An August Reset

Dusk in Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris.

August Is A Quiet Month…

I don’t know if it’s actually been a busier year than most, but it sure feels that way. And this autumn is shaping up to be a busy season too. Perhaps it goes back to the rhythm of a school year, but August has always been the month that I’m most inclined to pull back, marshal my resources, and tackle projects that have been on the back-burner for too long. September always feels like a fresh start to me, and I like to head into autumn with a clean slate.

And as so many people seem to be on vacation or just enjoying time outdoors, it’s a slower time for the blog as well. I’ll be a bit more focused this month on some “behind-the-scenes” blog projects, so posting may be a little bit lighter, and I may encore some of your favorite posts from the last year. I’m also hopeful that giving myself some breathing room will allow me to get further ahead on my posting and refresh my creative processes.

Personal To-Do List

In addition to the work on the blog, I’m intending to get a handle on some personal projects too. I’ve signed up for private Pilates sessions to jump-start my fitness routine. I not only need the more focused instruction, but the additional commitment and accountability that private training provides. I had my first session on Tuesday, and there’s some work ahead! I’d taken a few group Pilates classes last year, but this is a much more concentrated workout. My body needs it!

I kind of fizzled out on the Faster Way To Fat Loss program. After 4 weeks I hadn’t lost any pounds OR inches, and the program was just too regimented for me. I tend to get up before 6am, so fasting until noon was difficult on many days, and I often found myself light-headed by 10am. So I’m back to doing my own thing which is mainly avoiding processed foods and leaning more low-carb. And trying not to snack. I do like the My Fitness Pal app though, and will continue to use that.

I’m kicking off a months-long process of replacing my dead front tooth with an implant. The bad tooth gets pulled tomorrow, and I’ll have to wait a few days for the gum to heal before the temporary can be placed. 😬 If everything goes well, I should have the permanent implant by next Spring.

And I really need to really finish my closet clear out and reorganization. I’ve been doing it in dribs and drabs, but my progress seems to have stalled for the last few weeks.

This coming school year will be Jeune Homme’s last in the wonderful school that’s been so good for him the past 6 years. I need to start researching adult day programs and get him on some waiting lists.

Whew, that feels like a lot. It should be manageable though with a list and lots of coffee.

There are still a few days left to shop the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. If you’ve had your eye on anything, or have waiting for something to become available again, it’s a good time to check back. You can see all of my picks HERE.

Do you have anything planned for August, vacation or otherwise?

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  1. Pilates will help your flexibility and core strength, but it will not increase your cardio-vascular fitness, nor assist in weight loss ( if that is your aim). I try and walk most places, instead of driving my car and have found that I can eat a fairly normal, albeit sensible diet, yet still indulge in the occasional treat. Good luck with your new fitness regimen.

    1. Improving flexibility, core strength and balance is my primary aim with Pilates. I don’t want to start losing any (more) of those as I age.

      1. I started Pilates in my early forties and loved it. But I quit after a couple of years, due to the expense and the difficulty of scheduling, with a busy job and two small kids. About 5 years ago, I was diagnosed with a funky neck (bulging disks, bone spurs, arthritis) and went back to my twice weekly private sessions. My trainers are very experienced and well trained in the methods, so I was confident they would help and not hurt me! I’m now 61 and have better core strength than in my forties, plus my neck problems are now pretty nonexistent. I spend a goodly amount on it, but can justify the expense since it’s such an obvious health benefit! You might appreciate the story my trainer told me: he had a new client, a woman in her late seventies. He asked her what she hoped to get out of her Pilates sessions, and she replied that she wanted to be strong and mobile enough to wheel her own suitcase through the Rome airport on her 80th birthday! (and she was)

        1. What a great goal, I would love to be able to do the same. As I understand it there are 2 kinds of pilates? one on a mat and one on a machine? I am also interested in strengthening my core…def. clumsy and as I age, need to reduce my tripping, etc, ha. Tell me how pilates differs from yoga…I think you hold poses longer?

      2. I also need to improve balance as well as strengthen my core. I am at a good weight (better than in years) due to pre-dawn morning walks of 2 hours and portion control at meals. But I also need to strengthen my thigh muscles to give better support to some knee issues. I am going to try Barre classes this month as a few friends swear by it. Years ago I did mat Pilates and loved it. Fabulous instructor. Every time we move I try out a class and am disappointed. If Barre doesn’t suit me I may try Pilates one more time.

  2. Cleaning out your closet sounds like a good idea for the pre-temporary period. There isn’t an any getting around a missing tooth particularly front one. It sounds like a good time for intensive homebound projects to me. Hopefully you have a lot of photos of yourself that you bankrolled and can highlight some of those things during this transition time.

  3. I believe your down time will absolutely be “on purpose” for your creativity. Pilates is excellent for bone health and at a certain age has more health benefits than cardio. I hope you have a wonderful restorative period ahead of you.

  4. I’ve been dealing with a broken down closet system in my master closet since I bought my house in 2016 and after seeing Janet at The Gardner’s Cottage have her closet transformed a few months ago, it’s been on my to do list. Closet World is coming TODAY to install my new system! I’m so excited, and it’s inspired a hard core purge that is in progress. Two weeks ago I joined a new gym that is in a more convenient location but I’ve yet to go because the heat has exhausted me this year. At the end of the month – 8 days on Kauai! Good luck with the tooth, I’d love to hear your account of the process!

  5. We leave Houston for the month of August because it’s too darn hot. I’m going to use the time here for a re-set of my own. I read an essay on The Simple Life and it has provided the inspiration. My husband and I took a Pilates class this morning and we plan to do some hiking. Eat healthy, enjoy the culture and people of Santa Fe. Plus reading and journaling (morning pages). Best to you with all you are doing.

  6. Susan, I tried Faster Way to Fat Loss and had the same lack of weight loss and found it too regimented. Also love My Fitness Pal – forces me to be accountable.

  7. adult day? Do you have a special needs son? I knew I liked you for more than just fashion. I am remarried, and have a severely special needs step-son who will be 21 in March. We too are on the search for adult days. Being a caregiver advocate is a job unto itself! Also I can relate to the weight issue. Have had chronic knee problems for about 3 years now, and peri-menopause has set in. My exercise is limited at best. I do deep water aerobics. Pilates might be do-able though! Keep us posted!

    1. Hi Jane, yes our son has special needs. Mild cerebral palsy, severe developmental/cognitive disabilities, and seizure disorder. He’s a sweetie though, and functions about at 3-4 year old level. Yes, the advocating is an ongoing task.

      What I like about reformer Pilates is that it doesn’t seem to put a lot of pressure on joints. And according to my teacher, most exercises can be modified for problem areas. Just be sure to find someone who’s well-trained. I’ll update in a few weeks.

      1. Susan, thanks for sharing. Wow, our paths are similar. My step-son is 20 y/o, CP, autism, sz d/o, also about 3 year old level (6ft & ambulatory with AFOs, which is an adventure with the mix of his large size with the very low functioning cognitive level… no sense of safety, no sense of personal space….yikes!), nonverbal. Signs very few signs. Also a sweetie. Loves to hug and laugh. I’m sure we could share some stories.

  8. So wish I’d takenup yoga 20 years ago when I had the opportunity. Are there any online recommendations for seniors yoga for beginners?

    1. I started Yoga with Adriene a couple of months ago and love the results. She is on Youtube and has numerous videos including 3 sets of 30 day classes. I now have the confidence to join public classes. I also added planks for core and arm strength to my daily routine – start slow and build up time.

  9. Hi Susan, I discovered your blog about 6 months ago and it’s my favorite of the fashion/lifestyle blogs I read perhaps because my aspirational style is yours. In addition, I’m 5’1″ so when you show how things look on you I can relate. I hope that you find the perfect place for your son as you search for what’s next for him. On a fashion note, I’m wondering if you have found a fall jacket/short coat that works for you yet. I’m in NYC so our weather is colder than yours. I’d love to find an style upgrade from my quilted Barbour which is a workhorse in my wardrobe but might be on the frumpy side these days. Thanks for the work you put into your blog – seeing how your fashion choices look on you is a real help!!

  10. That is indeed quite a list. On fitness I am behind on my usual schedule due to the Knee. Will be doing extra leg muscle exercises daily now (sometimes I forget .. bad bad girl).
    Cleaning wardrobe/closet. Oh dear. I just cannot say goodbye to a lot of things. Might have to be a bit more rigid in this matter as I need the space.
    Size and weight: I found the switch in my head and lost 3 kilos (7 lb?). Decided to continue to lose a few more. I call it my “water and lettuce” diet. Which is of course totally untrue. Low calerories, no snacks, not too heavy lunches or dinners and I drop weight. And 2 liter water every day.

  11. Susan your teeth look beautiful so the dead tooth surprises me. Frankly your smile is so perfect I thought you probably had veneers. So many people do these days. It is of interest since I too have a dead tooth. It is one of the two front ones and not so noticeable to anyone but me. But it has kept me from whitening my teeth and it is always at the back of my mind. I see my smile in photos and it’s so beige and not white. I had a root canal but the root was calcified so capping it was not an option. The implant is a daunting proposition. How did you come to the decision? Sorry to be so personal!

  12. I know what you mean about August. It was last August I made a decision to turn my life around. I was very unfit and overweight last year. I joined Slimming World and have now lost a total of 63lbs. I found this programme of eating plans worked and is still working very well for me. I hadn’t done any Pilates for years and took it up again in January and after few months decided to do it twice a week which has been very beneficial. My cardio comes from swimming and aquafit classes. By default of losing weight my wardrobe was culled. I have lost 5 dress sizes so I am only buying what is necessary for my lifestyle. I like your blog as you have such good suggestions. Sorry to hear about your tooth. Don’t try to do too much whilst you are going through that.

  13. Have you seen the WW zero points list? It is a great jumping off point for dieting. I found it easy to make better choices, such as chicken instead of beef, popcorn instead of chips. Most of the items I like to snack on are on the WW zero list. Take a look!

    Sorry about the dead tooth. I know this is a fashion/travel blog, but dental issues as we age is a topic I would like to read more about. My hubby does not enjoy great dental health, regardless of time and money spent. It seems some people just have weak teeth, and medical treatments like chemo can make poor situations a disaster.

    1. Popcorn is a no-no for soft teeth! But there are many snacks and crackers that are better alternatives to crisps.

      Chemo, and also Parkinson’s medication, both of these from people I know. I was allergic to cow’s milk as a baby and child, and there weren’t the alternatives there are now.

      In many European countries, there is not the obsession with white teeth that there is in some parts of North America. There is very good dental care, but it is more functional than cosmetic. Though of course this includes implants, which are simply far more functional than dentures or individual false teeth.

      Isn’t Pilates so expensive because it is patented? Does anyone know of cheaper alternatives that might be found at community centres?

      Pearl, if you can afford beef, you can buy organic chicken, which is tastier and better in many ways. And obviously, most of us should be eating more vegetables and smaller portions of animal protein (though I do feel I need some).

  14. If you’d like look into Haylie Pomroy’s books. They help with plateaus, and I felt like a million dollars when I was on it! Note to self: I need to do it again!

  15. You have quite the focused August! I tuned in to my weight loss need about 2 weeks ago after procrastinating for too long. I am using the Carb Manager app and love it. I am not going crazy…just low carb but not so low that I feel lousy. Whole Foods only. No sugar. No breads. Limited fruits including tomatoes which I dearly love but which pack lots of carbs. Once I am back down to fighting size, I can reintroduce any reasonable items I want such as breads. This is retraining me to eat smaller portions, watch calories, keep moving and weight training and other than an awful summer cold, I feel great. I don’t weigh or measure…I go by my clothes and I am definitely down in size and can feel I’m down in weight. Good luck!

  16. Hi Susan. Just curious…will you be showing us your beautifully updated kitchen at some point? One more thing to add to the list perhaps

  17. From 1999 through 2005 I did twice a week one-on-one Pilates with a trainer who became a friend at Simply Balanced in San Francisco. (For a period of time Robin Williams and I had our appointments at the same time in an open studio, he with the owner, and me with one of her staff. Williams made the process decidedly less serene, since he liked trying to make us all laugh.) Pilates was the perfect exercise for me. My core was strong, and I looked good because I had the elongated muscles that Pilates provides. Working one-on-one is a luxury, but I think it’s worth it. I’d like to add personal Pilates or Yoga sessions soon as part of my recovery after an auto accident that gave me serious whiplash requiring months of physical therapy. I still am dealing with residual after effects. The physical therapy reminded me my post auto accident five days a week intense walking was not enough for my core and upper-body strength, which I think we need more and more as we age if we wish to age well. My August task is cleaning out and organizing my closet. I’ve been streamlining my summer and winter clothing for a few years, and this year I intend to finally get down to a minimal set for each season. I’d like a closet with a few good pieces I use regularly along with my daily uniform of jeans or linen pants and a t-shirt or linen top and a jacket. Good luck with your to-do list!

  18. Pilates-endorser here too. Chronic back issues have truly been “cured” with twice weekly, individual sessions. Yes, quite pricey and time consuming but it is the only health care I require. A qualified instructor is CRITICAL – one who can look at you when you walk in and modify as needed…this has changed my life. At 62 the knees have been compromised by the pounding of tennis and this gentle, but effective stretch is therapeutic. Also began Sun Style Tai Chi for Health which aids balance and flexibility. Remaining independent is so important and proper exercise is what will get you there! Enjoying your musings on many topics…

  19. 10-12 hour fasts are doable by starting the timer after the last meal of the day. They are still hard but not as difficult as having regimented time such as noon.

    1. 10-12 hours I can do without breaking a sweat. It was the daily 16-hour fasts (8pm-12p the next day) that were too much for me.

  20. So sorry to hear about your tooth! I went down that road myself and it took over a year to get it finished. I hope yours is uncomplicated. Front teeth are so important to our confidence.
    I’ve just begun to exercise again after years of inactivity and am shocked at what bad shape I’m in. I’ve been toying with the idea of adding Pilates so thanks for the recommendation.