was a trailblazer from the very start. Growing up without a father since age 8, her mother was overly protective. Barbra learned early on to take risks and do what “felt” right in situations at school and her career. Call it “street smarts” or intuition, she listens to her gut.  If she feels something is calling her, like being the first female director of a major motion, she does it!  “Yentl” was her first movie of many more directorial credits.  “You’ll always regret not trying, and you always lose unless you do try!”

Keep Learning

As we get older your experiences provide wisdom and learning opportunities. Hard work was always a pillar of Barbra’s success, along with learning new aspects of show business. She went from night clubs, to Broadway to movies to behind the camera. She kept learning for herself and for own curiosity. This growth mindset keeps her open to new opportunities along the way. She found love again in her 50’s by pushing herself past her shyness in social situations.  Keep learning to stay healthy!

To sum up, the details of Barbra Streisand’s career is fascinating. But overall, she took chances, nurtured her talent, and pushed beyond current norms to build a very successful career. Strong women would love her story and might also see aspects of themselves in her life and lessons.

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Tips for Heart Health

Prioritizing heart health becomes increasingly important over time for a fulfilling and energetic life. Adopting lifestyle choices that support cardiovascular well-being can contribute to a healthier and more active aging process. Here are simple tips to stay heart-healthy as you navigate this new year.

Heart-Healthy Diet

Nutrition plays a pivotal role in maintaining heart health, especially as we age. Embrace a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Choose nutrient-dense foods that provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Minimize salt intake to support healthy blood pressure levels.

Consider the Mediterranean diet, known for its heart-protective qualities, emphasizing olive oil, fish, nuts, and plenty of plant-based foods. Consulting with healthcare professionals or a registered dietitian can help your dietary choices based on your health needs and preferences.

Exercise

Engaging in regular physical activity is a cornerstone of heart health, regardless of age. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, incorporating activities that elevate your heart rate. Walking, swimming, cycling, and low-impact aerobics are excellent choices.

Additionally, include strength training exercises to maintain muscle mass, supporting overall cardiovascular fitness. Consult with a healthcare provider before starting a new exercise regimen, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions.

Manage Stress

This is difficult for most of us, but stress management is integral to heart health. Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues. Incorporate stress-reducing activities into your routine, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or spending time in nature.

Cultivate hobbies that bring you joy and relaxation, providing a healthy outlet for stress. Prioritizing mental well-being contributes not only to heart health but also to overall quality of life.

Regular Health Check-ups

Regular health check-ups and monitoring are necessary components of heart health maintenance. Schedule routine visits with your healthcare provider to assess blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and overall cardiovascular health.

Early detection of potential issues allows for proactive interventions and lifestyle adjustments. Stay informed about your health metrics and collaborate with your doctor to create a personalized plan for heart wellness.

Stay Hydrated

Maintaining proper hydration is often overlooked but is crucial for heart health. Ensure an adequate water intake to support overall bodily functions. Additionally, limit alcohol consumption, as excessive alcohol can contribute to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular concerns. When alcohol is interfering with family, friends, or your job it’s time to rethink your drinking and seek help.

Staying heart-healthy involves a holistic approach encompassing dietary choices, regular exercise, stress management, and proactive health monitoring. Adopting heart-protective habits enhances the quality of life, allowing you to age gracefully while prioritizing cardiovascular well-being.

Remember, consulting with healthcare professionals and making gradual changes, helps a heart-healthy lifestyle and supports a fulfilling and vibrant life.

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Themes for the New Year

 

As we start a new year, it’s a perfect time for reflection and renewal. While resolutions abound, certain overarching themes can guide us towards a more fulfilling and purposeful journey in the coming months. Here are three vital themes to remember for the new year.

Mindful Well-Being in 2024

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to neglect our well-being. As we step into the new year, it’s crucial to prioritize self-care and cultivate a mindful approach to health. This includes not only physical wellness but also mental and emotional balance.

Consider incorporating practices such as meditation, regular exercise, and adequate sleep into your routine. These small yet impactful habits can significantly contribute to overall well-being. In a world that often glorifies busyness, valuing moments of rest and self-reflection becomes a cornerstone for a healthier, more resilient you.

Embracing Learning and Resilience

The new year offers a blank slate for personal and professional growth. Embracing a growth mindset involves seeing challenges as opportunities for learning and viewing failures as stepping stones toward success. This approach not only fosters resilience but also fuels a continuous desire for improvement.

Set achievable goals that push your boundaries, both personally and professionally. Whether it’s acquiring a new skill, pursuing further education, or taking on challenging projects, the growth mindset propels you forward. This also fosters a sense of accomplishment and adaptability during unforeseen challenges.

In a rapidly evolving world, the ability to embrace change and learn from experiences is a powerful asset. Cultivating a growth mindset ensures that every encounter contributes to your journey of becoming the best version of yourself. Whether that personal experience is positive or negative, you grow from it.

Nurturing Relationships

In the digital age, genuine connections and meaningful relationships hold incomparable value. As we navigate the new year, prioritize the nurturing of both existing and new connections. Whether it’s strengthening family bonds, fostering friendships, or building professional networks, investing time and energy in relationships enriches our lives.

Take a proactive approach to communication, be present in your interactions, and seek out opportunities for collaboration and shared experiences. These connections not only provide emotional support but also contribute to a sense of belonging and purpose. In a world that can sometimes feel isolated, the power of genuine human connections is a beacon of light. A light guiding us through the challenges and joys of life to be happier.

As we embark on 2024, let mindfulness, growth, and connection be our guiding lights. Prioritizing well-being, adopting a growth mindset, and nurturing relationships pave the way for a year of purpose, resilience, and fulfillment. Here’s to embracing the opportunities that 2024 brings and creating a meaningful tapestry of experiences and growth.

Happy New Year!

Originally published on Elephant Journal

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New Holiday Traditions

Holidays are more than just dates on the calendar; they are an embodiment of culture, values, and cherished memories. As societies become increasingly diverse, the opportunity to integrate new holiday traditions into celebrations such as Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah arise. Embracing these traditions not only promotes inclusivity but also enhances the richness of these festive seasons. Here’s how to thoughtfully integrate new holiday customs into these celebrations.

Embrace the Spirit

Begin by embracing the spirit of curiosity and openness. Learn about the diverse cultures and traditions that are relevant to the holiday you are celebrating. Understand the historical significance, rituals, and values associated with each tradition. This knowledge lays the foundation for meaningful connections.

Blend Culinary Delights

One of the most enjoyable aspects of holidays is the food. Incorporate dishes and recipes from various cultures into your holiday feasts. Whether it’s adding a Kwanzaa-inspired dish to your Christmas dinner. Or you can include a Hanukkah specialty during Boxing Day. Culinary fusion can be a wonderful way to honor multiple traditions.

Share Stories

Holidays are an ideal time to share stories and teachings from different cultures. Incorporate storytelling sessions where each family member or guest shares a tale from their heritage or a tradition. This not only educates everyone about new customs but also fosters a sense of unity.

Meaningful Gifts

When exchanging gifts, consider selecting items that hold significance in the traditions you’re integrating. This could be a book about the principles of Kwanzaa, a symbolic ornament from Hanukkah, or a handmade decoration that represents a cherished Christmas custom.

Volunteer and Give Back

Many holiday traditions emphasize the importance of giving back to the community. Integrate this value by participating in volunteer activities. These should align with the principles of the holidays you’re celebrating. This not only integrates new customs but also embodies the true spirit of the festive season.

Encourage Dialogue

Create an open space for discussions about the new traditions you’re integrating. Encourage family members and friends to share their thoughts, feelings, and questions. This fosters a sense of inclusivity and promotes a learning environment.

Respect and Sensitivity

Above all, approach the integration of new holiday traditions with respect and sensitivity. Ensure that the customs you’re adopting are authentically represented and celebrated. Avoid cultural assumptions by engaging in thorough research and consultation with members of the respective cultures.

Finally, integrating new traditions into celebrations like Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah is a way to honor diversity and foster understanding. By embracing a spirit of exploration, culinary fusion, and respectful engagement, you can create festive season for everyone.

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Thanksgiving To Remember

As the holiday season approaches, I think of memories of past Thanksgivings. My family would spend time cooking and filling our home with laughter. Yet, this year, there is a subtle but undeniable shift in the air—a desire to change our Thanksgiving. Is it time to embrace new experiences?

When do you make those changes to your traditions? How do you create lasting memories that reflect your evolving values and priorities?

Coming Together

For me, Thanksgiving has always been about coming together with family and friends. We share a feast  (usually turkey and my cornbread stuffing) and express gratitude for the blessings in our lives.

These familiar customs have been an anchor, a comforting thread that connects us to generations past. However, as life unfolds and circumstances change, it becomes important to adapt and find new ways to celebrate and connect.

The decision to change our Thanksgiving traditions was not made lightly. It involved open and honest conversations with family, each expressing their expectations. We acknowledged that traditions should not be stagnant but should grow and evolve with us.

We collectively embraced the idea of including fresh elements that reflected our shared values. We want to enjoy the holiday and respect one another’s different ideas of togetherness that Thanksgiving represents.

Community Service

This year, we decided to organize a community service project as part of our Thanksgiving festivities. Instead of spending the entire day in the kitchen, we will dedicate time to serve others at a community home.

Our family’s aim is to extend our gratitude to the wider community and make a positive impact who need it. The joy of giving back will undoubtedly deepen our sense of gratitude and reinforce the spirit of Thanksgiving.

Core Traditions

While service is a new addition to our Thanksgiving, we remain committed to preserving the core holiday traditions. The gathering of loved ones around a table with traditional family recipes will always be at the heart of our celebration.

We will continue to savor the flavors that evoke childhood memories and ignite conversations about family history. Again, I’m referring to my Grandma’s stuffing recipe, that I make only once a year.

The idea of changing Thanksgiving traditions may initially stir mixed emotions.  As we bid farewell to familiar routines and ideas of what the holiday should, it’s time to discover something new.

However, the essence of Thanksgiving lies not in the specific rituals, but in the deep connections we have and the love we share. By embracing change, we open ourselves up to the possibility of discovering new traditions that resonate with our present selves. Will you be making any changes this year? A new host or maybe try a community project?

Ultimately, changing Thanksgiving traditions is an opportunity to deepen the bonds we share with our loved ones. Making sure to honor values and embrace the spirit of gratitude in new and meaningful ways for your current lifestyle. Here’s an invitation to create lasting memories that reflect who we are today.

As I embark on this journey of change, I am filled with excitement and a little anticipation. I know that our Thanksgiving celebration will continue to evolve and grow. Be sure whatever our plans, you foster a sense of belonging, love, and gratitude. This will remain with your family and friends long after the holiday season fades away.

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Changing Careers

 

Changing careers, especially later in life, can be a scary task. But with the right approach and planning, it can be a rewarding life experience. Here are some steps to take to successfully change careers painlessly.

Assess Your Skills and Interests

Start by evaluating your current skills and interests and compare them to the skills and requirements of your desired career. Identify the skills you already possess that are transferable to your new career, and those that you need to develop

Research

Research your desired career field thoroughly. Look for job descriptions, required skills, and qualifications for the position. This will help you identify any new skills you need to develop. You will also get an idea of what you can expect from your new job, like salary, promotions, and other opportunities.

Develop a Plan

Once you have identified your skills and researched your desired career field, develop a plan for achieving your career transition. This may include taking courses or networking with people in your desired industry. Gaining experience through internships or volunteer work is also an easy way to build skills in your new job.

Update Your Resume

Update your resume and LinkedIn profile to highlight your transferable skills and experience. This will be relevant to your desired career, networking, and learning more about your new industry.  Tailor your resume to highlight the skills and experience that are most relevant to the new job.

Be sure to link up projects or intern work related to your new career on LinkedIn. The more engagement you have on the website, the more relevant your profile will be to employers.

Network

Networking is critical when transitioning to a new career. Attend industry events, join professional organizations, and connect with people in your desired industry on LinkedIn. This can help you gain insight into the career and may lead to job offers. The more you put yourself out there, the more people and potential companies will see your value and skills.

Be Patient and Persistent

Career transitions take time and effort. Be patient with the process, and continue to work towards your goals. Don’t be afraid to take on part-time work or freelancing in the meantime to gain experience and build your network.

Changing from one career to another can be a challenging process, but by following these steps, you can successfully make the transition. Remember to be patient, persistent, and open to learning new skills.

Gaining new experiences with the right approach, and a career transition can lead to a more fulfilling and rewarding career.  It worked for me and it can work for you too!

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Life Lessons

 

As a librarian, I love reading the latest books. Tom Hanks’ first novel is out and follows the story of how a fictional motion picture is made. The story has many life lessons that apply to real life too, and I thought I’d share a few.

The Right Partner

Finding the right “partner in life” will lift you up, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. The main characters have extensive backstories. From surviving abuse and war trauma to fulfilling your creative dreams, these folks have seen it all. The thread tying them together is the passion to enjoy life and finding their partner for success, (however that’s defined.) Whether it’s a career, spouse, or creative channel to express yourself, find the right partner to get you there.

Strength

The author brings to life each character from their childhood to their interaction together as adults. All of these characters have a solid inner strength and “will” to go on.  When you read fiction like this, you experience these lives first hand. Reading about others’ stories of strength, you realize you have it as well. Inner strength is tested all the time, and sometimes we don’t even realize it.

Some call it “the grind,” grit, or just plain tenacity.  The lesson learned, is we all have something heavy we carry and don’t necessarily share. Consistently strong people grow from those tough life experiences and flourish.

Fate

Call it fate or divine intervention, but things do happen for a reason. It might be to protect you and direct you to a different life path. Fate is there for you, to help you be your best self.

What the Hanks does in his story is intertwines each character’s experiences into one successful finale. Will we all be successful or happy?  How do YOU define success or happiness? It depends, just like in life…it all depends on you and how you react.

Finally, I’d recommend The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece,” to help understand human nature. The story helps define the realities of war, trauma, relationships, and yes, especially movie making. I’m a diehard movie fan.  I love the happenstance method the author shows the reader the filmmaking process is in Hollywood. I’m looking forward to Hanks’ next novel.

Happy Reading!

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Gardening Desert

The desert, with its scorching sun, arid climate, and sparse vegetation, may seem like an unlikely place to garden. However, with the right knowledge, techniques, and a touch of creativity, it is possible.  To create a flourishing garden in the midst of a dry landscape like my home in Arizona can be done. Starting a garden in the desert opens up a world of possibilities, and here’s how to start that new world.

One of the basic aspects of desert gardening is water conservation. In arid regions, water is a precious resource that needs to be used efficiently. Drip irrigation systems, which deliver water directly to the plant roots, are particularly effective in minimizing water wastage. Mulching is another essential technique that helps retain moisture in the soil, reducing the need for frequent watering. Using organic mulch such as wood chips or straw not only conserves water but also improves soil quality over time.

The choice of plants is crucial when it comes to desert gardening. Native plants that have adapted to the harsh desert conditions are often the best options. These plants have evolved to withstand extreme temperatures, limited water availability, and high levels of sunlight.

Some popular desert plants include cacti, succulents, desert marigolds, and agaves. These resilient plants not only thrive in the desert but also add a unique beauty to the landscape. Their striking shapes and vibrant colors add so much to a desert garden.

Creating microclimates within the garden can also significantly improve the chances of success. Positioning taller plants or structures strategically can provide shade and create cooler, more sheltered areas. Building raised beds can help improve drainage and prevent waterlogging in the desert’s compacted soils. Additionally, constructing windbreaks using fences or hedges can shield delicate plants from the harsh desert winds. This minimizes water loss through evaporation and reduces plant stress especially in the summer months.

Starting a garden in the desert requires patience, experimentation, and a willingness to adapt. (Kind of like life!) It is essential to monitor the garden regularly, observe how different plants respond to the environment, and adjust. Learning from your successes and failures of each gardening season will help refine your techniques. This will increase your chances of creating a thriving oasis in the desert.

Starting a garden in the desert may seem like a daunting task.  However, with careful planning and using appropriate techniques, it is possible to transform barren landscapes into vibrant havens of life. Focusing on water conservation, suitable desert-adapted plants, and creating microclimates, gardeners can overcome the challenges presented by the dry environment.

Desert gardening allows us to connect with nature. And enables us to appreciate the incredible resilience and beauty of life in even the most challenging conditions. So, roll up your sleeves, grab a shovel, and embark on the journey of creating your desert garden. This a true testament to the triumph of life in adversity!

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Beach Reads 2023

As summer ramps up and vacation calls, it’s the perfect time to read a good book while lounging beachside. As a librarian, here a few “beach read” recommendations sure to please any reader.  Each title promises to transport you to different worlds and capture the heart of this summer season.

Strong Women

Dive into a story of love, self-discovery, and sandy shores with “The Summer of Lost and Found” by Mary Alice Monroe. The story is set in the enchanting coastal town of fictional Sullivan’s Island. This novel brings together the lives of three generations of women as they navigate their personal journeys.

With vivid descriptions of the beach and an exploration of family dynamics, this book is a perfect beach read. For those seeking an emotional and touching summer read about family, chose this story. 

Thriller

If you’re craving a suspenseful thriller, “The Woman in the Window” by A.J. Finn is sure to keep you riveted. Set in the bustling city of New York during a hot summer, this psychological thriller follows an agoraphobic woman. (She’s deathly afraid of going outside of her home.)

She believes she witnesses a disturbing event in her neighbor’s house. As secrets unravel and tensions rise, the story will keep you on the edge of your seat, turning the pages.

Hollywood Glitz

If you want a blend of romance, history, and exotic settings, “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” is for you.  By Taylor Jenkins Reid (author of Daisy Jones & the Six) this book is a must-read! A captivating novel taking readers on a journey through the glamorous and wild life of Evelyn Hugo a fictional movie star. With its rich character development and fascinating narrative, this book brings you into the world of Hollywood and forbidden love.

Self-Discovery

If you’re in the mood for a light-hearted and delightful summer read, “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman is an excellent choice. Meet Eleanor, a socially awkward woman with a strictly structured life. Join her on a heartwarming journey of self-discovery and unexpected connections.

This uplifting novel explores themes of loneliness, friendship, and the transformative power of compassion. This book makes a perfect companion for lazy days by the seaside.

No matter which book you choose for your summer adventures, find one that speaks to you. A book’s well-crafted story has the power to transport you to far-off places, stir your emotions, and leave lasting impressions.

So, grab your beach towel, slather on some sunscreen, and lose yourself in the pages of an enthralling summer read. Whether it’s a tale of romance, mystery, or self-discovery, these book recommendations are sure to boost your beachside bliss. Make your summer even more memorable and check out a book today from your local library!

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Resume Tips

The first step in any new job hunt or career change is to freshen up or create a new resume. Here are proven tips from Jenny Foss to make your resume stand out for that next interview.

Skills and Value

Highlighting your unique skills and the value you bring the company is the first step in creating a resume. Use a resume template that is easy to read and uses all the real estate on the page.

That said, make sure your resume is no more than two pages in length. Be sure to sue an 11 or 12 size font for easy reading by the reviewer. Only include “technology proficiencies” if you can fit it easily on the second page.

Depending on your industry, it is usually understood that the average applicant is knowledgeable in Microsoft applications, etc. However, if you are a whiz with WordPress then absolutely include this in your “Skills Section.” Your value and job skills need to be near the beginning of your first page and highlighted.

Employment Gaps

With the recent pandemic, many job seekers will have gaps in employment for various reasons. Handling gaps depends upon your specific situation, such as childcare, relocation for a spouse, or being laid off.

Explaining the gap depends upon the amount of time that has elapsed, the industry, and if you’re changing careers. There are many ways to address gaps on a resume. Be prepared to tell your story at the interview in a succinct manner.

Grammar and Organization

Finally, proofread your resume very carefully. Have another person review and proofread for typos and continuity. A recent poll on LinkedIn taken stated that hiring managers felt that zero mistakes or typos should appear on resumes.

Be sure the organization follows the template so the most prominent skills in the job description match the skills in on your resume. Don’t lie, but matching words will help the resume scanning software place you in the “A” pile to interview.

Review the job description carefully and be sure to tailor your resume for each job. The ATS or applicant tracking system will thank you, and you will land that coveted interview. Include the keywords that are used in the job posting on your resume for best results.

Finally, save your resume as a PDF and word document.  Different companies use different formatting when resumes are submitted online. Always double check your download before you click submit for the cleanest and most reader-friendly resume.   Good Luck!

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