Better Choices

If you’ve spent most of your life caring for others or in a stressful work environment, learning to make your needs a priority can seem foreign. It has taken quite some time for me to pursue what makes me truly happy, as opposed to that which is required.

I no longer pay attention to trends or indulge in impulse shopping. Instead of trying too hard to appear youthful, I strive to look and feel my best at every age. Learning which foods most benefit my health has been truly life-changing.

Food was often my enemy during my working life. I rarely took the time to eat a healthy meal or even consider what might be best for me. My weight fluctuated considerably, and I was often ill. Even five extra pounds can cause back and knee pain to return. My sleep quality and overall health are also negatively affected by just a few extra pounds.

Steamed cauliflower – avocado – herbed feta – beets – olives -spinach – Spanish almonds – hemp hearts – olive oil with Kamucha Tea

Above is an example of one of my late lunches. Food choices in American can be abundant but not at all nutritious. Processed foods have little nutritional value but lots of sugar and many calories, which means you will continue to feel hungry even if you just ate two hours ago. Sugar is highly addictive, so the more you eat it, the more you crave it.

About ninety percent of the time, I have only two meals per day. I eat highly nutritious foods, so I never feel hungry at night. I find that the more ingredients in an item, the less nutritional value there is. Fresh and frozen organic vegetables are a significant part of my diet.

Better food, fashion, and lifestyle choices have certainly benefited me in the past few years. Curling up with a good book now gets a high priority because that brings me much more joy than going to another function or meeting. A day at home with no responsibility is a rare treasure that I enjoy to the fullest.

My super comfortable look for relaxing at home includes a vest here and a top here from Covered Perfectly. (When you buy two tops, the third is always free!)

The pants are here. My shoes are by Adidas here. My no show athletic socks are here. Use the coupon code SUSAN for 15% off full-price items for one purchase only.

The Great Alone: by Kristin Hanna is the best novel I’ve read in years. Books were my first friends, so I’m very grateful to now have the time to enjoy reading at my leisure.

Some folks abandon their New Year’s resolutions before the first week of January is over. That might be because we mostly plan to give up things, so I suggest adding a few good habits.

The most important habit to form is drinking lots of water. Drink a half-ounce of water for every pound you weigh every day. This formula came from my father’s Cardiologist. It is scary how many serious health problems you can stack up just from not drinking enough water.

Eat more vegetables. Steam them, grill them, roast them, add them to your soups and salads, or eat them raw, never fried.

Get your heart pumping! Spend twenty minutes moving your body with enthusiasm every day. It might be dancing while you are cleaning up after breakfast (you should see me dancing around the kitchen to Bon Jovi!) or go for a long brisk walk as often as you can. Just do it!

The winner of the Nordgreen Watch Bundle of your choice is Elaine DeBock. Congratulations!

  1. Good morning Susan!
    This is great advice. Many years ago I gave up processed food after having some health issues. I read many books on a vegan lifestyle, including all of Joel Fuhrman’s books. I felt better, looked better, and had much better overall health. I have added some meat back in occasionally but still, believe in small portions.

    I spend very little time sitting and hate to be idle. I have many friends who are following a healthy lifestyle, so it makes it easy for me.

    I love your posts, and good sense of fashion advice, and tips! I need to go on a clothes shopping diet! That will be my New Years resolution!

    Thanks for being a great role model!

  2. Wonderful advice. What brand of tea do you drink? What seasoning do you have on your cauliflower? It looks delicious. Thank you for sharing your advice with all your readers.

    1. My favorite hot “tea” is Mate Factor Organic Yerba Mate. Here’s how to make your own kombucha tea. I add a variety of herbs and spices to cauliflower. Among my favorites are sea salt, fresh ground pepper, garlic, paprika, cumin, curry, and ginger.

  3. A timely reminder about eating healthy foods! SO difficult at this time of year, but you’re right, Susan, about how eating habits affect our quality of sleep and how much energy we have throughout the day. I hate that sluggish feeling when there’s so much to do, including reading a good book.

  4. What a wonderful post! So very helpful and encouraging. I would like it if you could possibly do more of these in the future. Thank you Susan.

  5. Great reminders Susan! I gave up trends long ago…I enjoy being comfortable (and still stylish). I’m trying to eat a better diet, but hubby loves his meats & fried foods…but we are both doing better! There’s always room for improvement! Can’t wait to add your fav book to my list! Congrats to the winner of the watch! I was so hoping it would be me! lol!

  6. Congratulations to Elaine on winning the watch bundle! This is a wonderful post and most inspirational. During our working lives, we were often allotted only a certain amount of time to eat. We got so used to gobbling unhealthy food that it is a new learning curve to reverse that undesirable habit. Your salad looks yummy and very appealing.

  7. Your posts have been an inspiration to me for a long time. I started reading your posts when it was Fifty Not Frumpy. Thank you for the helpful advice and suggestions. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

  8. Hi, I’m always drawn to your photos where you accessorize with scarves. I’m a classic dresser and small in stature, and use scarves for warmth and color. Do you have any silk or viscose scarves in your inventory? And do you have a Christmas-sy one for this season?

    1. Susan, did you make your wonderful fruit cake this year? I made two last year, and they were delicious. Problem is, I can’t eat nuts due to kidney stones. So I didn’t tempt myself this year. Merry Christmas to you and Mr. Mickey.

  9. I have read “The “The Great Alone”! Actually, I listened to it on my Libby app from my local library. I have AirPods. I have not read it, but my daughter says that”The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah is really good too! One of the books I listened to was “This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection” by Carol Burnett. The best part was that Carol Burnett narrated her own book! I also use the Goodreads web site.
    Love your posts and congrats to Elaine DeBock!

  10. Kristin Hannah is one of my favorite authors. If I might recommend her book Winter Garden, it is one I keep on my shelf and re-read every few years. It is one of her best and one that will touch your heart. I read every day and have since I was a young girl whose mother worked in a library and couldn’t bring home books fast enough. Would love to hear other authors that you enjoy.

  11. Thank you for sharing your opinion of the book. I would love to hear more about your book choices in the future. I am always looking for new ideas.

  12. Great tips, Susan! Thank you. I always enjoy a good book also, and Kristen Hannah is one of my favorite authors. I’ll be sixty in March and I agree with you. Healthy eating and exercise are key to aging gracefully. Thanks for sharing. Your post was recommended by Della, on Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.

  13. Our book club read The Great Alone also and the discussion was stimulating. The Huntress by Kate Quinn is another good one. I will follow this to read other people’s suggestions. Our small local rural hospital has purchased a closed grocery store building and is opening a wellness center, basically a health club— walking path (important for those of us living in cold snowy north country), exercise equipment, bb and pickleball courts, yoga studio, demonstration kitchen, personal trainer services, childcare, etc. It will be opening soon. Joining and using the facilities is my resolution. I’m in the market for new walking shoes with really good support or that will accommodate orthotics? Suggestions?

  14. Thank you for sharing your recent book choice. I’m always looking for new titles.
    I always appreciate a view into what you are eating. I seem to need inspiration every little bit to keep me focused on a nutrient rich diet. A few parties can get me off track and this is the season for doing that!
    Enjoy a quiet day in your lovely home curled up with a good book.

  15. Very timely and informative post which bears repeating often, in my opinion. I eat my usual healthy food in slightly less quantity before going to an event with food, and then have a small amount of something I want there. I still feel good and not deprived when doing this. I only wish I had started this 30 years ago rather than 5 or 6 ago!! This works even when you’ll be having a meal, not just appetizers. And sparkling water with a cherry in it looks festive and tastes good!

    Congrats to Elaine! What a special gift this season.
    Susan, you are so inspiring! I do not have any friends or family who imbrace healthy eating as a lifestyle (but some who do at random, which is a start), so your inspiration is especially appreciated in this area. And of course, love the fashion too. Thanks for all that you do!

  16. What a delight to receive your email this morning, Susan! Thank you so very much for the watch bundle! Thanks also for this post. It contains so much wise advice. I’m going to add The Great Alone to my list of books to read.

  17. Hi Susan, I would like to ask how you store your avocado after it has been cut. I do not know how to store or treat the avocado to keep it from turning brown. As a result, I tend to eat more avocado then I probably need to. Thanks for your help !

    1. I cut a ripe one in half, leaving the pit in one half. Put the half with the pit into a sandwich bag and store it pit-side down in the fridge for a day or two. You can squeeze lemon on it to keep it from oxidizing.

  18. Thank you for your new year’s resolutions. I love your approach of adding healthy choices.

    Happy holidays!

  19. I appreciate your recommendation of a good book. I find myself enjoying reading more all the time. My most recent love was Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

  20. I need inspiration to eat better! Thank you for your posts! Fixing food for just me isn’t inspiring. Usually I fix the first and quickest thing I can think of. Having fresh foods that are healthy has been my goal lately. I eat out between 5-7 times a week and about the only thing fresh is a salad! That gets tiring real quick! Please continue to share meal ideas. Thanks for all your posts.

  21. I add my thanks for your healthy suggestions. I read Dr. Fuhrman‘s book “Eat to Live” after you mentioned it in a previous post. I lost weight, but the best part is that my taste buds have reset so I really enjoy eating vegetables and unprocessed food—better for me and for the planet. I’m actually surprised, but it’s definitely working for me. Thanks for the inspiration!

  22. Do you still have a discount for Beauty in Stone? Just wanted to order the beautiful toggle bracelet you featured in your last post.

  23. Thank you for sharing your heart. Blessings and may the love of our Lord embrace you this Christmas season and always.

  24. Great advice especially with New Years upon us. Spending time getting lost in a book has been a a new found joy for me too. It’s nice to just focus on the book instead of “multitasking” as we often do in our busy days .
    I also loved The Great Alone and hope you read her other books!

  25. I so appreciate your blog. It makes a reality check on clothes I buy and wear. It’s quality not quantity that I should have. Like yout scarves,do you still have the one with the grey in? Will have to try your recommendation for lipstick,will have to try. Always looking forward to your next email.

  26. Spot on! Can always relate to what you put into words and it’s so helpful to me. Thanks for giving me permission to start taking care of myself after a career of taking care of others.

  27. Hi Susan,
    I always enjoy reading your stories that you share about your life and how you live it.

    We have so many things in common. I too understand the tole that working LONG hours, 24/7 and owning our own business can take on you when you are in a building mode. Balance is everything, hiking, and long distant running brought me so much joy, and it was a form of mediation to have time to myself. It’s so easy to get caught up in giving yourself away to everyone but not so much yourself.

    I would love to meet you and Mr. Mickey someday, I think we would really hit it off.

    I am going to check out your book. My husband Barry of 41 years loves to read, and his books and his gardening are his best friends. Great friends to have.

    I would like to mail you a Christmas card. Where do I mail it to?

    In Arizona

  28. I so look forward to your weekly messages. Your positive, healthy outlook continues to encourage me to focus on things that are important. We can each choose the attitude we embrace, which ultimately affects how we look, how we take care of ourselves, and how we go about life. Thank you for sharing.
    Another Susan

  29. Yes, definitely “The Great Alone” is my favorite!
    Thank you for your great ideas and for taking the time to research new trench.
    Merry Christmas and have a wonderful new year.

  30. Hi Susan. I always enjoy your posts and most times I learn something from you. I am looking at the Shapeez bras and I wonder if you have ever tried the bras without underwire ? I have had breast cancer and reconstructive surgery so I have a hard time wearing underwires. Thank you for all the great information you share !

    1. I need the underwire, so I have never purchased the bras without them. I do know that they have styles without molding, padding, or underwires. If you contact, they will be more than happy to help you find the right style and size for you.

  31. Susan, I am an avid follower of yours- you remind me of myself in so many, many ways and I love your tips on everything! I, also, have begun eating healthier for my health and I love your photos of your meals so much- my question is , “What is your main source of protein when you are eating so many plant-based foods as I think I read earlier that you had developed an allergy to beans? Please advise and keep up the wonderful articles!!!

    1. The problem with beans is resolved if cooked in a pressure cooker. Vegetables with the most protein include broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts.

  32. Susan, you are such an inspiration for healthy living and looking good as one ages. Thank you for your wonderful blogs.

  33. Great tips. Thanks for the reminder of keeping health at the center. Looking forward to checking out your novel recommendation.

  34. I love all your posts, Susan! You’ve inspired me to shop better and gradually simplify my wardrobe. I needed this!

    Lately, I’ve been eyeing some cute combat-type boots but don’t exactly know how to wear them. I like to wear my shoes with several outfits but not sure I can with these. I’m 57, on the curvy side, not overweight, and I look good in jeggings (not as good with leggings) with tunic tops. Can you give us some outfit ideas on wearing some cute combat boots? Are socks in order? Tuck in the pants or wear them outside? Are leggings required? (I wouldn’t wear dresses with these – not my style.) Thanks and Merry Christmas!

  35. Great post. I find that now that I am coming up to my 57th birthday I see similarities with this post. I no longer agree to go to a function as quickly as I would have done in the past. I enjoy more quiet time at home and I am focusing on my reading, eating and activity more. Living in the North East does have it’s limitations with unpredictable weather but overall I’m gearing myself up for a healthier lifestyle. Thank you, Susan! Happy Holidays.

  36. Your advise is always right on target. Most of us know we should eat better but it takes someone who has been there to get trough to us sometimes. I started eating better because of you and I’ve held my same weight for a long time. Thank you for caring about us and remaining us we don’t need to be sick all the time. We can feel better.
    I want to thank you too for your wonderful posts on how to dress without spending a fortune. I can’t always buy the best but I buy the best I can afford. Quality Basics are the key to always having something to wear without standing in front of a too full closet. I do pay attention to acessiories more. Bless you!

  37. Thank you for this blog, I need help in the clothing department and you knock it out of the park! Style and beauty rolled into one. I’m also needing new glasses and love your frames, are they available somewhere? Thank you, thank you!

  38. Such good advice Susan! My husband and I changed our eating habits a year and a half ago and we feel and look so much better…even at 66 and 67 yrs old. No more fried or instant foods, they’ve been replaced by whole foods that are plant based. My Grandmother who was a surgical nurse during WWI and who raised me always said that I should drink 8 glasses of water a day and always stretch and move. She was a woman before her time! I enjoy your posts and always look forward to the next one. Have a nice evening!

  39. Susan
    I just finished reading “The Great Alone”. Totally agree with you. One of the best books I have read lately Thanks for suggestion

  40. Reading your other post it sounds to me like you actually have three meals a day. A first and second breakfast then a late lunch.

  41. You are generous to share so much of your life experience. It helps me and I’m sure many others. At times it seems advertisers ignore our age group.
    A question: do you take calcium supplements?
    I noticed that you have a karastan oriental. I have the same carpet purchased from B.Altman around 1980. I never tire of the lovely jewel tones. Thank you for this blog.

  42. I meant to comment on this when you initially posted it. I love the way you look in the glasses your hair tucked behind your ears. You look so youthful and studious. I’ve been tucking my hair behind my ears on what I call is second day hair. I try to shampoo every other day in winter because the dryer is so drying even with good conditioner. A spritz of dry shampoo— Kendra or DryBar and it’s styled enough for a trip to Whole Foods or Home Depot. Mine is the diametrical opposite of yours. It’s baby fine and board straight. It’s currently in that Robin Wright style in House of Cards. Works for my age (70). I’m still 90% blond so a few highlights around the temples and frequent cuts are all I need.

  43. Susan, I had to tell you that I bought and read The Great Alone and have to agree it is one of the best books I have ever read. It gripped me so I couldn’t put it down. Thank you so much for the recommendation! Praying for you and Mr. Mickey and glad to hear you are feeling better. Best, Mary Lu

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.