Tools for Thought

Cool Tools

Image courtesy of Deborah Breen Whiting on Pixabay

Daniel Pink, one of my favorite non-fiction authors, was interviewed on an episode of Cool Tools. If you’re not familiar with the podcast, the formula is simple: the founders interview famous people and ask them to talk about four “somethings” that the person likes and uses a lot because it makes their life easier or more enjoyable.

We’re not talking about profound issues here. Apparently, people talk about gadgets, software, kitchen tools, books, websites, etc. For instance, Pink’s four cool tools happen to be:  a brand of earplugs, a fat pencil, an online class, and a terrific fish spatula. I’ve included a link below if you want to listen to that podcast later.

So the concept got me thinking. What is a cool tool for me? (Note, as usual, I place all the links at the end so you don’t get distracted while you’re reading this post.)

Here is my list:

1) Gel seat cushions   I have a minor condition of bursitis in my “sit bones” which causes pain if I sit very long. To help ease that pain, I own two Purple cushions. No, not the color purple (although they are actually purple). It’s the brand Purple which is a gel cushion that’s great for travel. I use one at home, and I’ve taken one with me on planes and trains. They fold in half so they fit in the travel bag I carry. I’m sitting on one right now as I’m writing this blog. You have to be careful about car use as leaving one in a hot car during a summer heat wave may cause melting. (Of the cushion, not your rear end.)

2) Ecard services   If you’ve been a reader very long, you know I like to send real cards through the mail. But I also subscribe to two paid ecard services and one free one. Ecards are great for immediate contact or when you learn of someone who could use a “thinking of you” note right now.  Considering that paper cards run about $5 each these days, the $30 fee for two years of service seems quite reasonable for both Jacquie Lawson and Blue Mountain Arts. Through them you can send unlimited cards and the sites maintain an address book for you. The free service is through and while they do appreciate people who choose to make a donation from time to time, they don’t pester you for money.

3) Free Photo Sites   One of my readers says she can hardly wait to see what photo I’ve chosen to go with each of my posts. While occasionally I do use a photo I’ve taken myself, usually I choose one from two photo sites. The sites allow you to use the photos commercially and without attribution. They are easily searchable. Although (as I’ve mentioned previously), you can waste a boatload of time looking at the interesting, gorgeous, quirky, inspirational photos. And sometimes the search results make me laugh out loud. For instance, I was helping a friend put together a promotional piece for a gathering of single moms. One of the photos it brought up in a search of “single mom” was of a painting of the Madonna and Child. I guess technically Mary was single when Jesus was born, but still.

4) Glad® Press ‘N’ Seal®  Hey, I warned you that this post wouldn’t be anything profound. How many times have you cussed at traditional cling wrap as you tried to pull off a piece to cover something? This product is worth the extra money, trust me. I’ve included links to two videos; one that demonstrates the product and the other that shows some creative uses.

I haven’t actively asked for comments for a long time. But I’d enjoy hearing back from my readers about a favorite cool tool or two of yours!


Purple seat cushions

Ecard Sites  free   2 years $30  2 years $29

Free Photo Sites

Glad® Press ‘N’ Seal® video 1

Glad® Press ‘N’ Seal® video 2

Podcast with Dan Pink’s choice of four cool tools



a tatted bookmark by Vivian Elsner

I’ve mentioned before how I continue to be amazed when a vague subject crosses my path (literally, visually, or electronically) several instances in a short span of time.

It happened again today—three events within a ten-hour timespan. The subject is SO vague, you may not even be aware of what it is.


No, not tattooing, just tatting.

Per Wikipedia, “Tatting is a technique for handcrafting a particularly durable lace from a series of knots and loops. Tatting can be used to make lace edging as well as doilies, collars, accessories such as earrings and necklaces, and other decorative pieces.

Until about ten years ago, I had never heard of it myself since the gene for sewing, knitting, and crocheting skipped over me.

But then my sister-in-law Alice gifted me with a tatted bookmark made by a friend of hers. I liked it so much I bought some as gifts for family members.

I discovered recently that somehow mine had gotten lost. Vivian Elsner, the crafter, had moved away so my local source was gone. Then Alice found one tucked away in a drawer to fill the void. It now hangs safely on the bulletin board above my writing desk.

I was sitting at my desk today readying some cards to put in the mail, and I glanced at that tatted bookmark. “I know someone who would appreciate one of those,” I thought to myself.

And yay, I found four offered by an Etsy crafter in England, so I ordered them.

After dropping off my cards at the Post Office, I stopped at the information desk at our local library. While the librarian was looking up something for me, I glanced at a display rack on the counter.

There, right in front, was a notice for a free tatting class in June.

I mean, come on now. What are the odds?

Then when I got home and opened my blog idea book to get started writing today’s post, what should fall out except the information card Vivian had included with her tatted bookmark.

I give up. OK. All right. Uncle. I’ve written about tatting.

So this isn’t my usual make you laugh post, or advice on living a happy life, or ways to be better at public speaking. I’ve told you about tatting.

What you do with that knowledge is completely up to you.


A short video of a woman tatting. Now you understand why I could never do this.

History of tatting

This Is Your Brain On Wakelock


Image courtesy of Ivan Obolensky on

Remember my recent post on Hustle? I sang the praises of a young woman employee at my local Panera Bread. She took the concept of energetic effectiveness to a new level.

I’ll tell you someone who doesn’t have hustle: the guy “working” at the Verizon store.

Last week my Android phone suddenly developed a serious issue; the battery was draining as though I had pulled a plug to let the juice out. And the phone was heating up when I wasn’t actively using it. That was a dangerous duo of bad behaviors.

This phone’s battery has to be replaced professionally; in other words, don’t try this at home. I headed to the Verizon store.

I explained the phone’s issues as I removed the phone from my purse. The guy’s expression turned incredulous as he said, “Wow, that’s a REALLY old phone. I think you need a new phone.”

For the record, my Android is approximately 2 ½ years old. I realize there are folks who buy the latest and greatest new version of their phone as soon as it’s released. And that’s fine. I’m just not one of them.

But still, it’s not as though I pulled out an aging flip phone. (Please don’t take offense if you have one. No judgment, but you know who you are.)

So I responded, “Yes, I know it’s old but I think it just needs a new battery.”

The guy did not touch my phone one single time. He acted as though it was infected. “Well, we don’t replace batteries here but I can refer you to someone else. But I really think you should get a new phone. There’s no guarantee a new battery will fix this.”

While he had zero hustle for serving the customer, he hustled sales-wise.

No thanks.

I went home and fretted. I didn’t want the expense of a new phone or the learning curve involved with one.

So I researched online and ended up finding a site that led me to an app that I actually already had installed on my phone. You’ll never guess what it’s called so I’ll just tell you. My Verizon.

That’s right. The very company where I sought help has an app that checks the health of your cellphone and alerts you to issues. He could have pulled it up and fixed my phone.

Because that’s what I did. The health check displayed a red exclamation point regarding the battery. Duh.

Clicking on that took me to unfamiliar language. “Yesterday, Microsoft Outlook was on wakelock for 3 hours and 47 minutes. Two days ago, Microsoft Outlook was on wakelock for 2 hours and 58 minutes.”

I didn’t know what a wakelock was but it didn’t sound like anything good.

This isn’t a technical post so below I’ve included a link to an Intel article if you want to be better informed on the subject.

I’ll explain wakelock with this simple analogy:

You know how you can be really stressed and overly tired so that all you want to do is go to bed and sleep? You crawl under the covers and close your eyes and you may even appear to be asleep. But your central processing unit, your brain, will Not. Shut. Down.

That’s what wakelock is to a phone.

Even though I had not even been on Outlook, deep in the background it was running full throttle. My phone’s CPU was definitely not asleep even though it appeared to be.

I hit the button to uninstall the Outlook app. Like magic, my battery kept its charge and the phone remained cool to the touch.

Why yes, I did feel like a technical genius.

And no, I do not need a new phone.


Intel article on wakelocks for Android


Beautiful Sounds Are In The Ears of the Hearer


Image by Skeeze on

To paraphrase a favorite line of poetry, “Even after all this time, I can still hear the sounds of him not being here.”

When a family member, a favorite someone, or even a beloved pet dies we remember him or her in countless ways.

Many people believe that sight is the strongest sense. And considering the studies of learning styles that indicate over half of us are visual learners (65%), I lean toward believing that sight does indeed play a huge role in how we remember people, events, places, and things.

We look at photographs or view videos of the people we miss. We continue to scan their Facebook page or other social media accounts, recalling what it was they posted while alive. We stare at the “things” they left behind, wanting to remember always the significance of each object.

Yes, the sense of sight plays a huge role in our remembering someone who has passed from this earth.

And even though I am part of that 65% group who leans heavily on vision skills for learning and remembering, sound is also pivotal to my recalling the essence of the person.

My son Tim’s joyous laughter and the way he would draw out the greeting, “Hello, Mama!” as he bounced through the door…

The harmony of noise my mom Bertie made as she worked in the kitchen whipping up simple but delicious meals and baked goods…

Beautifully sincere conversations my aged mother-in-law Rosalie had with God as she lay in our guest room bed…

The sound of a spoon hitting an empty peanut butter jar as my brother Bud finished that last tasty bite of his favorite treat…

My elderly Aunt Gerri opening her door and announcing to my sister and me, “I don’t know why you girls keep wanting to visit an old lady, but I’m so glad you do!”…

And yes, even the sound of Riley’s tags as they jangled together when he trotted along and the snuffling sounds he made as he scavenged the ground for early morning smells…

All these might seem like ordinary sounds but to me, they tie together precious memories.

And then I started wondering what sounds people will remember about me after I’m gone. That’s probably a good exercise for everyone to consider. Because I sure as heck don’t want anyone to recall me as constantly complaining or as someone who spewed negative words about others.

I’m pretty sure that keeping this idea about the sounds I’ll leave behind will help me be a better human being.

How does that sound to you?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ article on learning styles

An interesting concept that Researchers found out that different music frequencies stimulate the human brain and the outcomes are incredible. In this video, the frequency of 48 Hz might stimulate far memories and also crying.”

NOTE: I had a better experience just listening to it rather than watching the letters float by on the screen since typos got in the way of my just releasing myself to it. Yes, I am that person.

A Rose By Any Other Name Might Be A Peony


Art by Marty-arts on

PEE-oh-knee or pee-OH-knee?

Both and Merriam Webster advise that the correct pronunciation calls for accenting the first syllable.

However you choose to pronounce it, aren’t they the grandest, abundantly full, late-spring perennial?

You may know that I am not the gardener in the family. That’s the reason this post is one day late. In order to give my readers quality material, I ended up doing hours of research.

You’re welcome.

The herbaceous peony lifespan is amazing; well-cared for peony plants can live from fifty to over a hundred years. According to recent gardening advice from the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, peony bushes don’t require extravagant care:

  • They are sun-worshippers, tolerating just a little shade. That means you need to plant them where they’ll soak in lots of sun.
  • The bushes are picky about sitting in waterlogged soil, so make sure you plant them in an area with adequate drainage.
  • Peonies that fail to bloom likely had their tubers (roots) planted too deeply in the soil. Correct planting calls for the tubers to go in the ground first at a distance where the “eyes” (buds) end up less than one inch under the soil.
  • Finally, provide them with some open space and good air circulation. Just like me, they don’t like to be crowded.

There are many varieties of peony plants, from those with a single layer of petals (quite fragile) to those with a double layer, and all the way up to the variety that has over a hundred petals. The more petals, the longer-living the cut peony; it may last in a bouquet up to ten days.

Claire Austin, the current chair of the Peony Society, gives this advice about actions to take regarding the ants that are attracted to the sweet tight buds: Do nothing. The ants simply feed on the sugary substance that the buds produce. Ants may even help the buds open.

There is just one downside to the peony. A healthy peony bush blooms abundantly, but there are too many flowers at one time. Then too quickly, they are gone. We have to wait another year to enjoy their stunning luscious blooms.

But I have good news to share! My daughter led me to a Martha Stewart video that features Kathleen Gagan, owner of Peony’s Envy. (Don’t blame me; that’s what her garden center is named.)

If you click on the link below, you’ll find a two-minute clip (from the six-minute mark to the eight-minute mark) that tells you how to cut peonies to preserve them for up to six months!

Please watch the video to receive the full instructions. But here are the Cliff-notes-type directions:

  • Cut the flowers while they are in balls, still green but just a tiny bit open. (You can see her example in the video and she says, “You can cut them even when they’re tighter than this.”)
  • Even up the tops of the flowers and cut off the very bottom stems evenly.
  • Place in a cellophane wrap like the type a grocery store provides when you purchase cut flowers. But the bottom of the wrap needs to be OPEN so that the stems can stick out.
  • Leave the top of the cellophane open for air. The wrap simply protects the flowers from frost.
  • Place the flowers in a tall container with a little water. If needed at a later time, add a little tepid water.
  • Move the container to the refrigerator

OR here’s a second method:

  • Cut the flowers on a dry night when they have no dew or moisture on them. The flowers need to be dry.
  • Wrap the flowers securely in newspaper, around and over the top and bottom (like a burrito).
  • Secure with a semi-loose rubber band at the stem.
  • Place in refrigerator.

Ms. Gagan swears both of these methods will preserve the flowers for six months in the refrigerator. Then, when you’re ready for a fresh bouquet, remove them from the fridge, place in a vase with tepid water, and they rehydrate.

I’m going to give this a try because who doesn’t want to prolong a beautiful life as long as possible.


Advice from Kathleen Gagan owner of Peony’s Envy on the Martha Stewart show  Note:  The two-minute clip on preserving peonies starts at about the six-minute mark and ends at eight minutes. But if you have the time, the whole video is interesting, even though Martha doesn’t appear to be paying 100% attention to what her guest says.


The Best Wedding Present Ever

wedding present love

Photo by

What wedding gift did you last purchase? According to, here are a few of the gifts most wanted by newlyweds today. (Personal aside: I’m thinking the brides had at least a 95% say in the gift choices.)

Williams-Sonoma Glass Bowl Set, Calphalon Classic Cooling Rack, Pyrex Easy Grab Bake ‘N Store, The Cellar Selene Cake Dome, Martha Stewart Cupcake Carrier, CorningWare French White Bakeware 

Registries make it easy for those of us needing to choose a present. And of course, the talented folks on Etsy can craft practically any personalized gift for the happy couple. Cash and gift cards are always appreciated as well.

But what if you could give a gift that no one had ever given before AND that blessed not only the intended newlyweds, but continues over fifty years to bless countless other people taking their marriage vows AND has generated over two million dollars in donations to charitable organizations?

Noel Stookey did just that in 1969.

I know most of you are asking an important question. Who the heck is Noel Stookey? His full name is Noel Paul Stookey, and during the time that the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary were together, he went by his middle name of Paul. Because Peter, Noel, and Mary just didn’t have the right ring to it.

When his fellow singer Peter Yarrow wed Marybeth McCarthy in October 1969, the best man Stookey sang a song he had written for them. While Stookey is a Christian and intended the song to convey his beliefs, he wanted to honor his friend’s Jewish faith as well.

Stookey has been quoted as saying, “The melody and the words arrived simultaneously and in response to a direct prayer asking God how the divine could be present at Peter’s wedding.”

And that is how The Wedding Song (There is Love) came into existence. (You can listen to two versions in the links below.)

His 1993 Guidepost article tells how Noel’s wife Betty helped him change the pronoun wording just an hour before the wedding. At the ceremony, after the song was over, Noel figured one and done. No one else will ever hear it.

But then a few weeks later at one of their concerts, Peter Yarrow asked Stookey to sing the song as a solo. He was taken aback, feeling he couldn’t share something that belonged to the couple. But Yarrow insisted, saying that his wife was in the audience and please, wouldn’t Stookey sing it for her.

So he did and the audience loved it so much that he continued singing it at their concerts for the remaining time the group stayed together.  Soon after the trio took a long leave from performing concerts, Stookey recorded a solo album and included The Wedding Song.

But since he felt the song was God’s creation and not his, he didn’t want to assume the rights to it. According to the Guidepost article, “In the end I set up a foundation to oversee the publishing rights and to receive all my income as composer. Any money the song earned could then be distributed to worthy causes. To my amazement, shortly after the album’s debut, “Wedding Song” was released as a single and almost immediately went into the Top 30.”

This song has been played at weddings all around the world and continues today to be counted as a time-honored love song. lists it as one of the top ten classic songs to sing at weddings.

Various artists have recorded their own versions of the song, but to me, there is nothing like the original. A sweet simple song accompanied by chords from an acoustic guitar is sometimes all you need to feel the love.


A remastered copy of the original version of the Wedding Song (There is Love)

And years later at the 25th anniversary concert in 1986, Paul (Noel) Stookey is again singing the Wedding Song (There is Love). OK, he can’t hold the notes quite as long, but I mean, watch the man’s face. Really…there IS love!

Noel Paul Stookey’s article in Guideposts from June 1, 1993

The song even has its own Wikipedia page!

True or Not? Who Cares? Make It Go Viral

make it go viral

by Gerd Altmann on Pixabay

I’m a subscriber of Brain Food by Farnam Street. It’s a weekly newsletter about thinking, decision making, and reading. They also provide interviews of interesting people such as Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube.

Their tagline states they are “a signal in a world of noise” that helps you be a better version of yourself.

It’s not always easy reading, but it is mostly interesting reading.

This past Sunday’s newsletter contained a link to the British news site “The Spectator.” The article discussed “how a character assassination unfolded on Twitter.”

Sir Roger Scruton was fired from his job less than six hours after a mob on Twitter demanded his removal from a government post based solely on an interviewer’s account of how his interview with Scruton transpired.

George Eaton of the “New Statesman” accused Scruton of making outrageous statements about Hungarian Jews, homosexuality, the Chinese, and the Muslim Brotherhood. On Twitter, no less. So the Twitter mob began piling on, calling for Scruton’s immediate dismissal.

Other news sources began labeling Scruton, among other things, as a white supremacist. Eaton posted a photo of himself on Instagram guzzling champagne with the caption: “The feeling when you get right-wing racist and homophobe Roger Scruton sacked as a Tory government adviser.”

When the recorded interview was eventually listened to, the conversation actually went differently than described by Eaton. Oh, of course, Eaton later apologized and took down the Instagram post. But so what? People remember mostly that Twitter hate storm. Hey, if that many people (usually including celebrities) are talking about it, it must be true!

Right? RIGHT? Wrong.

We don’t have to look far back in history to recall the latest Twitter hate storm that rolled across America. An opinion article from USA Today on January 19, 2019, broadcasted the headline: “Covington Catholic furor is a warning to end our dangerous social media mob mentality.”

That was a story of uproar and protest over teens (wearing Make America Great Again hats) from a Catholic school harassing a Native American elder. It turned out that, whoops, that wasn’t what was happening after all. Sorry about shaming you, boys. Oh well…let’s move on to some other outrage.

I seriously worry about this world and the inclination of so many people who take things at first glance and don’t stop to question whether or not something is true before they share it as though it is absolutely, positively true.

Over twenty years ago Wayne Dyer commented that, “Many people spend their lives looking for occasions to be offended.”

It appears that his statement is truer now than ever.


The Spectator’s article

Covington Boys story from USA Today


Rise and Shine

Rise and Shine

Photo by Norma Thatcher

Non-English speakers learning our language face a common hurdle: idioms.

A strange word in and of itself, an idiom is defined as “a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words.”

So cats and dogs are not literally falling from the sky with the raindrops, when I want you to wait you don’t actually have to hold the reins of horses, and great-aunt Matilda didn’t physically kick any bucket as she took her last breath.

Growing up hearing these phrases, we understand what they mean, but we don’t usually stop to think about how these odd phrasings came to be an accepted part of our language.

One of my personal favorites is rise and shine. In researching its origin, I discovered several theories. One source says it originated as a military order in the late 1800s and was considered an order to soldiers to get out of bed quickly and shine their boots; in other words, get up and get ready! Or as says, shine here means “act lively, do well.”

Bloomsbury International figures the origin is from “18th-century sailor speak.” Back then, the life of a sailor could be harrowing. Besides dealing with hard-to-maneuver equipment, they often faced life-threatening weather, a lack of food supplies, and unsanitary living conditions. The sailors no sooner got to bed than it was time to get up. So the captain coined the phrase rise and shine to “inject positivity and cheer” upon waking.

I wonder how well that worked.

On The Phrase Finder, the experts believe that the phrase alludes to the Biblical reference in the 60th chapter of Isaiah, verse 1. We often hear this verse used at Christmas: Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

Since that verse from Isaiah has always been one of my favorites, I’m voting for this version of the origin.

And as recommended on KingsEnglish.Info:  So in the morning, just as you let the sun rise and shine upon you to brighten your face and give you warmth, so let Christ rise and shine upon you to give you hope and peace.

Stay tuned for Saturday’s post which is a follow-up to this one.


It turns out other languages use idioms as well. Check it out here.


Who’s Afraid of the Dark?

Afraid of the dark

Photo by DhivakaranS on

Fictional character Jack Reacher said something like this when looking out into the dark: It’s what everyone fears, whether they realize it or not…that thought that just maybe there’s something out there that’s going to get them.

Being afraid of the dark is usually a childhood manifestation that appears around the age of two and usually departs by the age of ten.

But sometimes it never goes away.

A 2016 British study showed that 64% of the country’s adults admitted to being afraid of the dark. 36% of the participants said they sense someone or something in the room with them. Many cited fearing something was hiding under their beds. Others said they never left their feet uncovered for fear that something would grab them.

It appears Brits are more afraid of the dark than are Americans; a study noted by Dr. John Mayer indicated around 11% of American adults admit to being afraid of the dark.

Still, that’s a lot of grown-ups sleeping with the lights on and their toes covered.

Although some people use the terms interchangeably, Nyctophobia is the psychological term for having an extreme fear of the night, and Achluophobia is the term for fearing darkness. The differentiation in my brain is that there can be darkness without night. Think of a trunk, a closet, or a basement without windows. Scared yet?

Why ARE we afraid of the dark? It goes back to our earliest beginnings. When the caveman poked out his head by dawn’s early light, he could see if any danger was lurking. During the day he could answer the Big Question: “Is that something I can eat or is it something that can eat me?”

So evolutionarily-wise, fear of the dark was an advantage in that it helped us stay alive for another day.

Even today the oldest part of our brain (referred to as the lizard brain or reptilian brain) assigns a negative connotation to something new or unfamiliar. THAT is why so many of us are uncomfortable with trying something new, whether it’s tasting something we’ve not had before, or taking a class where we don’t know anyone, or interviewing for a different job.

So darkness represents a terrifying unknown because, well, who knows what’s out there? There is very likely nothing, but we may imagine unlimited frightening possibilities.

Sometimes the darkness is in our heads and our hearts. We may have suffered the tragic loss of a loved one or a terrible blow to our self-esteem by a cheating spouse or from losing a job. A debilitating illness of our own or a family member may send us into a downward spiral. We’re frightened of this dark, terrifying unknown and we are fearful of what may be coming after us next.

Just as in actual darkness, we need a spark of light to help us see. The spark may be small, even perhaps short-lived, lasting long enough for us to venture one first step.

That spark is named hope.

Heart-and-head darkness is a prime breeding ground for despair and powerlessness. We simply can’t see any way for our situation to improve. We’re afraid to move for fear of making things worse. We don’t even try to feel our way to safer ground.

But someone sharing a spark of hope can be a lifeline in the darkness.


A former post of mine on the Lizard Brain

Article on childhood fears sticking with us

CNN Health article on hope


Let’s Give The Hands A Hand


Photo by Di Lewis on

A friend was recently lamenting that her hands look older than her face does. She’s in her late 50s. “How did THIS (holding up the backs of her hands to me) happen?!”

We may not consciously think much about our hands. But our hands are out there, taking the brunt of sun exposure, wind, cold weather, hot weather, cleaning solutions, dish liquid, and water. Women especially may have excellent routines for taking care of our faces, but our hands are most often forgotten.

Even if we take preventive methods to care for our hands, aging by itself wreaks havoc with them. To quote Amos Lavian (found of Dermelect Cosmeceuticals), “As you age, the elasticity of the skin on your hands as well as the abundance of collagen begins to dissipate, making the skin on your hands look and feel more fragile.”

It turns out that the skin on the backs of our hands is thinner so it is more prone to wrinkle anyhow. And our hands have fewer sebum-producing sebaceous glands than our faces do. Sebum is the oily stuff that helps keep the skin moisturized. How ironic, right? There are those of us who complain about our faces being too oily, when in fact we could use that extra oil on our hands.

Here’s the advice from experts on keeping our hands looking their best:

  • Use sunscreen on the backs of your hands and wrists year-round. Remember to reapply throughout the day. Although I do this now, I wish I had known that advice when I was 20. Currently, I use Aveeno Protect+Hydrate Face, SPF 50 on my hands.

  • Choose a hand cream that contains ceramides. These are molecules that help to retain moisture by creating a protective barrier. CeraVe Therapeutic Hand Cream (about $11) is a good choice.

  • Use a mild exfoliant once or twice a week. I am crazy about the product Aveeno Positively Radiant 60 Second in-shower Facial. So twice a week after I apply it to my face, I use it on the backs of my hands and my elbows. A minute later I massage it off as I rinse.

  • Use a hand cream just as you’re getting into bed when you know it won’t be washed off. Because my nails currently need some attention, I just started using Vaseline Healthy Hands Stronger Nails with Keratin. Too soon to tell any effect, but it feels luxurious going on and I really like the calming fragrance.

You’ll notice I don’t spend hundreds of dollars on any of these products. They can be bought at most drug stores or places like Target or Walmart.

My husband says that should I ever be noted for offering advice on a subject, it would be this: There isn’t much that a good cream can’t cure. Since I do sound rather zealous on today’s topic, maybe he’s right. Please don’t tell him I said that.


A Real Simple magazine article on the topic