Thursday, April 12, 2012

Finally! Time to Read: Four Suggestions

We're very lucky that contributors give such a wide array of readings that we might not have read and want to enjoy. 


This time we have two suggestions: one non-fiction and one historical fiction given to us by UrbanNana. She writes,"So many little time. Strongly recommend Alison Weir's Eleanor of Aquitaine (queen of both France and England & Mother of Richard the Lionheart). In the film "Lion in Winter, " it was Kate Hepburn's Eleanor who said upon hearing of her son’s misdeeds....he might have just tried to kill Eleanor’s husband, King Henry……''Well, every family has their troubles.'  Her story AND more in this book

Historical Fiction
UrbanNana notes, "Just finishing (for the second time) Kaherine Neville's The Eight (1988) and completely enthralled…again. This two-tiered adventure story is historical fiction at its best. Says Susan Isaacs, 'This is a Quest with something for everyone: ancient curses from the Fertile Crescent; Russian chess masters; sexy, savvy American computer whizzes; Napoleon and Robespierre, brave nuns, valiant Jewish diamond merchants; magic numbers; secret hiding places; the music of the spheres. In other words, Ms. Neville’s big adventure novel is great fun.'  "

"Look forward to her sequel, The Fire and to her essays.   Check out her link below.
Hope you’ll take time to read her webpage/link listed below. Absolutely fascinating woman. "


Peggy recommends a fiction work.  "If you liked the first three John Hart novels, The Last Child, The King of Lies, and Down River, going back to Hart for his newest work,  Iron House (July 2011) is a must.  Hart's writing has been described by Jeffery Deaver as "masterful" and by the New York TImes as "Grisham-style intrigue and Turow-style brooding." Two children, abandoned by their mother are consigned to Iron House, a former insane asylum converted to orphanage.  They are dogged by malicious older children and have to defend themselves or hide from the terrors they face.  Lost to each other for two decades, the two grown men , one a mob figure and the other a troubled author and artist. reunite again as they cope with threats to their lives and to those of the people they love. Complicated lives, the strength of love, and the need to survive swirl through the pages, keeping the reader waiting anxiously and hoping for some good to come to these brothers."


And finally, a suggestion coming to us through the daughter of one of our favorite yoga instructors.   She suggests that we read Bossypants by Tina Fey and  describes it as 'hilarious'.  It'll be next on my list!

If you want to be notified about new posts, send and email to  You'll be added to the distribution list.  Thanks to all who recommend these great reads.
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Saving Our Skin

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 When friends are asked to identify their most trusted skin savers, the results can be surprising.  Of course, the products or life habits here are not scientifically proven nor guaranteed to work for all of us.  But, that said, here are some recommendations to consider.

Our young mothers have two suggestions for childhood skin protectors.  First, one whose children have those dry patches behind the knees and on the inside of the elbows,  says "Aquaphor healing ointment works wonders!" 

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Another uses Neutrogena  SPF products recommended by her pediatrician.  She notes, "These products are fragrance-free, oil-free." Real pluses for children with sensitive skin. This young mother has very fair skin and burns easily; she uses Neutrogena Age Shield Face Sunblock SPF 70 and SPF 45 lotion"

Those of us looking for ways to moisturize our maturing skin have a recommendation from our expert nursing professional. She shares that, "Ceptaphil that is recommended at every dermatology lecture I go to but does not work for me. I like Gold Bold Ultimate restoring with CoQ10. It contains vtamins A, C. & E and ceramides."   She adds that she uses Olay Regnerist and ROC for her face.

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  Another of our strikingly attractive friends shares her secret:  "A college friend recommended Eucerin Moisturizing Cream for her face a few years ago. She has beautiful skin! I have been using the Walmart brand for about three years now, and recommended it to my sister. We're convinced that it has kept us looking younger (How's that for modesty?). It's called Equate Therapeutic Moisturizing Cream from Walmart. It comes in a big white jar that lasts forever. It's rather greasy. At night that's O.K., but in the morning I put it on, allow it to stay on my face for a short while, then use a tissue to gently remove any excess before applying my make-up. I think you'll like it." 

Another was surprised to see Eucerin, a cream she used 20 years ago,  suggested for cancer patients. "The oncologists have been recommending Eucerin for their patients, which is something I used in the 8o's and 90's upon recommendation from a dermatologist friend."

One suggestion for puffy eyes and concealers comes from a friend who has investigated several products.  She likes Instant Age Rewind Eraser,a dark-circle and treatment concealer.  She also likes Lubriderm Advanced Therapy Lotion, advertised for its ability to "moisturize for 24 hours."  By the way, Nivea is advertising a moisturizer that works for 48 hours."  None of us have tried that one yet.

 We haven't seen any testimonials for the really pricey creams and lotions.  That's a plus!  And talk about inexpensive! 

One friend lives in a very hot, dry climate.  Her go-to treatment for dry skin?  " The best one is baby oil on your skin while it is still wet in the shower, wait a minute and then towel pat. Be careful not to spill it or slip!"     Our southwestern friend also recommends, "I like Palmers coca butter or Palmers with olive oil, neither leave your skin oily." And finally, If you are living in or vacationing in a sun-intense area, remember that sunscreen is a must-every day.

Advice from a 'northeastern ' naturalist' who is another  proven example of great skin comments, "I would say the best way to protect my skin is to minimize exposure to sun. I don't like the sunscreens with all the chemicals in the ingredients! If I am outdoors for a longer period of time, I search for shade or wear a hat. I use organic moisturizers or some organic sesame oil during the winter. And, of course, healthy skin starts from the inside out...lots of water and nutrient dense foods."

Thanks to all who contributed to "Saving Our Skin"!  We had a great response.  Now if someone would invent a magic potion to erase those dreaded dark spots!  From pregnancy to retirement, grandmotherhood, and beyond,  these splotches occur-and they stay around forever.  Help!!!
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A Free App to Help Us Navigate Our Vacation Travel or Daily Commute

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Want a free app that shows highway congestion updated 24-7, with accident sites shown, cameras on real time, slow or stopped traffic, and ramps on the interstates you travel?  Try the one promoted by This site shows the cities covered, state by state.

SigAlert is defined by the California Highway Patrol as "any unplanned event that causes the closing of one lane of traffic for 30 minutes or more".  This commercial app, called by the same name, has a treasure trove of invormation for a ton of areas.

If you're traveling north from Florida and are concerned about the   DC area, use the app to plug in that city. If you're traveling to work in Pittsburgh and know that delays are possi ble on certain routes, use this app to determine which route is the fastest for you-at the time you're actually on the road.  Traveling into Chicago and wondering if you should take that dreaded toll bridge? Check out congestion in and around it.  This app containes many areas across the US.

The SigAlert app is free at iTunes.  Connect to Everything you'll need for daily traffic is free.  If you want to set up account with SigAlert, that will cost you an account fee, but it gives you the opportunity to program favorite routes and to add more bells and whistles.

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Having used it for two weeks to navigate a major city-especially going to and from the airport at rush hour, I find it more useful that my Google Maps traffic maps.