While the mythology of the Great American Road Trip holds a sacred place in the family vacation pantheon and has been the trip du jour during the COVID-19 pandemic, here's the reality: If you're a parent packing up the littles for a multi-day drive to "all the way over there" (trace your finger across a map as you say that), the time in the car doesn't especially feel like vacation. Even if you are willing to spring for airfare and to brave the COVID-19 era flying experience, there are the hours spent wedging all the stuffed animals, pool toys, TSA-compliant sunscreen and extra diapers into a few suitcases—and the joys of dragging that haul through garages, security and airplane aisles while keeping everyone's face covered and hands sanitized. Then there's the thinly veiled contempt of the kid-dreading passengers on your flight—all clearly unmoved by the fact that you're lugging a Paw Patrol backpack, an iPad you think you charged before you left the house and a small, wriggly human or two. Still, if you're a parent who believes that travel expands your kids' horizons, you're going to get out there eventually, as long as it's safe. And, if—in the process—you can find a way to lessen your carbon footprint on the planet they're inheriting, so much the better. Enter the Auto Train, a unique Amtrak service that takes you and your car nearly 900 miles between Virginia and Florida without a single traffic jam, back seat turf war or potty emergency (just as you drive by the rest stop). Yes, the same offering that Florida-bound snowbirds flock to each winter turns out to be an ideal way for families to reinvent the road trip year-round—as travel influencer and YouTube mama @Lauren.Stewart_DC discovered during a February trip with her family of five (kids ages 8, 5 and 1). Read on for her takeaways and tips. Photo taken in February 2020. Face coverings are now required in station and during boarding."It's like traveling in a hotel."
For a long family trip, there are often two choices: Cram everything (including kids) into any available space in the car and settle in for the long haul while one parent white-knuckles the steering wheel and the other attempts to keep the peace over playlists, tablets, power cords and personal space. Or, corral the clan onto an airplane and try to survive overhead bin jams, popping ears, shrinking seats and shifting facemasks, while your neighbors silently judge your parenting ability for several hours. Bottom line: Getting there generally doesn't feel like part of the vacation. So for Lauren and her family, the Auto Train provided a welcome contrast: "We got on the train, our rooms were easy to find, we got cozy and everyone put on pajamas," she says. "It's like we got to our hotel and woke up at our destination. The kids didn't even realize we were traveling for 18 hours." Least of all, her one-year-old, Dawson: "He's a happy kid, but he's always been a difficult traveler—he hates his car seat, he hates airplanes and he can cry for five hours straight. But he was such a happy traveler on the train, it was a miracle." The hotel-like space he was traveling in was probably to thank. The family had booked a Superliner Bedroom Suite—a combination of two Superliner Bedrooms and one of several room types available on the Auto Train (all of which come with comfy bedding and towels, turndown service and complimentary dining with wine). After an early dinner, she put Dawson down and closed the partition between the two rooms so that Dad and the other kids could continue hanging out. "Even when Dawson got up at 2 a.m. ready to party, it didn't wake up the other kids." The hotel-on-rails experience also eliminated some of the other difficulties of long trips—powering devices, finding a Wi-Fi signal, stretching legs and catching naps in comfortable positions, for starters. But arguably the most conspicuous absence was the bathroom emergency. "I can't tell you how many times we've had to stop on a road trip for one kid to go to the bathroom as soon as another one finally fell asleep after crying for 45 minutes," says Lauren in praise of Amtrak's en suite facilities. (Superliner Bedrooms come with a bathroom, shower and sink, while the Family Room and Roomettes have access to the full bathroom on each Superliner car.) Equally impressed by her digs' overall roominess, she noted that she'd even take a mini Pack 'n Play next time. Choosing a private room can prove cost-effective for a traveling family. Most rooms accommodate two to four travelers—you can combine two rooms for larger parties. The ticket price includes much of what is extra on planes—no baggage fees, Wi-Fi charges or food costs—and because your car is traveling with you, no long-term parking costs at your home airport or rental car expenses in your destination. Additionally, for each paying adult a child ages 2-12 can travel for 50% off the fare. Save 50%Roomette Sale on Amtrak's Auto Train: Companion Rides Free Another bonus—you can safely remove your mask while you are in your private room. As a result, the bedroom options on long-distance trains have proven very popular on Amtrak's long-distance trains in recent months, as more travelers want to get into their own space, close the door and relax. (Click here for more on Amtrak's enhanced cleaning protocols.) "It was an adventure." For Lauren's kids, the ride became entertainment in its own right—so much so that they willingly parted with their screens (gasp!) in favor of going on mini-adventures. "Just moving between the cars felt so adventurous for them," she says, noting that if they were traveling right now, they would likely stay in their room for most of the trip. And unlike on planes, where kids in the aisle often prompt eye rolls or tunnel-visioned stares, Lauren's kids—especially super-social five-year-old Lilah—made friends during each excursion in February. The frequent ice-breaker? Car talk. "The kids were so blown away by the fact that our car was also on the train," she says, "they started asking other passengers what car they 'got to' bring with them." By the end of the trip, "each kid had a new set of grandparents that had adopted them." Travelers are currently required to wear a face covering while outside their private room or while sitting in coach seats. Amtrak has enacted contact-free ticketing (just download the app) and capacity limits to allow for even more distancing on the train. "One of the only things that didn't turn into an adventure was the food, to our relief." With picky eaters (i.e., at least half of all kids), every meal out involves a roll of the dice and silent incantations. The dining car turned out to be a serious crowd pleaser (dinner and continental breakfast come with any sleeper accommodation fare), with the mac 'n' cheese earning particularly rave reviews. And that from "a mac 'n' cheese connoisseur," Lauren adds. The kids also loved putting all the toppings on their cheesecake desserts—chocolate syrup, whipped cream, even fruit. But most important, says Lauren, is that "the menu has good options for picky eaters." (Lauren also suggests bringing a bag of snacks to help with grazing during the trip.) The dining car is still available on the Auto Train for sleeper car guests, with distancing guidelines in place. You can make a dining reservation when you check-in, or guests can also choose to have the food delivered to their private room. "Skipping the drive can do a world of good." In an average year, the Auto Train takes 117,000 cars off of I-95—a savings of 95 million miles (almost four trips around the planet) for drivers, and 8.5 million pounds of CO2e for the earth. The Auto Train accepts most standard vehicle types, including SUVs and minivans. With neither parent behind the wheel, both Lauren and her husband could be in the moment with their kids—whether that was reading a bedtime story, playing a game or looking out the window to try to find alligators as the train passed alongside the St. John's River in Florida. And between friends, Lauren says there was a bonus benefit: She traveled nearly 900 miles without the motion sickness brought on by her husband's driving. And once they arrived, Lauren's car was already packed and ready to go as they continued their vacation in Florida. "I love having my own car with me on vacation," she says. "Within an hour of arriving in Florida, we were on our way." "This was the way to go for us." "I didn't even realize this was a 'thing'," Lauren told us after getting back from her vacation. "We'd taken Amtrak (from D.C.) to New York, but never even considered taking Amtrak longer distances." The trip was an adventure for Lauren's social followers as well, who asked tons of questions on her DMs as she posted to her Instagram story on the trip. "The most-asked question was how long the trip is," she says, "and honestly, it doesn't feel like an 18-hour trip at all." Which leads to the inevitable question seven months later, would she do it now? "I would hands-down take a train over an airplane right now," she says now. "Being able to get my kids in our own room while we travel is so key. And it's so much easier than a long road trip. "We'd definitely do this again."
Ready to plan your own "rode trip" with Amtrak? Check out more information on the Auto Train or Amtrak's other long distance routes. Learn more about Amtrak's enhanced safety and cleaning measures. Lauren's tips for taking the train with your kids While on her trip in February, Lauren received tons of DMs with questions from her followers. Below are some of her tips, from one "professional mother" to other parents considering the same trip. 1. Pack cozy clothes. You will be right at home in the private rooms. We changed in about .5 seconds. Traveling in PJs for the win! 2. Snacks. Bring. Lots. Of. Snacks. My kids' kids love to eat and read, or eat and talk, or eat and basically do anything. Food makes everything better. You can also go to the dining car or have food delivered to your room as well. 3. Bring a small "kid bag" for each child. Pack a few of their favorite books, puzzles, games and juice boxes to help keep everyone smiling. 4. Pack smart. The less you carry on the less you have to carry off! Leave bulky suitcases you won’t need in the car. Have a great trip!
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amtrak has enacted several cleaning, contact-free and convenience measures, including new capacity guidelines to allow for better distancing on trains.
Lauren.Stewart_DC in February 2020
I do have male subscribers, so something for them today!
50 Best Anti-Aging Tips for Men
GUYS: IT'S TIME TO TAKE A BIG GULP FROM THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH.
By PETER KOCHAUGUST 2, 2018
Aging is inevitable. It starts with a stray gray hair or two, proceeds to wrinkles around the eyes and in your forehead, and, before you know it, you're slowing down physically. That's life, of course—but it doesn't have to be the whole story. There are dozens of simple hacks and habits—from the way you wash your face to the clothes you wear and the friends you keep—to help you become healthier, and seemingly knock years off your age. Follow these 50 anti-aging tips today, and drink deeply from the fountain of youth. And if you're in the market for some amazing fitness tips, as well, don't miss this guide to working out, living smarter, and feeling younger—all courtesy of America's fittest CEO. ] 1 Wear sunscreen. Nothing weathers your skin more than the sun. UV rays speed up the aging process by breaking down collagen and slowing new cell growth, causing the skin to thin and lose its firmness and elasticity. The best defense is a good sunscreen, or a moisturizing lotion with SPF 15 or higher that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Apply daily year-round (winter, too!), whether you're hitting the beach or heading into the office. On top of having baby-soft skin, you'll prevent skin cancer, which is two to three times more prevalent in men than in women later in life. And for help lathering the stuff as effectively as possible, learn the 15 Hacks to Apply Your Sunscreen More Easily. 2 Trim the "fat." ADVERTISING By that, we mean: Wear more fitted clothing. Of course, fit is always subject to trend ("slim" meant a very different thing in 2005 than it did in 2015), but the main point here is to wear clothes that actually fit you: No more comically large Big-worthy suits or "dad jeans" that swallow up your manly figure. Of course, you can buy slimmer-fit clothing or, even better, get thee to a tailor. Common alterations include taking shirts in (1.5"), hemming pants to the proper length (1" to 2" above ankle), tapering pants slightly below the knee, and getting your jacket sleeves shortened (so they show .5" of your shirt). Bonus: These alterations—regardless of age or body type—will instantly make any man look fitter, taller, and leaner. 3 Stand up straight. There's good reason your mom always told you to stand up straight. As you age, your posture suffers, which, over time, can cause breathing problems, joint pain, and walking difficulty. Correcting it—with back straight, shoulders pulled back, and head held high—is anti-aging. According to the Mayo Clinic, proper body alignment can do everything from prevent excess strain on your joints, muscles, and spine to keep you injury-free and boost your mood. As a bonus, carrying yourself tall make you feel younger, stronger and more self-confident. 4 Liven up your wardrobe. We're all creatures of habit and, especially if you have to dress formally for your 9-to-5, it's easy to get stuck rotating through the same dull pallet of blacks, blues, and grays. As you age, though, your skin and hair change color, and the old outfits might not work as well as they once did. Revamp your closet, and your look, by experimenting with new colors. Start with a sweater, tie, or shirt that brings out your eye color, and build from there. And don't forget the pocket square! And for more ways to spruce things up, try out the 15 Killer Style Accessories You Never Knew You Needed. 5 Cut back on sugar. It's okay to indulge occasionally, but don't go too crazy on those venti caramel macchiatos. Sugar contributes to wrinkles and dehydrated skin, and causes inflammation that can lead to acne (which makes you look young, but in the wrong way). Avoid the obvious culprits—soda, candy, desserts—but also beware of sugar bombs disguised as healthy foods, including juice, protein bars, breakfast cereal, and flavored yogurts. And for ways to use your diet to turn back the clock, eat the 50 Foods That Make You Look Younger. 6 Skip the nightcap. First off, you should try to limit your alcohol intake altogether—maybe save the after-work happy hour for Thursdays only—since it's a toxin that causes free radical damage. If you do indulge, try to wind things down early enough to give your body time to metabolize the booze, so it's less likely to disrupt your natural sleep cycle and leave you feeling like crap the next morning. Bonus tip: Order a double virgin-screwdriver at last call. Fructose, one of the sugars in orange juice, speeds up alcohol metabolism by as much as 25 percent. 7 Cool it in the shower. A long, steamy shower is relaxing after a stressful workday or hard workout, but it strips the skin of natural oils and essential moisture, making you look older and exacerbating common skin problems like eczema. Instead, keep your shower short and the temperature lukewarm.
8 Get a good haircut. Grays aren't the only way your hair can make you look older. Your haircut can add or drop years from your looks, especially when your crown is balding or hairline is on the retreat. That means it's worth laying down a few extra bucks to hire a professional stylist who can help you troubleshoot, and home in on a cut that better frames your face, making you look younger and more put together. Once you've got it, you can take it back to your trusted barber for follow-up trims. 9 Practice tree pose. Of course yoga is healthy, but did you know it can keep you feeling younger? As you age, your muscles become less supple, and aches and pains become the daily norm. But something as simple as a 15-minute daily practice—there are tons of beginner-friendly videos online—can make your body more resilient. "Though there's more studying to be done, it would seem that yoga goes a bit beyond standard exercise when it comes to chronic low back pain—and potentially other aches and pains of the body," says Dr. Adam Lipson of IGEA Brain & Spine. "It works an array of muscle groups and also helps protect the body from injury and improves circulatory health." 10 Ignore the trends. iStockInstead of chasing the latest sartorial trends inspired by, and targeted toward, 18-year-olds—we're talking spray-on-skinny jeans and tracksuits in public—go with updated classics that make you look handsome and self-assured rather than middle-aged and desperately clinging to youth. For ideas, start with these 30 Essential Timeless Style Upgrades. 11 Sleep on your back. Side-sleepers, it turns out, are more vulnerable to wrinkles caused by smooshing their face against the pillow. Sleeping on your back also fights acid reflux, and eases neck and back pain. In fact, the only reason it could put you at more risk—from sharp elbows, mostly—is if your snoring disturbs your partner's sleep. 12 Stretch. By the time you're 40, your muscles become less pliable and you can't move as easily as you once did. You're losing muscle cells, and the mitochondria—the "power plants"—within your cells are on the decline, paving the way for age-related diseases. A simple stretching routine—pick 10 common stretches, and hold each one for 30 seconds—gets your body moving enough to reduce injury, and start rebuilding atrophied cells to keep aging at bay. 13 Skip the straw. Sipping your iced coffee from a straw seems innocent enough, but repeatedly puckering up your lips accentuates fine lines and wrinkles around your mouth. So ditch the straw (especially if it's plastic, since it has a compounding and colossal impact on the environment), and sip your drink like a man. 14 Lose the shadow. On a young man, stubble has a certain rakish, I-don't-care-what-you-think appeal. On an older man, it can look tired and sloppy—like you had trouble waking up and might be in need of an afternoon nap—or, at best, indecisive. Either go clean-shaven or grow out your five-o-clock shadow into a well-manicured beard befitting a grownup. 15 Wash after you work out. Don't pass up the post-gym shower. Besides making you feel refreshed, washing your face after exercise can help keep dead skin, oil, and other grime from clogging your pores, making them stretch out and appear larger, a sure sign of aging. Wash your face at least twice daily, but especially make sure you get it after a sweat-soaked workout. 16 Act like a kid again. Remember all those team sports and games you played as a kid, from sandlot baseball to pick-up basketball and even Capture the Flag? As men, we're conditioned to focus on self, family and career to the point that it feels like there's no time for fun and games, but the mental health benefits of play are as real as the physical ones, from improving your mood and concentration to reducing stress and depression. So don't be shy about rounding up your buddies to lose yourselves in a throwback game of kickball or Ultimate Frisbee (and if they're too busy to have fun, seek out a league or other like-minded group). It'll make you a healthier man, not to mention a happier husband and dad. 17 Let your beard out. If you have a double chin or sagging jowls, a close-cropped beard can be a great way of concealing it. 18 Ignore the elevator's call. One of the best anti-aging secrets is to keep your body moving throughout the day by incorporating movement into your routine. A great way to do that is to pass up the elevator at your office or condo, and take the stairs. According to a 2008 study out of the University of Geneva in Switzerland, climbing the stairs daily can result in better lung capacity, blood pressure, and cholesterol. If that's not enough, it may also lower your chances of dying young by as much as 15 percent. 19 Hit the sauna. A post-workout sauna session is good for muscle recovery, sure, but it also takes care of your ticker. A 2017 study published in the American Journal of Hypertension found it helps lower your blood pressure by dilating blood vessels, reducing the risk of heart disease and keeping your body in great shape. On top of that, the heat stimulates natural collagen production, and deep sweating removes bacteria from the skin and improves skin cell turnover, so you emerge with a healthy glow. 20 Strive for a purpose. Be confident, and stand for something. Nothing makes you look and feel older than a downtrodden, shoulder-slumped approach to life, where the world is crumbling, and you're helpless to stop it. Stop complaining, and commit yourself to a cause that's bigger than yourself, whether that's finally becoming involved in political or environmental activism, volunteering at the local food pantry or passing on your skills and talents to a younger generation. You've spent the better part of a lifetime working on you; now it's time to share the wealth. On top of feeling good about yourself, being a do-gooder is good for your physical and mental health, as it helps counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety. 21 Trim unwanted body hair. You've noticed for years—and with alarm, no doubt—stray hairs popping up in your ears and nose, and on your back. Keep them trimmed, and you'll look and feel younger. And if your body hair is turning gray, keeping it short will make the gray less obvious. 22 Take a stand against sitting. It feels good to "take a load off," but too much sitting—at meals, on the commute, through an 8-hour workday, in front of the TV—is slowly killing you, and no amount of exercise can make up for all that "down time." The good news is that simply reducing inactivity, even just by standing and walking, is enough to reduce a ton of health risks, according to a 2013 study published in the journal PLoS ONE. Even if you're not ready for a sit-stand desk, it's easy to sneak enough movement into your day by taking a five-minute walk break at least once every hour. 23 Get a dog. Beyond the licks and cuddles, there's a more practical reason dogs are a man's best friend. A 2017 study published in the journal Scientific Reports found that owning a dog is associated with a 33 percent decreased risk of death and 36 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Plus, all of those twice-a-day walks help keep you as active and strong as Spot. It's just one of the 15 Amazing Benefits of Adopting a Pet. 24 Get rid of some grays. You don't have to go crazy covering up gray hairs; less is more here, as a little salt-and-pepper can distinguish a man. But if you're looking to downplay the gray, it's best to let your stylist do it. Just ask for lowlights, which will add subtle streaks of your natural hair color (or a shade darker) to camouflage the grays in a way that looks more authentic. 25 Sleep in your underwear. Wearing too many clothes to bed can prevent your body from adequately cooling down, which disrupts the release of the anti-aging growth hormone (HGH), which burns fat, builds muscle, and repairs your bones and skin while you sleep. Sleeping in your boxer-briefs helps keep your external temp below the critical 70º Fahrenheit mark, and—bonus!—makes choosing PJs a breeze. 26 Wear sunglasses Bright sun causes you to squint to prevent damage to your eyes. Wearing shades—choose ones with large frames, darker lenses and broad-spectrum protection—will prevent that, helping you avoid wrinkles and protect the skin around your eyes. And, if you pick the right pair, they'll make you look pretty cool, too. 27 Clean shave. It's no surprise that shaving yourself as clean as a pre-teen can make you look baby-faced, but a study by the UK's Crown Clinic showed that celebrities looked as much as 10 years younger with a hair-free face. There's an entire industry built around shaving, from the ritualistic straight-razor trims popular among hipsters to the subscription plans sold by Harry's and Dollar Shave Club, so do what works for you. Just do it daily, and rinse with cold water. 28 Get it on more often. In man's age-old quest for more sex, here's a compelling new argument to bring to your partner: Science. In a 10-year-long study of 3,500 people from 18 to 102 years old, researchers at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in Scotland found couples in a healthy relationship who have sex at least three times a week look an average of 10 years younger. (You're welcome.) 29 Update your prescription. As your vision gets less sharp, other muscles around your eye pitch in—you squint, in other words—to help you focus, which accentuates those "crow's feet" wrinkles radiating out from the corners of your eyes. Updating your prescription can solve the problem. 30 Always wash your face before bed. You know you're supposed to, but sometimes you're just too tired. Failing to wash your face at day's end, though, actually increases the likelihood of wrinkles and acne. Your face is exposed to collagen-killing free radicals throughout the day (think: pollution and UV), and a simple scrub prevents them from doing more damage during the night, when skin is most actively renewing itself. Also, it removes accumulated dirt, oils and sloughed-off skin cells that can clog your pores overnight, causing acne and other blemishes. 31 …and do so with cold water. Splash your face with cold water to better hydrate and plump your skin than warm water will. It also closes your pores, so dirt and oil are less likely to get in. 32 Learn to cook. Eating out is good for your social life, but terrible for your body. You can't be sure of what you're putting in your body, but trust that it contains more calories, cholesterol, and supremely unhealthy trans fat than what you make at home, thanks to the fattier cuts of meat, rich sauces, butter, and heavily processed ingredients that are common in most restaurants. Cooking for yourself with fresh, whole, clean foods (and good-for-you oils, like EVO and coconut) means you know exactly what you're eating, and you can keep it healthy. 33 Be a practical jokester. Even if it's not technically the best medicine, there's evidence that laughter can help you live longer. A 2012 study published in the journal Aging found that laughing was an important aspect in looking and feeling young. Not only does it decrease stress hormones and release your body's mood-boosting endorphins, it also increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, making you more resistant to diseases. Now that's something to smile about. 34 Relaaaaaax. Traffic jams, 12-hour workdays, and difficult kids aren't just bad for your mood; all that stress wreaks havoc on your skin, too. Your body releases stress hormones that increase inflammation, break down collagen and reduce your body's ability to repair damage, making you more prone to breakouts and wrinkles. If you let stress become a chronic problem, it can cause you to pack on more pounds around your midsection, raise your insulin levels, lose muscle mass. Over time, it dramatically increases your risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes. All that is to say it's time to kick back and relax a bit, whether that means taking a nap, doing an interval workout, cracking open a new book or meditating.
35 Brighten your smile. Stained, yellowing teeth can add years to your face, while robbing you of your confidence. To make your smile sparkle, tackle stubborn stains with whitening toothpaste, strips, or trays (ordered from least to most effective). A couple of simple steps to avoid future discoloration include having twice-annual dental cleanings, and brushing your teeth directly after eating or drinking (particularly coffee, tea and red wine, which are some of the worst offenders). And, finally, when you want to implement some pro-level cleaning, try brushing your teeth with turmeric (yes, the spice).
36 Kick it with young people. Making some friends a few years your junior, who are typically more physically and socially active, will help keep you on your toes. If you can keep up with them (no need to surpass them, champ), you'll sip from the fountain of youth—improving your cognitive abilities and vascular health—and they won't treat you like you're any older. 37 Get outside. Indoor workouts are great, but sometimes you've got to break out of all those little boxes—office, cubicle, car, gym, house—you live in all day every day, and revel in the great outdoors. Go for a run, jump in a river, take a hike, hit the crag—take a deep breath of fresh outside air, and soak in the natural beauty of this planet we call home. It's good for the body, sure, but does even greater wonders for the mind and spirit. 38 Wash your hair. You should definitely rinse your hair every time you step into the shower, but consider using shampoo less often—once or twice a week, say—to maintain natural oils for softer, shinier hair that's healthier, fuller and, well, more effective combover material. 39 Sleep better. Assuming you get good quality sleep, the quantity you need remains fairly constant—generally seven to nine hours a day—throughout your life. To maximize your time in bed and get better, more restful and efficient sleep, take the following straightforward steps: 1) avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine in the evening; 2) establish a bedtime routine, and stick to it; 3) avoid television, reading, and social media in bed (it's for sleeping and sex, after all); and, if you still aren't zonked after 30 minutes, get up and do something relaxing until you really feel sleepy. And for the best sleep of your night, every night, learn the 10 Genius Tricks For Falling Back Asleep in the Middle of the Night. 40 Moisturize.
Just because your dad didn't use lotion doesn't mean you can't evolve. Get over yourself, and slather it on when you wake up, after showering and before bed. Dry skin—particularly in the winter—accentuates fine lines and wrinkles, exaggerating aging in the face and body. Find a simple, fragrance-free lotion to start hydrating your skin from the inside. It's cheap and effective, a no-brainer.
41 Pick just one accessory. Where jewelry is concerned, less is more as you age. Don't get carried away with attention-grabbing gold chains, chunky rings, multiple earrings, and ostentatious watches. Instead, focus on one or two understated, age-appropriate pieces that will complement your clothing, not compete with it.
42 Tame your eyebrows. Don't kid yourself: Those unruly bushes don't make you look distinguished; they make you look like a crazy old person. Fear not, though, you don't have to start plucking. Bring your eyebrows to heel with a facial hair trimmer, or go the lazy route and ask your hair stylist to trim them next time you get a haircut. 43 Marie Kondo your closet. You're old enough by now to know what clothes you do and don't like, so be honest, be ruthless and get rid of those clothes that don't quite fit you right or that you don't love. Dressing sharply, in clothes that you love, makes you feel better and gives you a youthful self-confidence.
44 Exfoliate. Gently rub an exfoliating paste—Clinique for Men Face Scrub ($21) is a great option—into your face twice each week to slough away dead skin, and reveal a fresh, silky-smooth glowing complexion. Beyond making you look better, it slows your skin's aging process—keeping fine lines and wrinkles at bay—by assisting the cell turnover process and sending messages to the brain to produce more collagen. It also opens the pores to better absorb any moisturizer.
45 Nap.If you're not getting enough sleep at night, catching some daytime Zs can keep your heart healthier and your brain sharper. A six-year-long study of 24,000 participants found those who napped three times a week for 30 minutes had a 37 percent lower coronary mortality than those who didn't nap at all. Additionally, scientists at Germany's Max Planck Institute observed sleep spindles—IQ-boosting bursts of brain activity—in napping men. The ideal nap time for most guys is between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m.
46 Wear contacts (or get Lasik). ShutterstockGlasses correct vision, of course, which generally deteriorates over time as we age. Wearing glasses sends the subconscious message "my eyes don't work as well as they used to," which is almost akin to saying, "I'm old." Opt for contacts for a fresher, younger look. Or, if you have the stomach for some mild pain and discomfort, get Lasik.
47 Get your "Om" Meditation is more than just hippy alternative medicine. In fact, it's been proven by science to improve sleep, decrease anxiety, and reduce stress—one of the most common factors in premature aging. "I don't think enough emphasis is placed on our stress levels and how it relates to internal disease as well as skin health," says dermatologist Hal Weitzbuch, founder of JuveTress. "Both meditation and relaxing exercises like yoga can have enormous effects on your overall wellbeing. After all, anti-aging isn't only looking or feeling younger—it also relates to using knowledge acquired with age to keep yourself healthy." 48 Don't fall out.
Between a busy workplace, a growing family, and that never-ending list of home improvement projects, it's easy to get so overbooked that you don't leave time for other relationships. But spending time around your friends improves your health and, ultimately, leads to a longer (by as much as half a decade, according to some studies), happier life
49 Wear Blue Not Grey
Just like gray hair is associated with aging, gray formal wear tends to make you look more serious and mature (you know: "older"), especially if you have gray hairs coming in. Instead of a charcoal or black suit, try wearing a more casual bright navy blue, and you'll instantly appear younger.
50 Just do it.
Covid-19 Travel Restrictions State by State
The coronavirus is still at the forefront of many travelers’ concerns. Aside from making sure they are equipped with protective gear like masks and sanitizer, another issue weighs on their minds. Once they arrive at their destination, what restrictions are in place? Are the attractions they intend to visit going to even be open? COVID-19 restrictions and regulations vary by state. Some states have lifted travel restrictions all together, while others require tourists to test for the virus or self quarantine upon entering. While it is recommended that potential travelers do their research on each state, here is some information for high-rate tourism states: Florida Just last week, Governor Rick DeSantis declared the state is now in phase 3 of reopening. This means there are no travel restrictions, restaurants and bars are no longer confined to and capacity limitations. Although the state has removed restrictions, counties and cities are still able to enforce certain safety measures. While social distracting and masks are still heavily recommended, the state has lifted any fines or penalties to those who choose not to follow safety guidelines. State parks and theme parks are now able to resume back to regular operations with limited social distancing procedures. New York New York is now at phase 4 of reopening; Travel restrictions are still in place for those entering the state. Before unboarding airplanes, passengers must fill out a travel form or face a $2,000 fine. If coming from a state with a 10% or higher Coronavirus rate, travelers must self quarantine for 14 days. While most of the state is allowing restaurants to run at 50% dine-in capacity, New York City is still limited to 25% for indoor dining. While movie theaters remain closed, low-risk outdoor establishments like zoos and sporting venues are open at 33% occupancy. Other indoor attractions like museums are permitted to run at 25% for the time being. Hawaii One of the states with stricter policies, Hawaii is requiring a few things from tourists before and upon arriving. When entering the state, visitors must provide a negative COVID-19 test result or self quarantine for 14 days. Hawaii is still in the Act With Care phase of reopening; this means while most businesses are open, they must follow certain restrictions such as occupancy limits. Tourists and citizens are required to adhere to social distancing guidelines and mask mandates as well. Texas While there are no state-wide travel restrictions currently in place, visitors should be aware of safety protocols and the status of tourist attractions. State parks are currently open for day use with limited camping capacity. Groups of 10 are still not permitted unless all 10 members are from the same family or household. As of September 17th, museums, restaurants, and retailers are now able to operate at 75% capacity. This is good news for those planning to visit. While most attractions like zooss, aquariums, and amusement parks are now open, beaches and bars are not. Before heading to Texas, it is strongly recommended that tourists gauge what their plans and interests are. If bar hopping and rafting are on that list, it would be best to postpone their vacation. Louisiana Still considered a high-risk state, Louisiana has continued to enforce many travel and operation restrictions. Since the state has entered phase three of reopening, businesses like theaters, museums, and restaurants can now operate at 75% capacity. While much of Louisiana’s tourism is concentrated in New Orleans, the city is conducting it’s reopening procedures accordingly. While the rest of the state has begun phase 3 reopening, New Orleans is at phase 3.1. This means the city is taking a more gradual approach to reopening bars and tourist attractions. Like the rest of Louisiana, Museums, restaurants, and shopping malls are able to run at 75% capacity. While much of New Orleans tourism is fueled by alcohol sales, bars are still unable to open for on-site consumption. As a compromise, bars are permitted to sell to-go drinks from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Safety Equipment As always, whether one is traveling or not, safety equipment is a must. Even in areas where masks are no longer required, it is better to be safe than sorry. While packing for a vacation, it is advised that travelers include masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfectants. This is especially important if using public transportation. For those unsure exactly what or how much to pack, there are services that take care of those concerns for you. Brands like LifeBox provide kits created based on certain needs. For example, they offer a travel kit that includes reusable and disposable masks, sanitizer, and disinfectant. Conclusion A key takeaway potential travelers should get from these restriction reports is to plan their vacation accordingly. For example, if you are traveling to New York to experience the nightlife and bar scene, it may be time to consider postponing your trip. The same sentiment can be shared with travelers planning to visit states like Florida, that have completely removed restrictions.Some travelers with families may feel weary of visiting the state for safety concerns due to the lack of enforcement protocols. At times like these, health and safety take priority. Hopefully, with the information provided here along with sources across the internet, those planning a vacation will do so with a little more confidence. Enforced restrictions and protocols ensure tourist and citizen safety. With the proper planning and preparedness, families can now travel and make lasting memories, even during these uncertain times.
7 Mistakes People Make When Hiring a Financial Advisor
Choosing a financial advisor is a major life decision that can determine your financial trajectory for years to come. A 2019 Northwestern Mutual study found that U.S. adults who work with a financial advisor report “substantially greater financial security, confidence and clarity than those who go it alone.” The value of working with a financial advisor varies by person and advisors are legally prohibited from promising returns, but research suggests average additional investment returns can range from 1.5% to 4% more each year. Being aware of these seven common blunders when choosing an advisor can help you find peace of mind, and avoid years of stress. 1. Hiring an Advisor Who Is Not a Fiduciary By definition, a fiduciary is an individual who is ethically bound to act in another person’s best interest. This obligation eliminates conflict of interest concerns and makes an advisor’s advice more trustworthy. All of the financial advisors on SmartAsset’s matching platform are registered fiduciaries. If your advisor is not a fiduciary and constantly pushes investment products on you, use this no-cost tool to find an advisor who has your best interest in mind. 2. Hiring the First Advisor You Meet While it’s tempting to hire the advisor closest to home or the first advisor in the yellow pages, this decision requires more time. Take the time to interview at least a few advisors before picking the best match for you. 3. Choosing an Advisor with the Wrong Specialty Some financial advisors specialize in retirement planning, while others are best for business owners or those with a high net worth. Some might be best for young professionals starting a family. Be sure to understand an advisor’s strengths and weaknesses - before signing the dotted line. 4. Picking an Advisor with an Incompatible Strategy Each advisor has a unique strategy. Some advisors may suggest aggressive investments, while others are more conservative. If you prefer to go all in on stocks, an advisor that prefers bonds and index funds is not a great match for your style. 5. Not Asking about Credentials To give investment advice, financial advisors are required to pass a test. Ask your advisor about their licenses, tests, and credentials. Financial advisors tests include the Series 7, and Series 66 or Series 65. Some advisors go a step further and become a Certified Financial Planner, or CFP. 6. Not Understanding How They are Paid Some advisors are "fee only" and charge you a flat rate no matter what. Others charge a percentage of your assets under management. Some advisors are paid commissions by mutual funds, a serious conflict of interest. If the advisor earns more by ignoring your best interests, do not hire them. 7. Trying to Hire an Advisor on Your Own Chances are, there are several highly qualified financial advisors in your town. However, it can seem daunting to choose one.
Christmas Gift Cards to think about buying through Amazon: what a perfect gift!
I may receive a commission as an Associate Affiliate of Amazon.
For the beer drinker in your family, he may enjoy this:
That's all for this blog. Please let me know what topics you're interested in and I will research them.