In the Mirror

Midlife Moments

By Charlotte on October 1, 2010 6:11 AM

Girls, midlife "moments" can make us mirror shy. Hot flashes so intense your skin flushes, your heart races and you're instantly drenched in sweat aren't pretty. And spending night-after-sleepless-night waiting for the elusive Mr. Sandman doesn't help the picture.

What's happening here? Feelin' Hot author Rebecca Hulem, RN, RNP, CNM, says our ages, changing hormones and stress levels contribute to our discomfort as we approach and enter menopause, a land inhabited by about 41.75 million women in the United States. (Thank goodness, it's not just me!)


Since September is National Menopause Awareness Month, we've collected five ways to find relief that could just improve your reflection.

Cool Off Photo-200.jpg 


Beat the Heat

Using new Cool Off pre-moistened towelettes can help you beat the heat when hot flashes strike. These clean-scented wipes, infused with refreshing herbs, plant botanicals and essential oils, provide an invigorating "cool" sensation.


Developed by a group of San Antonio-based women well-acquainted with our unpredictable "visits to the tropics," these soft, disposable towelettes combine ingredients with natural cooling elements such as witch hazel extract, aloe vera, lemon peel, fennel, tea tree oil and white tea leaf. The small, single-use packets fit easily in purses, drawers, even pockets so they're handy whenever you start to feel that overpowering heat.


Before trying these moist, little marvels, I worried they'd make me too cold because my "tropical holidays" always begin with me baking in heat and end with me chilled by sweat. (I get a lot of exercise coming in-and-out of my sweater.) I was surprised by a pleasant blast of relief after pressing Cool Off on my neck and inner arms for several seconds. It stopped the heat before I was covered in sweat (nice!) and eliminated the normal frigid follow-up. Instead, I enjoyed a refreshing, almost tingly sensation for about 30 minutes and was pleased to find I could reenter the cool zone by splashing some water on the skin where I'd used the towelette.


Out-of-Pocket: $4.99 for a 12-pack at HEB and TETCO stores in Texas. Also available at CVS.com and Amazon.com.



Don't Sweat It

With all this sweating going on, I want the best odor protection possible and Lavanila's Healthy Deodorant delivers. The strong, 100% natural formula contains no harsh chemicals so it's as safe as it is effective.


For yearsLavanila Healthy Deodorant-96.jpg, choosing a natural deodorant meant sacrificing effectiveness. With a wet, sticky texture and limited staying power, natural deodorants rarely lived up to their name. But Lavanila has changed that with its new vitamin-rich blend of essential oils that soothes and conditions while providing long-lasting odor protection.


Free of aluminum and parabens, this clinically tested roll-on blends health-promoting beta glucan with powerful antioxidants, active botanicals and antibacterial agents. The dermatologist-recommended mixture pampers my skin with all-natural ingredients such as goji berry (a Lavanila signature), Japanese honeysuckle, lemon and tea tree oils, and aloe vera.


It goes on smoothly without irritating my skin. Plus, the stick comes in four fresh scents: Vanilla Lavender, Pure Vanilla, Vanilla Grapefruit and Vanilla Coconut. My Vanilla Grapefruit's light fragrance hints of crisp grapefruit and lime. Sweet!


Out-of-Pocket: $18 at Sephora, Sephora.com and Lavanila.com



Have a Cup of Tea

Heart Tea - 350.jpgI've ditched coffee, colas and other caffeine-heavy habits in favor of green tea.


Besides triggering menopausal maladies, caffeine can contribute to nervousness, insomnia and mood swings. Antioxidant-rich green tea, on the other hand, can help lower stress and anxiety while elevating your mood. What's more, ShopSmart Magazine's October 2010 issue suggests drinking green tea for better skin.  Green tea contains epigallocatechin gallate, which helps prevent DNA damage caused by the sun's ultraviolet rays and gives your body's immune system ammunition to ward off tumors.  


My love affair with green tea started about a year ago when I noticed caffeine was spiking my blood pressure and robbing me of sleep. My latest special-occasion find is Indie Tea's 100% organic Peace, Love and Happy-tea. Steeping this aromatic blend of loose green tea and dried jasmine and chrysanthemum flowers in hot water for three to five minutes gives me a soothing, jasmine-scented cup-of-calm. It really lifts the spirits when sipped while listening to The Kinks "Have a Cuppa Tea." Cole, our music-journalist son, turned me on to this peppy, feel-good tune ... not sure how I missed its 1972 debut!


Out-of-Pocket: $19 at Lovegreenenvy.com<:OBJECT width="480" height="385">



Retreat to the Tub

Taking time for a nice, long soak can encourage sleep, especially when you add One Natural Bath Fizzers. Placed under warm, running water, this calming, fragrant bulb turns an everyday soak into a spa experience. The bath enhancer releases relaxing oils (no harmful artificial chemicals) that moisturize your skin while helping melt away the day's stress.


In addition to coming in a recyclable cardboard package, this eco-friendly bath bomb is wrapped in biodegradable plastic (bonus). The fizzer is already cut in half so you can get two uses out of one purchase, and it's available in foOne Bath Fizzers-212.jpgur soothing scents: Need This! (an irresistible experience), Honey Please (for a sweet soak), Love is in the Bath (a gentle escape) and Blue Earth (cool and fresh).


Adding one-half of the Honey Please fizzer to my bath turned the water light yellow and made it extremely soft. I loved unwinding with One while cranking up Jackson Browne on my iPod touch (ok, I do that even when I'm not in the bath). Afterwards, my skin felt smooth as butter, there was no need for lotion and I was well on the way to dreamland.  


Out-of-Pocket: $5.99 at Target, Target.com and Walgreens.com



Peaceful Sleep low res small-150.jpgEntice Mr. Sandman

If you're having trouble calling Mr. Sandman, AgroLabs Peaceful Sleep can help bring him around. This "au natural" super juice includes calming agents such as chamomile, lavender and passion flower extracts and other key ingredients that promote soothing, restful sleep. Designed to encourage relaxation, the formula provides nutrients to support total body cellular renewal and an overall healthier night's sleep.


I enlisted my friend Bev's help to give this remedy a real test. After all, she's tried every over-the-counter sleeping aid from Midnight (her latest fav) to Tylenol PM and then some. We agreed a liquid would be ideal for anyone with a pill-taking phobia. (How can you reach your 40s without swallowing pills? Ask my sister Pam.)


Bev, a star sales rep for several gift lines, drank the recommended one-ounce serving after working the Dallas market for three, stress-filled days. Undeterred by the product's prune color, Bev said the taste "wasn't bad." In fact, it had a pomegranate-like quality.


Although the effects weren't instant, Bev reported feeling exhausted about an hour later and falling into deep, blissful sleep. What's more, she stayed asleep - important since that's sometimes more challenging for us women that getting to dreamland. The next day, Bev said she felt sluggish and planned to try lowering the dosage to see if that lessened the aftereffects.


Out-of-Pocket: $13.59 for a 16-day supply at Amazon.com


Enhanced by Zemanta
Red Thong Strong: Girlfriends Little Secrets to Smoothing Lifes Panty Lines
Guest Room

Diabetes-Friendly Chicken Burrito Bowl

ChickenBurritoBowlEverydayDiabetes 600.jpg

By Laura Cipullo and Lisa Mikus, authors of Everyday Diabetes Meals
Image credit: Colin Erricson

Prepare your own Mexican quick fix with this Chipotle-inspired bowl. Carbs are moderated by filling the bowl with beans, extra veggies and chicken. No need for rice, since the beans count as carbs.


If you love tomatoes, increase the quantity to 1/2 cup, but note that the carbohydrates will also increase.

If preparing this recipe for one person, cut all of the ingredients in half. Or simply prepare the full recipe up to the end of step 2 and store leftover chicken and vegetable-bean mixture in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave on High for 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through, and continue with step 3.

Health Bite: The iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc in black beans help to keep bones strong and healthy.

Continue Reading »

Playing Favorites

Windy City

It's been almost 18 years since Alison Krauss gave us a solo album, but the wait is over with Windy City. The release (her fifth solo studio album) features ten covers of classic songs (and some bonus tracks) she picked with producer Buddy Cannon.

Continue Reading »

Follow Us

Follow us on Twitter: @BoomerBrief 

and @CharlotteBoomer

Follow Charlotte on Pinterest:  Follow Me on Pinterest

Follow Bob on Pinterest

Know someone battling cancer? Baylor Health Care System's Sammons Says... cancer blog is a great place to go for help. Here, you'll find information, resources, physicians, support groups and just about everything you need to help you navigate your way through this illness.

Now Trending 

We Like These Sites 

Senior Forums is a great place to get the news and share views on everything from hobbies and healthcare, to food, family & travel. 

Matt Drudge gets the goods and his site ain't bad either.

The Huffington Post is the gold standard of political blogs.

You don't have to live in Dallas to enjoy D Magazine.

More →