Wonderful Wearables in Boomer Life Today

Withings Activite watch

Withings Activite watch

 

Are you considering buying a new watch?  I’d wait a few months if I were you because there will be some really exciting new wearables, which will do much more than just tell the time. Watchmaker Fossil is collaborating with Google, Withings has a fashionable analog looking Activite model (above), which according to the Swiss based manufacturer “tracks swimming, steps taken, and sleep”. The watch also can detect which of those activities the user is partaking in. For the fitness-related activities, Activite also comes with a plastic strap. The glass on the watch reacts to tapping — users can tap on its face twice to see what time their alarm is set for. In the morning, the watch will vibrate to wake the user. The watch also vibrates upon completion of an objective.

And your wrist isn’t the only place you’ll be doning wearables !  Canadian company Carre Technologies sell Hexoskin shirts and have just tested the newer Astroskin, which “measure heart rate, heart rate variability, breathing rate, respiration volume, calories burned, and steps taken per minute, skin temperature,and it has a sophisticated EKG sensor and optical sensor that tracks blood oxygenation and blood pressure. If the user wears the shirt while they sleep, they are given a “sleep-efficiency score” based on movement, heart rate, and respiration. The shirts have a pocket in which users put a small wireless-enabled device that collects this information and sends it on to a smartphone”.

Lumafit is another wearable device, which acts as personal coach, exercise tracker and meditation trainer in one convenient earpiece. Upright offers a “posture correcting device, which promises to train users to stand straighter in just a few weeks. The small device attaches to the user’s lower back and gently vibrates when the user slouches. UpRight also has an embedded accelerometer that takes note of the user’s position and can determine whether the user is standing, sitting, walking, or running. Data is sent to a connected app via Bluetooth, which offers users a training program based on their height, age, and other factors. The app helps users set goals, review analytics about their posture, and connect with other UpRight users.”

It sounds like science fiction, but in fact all these devices are/will be at a store near you.  I’m watching the posture correcting market because I need help in that area.  I also like the sounds of the Lumafit, which takes you through 10-minute mindful breathing sessions through out your day.

If you’d like to keep abreast of the latest wearables, subscribe to MobileHealthNews.

Until next time,

Your Boomer Life Partners

Disclosure: Mention of these products in this Boomer Life Today blog post were not solicited or paid for by companies in New Zealand or abroad.

 

Happy Canada Day in Boomer Life Today!

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July 1st is Canada Day, the date which commemorates my home country’s confederation in 1867. The other day I was reading the latest Canadian Living magazine, which I subscribe to on Zinio (an online magazine platform developed by, you guessed it, a Canadian) and the editors had asked readers what made them feel proud about being from the Great White North.  One person wrote that they were proud of the fact that Canada refused to join the US and the UK campaign in Iraq.  Others mentioned Canada’s sporting achievements in global events, like the Winter Olympics and our scientific successes, such as Canadarm.  It got me thinking about what makes me proud to be Canadian.  While I’m happy that Canada did not send troops to Iraq and applaud our athletic and technological prowess, what really impresses me is the great reputation ordinary Canadians have fostered with people the world over. Canadian tourists are welcomed everywhere, to the extent that some non-Canadians have been known to sport the Canadian flag on their luggage/knapsacks or wear a “Canada, eh!” hat/pin in order to ease their passage, while overseas. Countries looking for English language teachers love Canadians because we enunciate our words clearly, speak more slowly and come with good qualifications. I was educated in Canada from kindergarten through graduate school and feel that I received a very good education, which prepared me well for my profession. Any healthcare I received while living in Canada was provided by very knowledgeable, caring and highly professional practitioners. I’m also proud that Canada has opened its doors to so many refugees  and immigrants, accepted them and provided them with opportunities to realize the Canadian dream – to live in, as our national anthem says, the “True North strong and free.” So this July 1st, we wish all Canadians living at home or abroad a very Happy Canada Day!!!

Until next time,

Your Boomer Life Partners

Disclosure:  No mention of products in this Boomer Life Today blog post were solicited or paid for by companies in New Zealand or abroad.

Destination : disaster zone in Boomerlifetoday

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Heritage Hotel - Christchurch

Heritage Hotel – Christchurch

Recently, Mr. Boomerlifetoday and I travelled to Christchurch, New Zealand for a weekend away.  You may think it odd to visit an earthquake-ravaged city for a get-a-way, but we lived there in the late 80s and wanted to see what it looked like post-quake, before the re-building begins. Three years ago, we had watched the news reports showing the destruction, but nothing prepared us for what we saw recently.  The CBD is now populated by one vacant, weedy lot after another where hotels, shops, restaurants and homes once flourished.  Desolate and largely deserted it’s hard to imagine it ever recovering to its former glory. Gone are the 60,000 office workers, tourists and residents, who made this such a vibrant downtown core.

We stayed right on Cathedral Square in the only remaining intact heritage building there (its owners spent millions reinforcing it pre-quake, so it survived), aptly named the Heritage Hotel.  We chose it deliberately because we wanted to support businesses, which remained in the CBD. It’s a beautiful old building and our 2 storey room was spacious, bright and very comfortable. We shopped at the iconic Ballantynes department store because they too, opted to stay. We visited the innovative Re:START Mall of shops, cafes, banks and a post office made from shipping containers. We ate at Fiddlesticks just a few blocks away because they moved to a central city location after the quake and the food is fantastic!  Our table next to the fireplace was particularly cosy on the damp and cool night we were there.

There is still lots to do in the city – we took the 90 minute Re-build Tour, which was very interesting!  There is also a 3 hour Red Zone Tour and a one hour interactive program, Quake City, where you can re-build Christchurch using Lego, experience what an earthquake feels like, etc. We made extensive use of the bus system to cover much of Christchurch so we could see firsthand some of the more badly affected residential neighbourhoods like Sumner.  While the red-zoned houses (those deemed uninhabitable) have been largely removed, there are still spots where containers are stacked up along the roadside to prevent any earth, rock or God forbid! houses from falling on to the road.

Talking to locals we realized how battle-weary and frustrated many of them are after 3 years of wrangling with property assessors, insurance companies and the local, regional and federal governments. Everyone was just so completely unprepared for a disaster of this magnitude because apparently no one knew that Christchurch was on a fault line!

There is not a lot many of us can do to help Christchurch, except to visit and spend tourist dollars and we urge you to do just that.  Cantabrians need you to bring their much loved city back to life – it isn’t fixed!  We’d highly recommend a visit – eat, drink, shop and enjoy this, the second largest city in New Zealand.

Until next time,

Your Boomer Life Partners

Disclosure: Mention of accommodation, restaurants and shops in this Boomer Life Today blog post were not solicited or paid for by companies in New Zealand or abroad.

Multicultural Auckland in Boomer Life Today

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zap4

According to the latest census, Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city is home to over 50 nationalities and I for one am glad.  I’ve met so many interesting people from all over the world – South Africa, India, Fiji, France, Australia, Italy, Holland, Malaysia, Indonesia, England, Iraq, Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and the list goes on.  Immigrants bring a wealth of talent, skills, stories, hopes and of dreams with them. It is this diversity, which has made Auckland what it is today – a cosmopolitan, international destination.

Those not new to this blog will know how much of a foodie I am so this week, I thought it fitting to provide a list of our favourite ethnic restaurants in Auckland.

Arabic 

Shefco 46 Stoddart Rd Mt Roskill

It’s hard to find good authentic Arabic food in Auckland, but the baklava from Shefco in Mt Roskill is fantastic! I haven’t tried anything else from there yet, but am encouraged to try more.

Casablanca  Sylvia Park Mall, Mt Wellington

I’ve only tried the Anatolian Bride’s soup here and it was delicious. Not strictly speaking Arabic because there are lots of Turkish dishes too, but I’d go back to try some other selections.

Chinese

Star Seafood Restaurant  345 Chapel Rd Dannemora

Chinese dishes with lots of fantastic vegetables, meat and seafood.  Large and busy dine-in area or takeaway.  Very popular with Asian locals, so come early. Good value – delicious food!

Grand Park Restaurant  Gate B, Alexander Park Raceway, Epsom

Friends of ours love this restaurant for Dim Sum/Yum Char.  We’ve yet to try it, but trust their recommendation. Very busy dining experience, but worth the wait apparently.

Indian 

Masala  Bucklands Beach

Mr. Boomerlifetoday loves this restaurant – great value, especially their lunch specials.  Can’t beat the location, right on the waterfront!  I haven’t been yet, but trust Mr. Boomerlifetoday’s review.

Dum Mast   44 Fortunes Rd Pakuranga

Dum Mast prides themselves on providing low-fat Indian fare without sacrificing taste and they succeed!  They are located in a strip mall, but don’t let that put you off.  Service is fast and friendly and they have weekly specials M-W $10 mains (excl seafood).

Japanese

Sushi Sora North Park

I am just beginning to explore Japanese cuisine, but in my limited experience Sushi Sora has an interesting selection – quite different from the choices available at the sushi franchises. Staff are very pleasant. Priced higher than the chains, it’s definitely worth paying a little extra.

Umi Sushi and Umiya Japanese Cuisine  Atrium on Elliot Foodcourt, CBD

Another great find, with a vast array of choices.  Offers sushi and other Japanese delicacies – never fails to satisfy!

Thai

Zap 4   Commerce St, CBD (pictured above)

Fantastic Thai food at great prices – most mains $12-15.00 – serving size is generous.  Table service is fast.  We were there last week before going to a doco at the International Documentary Film Festival and it was busy with a steady stream of takeout and dine-in orders.  I had the Prawn Tom Yum Soup – yummie! Can do most dishes for vegetarians.

Turkish    Park Rd Grafton

Cafe Karadeniz

Very authentic – looks just like a place you’d find in Istanbul.  There are lots of Turkish kebab outlets in the city, but this is worth going a bit further afield for.  If you are visting someone in Auckland Hospital, this cafe is within walking distance and a nice change from the offerings in the hospital’s cafes. Has outdoor seating too so is dog-friendly.

Vietnamese

Hansan   Mt Wellington

We’ve only been to the one in Mt Wellington in the east of the city and it was really good.  It has moved recently because of road/train station construction and its new digs are very nice.  We tried the Steamboat – really nice. Very busy with fast service. Prices good too!

Until next time,

Your Boomer Life Partners

 Disclosure: Mention of businesses in this Boomer Life Today blog post were not solicited or paid for by persons or companies in New Zealand or abroad.

 

 

 

 

 

Give Mom the gift of style in Boomer Life Today

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Recently I watched the British television program 10 years younger.  It selects people in need of an update and through surgery, facial treatments, dental work, hairstyle makeovers, wardrobe updates and makeup changes, each person is transformed – much like the US show Extreme Makeover, except not so extreme.  Over the years, I’ve read books and magazines on the subject, attended a style workshop (and blogged about it!) and have made subtle changes as a result.  But none of these resources have suggested who in the marketplace sells stylish and fashionable age-appropriate clothing and shoes; where to find flattering hair styles, great hair products & competent stylists to accommodate the changes you’re noticing in your hair; which companies produce the BEST skin care products/treatments for your skin; what fitness centres/regimes offer exercise with the most gain without pain, damage or strain to joints and muscles.  I suppose the reason has been because television programs, books and magazines are trying to appeal to a worldwide audience and figure that there isn’t much point in promoting their country’s companies to a global audience.  Or is it that there are few manufacturers who really consider the boomer population when developing styles for the fashion, hair, skin/hair care and makeup industries?  From the research I’ve done – I believe that it is largely the latter, but it is changing. 

Mary Portas is a UK designer who has taken the bold step to target boomer age women with her line.  Touch or click here to view her line available at House of Fraser (ships internationally). Elegance is an European label, which I know and like. They have a presence in the UK, Europe and Asia, but sadly international shipping is not available unless you have a forwarding service.  But the next time you travel, I’d recommend checking them out.

And, you’ve no doubt read in our blog how much I like Chico’s, Kasper and Talbots in the US! I also like Jones New York and for casual wear, L. L. Bean , Land’s End  and NYDJ (Not your daughter’s jeans and not just jeans either). A quick search of the web suggests JJill , Ann Taylor, Dana Buchanen (at Kohl’s) and Liz Claiborne (at JC Penney) and especially for those with curves, Lane Bryant. Most of these retailers offer plus sizes and ship internationally. I’ve had personal experience with all retailers except JJillLane Bryant, Ann Taylor and Dana Buchanen and really like their products, customer service and return policies.

On my last trip to Canada, I purchased Second Yoga Jeans made in Quebec.  They are sooooo comfortable and stylish!  Another company, Alison Sheri who advertises in Good Times magazine look to have nice clothes, but I have no personal experience with them. Neither companies ship internationally yet.  Other less expensive lines include TanJay and Jessica available through Sears Canada.

Downunder, Blue Illusion is my pick – they’re even featuring a 60+ model in some of their campaigns. They also sell many accessories with a decidedly French influence, which I also love. In New Zealand, Verge is a homegrown favourite – I especially like their factory sales!

I’m encouraged by the fact that there are increasingly more companies with styles that suit women over 50.  If you know of other companies out there, please let us know…..

Until next time,

Your Boomer Life Partners

Disclosure:  Companies and television programming mentioned in this Boomer Life Today blog post did not solicit or pay for inclusion.

Nothing left over in Boomer Life Today

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Chocolate courgette cake

Those who have read our blog before know how committed we are to reducing waste.  That’s why I decided that this month, I’d start using things up – that includes food in our fridge, pantry and freezer, fabric, yarn – whatever!  To help me with this plan, I’m also going to shop as much as possible at a grocery discounter – a business model which makes a lot of sense.  Why Not sells food and other items, which are about to or have just recently reached their “best before” date.  There is frozen meat and fish, yogurt, cheese, biscuits, snack food, etc available at heavily discounted prices.  The inventory constantly changes so you never know what you’ll find, which is part of the appeal.   I’m purchasing items, which help me use up what we already have.

So far this week, I’ve used up frozen grated zucchini by making a delicious moist chocolate cake and almost finished two jars of relish, which complemented our ham steaks the other night.

I’ve accumulated some hemp cord and decided to use it to knit a dishcloth and will attempt some other projects from the books I’ve requested from the library.  Finally, I’ve started a crib quilt with squares I’ve been carrying around since 1998! It feels so good to be using up things, clearing pantries and closets and saving money at the same time!

Touch or click here for a link to the recipe for the chocolate cake – enjoy!

Until next time,

Your Boomer Life Partners

 Disclosure: Why Not did not solicit or pay for mention in this Boomer Life Today blog post.

 

 

One wedding and a funeral in Boomer Life Today

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This past week, we celebrated the life of my 92-year old father-in-law, who died 30 Mar and the marriage of our niece, who wed on Apr 5.  Those who have followed our blog will remember reading the tribute to my father-in-law on Father’s Day. He lived independently until a few months ago, when a number of chronic conditions necessitated a move to a residential care home. Unlike some who enter care homes, his health deteriorated quite dramatically (not due to the care he received). He had suffered several heart attacks, was battling ongoing infections and also struggled with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). He passed away peacefully surrounded by his family.  His funeral drew friends and family from far and wide – more than 200 in total.  The end of one life ……

…. and the beginning of another, for our niece and her husband.  Ninety guests attended the black and white-themed outdoor wedding and afterwards everyone enjoyed a sit down dinner and evening of toasts, stories and dancing.  A fitting start for what we hope will be a long and happy life for them!

Until next time,

Your Boomer Life Partners

 

Quilting retreat in Boomer Life Today

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A few weekends ago, I packed up paintbrushes, rotary cutter, ruler, fabric, sponges, sewing machine, scissors and lots of home baking and headed into the countryside west of Auckland to Bella Rakha Retreat Centre for 2 days of quilting, socializing and fun. I have never done anything like this before and it was good to leave the city behind.  Friday, everyone arrived at different times so it was wine and BYOdinners from about 4:00 pm onwards.  Early to bed, each in our own room, we fell asleep to the sound of rain hitting the window panes as the tail of a cyclone passed through Auckland.

Next morning we were up early and enjoyed a communal breakfast in the dining area. By 9:00 a.m., we were ready to participate in the first of two workshops on thread painting.  To begin, we traced a picture of a gerbera on white calico. Next we painted our tracings and while they dried, we had a delicious morning tea of sweet and savoury baked goods, fruits and cheese. Back in the work room, it was time to set up our sewing machines and enhance our “paintings” with free motion machine embroidery.  I couldn’t get my sewing machine’s tension sorted out, so wasn’t able to complete my project, but others who had newer machines stitched masterpieces.  Lunch, afternoon tea and a lovely catered dinner later, we played “truth or lie”, laughed and chatted ’til late.

Sunday, most were up early for the second workshop, but I slept in. Fortunately, I did manage to catch up with the next activity, which was painting calico with sponges.  The result? A very convincing looking sky, which could be used as the background for a quilted landscape of your choice.  Since I hope, at some point to try to do an appliqued street scene,  learning how to create skies was of particular interest to me.

The whole weekend a bargain at $125!

Until next time,

Your Boomer Life Partners

Disclosure:  Bella Rakha Retreat Centre did not solicit or pay for mention in this Boomer Life Today blog post.

“If you knew then what you know now” in Boomer Life Today

If you knew then what you know now……what would you have changed in your life?  It’s a fascinating question don’t you think?  I was thinking of this the other day after hearing a colleague say recently that he would never advise his children to follow in his career footsteps.  I couldn’t help agreeing with him – not that I have any children, but I wouldn’t follow the same career path if I had it to do over again.

In the beginning it seemed like a good choice and while it has “put food on the table” for over 30 years now, it hasn’t been easy.  I was one of the lucky ones out of graduate school to land a job – 75 students graduated and only 3 of us had positions to go to.  Mine was due in large part to the fact that I was willing to live in a city in northern Ontario, where to get most places you had to fly.

Since then I’ve made the most of my profession –  it’s taken me around the world, but it has also involved a lot of sacrifice, hard work, risk-taking and perseverance. Although it requires a Masters degree to practice in North America, in other parts of the English-speaking world, including New Zealand, you can practice without any degree.  Salaries, even in Canada and the US do not reflect the education required to become qualified. It is a very under-appreciated, misunderstood profession and many are losing their jobs as organizations trim costs and streamline processes.

If I was to advise anyone choosing a career, I’d say to do something that interests you. Avoid careers where you have to continually justify your existence within organizations. Although money isn’t everything, ensure that your salary reflects the training required and that the qualifications are consistent worldwide.

What would you change if you knew then what you know now?

Until next time,

Your Boomer Life Partners

Bathroom renos in Boomer Life Today

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New main bathroom

New main bathroom

We have been having our bathrooms remodeled and are finally coming to the end of what has been a stressful half year.  We had heard others speak of the horrors of having their bathrooms renovated and thought we’d avoid problems by hiring a designer/project manager whose work we had admired.  However, we were not prepared for what would happen or how long it would take!

Our project manager assured us she had a team of very competent tradespeople with whom she had worked for years.  But, there was just one thing after another that went wrong from leaking pipes to cut wires in the under floor heating circuit!  The latter was the final straw because those at fault didn’t want to own their mistakes.  Work was delayed while we consulted lawyers and trades and building associations to determine a course of action.  Finally after heated arguments and a lot of stress, the problems have been resolved.   It has taken a long time and a lot of money, but the results really have been worth it.

We opted to incorporate universal design into our new bathrooms – things like slip resistant floor tiles, comfort height toilets, a walk-in, barrier-free shower, vanities hung at a height of 36″ (around a metre) from the floor with drawers instead of cupboards for easy access,  improved lighting and magnifying mirrors.  They are features that make it easier for anyone to enjoy the bathrooms, but are especially good as we age.  The beauty of the design is that they don’t look like bathrooms for “older people” – they are modern and stylish.

If you are thinking of remodeling, do a little research and find out how you can improve the functionality of your rooms without sacrificing style – you’ll be glad you did!  In New Zealand, it might even qualify your home for Lifemark accreditation.  To find out more about this program, click or touch here.

Until next time,

Your Boomer Life Partners

Disclosure: Mention of Lifemark in this Boomer Life Today blog post was not solicited or paid for.

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