Empty nesters advised to plan for life after kids leave home

“Using my phone’s speech-to-text feature in a recent exchange with a friend on the difficulties of the empty-nest season, I glanced down to check for accuracy before sending. My device transcribed “emptiness” instead of “empty nest.” Ironically, emptiness is exactly what many feel after their final child leaves home.”

Read in full on USA Today.

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Navigating European Airports

My family has lived abroad and traveled often in Europe, but after this last trip—with connections in various European airports—I thought how stressful and embarrassing navigating security and airports would be for rookie families.

In short, domestic airports offer no preparation for European airports.

Parents, here’s what you need to know so that you and the kids survive without a break-down. Who wants tears, tantrums, and running mascara, anyway?

Don’t Sweat It: Getting Through Security 

Don’t be me. I once felt hundreds of eyes on me at the Edinburgh Airport security check-point. I was forced to rifle through all my liquids (sunscreen, mascara, hand sanitizer, etc.) in my carry-on tote and roller suitcase. In front of the world, or so it seemed, I had to shove them into one teeny zip-lock bag. The fact is, European airports mean what they say when they allocate one zip-lock bag per traveler for liquids. Better to corral all the family’s liquids from their various pockets, cosmetic and toiletry bags before you reach the security line to confirm everything will fit. You’ve possibly never had to perform this exercise while traveling within the US, but honestly, the reinforcement at European airports is strict. What doesn’t fit will be pitched. Buh-bye, precious moisturizer.

Read in full at Oregon Family Magazine.

Staying Abroad: Handy tips for a successful European Airbnb adventure

“My family recently hopscotched our way around Europe — our seventh such vacation in eight years. Instead of choosing traditional hotel lodging, we opted to stay in Airbnbs along the way. Like many other globetrotters, we were drawn to properties in historic districts. It’s an attractive option — a terrific way to economize while simultaneously soaking up the authenticity Old World cities have to offer.”

Please read in full here: 2019 USA Today Go Escape Summer.

To Text Or Not To Text? That Is The Question

Exactly how often SHOULD you reach out to your college kid?

“I know my college-age daughter will reach out in advance to schedule coffee with me the next time she’s back. She has been consistently great about prompting time together, and yet — I’ll just as certainly spit out my coffee while reading her text scrambling to confirm, moved again by her thoughtfulness.

Her faithful pitch-perfect outreach reminds me of the tension I’ve felt ever since she left for college. The tension spans the spectrum, after all, to be too aggressive or too restrained when reaching out as parents.”

Read in full on AARP’s, The Girlfriend.

The Girlfriend’s Guide To Renting Out Your Home While You’re Away

My Texan girlfriend Paulina is one smart woman. She has demonstrated how to parlay their home investment into disposable income for her family of four. Five years ago, she listed their Austin home on the popular short-term home-rental site Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO), and her efforts have paid off.

You can list your home for rent not only through VRBO, but also through Airbnb or HomeAway vacation rental marketplaces. But you need to know what you’re doing.

Read in full at AARP The Girlfriend.

The Girlfriend’s Guide To Threading

I first encountered threading while living in the Middle East for a few months. Middle Eastern women vastly prefer the art of threading, an ancient method of hair removal, over waxing. Why? By using two pieces of 100 percent cotton thread to whisk away hair, threading is natural. Yaaass, bring on the applause! No chemicals. No strong cocktail of potentially irritable ingredients. Nope, just a spool of thread. Gliding quickly over the skin’s surface, the intertwined strands of thread instantly remove hairs from the root of the follicle, so regrowth is slow, meaning threading lasts longer. Fewer appointments = more $ and time for other things — like sipping latte with your girlfriend, girlfriends.

Hmm. Not bad.

And? My brows were gorgeous, shaped to perfection. Threading allows for greater precision than waxing because the threading tech can create the perfect brow-shape for your face by swiping away one hair here or a short row there.

Read in full on AARP, The Girlfriend.

The Girlfriend’s Guide To Essential Oils

Essential oils have won me over because they stand ready to meet today’s smelly challenges, and more.

So, how do I love thee, essential oils? Let me elaborate here:

1. Last time I opened my washing machine I nearly fell over backward after inhaling rank mold and mildew. It was disgusting. I bet I’m not the only one with a smelly washing machine,no? To banish the stench, I recommend following this formula, which includes 20 drops of any antifungal essential oil. Antifungal oils include: citronella, eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, lemongrass, orange, palmarosa, patchouli, peppermint and tea tree.

2. Shoe deodorizer fueled by the power of natural essential oils? Yassss, please! Try Poo-Pourri’s spray, Shoe-Pourri. It deploys cedarwood, eucalyptus and grapefruit to extinguish shoe odors and earns a solid five-star rating from over a hundred customers. You also might want to try Natural Shoe Deodorizer Spray, which seeks to eliminate odors with antibacterial and antifungal oils.

Read in full on AARP The Girlfriend.

What Happened When I Touched Base With My Oldest Friends

On the heels of hearing a string of bad news about friends of friends losing loved ones or reeling with a sudden cancer diagnosis, I sent a flurry of love-ya-friend texts to my band of merry girlfriends around the country ranging in age from 40 to 70-something. Moving numerous times throughout 27 years of marriage has helped me understand the value of true friendship and learn to fiercely protect and nurture these friends. My girlfriends have faithfully supported me over time, first hanging out in the same town and eventually separated by hundreds of miles. My text reads something like this:

“Hey, dear friend. Just blasting into your world to remind you how deeply I value our friendship! I’ve always appreciated and relied on your counsel and words offering direction, encouragement over the years. Thank you for being in my life.”

Read in full at AARP, The Girlfriend.