Where are you a year and a half later? Are you homeschooling? Are you working at home? Have you started a new business, a new hobby, new friends via zoom? Not too much has changed for Tom and me. We read, write, edit, do various work, and garden. Tom edited my revised historical novels with their artsy new covers. The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin and The Memorable Mrs. Dempsey will be out August 18, 2021, on the anniversary of women’s right to vote.
Gail’s upcoming releases.
We’re an hour from our New Jersey family, not that I’m complaining, but it might as well be another country. Life is busy, no dropping by, we must arrange get-together dates. We live on the way north, so we get visits from a family going that way. Travelers and the rest of the world must pass through the rolling hills of Connecticut to the upper northern New England states and Canada. Grandkids Ben and Stephanie are on their way to Maine, six hours north of us. The stop here cuts an hour off their trip. Grandkids are refreshing and fun.
“You had a long drive—would you like something cold to drink?” I ask.
Stephanie’s eyes sparkle. “Thanks.”
“Try this new one we found in Trader Joe’s. It’s delicious. SANPELLEGRINO Italian sparkling drinks Aranciata Rossa, it’s good and so sweet.”
Stephanie shakes her head and holds up her purple plastic water bottle. “Some fresh water and ice are fine, thanks.”
Ben holds up his gray bottle. “Me too.”
Spoil the grandkids, my mantra. Goodies—cookies, ice cream, popcorn—they love popcorn, anything but just water. I grab my colossal can of mega-sized peanuts, fill up small scoops, and hand them out. They munch the nuts and sip the water. It satisfies me for a minute. Feeding them supper—pizza, hamburgers and fries, dessert from the Portuguese bakery here in town, Pastéis de Nata, custard tarts with a rich egg custard nestled in shatteringly crisp pastry and chocolate chip cookies the size of your fist. That’s more like it.
These grown-up grandkids, Stephanie, nurse, Ben, mechanical engineer, like any friends I have, propose exciting subjects. Technological changes over the last sixty years. Unknown challenges. I’ve rewired. It’s a struggle, but each wrangle gets easier, even now whoever heard of plugging in a phone to recharge. What the heck? Batteries run life, like a hybrid car. Huh?
My most memorable decade, the 1950s and the polio epidemic summer, all the pools closed, the beaches empty. At fifteen, mother hurried me for my polio vaccine to a nearby doctor. Tom’s brother Will caught the dreaded polio. His right hand suffered from the crippling polio. According to the June 2021 AARP magazine, those who had polio can relapse in their elder years, like shingles from chickenpox.
I danced halfway through the ‘50s. My fav, the lindy, renamed the swing! Can you hear Tommy Dorsey piping in the swingin’ music? Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers swirling and twirling.
Lilian August classic walnut desk
Ben and Steph, both homeschooled. Will they homeschool when they have kids? Maybe. We all agree there’s no simple answer for the best education. The evening ends too soon. That six-hour drive calls for an early rise. We don’t hear a sound when they leave. We’ll have another visit soon, delivering the classic walnut five-foot Lillian August desk to their new home. A gift from us.
How did you make it through with your crew? Who was the first person outside of your bubble that you hugged?
Breakfast Duchess-style: Eggs overlays, sausage, home fries very well-done, and whole wheat bread. We get one order and split. SO GOOD!
We passed the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 and I hope we will never pass another anniversary like it ever again. Tom and I recently had our first and second vaccines and we’re getting out a bit more too. We go for our morning walks and a few times a week we enjoy our favorite breakfast at our local Duchess restaurant in Fairfield, CT. It’s not very busy when we go and it’s nice to get back to a routine that is feeling more like “normal”.
Covid didn’t keep us down though, Tom and I have been busy revising my books Indigo Sky (soon to be re-released as THE MEMORABLE MRS. DEMPSEY) and THE UNFORGETTABLE MISS BALDWIN. Tom is the best editor I could ask for. I can’t wait to re-release both books with brand new covers, I’ll let everyone know when they come out.
Spring is in the air and soon our flowers will bloom and our backyards will be a lovely oasis. With that in mind, here are some lovely images of spring I painted a few years back. I hope these pictures give you hope for renewal and healing as we move forward. Enjoy!
The COVID pandemic, while challenging and exhausting in so many ways has had one positive effect on me and, I suspect on you too. It has helped me “embrace” my gray hair – the color represents those years of trial and error–and all the little pieces woven into my hair. I recently went back to the hairdresser for the first time since COVID, and I decided to let my “golden years” show. 🙂
“Please do not touch my roots,” I said to my hairdresser, “I just want hi-lights. I want my gray hair to be my face frame.” My older brother, Jay, (he’s 88) has a head full of the most beautiful light gray hair with streaks of white. If I let mine grow, it could be similar, we are alike in many ways. And I’m not losing my hair anymore. Imagine that? Bleaching my hair since I’m thirteen, honest, my mom didn’t like my hair getting dark–then I adopted the system, coloring my hair for so long.
The saying You are only as old as you feel, or look. That is a fact for me. My health and appearance are important. I stay active and walk every morning with my hubby Tom. I enjoy ballroom dancing and sometimes Tom does too, although our dancing shoes are back in the closet for the time being because of COVID.
Beautycounter products are my go to for my skin and hair. Beautycounter’s new serum in the yellow bottle is made to act like Botox for those fine lines, and even for some of the other lines. Apply the serum before your Beautycounter face cream and makeup. But the difference is – it’s not harsh on your skin and it’s environmentally safe. I’m a consultant passing on great products for my friends and family. Today, with everyone concerned about health and the health of our families – what we put on our skin matters. And what we put into the environment matters too. Beautycounter is fast becoming a leader in healthy, safe and beauty products that make a difference and don’t forget the safe shampoos and conditioners, and sunscreen. Take a peek at Beautycounter’s Summer Skin Saviors – I’m sure you’ll love them as much as I do.
The best part of beautycounter is that it’s more than great products, it’s a movement.
Summer Skin Saviors
Warmer weather calls for lightweight yet powerful #betterbeauty-to refresh, protect, and perfect your skin.
Gail in red
All the products here are fabulous, with no fragrance, and no harsh chemicals. The yellow bottle is the “All Bright C Serum.” You can order through me beautycounter.com/gailingis or let me know what you would like, touch base, give me your cc, and I’ll order for you.
Are you interested in looking your best at any age and using products that not only are good for you but not harmful to the environment? You can reach me at email@example.com. And I’ll give you more details and background about these wonderful skincare products that have contributed to my well being. Come be part of my team.
It’s a scary time out there for all of us, especially those of us in our golden years. We’ve been through a lot in our time, war, unemployment, illness, divorce, death of loved ones, but we continue to march on because that’s what we do. We are the generation who have learned to make the most out of every day we have. And these days, it’s even more important. Like everyone else, we want to do our part and stay healthy and not overburden the medical system. We’ve done all our shopping and stocking up on supplies. Although it’s tempting to get take-out food from restaurants, it’s probably better to cook at home. Except we couldn’t help getting our breakfast “to-go” this morning from our favorite eatery: Duchess Diner in Fairfield, CT.
Breakfast Duchess-style: Eggs over easy, sausage, home fries very well-done, and whole wheat bread. We get one order and split. He gets the bigger portion. SO GOOD! – Duchess Diner in Fairfield, CT.
We will keep going on our morning walks, and we decided to have some alternate fun beginning in the garden on those almost warm and sunny days, maybe take out our favorite swing. The plan is to give our little Honda Insight a fresh waxing and make it sparkle.
Happy Birthday, Ed! That’s his granddaughter Carley. She’s hanging out with him for a while.
Runners and walkers love to come to our neighborhood to enjoy the views and the ever-changing spectacular designs of God. We also get visits from foxes, bobcats, coyotes, and packs of deer, eight of them were on Ed’s lawn the other morning. I guess they heard it was Ed’s ninety-fifth birthday and came to offer good wishes. Maybe they were the ones who tied the birthday balloons to the lamp post? (Psst…actually it was Diane, who lives down the street.) Ed is made of sturdy stuff too! He was a navy man in WWII and he walks every morning, our inspiration.
I’ve done a few things in my life too. In 2009 I decided I wanted to write the love story about the artist, Albert Bierstadt. And I did, not before taking enough workshops and courses that would have given me a Masters in writing. I’m eighty-four and I’ve written two historical romance novels (yes even us old folks remember what it’s like to fall in love). And, now, I’m writing my memoir. What a trip down memory lane. Some of it is fun, some not so fun. But that’s the thing about life, you take every day as it comes. Yes, Tom and I are holding hands and are doing well.
I did mention we were going to do something funt? Today was Hat Day! I wish you all good health and happiness in these coming months. May this time bring us closer together and may we make some good memories pitching in to do our part.
In case you missed this one, this blog is a repeat of the third in a series about skin care products. I believe that beautycounter (one word,) a young progressive company, has made a difference in waking up an unregulated industry. I am pleased to represent beautycounter. My most important job is to share with my friends, family, colleagues and everyone I meet about using skin products that are not laden with harsh chemicals. Naturally, beautycounter manufactures products with no harsh chemical. For your perusal, the NEVER LIST.
Those with chemicals such as parabens (a preservative widely used in cosmetic products), benzophenones (used as UV filters) and bisphenol A in their urine were found to have abnormal amounts of the reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone.
The mixture of chemicals found in beauty products could harm women’s fertility or even cause breast cancer, a new study has found.
Researchers at George Mason University, in Virginia, discovered links between chemicals widely used in cosmetic and personal care products, and changes in reproductive hormones.
Excessive estrogen has been linked to fibroids and irregular menstrual periods, while too little prevents eggs maturing and being released from the ovary.
Too much progesterone is associated with both
and unusual vaginal bleeding, while it is thought bisphenol A (BPA), known
as the ‘gender-bending’ chemical for its effects on male breast
growth, could cause fertility problems.
Dr Anna Pollack, assistant professor of
global and community health at George Mason University, said: “This study is
the first to examine mixtures of chemicals that are widely used in personal
care products in relation to hormones in healthy, reproductive-age women, using
multiple measures of exposure across the menstrual cycle, which improved upon
research that relied on one or two measures of chemicals.
“What we should take away from this study is
that we may need to be careful about the chemicals in the beauty and personal
care products we use.
“We have early indicators that chemicals such as parabens may increase estrogen levels. “If this finding is confirmed by additional
research, it could have implications for oestrogen dependent diseases such as
A chemical mixture approach, was recently published in the science journal Environment
Readers Digest: Matthew Cohen/Rd.com
Sure, synthetic fragrances might make your
products smell undeniably delicious, but they’re one of the top contenders to
cause an allergic
reaction to your skin. “Fragrances are usually made up of other harmful
chemicals, like parabens, benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and more that are
linked to cancer and nervous system issues,” explains Dr. Engelman. “Short
term, they can cause irritation and redness on the applied area.” She
recommends looking for these terms to clue you in that a product contains a
fragrance: parfum, perfume, linalool, limonene, eugenol, citronellol, geraniol
or cinnamal. Fragrance-free products are mostly labeled as so. “Eight
Hour® Cream Skin Protectant Fragrance Free is a great way to boost moisture
and strengthen the skin barrier without putting yourself at risk,” says
beautycounter cleanswapheader-these are some of the products available separately
For the sake of all of us, our good health and wise choices, I am doing my blog about skin care products that have no harsh chemicals.This information was taken from a New York Times interview with the founder of beautycounter.com.
In 2011, Ms. Gregg Renfrew founded beautycounter (one word), manufacturer of cosmetics and personal care products. But instead of creating just another makeup brand, Ms. Renfrew made several unconventional decisions.
First, she made a list of more than 1500 potentially harmful ingredients that she vowed never to use in her products. Next, she turned the conventional business model on its head, shunning department stores in favor of a network of independent consultants. Finally, she embarked on a campaign to introduce new regulations to the personal care industry, noting that the last law governing it was passed in 1938.
How did Beautycounter get going?
I watched “An Inconvenient Truth” and had become impassioned with the environmental health movement. I was washing my children with a natural foaming oatmeal body wash by a name brand, but when I went on the Environmental Working Group’s database, it rated it an eight out of nine for toxicity. I thought I was using natural oatmeal body wash, and in fact I was putting toxins on my babies. I was just outraged. And I became truly obsessed with this.
Mini color intense lipstick vault
At the same time, I was looking at where direct to consumer was going, and where I saw the biggest white space was in beauty. No one had pioneered meaningful change in that industry. It took me a couple of years to concept the idea, the selling model, create the products from scratch. I went in thinking that we could just use white-label products and change a few ingredients. That was not the case.
You’re very focused on bringing more regulation to your own industry. That’s unusual.
Most people still believe that the Food and Drug Administration is protecting them in terms of personal care products. And most people believe that the products on the market are safe. But the F.D.A. is not necessarily screening ingredients for safety, which is very different from the food industry. The F.D.A. can be protective of the consumer in certain industries, but in our industry, we are woefully under regulated, and they don’t have the power to recall products. And this is one area where you have bipartisan support. Everyone agrees that we need to update the laws. It’s been 80 years now.
So what ingredients do you use and not use?
There are mostly natural ingredients that are safer, but some natural ingredients are not safe. There are heavy metals in the ground that are not safe for your health, and there are perfectly benign man-made ingredients. We have something called the Never List, which is a list of ingredients we chose not to formulate with.
To get safer products into the hands of everyone. Learn More
Spring is in the air, (hopefully) and so is our desire to get into shape. But instead of thinking seasonally when it comes to your health – think long term. I’m going to give you three bits of advice so that you can be independent for the rest of your life: Move every day. Eat well. Sleep well.
Our friend Ed, 93 and going strong!
At the ripe old age of 82 I have done it all. I lost 50 pounds twenty years ago and kept it off.
Tom and I walk every day with our neighbor Ed, a former WWII Navy Vet. Ed is turning 93 in a few days. Yup, you read that right. 93. Ed walks every single day, except when it’s slippery. He is truly an inspiration.
Youth is a forgiving time, but when you treat it poorly, the consequences catch up to you eventually. That’s why it’s important to get out there and walk the walk. I say that metaphorically. If you have a treadmill at home, do that every day. If you enjoy swimming, make it happen. The point is to stay active, just like Ed. If you don’t do it now, you’ll have to rely on family and friends or pay someone to help you later. It’s a sobering thought.
Don’t diet! Instead, eat healthily. Don’t believe those TV diet commercials that show people scarfing down cupcakes. For weight maintenance, have that pizza and ice cream, but no more than once a month.
Cooking healthy in the kitchen.
What works for you may not work for others. For example, nuts are a healthy snack for many people, but for me, not so much because of my food sensitivities. The only way to figure out what foods work for your body is by trial and error. It takes a few weeks, but trust me, your digestive system will thank you. Eat in moderation, small portions, but 4-6 times a day to keep your metabolic rate steady. Drink water that amounts to half your body weight.
Don’t set weight loss goals, instead set actionable goals that you can accomplish. For example – set a goal to walk a 5 k. Work toward that goal over the course of one to three months. Start with 1 k then 2 k and so on, gradually add more to the walk and your time will improve as well. No Olympian ever won a gold medal by getting up one morning and deciding to run the 100-meter sprint. Nope. They train every day to achieve that goal. And so can you.
Until next time, keep active and eat the food that your body loves, not the food that your emotions crave.
Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.