Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Girl Scout Cookie Sales Alternatives For The Ungirdled Nation

It’s that time of year again. Just when we realize our new year’s resolutions to lose weight aren’t going to pan out, cherub-faced do-gooders known as Girl Scouts begin ringing our door bells to hawk their irresistible cookies. Just what my fudge-filled thighs need, a coating of Thin Mints. (The name is even enticing – THIN mint, when it’s anything but.) Who can resist them or the delectable Dos-si-dos and Tagalongs? The answer is no one. That is why, since this highly-anticipated annual event began in 1917, the obesity rate has risen like 713% (give or take a few hundred percent). The number one seller, the Thin Mint, has 160 calories per serving of four cookies. Who can and does eat just four at a time?! With over 200 million boxes of Girl Scout cookies sold each year, and 25% of them being thin mints, and a pound of fat equating 3,500 calories, basic math tells us that thin mints alone are responsible for over 17 bazillion pounds gained by Americans each year.

Girl Scouts are in no way to blame for the obesity epidemic. I sold Girl Scout cookies as a girl, and my mother even served as Girl Scout district distribution manager one year. We had cases and cases all over our home and garage. I am a big (thanks to the cookies, make that HUGE) fan of scouting. While they are not the problem, I do look to Girl Scouts, as among the brightest and best our country, to be leaders in the solution.

Scouting is an incredibly valuable program that needs and merits our support. Did you know that in 2005, 71.5 percent of women in the U.S. Senate and 67.1 percent of the women in the House of Representatives were former Girl Scouts? In 1942, when there were sugar, flour and butter shortages during World War II, Girl Scouts took to selling calendars in lieu of cookies. In that spirit, I have come up with a suggested list of things Girl Scouts can sell instead of cookies that today’s consumer (and Ungirdled Woman) could really use and appreciate:

• Spanx

• Estrogen patches

• Designer shoes

• Thigh masters

• Botox injections

• Liquor

Here’s what I think is the best idea of all: get the Slim Fast people to come up with a new, thin mint flavor exclusively for Girl Scouts. A S’mores flavor wouldn’t be bad either. I think they would be huge sellers - almost as big as my thighs.

If, like me, you know you’re going to succumb to the sweet-faced pushers of thin mint ecstasy, you can visit the official Girl Scout Cookie website here to review all the varieties and acquaint yourself with the latest additions. I know I’ll be getting to know them all too well. One thing I especially like about Girl Scout cookie sales is, once you’ve been approached by the 27th neighbor girl selling them, the option to have some of the cookies you purchase go to military troops serving overseas. There’s a cookie purchase good for your heart and waistline!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Winter Blahs? Try These Mood Boosters

If you’re like me, you may have noticed a lot of people in a bit of a funk and may have even found yourself feeling a little funky. Whether it’s the economy or just a case of winter blahs, many of us could use a way to lift our spirits. I recently saw a spot on TV highlighting ways to boost your mood based on a New York magazine feature titled "50 Steps To Simple Happiness." These were things touted as simple, affordable ways to make for a happier, healthier you. I'm listing a few I thought made sense, some things I would personally like to try (but will probably never happen), as well as a few mood-boosters that have never let me down.

Ways To Lift Mood From New York Magazine *

Make Your Bed. The theory here is if you have your environment controlled, you’ll feel more at peace. If you do this first thing, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment from the get-go. I do think there's a little something to this.

Paint your walls yellow. The idea being that yellow is the color of sunlight and sunlight is a natural mood booster. I personally do not like yellow anything (except for beer and cheese which which are wonderful mood lifters) but I do have a number of walls painted yellow green or orange throughout my house and they make me very happy. I’ve had people actually say the rooms with those colors make them happy.

Use green apple or cucumber scented products. The article recommends looking for candles, lotions or shampoos that have these scents, as they’ve been proven to lift mood. I think you could even actually eat the real thing and probably get the same effect!

Eat an ounce of dark chocolate. The magazine says dark chocolate will boost your mood and give you much-needed antioxidants that are good for your health. I say more is more, so have more than an ounce and get really happy!

Things I Would Like To Try To Boost My Mood But Will Probably NEVER Happen

Controlling the remote when my husband and I are watching television.

Owning my own taser – the REAL kind like the police have. I promise not to use it more than once...OK three... times a week!

Having the people in my house aim.

Having the people in my house who don’t aim, clean up after they don’t aim. (a girl can dream!)

Saying to a salesgirl while in the fitting room, “Could you please fetch me these jeans in a size six or even a four? This pair of eights is just falling off of me!”

Guaranteed Mood Boosters (for me, anyway!)

Spend time with your dog. Whether it’s two minutes scratching his belly or a quick game of dodging and running around the yard, I’ll bet he'll provide you with lots of unconditional love and smiles.

Our family mood lifter, Bogie

Put your favorite music on when no one else is home (LOUD) and turn that mother out as you shake your money maker all over the dance flo'.

Take a leisurely stroll through the green house of a nearby nursery with classical music or smooth jazz playing on your iPod. The sights, smells and sounds will restore you.

Play a game with family and friends. We like Apples-to-Apples, Catch Phrase and have just discovered a new one called “What’s Yours Like?” Seems I nearly loose bladder control whenever we play one of these (or I sneeze).

Get together with favorite girlfriends and laugh. One of my favorite things to do with a group of favorite girls is paint, craft or knit as we sip adult beverages and nibble treats. If you laugh enough, you'll feel much better. If you drink enough, you will turn out some masterpieces! (At least you'll think so at the time!)

Watch videos of babies laughing on YouTube. Here are two good ones to get you started:

I hope these tips will help lift your mood the next time you feel a little funky. I'd love to hear your tips! Feel free to add your own special ways of boosting your spirits by hitting "comments" below.

* Many of the tips in the New York Magazine article involved going to specific places in New York. You can find the entire article here.