Important Meetings on Fridays

So, you were planning to have a relaxing Friday: to socialize with coworkers, have a nice lunch out with your work friends, and do just the right amount of work to take you into Friday night without feeling too taxed. And then they went and scheduled a full day of client meetings where not only will you have to pay attention all day, but you will be tasked with being polite, professional, and overly nice.

Think of it this way. You’ve never liked casual Friday. All of that picking out business-y tops to go with your “formal” jeans really stresses you out. And that nerdy button-down with dark denim trouser pants isn’t scoring you any points at happy hour. Now you’ll have an excuse to wear your best power dress. When you go out after work, looking fine, all of the  attention will be yours. What does all that mean?

Free drinks from all the hotties who will be talking to you. All that money saved?  It’s PRACTICALLY like they’re give you a raise.

Zoo Borns

So after that tagline, you have to check it out, right? Look at the animals you know you think are cute, and then spend hours paging through the archives of animals grouped together in alphabetical order. Just try not to say awww.

Healthy Samoa

It’s girl scout cookie time of year, and really, who can resist those little muchkins peddling reasonably priced bites of your childhood? This March’s issue of Self magazine published a recipe from chef Jennifer Iserloh that will help you resist the miniature do-gooders packing a few extra pounds onto your waistline.

Caramel Madness

  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut
  • 23 reduced-fat Nilla wafers
  • Parchment paper
  • 12 Chewy caramels
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 oz dark or semisweet chocolate chips (3tbsp)

Heat oven to 300. On a baking sheet, toast coconut, turning every 5 minutes, until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment; set wafers on top. In a bowl, microwave caramels and milk on high, stirring often, until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. With a spatula, fold coconut into caramel mixture. Spread 1 tbsp mixture onto each wafer. Let cookies cool 5 minutes. Microwave chocolate, stirring often, until melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer into a small resealable bag; snip off corner. Drizzle cookies with chocolate; let cool.

52 calories per cookie. Sure beats the 75 of girl scouts.

When you totally misunderstand what someone’s asking you

We’ve all been there. Someone asks you where you work. You answer by telling them the location of your office. This is typically followed by an awkward pause, a look best described as HUH?, and a follow up question: So, what company do you work for? Then the realization sinks in. That’s what they meant the first time…followed by blushing, stammering, and slight embarrassment.  Or it could be the time that your boss greets you on Monday morning (pre-coffee), by saying, “I’m not used to seeing you in pants.” Naturally she’s referring to your propensity to wear nylons and skirts, but all Monday morning brain can muster is a puzzled look and a chuckle. Misunderstandings like these can make you feel, well, a little less than genius.

My favorite technique to fix this situation is to change the subject casually to a topic on which you are very knowledgable that will allow you to prove that you didn’t  suffer minor brain damage over the weekend.

Say you’re a sports fan. A good follow-up to a weird moment is spontaneously asking about the most recent game, like it just popped into your head. Or if you went to the movies, you can ask them if they’ve seen it, and provide some witty commentary. The key is to distract, and showcase your intelligence.

Chances are, while they may have noticed your little response glitch that it didn’t register on the same scale of ULTIMATELY HUMILIATING that it seemed to you. To them, it was probably more of a HUH, THAT WAS ODD moment that they will easily forget when presented with a more interesting topic. And, if they were polite enough not to make fun of you on the spot about it, they probably have had it happen to them.

It’s like the technique used on toddlers. Get it immediately out of sight. Then, never mention it again, and it’s almost like it didn’t happen. Then file that question into the category of things you know how to respond appropriately to, from now on.

Genes Schmeans

Hey, remember how everyone is always telling you that you’re going to turn into your mother? Well, it’s true. You might as well just relax and let it happen. I know I’ve been one to complain that I always inherit the worst traits from my wonderful family members. Propensity to sunburn, and then turn instantly back to white? Thanks Mom! A bunion? Gee whiz Mema, just what I always wanted! Persistent heartburn, to make me feel like a middle aged man? Gramps and Dad taught me a glass full of dissolved baking soda will fix that. I can’t count the times my doctors have asked me to relay my family medical history. And if you tick off all the aunts and uncles in my large extended family who have something wrong with them, well, I’m pretty much doomed.

Until now. Recent studies have countered the impact of common genetic predispositions to actually impact your likelihood of coming down with a disease. New research has discovered the existence of a little thing called the epigenome. The March issue of Women’s Health magazine calls it a snug sweater that clings to your DNA, with the ability to switch certain genes on and off depending on, you guessed it, your lifestyle habits. So, while you may carry DNA to make you genetically predisposed to heart disease, depression, melanoma, or breast cancer (with the exception of the BRCA gene) the way you choose to live your life signals to your epigenome to keep cool and hug that DNA  switch closed, or get all hot an bothered and switch on the alert.

Here’s what you can do if certain diseases run in your family tree:

  • Depression:
    • Drink 2 or more cups of coffee a day
    • Eat a mediterranean diet high in omega 3’s
    • Exercise for 30 minutes five times a week
  • Heart Disease
    • Leave work on time to reduce your stress and leave time to work out
    • Listen to music for 30 minutes uninterrupted a day
    • Smile and laugh, optimism lowers risk for heart disease
  • Melanoma
    • Eat dessert
    • Wear broad spectrum sunscreen
    • Remember, car windows don’t block UVA rays
  • Breast Cancer
    • Drink 3 or less alcoholic beverages a week
    • Eat 2 oz of walnuts a day
    • Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D

While you still may pick up your mother’s habits of interrupting, cleaning obsessively before company arrives, and talking a little too loud, you don’t have to inherit her health outcomes.