23 Fast Fixes for Spring Renewal
We set out in search of the best “make-your-life-better” tips, from dropping a few pounds to organizing your finances and getting your kids to eat more veggies. Whether you want to brush up your career, your appearance or just want your life to run more smoothly, post this list up on your fridge, and consult it any time you need a lift.
Text by: Jennifer Magid, Photograph by: C.J. Burton
1. Boost your energy
Lisa Corrado, a nutritionist in New Canaan, says a few simple changes in your diet can make a big difference in your energy levels: “Just a whole grain here, some extra vegetables there and a big glass of water. The end result is someone who feels her best and performs at her best.” Corrado says to do this by making thoughtful choices (for example, grab sparkling water over soda) and setting aside some time to plan and prepare. “Review your upcoming week and what you’ll prepare for dinner. Whenever possible, make some extra so you have quick and healthy choices on-hand.” (lisacorradonutrition.com)
2. Get more fit in Five minutes
Linda Gottlieb, personal trainer and owner of Fit Training, suggests the following quick tips:
1. Walk the perimeter of the grocery store every time you shop.
2. Use the restroom on another floor at work.
3. Skip the elevator and escalator and take the stairs everywhere you go on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
4. On Tuesday and Thursday, get up 15 minutes early; climb your inside stairs for 10 consecutive minutes (or find a local school and use the bleachers on the way home from work).
(For inquiries or to schedule an appointment with Gottlieb, call 203-877-5270.)
3. Breath more, relax more.
Stan Woodman and Gina Norman of Greenwich Yoga and The Kaia Yoga Complete Wellness Centers offer up a breathing exercise that works in rush-hour traffic, long lines or anytime your nerves are frayed: Inhale so your lungs are filled completely. Exhale for the count of six. The longer exhale helps to calm the nervous system and settle your energy.
(check out the studio’s schedule at greenwichyoga.com)
4. Spice up your love life...with some
new stockings. Jason Palmer, store manager of boutique Petticoat Lane on Greenwich Avenue recommends women add a pair of sexy patterned stockings to their wardrobe. “Of course we have the sexy lingerie, but the new way to do sexy is to wear a patterned tight (think lace or herringbone) with a tight black short skirt and black heels.” (347 Greenwich Ave., Greenwich; 203-863-0045)
5. Book a weekend away
“Commit to family time and letting go of schedules and BlackBerries,” says Mary Pace of Valerie Wilson Travel in Old Greenwich. “The kids can miss a game or two without dire results. Travel can spawn happy, lifelong memories for your children.” Pace recommends Grand Cascades Lodge or the family-friendly Minerals Resort & Spa in New Jersey. The four-season resort has something for everyone, from a top spa to golf to an all day kids camp (so mom and dad can get a little alone time). (firstname.lastname@example.org)
6. View your life as a pizza for better balance
Lisa Wexler, executive producer and host of the daily drive-time talk radio show The Lisa Wexler Show, says “I look at my life as a wheel (or better yet, a pizza pie), and the slices are divided into family, friends, community and career. In my ideal life, all those elements would be in balance. But real life seldom works that way. Wexler’s tips for balance:
1. Look at your calendar. How much time are you devoting to the activities you have to do versus the ones you want to do?
2. Be mindful of how you spend your day (work, family, friends, community).
3. Look at the empty calendar for next month, or the month after that, and schedule something that is weak on your wheel. “For example, if you haven’t been to the theater in months, buy the tickets and put the date on your calendar. If you can’t remember the last time you went to a PTA meeting (and you care to go,) go on-line and find out when the next meeting is, and plan it.” (livewithlisaradio.com)
7. Brighten your smile
Try Zoom!, an in-office one-hour whitening procedure. “It is the easiest and least expensive dental procedure to help improve your life,” says Dr. George Cody, a dentist for Dental Associates of Connecticut. “A nice smile says you care about your appearance.” (zoomnow.com)
8. Don’t stick to the plan
Lindsay Cain, owner of Femmegems on Greenwich Avenue, says she stays creative by deviating from her weekly routine. “It’s always a curve ball for my husband as he settles into the paper when I exclaim, ‘Let’s all jump in the car and go here!’” she says. “It’s fun to explore new towns and have a big family meal together along the way. On Mondays I feel like I got out and really DID something!” Cain’s favorite spots to surprise her family with: Cold Spring, NY and Spring Lake, NJ (femmegems.com)
9. Cheer yourself up with pops of bright color in the house.
Cindy Rinfret, principal designer of Rinfret of Greenwich, says color can add some life to your space. “Bright throw pillows in fun colors like orange are a great and fast way to add a touch of color to your room, which is sure to brighten your mood as well.” (rinfretltd.com)
10. Wear better high heels
Dr. Harris Greenberger, a Norwalk-based podiatrist, recommends forgoing the heels this summer and instead opting for a pair of wedges. “Women who wear wedges or shoes with thicker heels are less likely to sustain ankle injuries than those who wear stilettos. Go no higher than two inches.” (soundfootcare.com)
11. Punch up your pucker
“A touch of peach and pink on the cheek or lips is the perfect combination. Don’t be afraid of looking like you just ate your favorite popsicle,” says Weston native Debbie Hazan, a makeup artist who services the metro area. Hazan’s current favorite: Smashbox Heartbreaker lip shine in Sheer Bright Fuchsia. (makingfacesbydebbie.com)
12. Get your kids to eat more veggies
“Growing edibles in containers is a simple way to teach your children about nature and also get them to eat their vegetables,” says Deborah Roberts, a landscape and garden designer for Roberts & Roberts in Stamford. “Container gardening is less work than growing vegetables in a traditional garden.” Purple-podded beans (try Purple Queen or Purple King), loose-leaf lettuce (kids love the vibrant color of Red Sails) or edible flowers such as nasturtiums are kid-friendly, colorful, quick and easy to grow.
13. Fix your front door
“Make sure your front door is functioning, and that you use it more than your side door. This allows more opportunities to come to you,” says Manhattan-based Feng Shui expert Ken Lauher, who works with clients in lower Fairfield County. Make sure the door opens a full 90 degrees. You also want to be mindful that no coat racks, shoes or other objects block the front door, or you risk blocking good energy. (kenlauher.com)
14. Get your finances under control with a simple manila envelope
Judith Heft, a personal financial organizer in Greenwich, tells her clients to stay organized on a regular basis. She suggests keeping everything — tax documents, possible tax deductible items and receipts (if you’re organized you’ll save money) — in a manila folder. “This way you avoid losing anything you’ll need at the end of the year come April. It’s easier to throw away receipts from the folder that you don’t need than to search for the ones that you do.” (judithheft.com)
15. Balance casual and chic
“There are so many lines right now that are fashionable…but at the same time inexpensive,” says Erica Killion Van Wyck, of Erica K boutique in Darien. The trick is to find a line you love that works for you and stick with it. It’s important to figure out some simple ways to nail your style and still be comfortable at the same time. “Nanette Lepore just launched Oonagh and Joie created Joie Soft. Both are great cotton and jersey basics with an interesting twist. You can feel great every day and not feel overdressed.” (ericakdarien.com)
16. Enlist the buddy system
Westport-based career coach Jane Pollack, says to lean on a partner to keep you stretching towards the things you want to have in your life. “Check in with each other regularly to see how you’re each doing with getting what you want each day or week — like going to the gym or planning a vacation,” she says, noting this approach works for everything from weight loss to career goals. “Having to be accountable to someone you like will up the ante on the likelihood of its happening.”
17. Give compliments to get results
Alexandra Keleman, a Greenwich-based life coach, says you’ll get a better response if you go deeper than just the “I like your blouse” type compliments that most people dole out without
even thinking about it. Instead, give compliments with a bit more thoughtfulness and choose your words based on others’ behavior. “It makes people feel proud of doing things the right
way and they are encouraged to do it again,” she says. (lifecoach22.com)
18. Play with a pet
“Unlike their human counterparts, dogs and cats provide unconditional love and affection. They provide us with a feeling of acceptance, which can serve to enhance our feelings about ourselves,” says Adrienne Statfeld, director of PAWS (Pet Animal Welfare Society) shelter in Norwalk. It follows, then, that if you feel good about yourself, it will inform other parts of your life and maybe even affect your health. If you don’t have a dog, sign up to spend a few hours at a shelter or borrow a friend or family’s member’s pup. (pawsct.org)
19. Simplify your gadgets
Randy Hammond, principal of Bang & Olufsen in Greenwich, loves the BeoSound5: “It’s the one place you can go to simplify all your media.” This gadget, along with the BeoMaster5, helps you manage music with your computer via drag-and-drop, show photos on your TV, play multiroom music, and listen to live Internet radio stations from around the world sorted according to country of origin, language or musical genre.(365 Greenwich Ave., Greenwich; 203-769-5500; bangolufsen.com/beosound5)
20. Make friends & influence people
Log onto the computer and check out the Greenwich Young Professionals Group. James Parker, the group’s founder says, “It’s a great way for all kinds of people to meet and make a range of business contacts.” Members of the group, professionals aged 21 to 40, regularly meet (about once a month) for happy hours and volunteer activities around Greenwich. Check out their site and mark your calendar for an upcoming gathering. Bring lots of business cards and get ready to schmooze. (greenwichypg.com)
21. Find more time for friendships
Breno Donatti, manager of Sundance Café & Wine Bar in Stamford, recommends finding a favorite place, then making it a regular date with a group of friends. If you make a standing date, you’re more likely to stick to it and less likely to cancel. “We have monthly poetry readings, live open mic, monthly art shows and live music with local artists every Friday and Saturday.” Check out the café’s events on Facebook and Twitter. (thesundancecafe.com)
22. Get the job you want
Colette Shore, vice president of Glocap Search, who works with clients in Connecticut and New York, says, “When going to recruiters, it is best to be as clear as possible about what you are looking for.” A recruiter is more likely to be able to help you get what you want if you help them. Do your research first and show up for your meetings prepared. Don’t expect the recruiter to do all of the work for you. The more you know, the better off your recruiter is. (glocap.com)
23. Give your hair new life
“The trends for spring include soft-fused highlights instead of your traditional foil application,” says Gigi Giraldo, a stylist at Maria Livesay Salon in Old Greenwich. “This technique gives the hair a sun kissed, worn out look.” Be sure to add some soft, subtle highlights around your face if you don’t already have them. “This will not only brighten up your color overall but with the right tones it can bring out natural color in your skin.” (marialivesaysalon.com)