December 2011 Archives

You Gotta Have Heart

By Charlotte on December 30, 2011 6:45 AM | Read More

cvr9781451623499_9781451623499 163.jpgA grandmother's promise proves key to helping a devastated dancer recover in Wildflower Hill: A Novel (Touchstone Books/A Simon & Schuster Trade Paperback; Aug. 23, 2011). Spanning three generations and two continents, this heart-touching, gotta-have-it by Aussie Kimberley Freeman involves long-hidden family secrets, life-derailing losses, and finding strength and love in the most unexpected places.
An easy read, Wildflower Hill alternates between the viewpoints of prima ballerina Emma Blaxland-Hunter and her gutsy grandmother Beattie. Present day Emma finds her London world ending when shortly after being dumped by her live-in boyfriend, she suffers a career-ending fall. The admittedly self-absorbed dancer has no choice but to return to her parents' home in Australia. There she learns she's inherited a sheep farm in isolated Tasmania from her beloved Grandma Beattie.



We're giving away two copies of Kimberley Freeman's generation-bonding novel, Wildflower Hill.


Spanning several decades and two continents, it is a sweeping story of prima ballerina Emma Blaxland-Hunter and her gutsy grandmother Beattie. These two unconventional women share a legacy of surprising secrets, heartbreak, courage and love.

Click "Read More" for details on how to enter. Contest ends Jan. 12!


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Remotely Possible

Kobo Wireless eReader

By Bob on December 29, 2011 6:16 AM | Read More

Charlotte and I are both book lovers. We've been known to get (happily) lost in bookstores and I can't begin to count all the classics we've collected from our college days, library sales and the Half-Price Books chain of stores in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

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Here's the Dish

750 Best Appetizers

By Charlotte on December 28, 2011 6:41 AM | Read More

Whether you're planning a New Year's bash or just LOVE snacks (guilty!), you're sure to find something to tempt your taste buds in 750 Best Appetizers - From Dips and Salsas to Spreads and Shooters (Robert Rose; October 2011).

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Daily Distraction

R.I.P. The Little Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe

By Bob on December 27, 2011 5:38 AM | Read More

When the time came, her kids knew what to do...and so did her sole mate.

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In the Mirror

Lip Savvy!

By Charlotte on December 26, 2011 6:59 AM | Read More

I'm VERY particular about lip gloss. Although my smile cries for color and shine, it tends to rebel if I'm not careful. Besides battling chapped lips, I have to contend with those fine lines that creep up on us Boomers as we age.


But I couldn't resist trying Lip Savvy!, the new do-it-all gloss that promises to plump, moisturize AND promote younger-looking skin.

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Catching Up With..

Catching Up With...Lauren & Gigi

By Bob on December 23, 2011 5:30 AM | Read More

"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" right? Not according to Boomers Lauren Ellwood and Gigi Gold. They put their own spin on that tried-and-truism and instead believe that -- When life gives you lemons, make....a new fragrance!


Fueled by the recession, Lauren and Gigi took their knowledge of scents and Boomers and designed a fabulous fragrance made with natural oils. It's called Cocktail and it's about as intoxicating as its namesake. Fueled with a mix of violet leaves, jasmine and amber, the light fresh scent is subtle while being memorable.


We caught up with the Chicago-area Boomers as they were taking a breather from launching Cocktail. Since we found Lauren first, we jumped at the chance to ask her a few questions...

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Father of Invention

By Bob on December 22, 2011 1:50 AM | Read More

Father of Invention, the new film starring Kevin Spacey and directed by Trent Cooper is likely to be overlooked by a lot of people. It's not rated "R," isn't set on a distant planet and doesn't contain one car chase. If you're looking for slightly romantic comedy that's about screw-ups, mistakes and redemption, then do yourself a favor and go see it. You won't be disappointed.

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Guest Room

5 Steps to Positivity

By Bob on December 21, 2011 4:55 AM | Read More

Even a pessimist can find optimism.

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Daily Distraction

Santa's Gonna Get a Blast Out of This House

By Bob on December 20, 2011 5:31 AM | Read More

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Don't Try This At Home

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot 2011?

By Bob on December 19, 2011 2:15 AM | Read More

2011 WTF-283.jpg

This is just about my favorite time of the year.


It's when I get to look back on the year we just endured enjoyed and (in my next column) make predictions on what's coming in 2012. For a blogger like me, 2011 was filled with plenty of snark-bait. Let's go to the tape...


WTF 2011?


Best Idea a TV Executive Ever Had

Cancelling The Playboy Club, Pan-Am and the God-awfulest show ever, Prime Suspect.


Did you know Maria Belo was cool? Me neither. Don't you know that anybody who wears a hat and kicks thugs in the nuts is super-cool? Me neither. You weren't sorry to see this show get cancelled? Me neither.   


Movies We Hearted

There were plenty of bad movies this year and a couple were even, dare I say it, unwatchable (I'm talking about you, Tree of Life). Charlotte and I saw a few we really DID like, including Blue Valentine with Ryan Gosling (confession, Charlotte LIKES ANYTHING with Ryan Gosling) but I'll admit to liking it, too. A Little Help with America's sweetheart Pam Jenna Fischer. Beautiful Boy with the non-hat wearing Maria Bello (she's a whole lot better when she's not acting "cool".) We also loved Cyrus - but then, anything with John C. Reilly and Marisa Tomei has GOT to be good - and you know what? It was.


Didn't See That One Coming

I totally missed predicting Charlotte's star turn on HGTV's Donna Decorates Dallas. Of course, this means that any predictions I make for 2012 should be set on fire and burned to a fine, gray ash.


Unlucky Strike

Our beloved Texas Rangers blew an entire season due to their inability to throw One. More. Strike. This is how I'm rewarded for watching a sport that's as exciting as watching GRASS GROW? C'mon...I'm going back to watching the Latvian Curling Championship Series on ESPN 7.


If you don't see a post from me for a couple of weeks,

send help with armor-piercing ammo.


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Remotely Possible

High-Tech Heat

By Bob on December 15, 2011 5:00 AM | Read More

Charlotte is almost never warm. She's the only one wearing a sweater on the Kiva Dunes beach in July and don't get me started about winter. Let's just say she HATES the cold and for the record - cold kinda frowny-faces her back. 

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Here's the Dish

Cranberry Relish

By Charlotte on December 14, 2011 6:20 AM | Read More

Kick up the flavor of your holiday turkey and dressing with this tart, make-ahead relish based on a recipe from Southern Living's classic "Christmas Family Favorites" (2000; Oxmoor House). It's a long-standing favorite around our house. 

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Daily Distraction

I'm So Glad They Rejected The Other Advertising Idea

By Bob on December 13, 2011 3:24 AM | Read More

Maybe the worst plumber's advertising ever...no if's, and's or butt's about it...

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Don't Try This At Home

It's All Geek to Me

By Bob on December 12, 2011 6:43 AM | Read More

Geeks - 364.jpgJust because you have a website, doesn't mean you're a computer genius.


Like most Boomers, I get asked technical, computer-type questions from my Dad from time to time. I'll admit that it's fun to diagnose and fix an easy tech problem and look like a freakin' ROCK STAR to an 86-year-old. But those opportunities are rare. 


My un-handyman ways are legendary. 


Yes, I had to have my car towed the one and only time I tried to change the oil (it was a Ford Pinto which could have exploded while I was underneath it, so I was really just trying to save my life). I've also voided more warranties than I can remember because I loathe reading instructions. 


So, when Charlotte asked me to take a look at her Toshiba laptop because the sound wasn't working, I leapt at the chance to jump into my superhero suit and perform a quick repair. I envisioned myself fixing it easily and then quickly exiting with an "Aw shucks Maam, tweren't nuthin'..." reply as I beat a hasty retreat back to my recliner and The History Channel. 


This brilliant move is what I call the "reverse doctor."  I simply treat the patient first and then take a history.

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The List

Girlfriend Gifts

By Charlotte on December 12, 2011 6:19 AM | Read More

It's easy to please my guys at Christmas. I pick up a classic movie (preferably black-and-white film noir) for Bob; a Guitar Center gift card for our music-journalist son Cole, and anything football for my sports-buff brother David. Then color me done.

What to get the important women in my life can be a little more complicated. But the most time-consuming part of my shopping just became a cinch thanks to these great gotta-have-ums. They're sure to delight any mom, sister, BFF, wife or special someone.


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Catching Up With..

Catching Up With... Mary O'Neill

By Bob on December 9, 2011 5:37 AM | Read More

Mary's a hospice nurse by night and a lot of things during the day - dog lover, fitness buff, gardener (she confesses to being Mary, Mary quite contrary, after all!) and fan of American Idol. She lives in the Texas Hill Country (a slice of heaven that stretches from about Waco to just south of San Antonio) and is always active with friends, family or her beloved dog, "Pumpkin".


We caught up with Mary as she was enjoying a rare break in her busy schedule. She agreed to kick back, pour herself a glass of wine and answer a few questions...

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By Bob on December 8, 2011 4:57 AM | Read More

Let's face it. Coming of age movies fall into one of two categories: 1) It's all about the sex (American Pie series or anything with the words Wet, Hot or Summer in the title) or, it's all about the journey (Say Anything, Sure Thing). Submarine, the new independent film from Michael Ayoade, establishes a new category for this genre, because it too is all about the journey -- but it goes deeper and reveals more.

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Guest Room

Deck the Halls in Style!

By Charlotte on December 7, 2011 6:50 AM | Read More

Sequins, silk and all that shimmers. Tis the season for parties!


It would be nice to buy a trendy holiday outfit for everything from my book club birthday celebration to candlelight Christmas Eve communion. I do LOVE to shop but we all know that's simply not happening.

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Daily Distraction

Orange You Glad You Take Viagra?

By Bob on December 6, 2011 3:00 AM | Read More

Thought so...

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Surviving Menopause

By Charlotte on December 2, 2011 6:18 AM | Read More

Let's face it. Certain parts of getting older REALLY suck, especially for us girls.


I'm talkin' hot flashes so intense your skin flushes, your heart races and you're instantly covered in sweat. LOOOOOOOONG nights spent waiting for the ever-elusive sandman while your partner finds peace as soon as his head touches the pillow (lucky Bob!). And night sweats that leave you so drenched you'd almost think you'd been in the shower ... not under the covers! 


E-Ss top pick 2 350.jpgWhat's happening here? I asked women's wellness advocate Ellen Saver Dolgen, who under the penname "E" authored Shmirshky: The Pursuit of Hormone Happiness (Hyperion, 2011), to give us Boomer babes some tips for recognizing and managing our midlife mire. Her funny, no-nonsense guide to menopause and its symptoms helps make both our frustrations and options much easier to understand.  



Making Sense of Menopause

A Guest Blog by "E"


Every Boomer babe will go through menopause someday. Basically, menopause is the tampon-free time in a woman's life. Sounds breezy, right? Who wouldn't want to live without their period? Well, the transition from the tampon-wearing time to the tampon-free time can get quite rocky and extremely challenging.



Calling all Boomer Babes: Help is on the way! We're giving away five gifts great for making sense of your midlife issues. Each includes:


You could win this enlightening set ... FREE. Click "Read More" for details on how to enter. Contest* ends Dec. 15!

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Home Runs

Is it Allergies or a Cold?

By Bob on December 1, 2011 5:40 AM | Read More

The holidays are a great time - unless your nose is running like a faucet and even the slightest sniff of pine sends you into an uncontrollable sneezing fit. It ain't fun. And it can also be tricky. How can you tell if that tickle in your throat is an allergy or the first hint of a badass cold?

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

Diabetes-Friendly Chicken Burrito Bowl

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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.

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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.

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