Last Minute New Year’s Eve Party

6a00d83451fa5069e201a3faa03593970b-800wiAre you, like me, a last minute entertainer? Here are 12 easy hors d’oeuvres from The Perfect Pantry for a relaxed New Year’s Eve gathering for a group or an intimate two. The secret is including both salty and sweet and all being finger food. Include bubbly, streamers and hats and voila, a New Year’s Eve party appears.

Tempting examples include Brazilian salt cod balls (bolinhos de bacalhau)Caponata, and  grilled sesame-lime shrimp and cucumber skewers.


Secrets of Happy Women

happy-woman-410x290Today I dropped my keys down the elevator shaft. My groceries sat for an hour while I waited in the elevator foyer for my apartment’s emergency maintenance to arrive and make new keys for me. Luckily my cell held power long enough to call for assistance. My other option had been to call the elevator company to open the floor to reveal the shaft — this would have involved an extremely large cost and a much longer wait on a Sunday. So, what did I do with that hour with no iPhone? Rather than get angry, I summoned up  a feeling of peace and thought about all the wonderful events in my life during the last year. Hence, I concluded that I am happy.

Today’s blog is about an article by Siri Carpenter in Prevention, “10 Secrets of Happy Women.” Heading the list is the exhortation to search for joy in small things. This is a trick which I’ve taught myself well into the third year of my widowhood. Because I was so very happily married to Marc, I felt as though the world had opened up a huge sink hole around me when he passed on. To cope I learned fairly quickly to enjoy the very tiniest little thing, whether it was the plethora of birds on the water outside my apartment, snow after many years away from it, autumn leaves, my new Westie puppy — though there is nothing diminutive about him. Yogurt for dinner in front of a movie is awesome. No dishes involved. Buying myself perfume for the first time in many years. My son coming back to New York and being involved in my daughter’s goddaughter’s life are so very precious. Period. Life does go on.

Seeking joy in small things may seem incontrovertible but it’s not necessarily a habit of busy, stressed out adults. Children, however, have the talent nailed. “It’s a skill that few people have mastered, says Loyola University Chicago social psychologist Fred B. Bryant, PhD. The reason is simple: We’re busy, and we have a lot on our minds.There’ll always be other sunrises, we say to ourselves, but if we don’t hit the shower soon, we’ll never beat the traffic to work. Under the weight of our daily responsibilities and worries, we reflexively tune out the fleeting, spontaneous events that could bring us deeper joy and greater health.” And for me, it was imperative.

For 20 years Bryant has been studying “mindful savoring,” what is thought and done to prolong positive emotions. So enjoy the list of 10 strategies to reach contentment, starting with “spread happy thoughts.” The second is “build memories to savor” and, again, this is something which I focused on today. Mental screenshots of beautiful things is one of my favorite mantras. As I reread the list, Josh Groban is singing “Believe,” the theme song from “The Polar Express.” His baritone is so like Marc’s that I feel my husband with me as I practice mindfulness; I see and hear him singing opera to me. My favorite is number 7 “fake it until you make it,” meaning act the way you want to be, then it will embrace you. Behaviorism.

Boomers Seek Early, Active Retirement

Couple Enjoying A Game Of Golf

A recent survey by Del Webb indicates that the trend toward earlier retirement is increasing among Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 and 64. Greater than half of Boomers plan to retire by age 65 versus the median of 67 in 2010. And their intention is to emphasize balance in their lives by focusing on “activities and hobbies that enhance physical/mental well-being (62 percent), spending time/focusing on family (51 percent), and traveling (34 percent).” 

After years of job and family responsibilities, many are starting to focus more on personal goals. “For the first time in what may seem like a lifetime, boomers are transitioning to a new stage in their lives that is filled with zest and personal discovery,” said Fred Ehle, vice president of brand marketing for Del Webb.” A big component of this is finding new social circles and, for many, dating. The study reflects that 56 percent of single Boomers are receptive to dating and 45 percent are actively dating, not definitely looking for love and marriage.


A New Era For Startups and Entrepreneurs


Martin Zwilling has just written a piece for Forbes about the current resurgence of the entrepreneurial spirit in which people are eschewing the “job” mentality for more meaningful work in which they look forward to contributing to society.

I have a few friends who were in the Peace Corps but that was not the main thrust of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Citing the Kaufman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, Zwilling notes that although we are slightly below the 2011 high of 320 new entrepreneurs per 100,000 adults, we are at about 20 million non-employer businesses today.

If you are thinking of starting a business, Zwilling mentions a list of positive points for prospective business owners, such as an increase in funding for early-stage startups, increased valuations of successful startups and social media as a huge advantage today. According to a recent poll in The Telegraph, currently almost 20% of young women seek to start their own businesses, noting that “women already control over 70% of household income and over $20 trillion of consumer spending.” 

And, as of last year, 23.4 percent of entrepreneurs were Baby Boomers. “In fact, in every one of the last 15 years, Boomers between the ages of 55 and 64 have had a higher rate of entrepreneurial activity than Gen-Y.” This is good news for those of us in that age group whose dreams include starting a small business of our own.!

Julianne Moore’s Take On Aging

o-JULIANNE-570Where you stand on anti-aging procedures can be very different from your friends’ views. As we see reality show housewives and certain film stars with the faces of 14 year olds, it makes one wonder if that is how it should be. Should we all do the same?

Julianne Moore has nailed her view on plastic surgery while not criticizing those who choose to do so in the following statement. “I’d like to think that I can age as naturally as possible. I don’t want to come out condemning anything anybody does, because I think that all of these things can contribute to making people feel better about themselves, and that’s great. But I also want to look like myself. I mean, we’re not going to live forever. You could be dead at 45, and guess what? Then you don’t have to worry about aging.”

Enjoy photos of more celebrity women who have “not gone under the knife” here: