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Hello, everyone!

Yes, I have a new home! I’ve moved Sexy, Smart and Strong to a hot new website!

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Marcia Richards, sexy, smart and strong




6 Easy Steps to Put Zing into Your Swing

Happy Hump Day!

Note: This is a repost of one of my Life List Club posts you may have missed. Enjoy!

We’re not talking about golf or tennis swings. We’re talking about the swing of your life…bringing back the jazz, the zing, the excitement! I have to admit that I am constantly working at this. I have to remind myself to stay in the NOW because I spend far too much time thinking ahead, worrying needlessly or wasting the moment.

“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Remember that tired expression? Let’s revive it!

1. Sleep – Almost daily you can find a report somewhere online telling you the importance of getting enough sleep. We know it’s true, so why do we shortchange ourselves? Lack of sleep can cause apathy, irritability, flat emotional responses…no zest, no zing. Sleep to restore your bodily functions and rev up your brain…hence, more zest and zing. If you’d like to read more about the damage lack of sleep can do, click HERE.

2. Play – No one has more zing in their lives than children. They wake with energy and are excited about the day. Adults can feel the same way. Put more play into your daily life. Create fun activities to amp up your energy. Play tennis, go swimming, play in the garden. Playing with your spouse in bed creates feelings you get nowhere else – the feeling of being younger, being desired, and of being able to then jump out of bed and tackle the day with vitality. Simple acts like eating an ice cream cone in the backyard, giggling over corny jokes, having a pillow fight, or running in the sprinkler can bring back zesty youthfulness.

3. Declutter – We can get weighed down by all the clutter in our lives. Get rid of it all! Clean a junk drawer, a closet, the attic or garage. Excessive obligations are also classified as life’s clutter. Even the people in your life who are a drain on your energy and add nothing but negativity to your life amount to clutter. Clear it all away and you’ll feel refreshed and renewed!

4. Revisit – Take another look at the goals you’ve written for the future. How many have you already accomplished? Cross them off the list. Can some of them be broken down into smaller, more easily achieved steps? Are some goals still valid? If not, get rid of them and replace them with something more meaningful and attainable. Life is constantly in motion, changing all the time. Don’t expect every goal you wrote down a year ago to be relevant today. It’s okay to make changes. After this exercise, you should have a smile on your face and a little more spring in your step.

5. Balance – This is a big problem for most of us and one of the hardest things in life to maintain. Swinging too far to one side creates stress and, often, negative self-talk when you realize you’ve overburdened yourself. Swing too far in the other direction also causes stress when you’ve lost focus and lose track of your responsibilities. You berate yourself for not handling life better and waste time feeling badly about your decisions. Sometimes writing it all down gives you a clear picture of how to swing back toward the middle. Unleash yourself from the ball and chain tasks that weigh you down. Make a plan to get back on track with responsibilities you’ve neglected. The first example that comes to mind is regaining the balance between ‘overeating and inactivity’ and ‘running yourself ragged to keep up with all your health commitments’. Cutting out desserts and walking three times a week can center you with small steps and will bring back some of the energy and zest you had before.

6. Focus – “Today is all we have. Live it to its fullest.” We’ve heard this before and it sounds like a huge mountain to climb. Break it down.  Living life to its fullest is simply focusing your thoughts on and enjoying what you’re doing NOW.

a. Have mindfulness. It creates a serene feeling, making you less reactive and aggressive. It takes your ego out of a conflict and gives you an opportunity to make better decisions. Just breathe. Mindfulness opens your eyes to the beautiful view, the succulent taste, the sensual pleasure, the melodic sounds of life at the moment.

Take control of your thoughts, give NOW your full attention, otherwise you may be missing out on some wonderful experiences.

b. We only have so much energy. Wasting energy on worrying over things we can’t change is fruitless. “If it’s worth worrying about, it’s worth doing something about it.” Change what you can and let the rest slip away. We can’t do anything about the past and what’s to come in the future will be dealt with in the future.

c. We live in a world of distractions. To live more in the NOW, allow yourself to get completely absorbed in a task. This is called flow. To create flow, choose an activity with an attainable goal, but one that is specific and will cause you to stretch your abilities. For example, increasing your speed during running, knitting a new challenging pattern, writing the next chapter of your book or playing the next bar of a scroll of music. The focus required makes time slip by, blocks distractions and creates a state of flow.

So, now that you know how to get that ZING back in your life, what are you going to do with it? What can you enjoy more fully? What gets you excited?

Diary of a Swimsuit Shopper

I am not a human being trying to have a spiritual experience; I am a spiritual being having a (sometimes difficult) human experience.

I am not yet, in my opinion, in any shape to don a swimsuit, however neither was this hilarious woman! I received this email from a friend and had a welcome roar of laughter.

(Author unknown) 
When I was a child in the 1950s, the bathing suit for the mature figure was-boned, trussed and reinforced, not so much sewn as engineered.  They were built to hold back and uplift, and they did a good job. Today’s stretch fabrics are designed for the prepubescent girl with a figure carved from a potato chip.

Debbie Reynolds, corset style bathing suit

The mature woman has a choice, she can either go up front to the maternity department and try on a floral suit with a skirt, coming away looking like a hippopotamus that escaped from Disney‘s Fantasia, or she can wander around every run-of-the-mill department store trying to make a sensible choice from what amounts to a designer range of fluorescent rubber bands.

What choice did I have? 
I wandered around, made my sensible choice and entered the chamber of horrors known as  the fitting room.  The first thing I noticed was the extraordinary tensile strength of the stretch material.  The Lycra used in bathing costumes was developed, I believe, by NASA to launch small rockets from a slingshot, which gives the added bonus that if you manage to actually lever yourself into one, you would be protected from shark attacks.  Any shark taking a swipe at your passing midriff would immediately suffer whiplash.

I fought my way into the bathing suit, but as I twanged the shoulder strap in place I gasped in horror, my boobs had disappeared! 
Eventually, I found one boob cowering under my left armpit.  It took a while to find the other. At last I located it flattened beside my seventh rib.

The horrors of trying on bathing suits

The problem is that modern bathing suits have no bra cups.  The mature woman is now meant to wear her boobs spread across her chest like a speed bump.  I realigned my speed bump and lurched  toward the mirror to take a full view assessment.

The bathing suit fit all right, but unfortunately it only fitted those bits of me willing to stay inside it.  The rest of me oozed out rebelliously from top, bottom and sides.  I looked like a lump of Playdoh wearing undersized cling wrap.

As I tried to work out where all those extra bits had come from, the prepubescent sales girl popped her head through the curtain, “Oh, there you are,” she said, admiring the bathing suit.

I replied that I wasn’t so sure and asked what else she had to show me. I tried on a cream crinkled one that made me look like a lump of masking tape, and a floral two-piece that gave the appearance of an over-sized napkin in a serving ring.
Trying on bathing suits

Miss, could you bring me a 20-year-olds body with that suit?

I struggled into a pair of leopard-skin bathers with ragged frills and came out looking like Tarzan‘s Jane, pregnant with triplets and having a rough day.

I tried on a black number with  a midriff fringe and looked like a jellyfish in  mourning.
I tried on a bright pink pair with such a high cut leg I thought I would have to wax my eyebrows to wear them.

Finally, I found a suit that fit, it was a two-piece affair with a shorts-style bottom and a loose blouse-type top.  It was cheap, comfortable, and bulge-friendly, so I bought it.  My ridiculous search had a successful outcome, I figured.

When I got it home, I found a label that read, “Material might become transparent in water.”

So, if you happen to be on the beach or near any other body of water this year and I’m there too, I’ll be the one in cut-off jeans and a T-shirt!

You’d better be laughing or rolling on the floor by this time. Life isn’t about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain, with or without a stylish bathing suit!

What will you be seen wearing at the beach this summer? Do you have any clothing disaster stories to share?

Stop over at the Life List Club today. Sonia Medieros is posting. Go give her some comment luv, if you please.


What Do You Choose To Be Called?

Pink Heart

Sexy, smart and strong women have long been nicknamed, most often by men. Some carry negative connotations and others are somewhat endearing.

A few examples:

Skirt, Doll, and Dish – Skirt and Doll imply a cute, flirty and fun girl. Dish says, to me, a woman so delectable, a man can’t live without her.

Broad, Dame and Twist – These are slightly less complimentary. A Broad is a voluptuous woman, mainly in the derriere and one you don’t dare cross. A Dame is like a Broad but she cares a little more about her looks, using well-applied make-up. A Twist, to me, connotes a woman with special skills in the boudoir.

Floozy, Strumpet and Trollop – All of these  names suggest a women with loose morals, but don’t they sound like  potent cocktails (Cherry Floozy) or delicious pastries (Strumpet and cream)?

And then, there are those often offered up with a dose of sarcasm:

Little Miss Sunshine: A woman who happens to be happy with her life and carries through with a positive attitude.

Susie Homemaker: A woman who enjoys making a comfortable home for her family and is adept at baking, decorating and choosing fashionable clothing (or making everything herself).

Superwoman: A woman who balances many hats with aplomb, like elder caretaker, employee, wife, gardener, cook, committee chairperson, community volunteer, PTA president and soccer mom.

The only nickname I wouldn’t mind being called is

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wonder Woman first appeared in a comic book series in 1941.

Feminist, Gloria Steinem chose the image of Wonder Woman for the cover of her first issue of Ms. Magazine in July, 1972.

The TV series, Wonder Woman, followed in the late 1970s, starring Lynda Carter.

She was the perfect woman – powerful, graceful, sexy, tough, smart and compassionate, determined to expose the truth and punish the evil.

She looked really cute in glasses, too.

Male TV viewers fell in love/lust with her.

More than that, Wonder Woman was a great role model for all women. She didn’t let a man push her around, unless she wanted to be pushed.

She believed in herself and followed her heart, even when her path wasn’t what others wanted for her.

According to Wikipedia, “Wonder Woman’s viewpoints and characteristics reflect those of her creator, William Moulton Marston, who was a strong supporter of feminist ideals and female empowerment.

In a 1943 issue of The American Scholar, Marston wrote:

Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don’t want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women’s strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman.”

What image would you be comfortable with?

Should we all strive to be our own version of Wonder Woman? Or not?

I love hearing from you!

No Such Thing as Too Many Girlfriends

Friendship love and truth

Happy 4th of July!!

While you’re celebrating our country’s independence and partying with family and friends, why not celebrate your friendships, as well?

Sorry, Guys, this post may not hold your attention, but it will make you wish you were a woman!… On second thought, maybe you guys should read this in order to understand the dynamics of GIRLFRIENDS.

The general consensus that men don’t talk about their feelings is just wrong, in my opinion. When I was single, I had several male friends who used to call me mainly to discuss their feelings. Any man who has an ounce of sensitivity has a need to talk about his feelings occasionally. They can’t talk to other men about them, that wouldn’t be manly! So, they talk to female friends, because it’s safe. Bottom line…all women, as well as single men, need girlfriends.

I always felt that the great high privilege, relief and comfort of friendship was that one had to explain nothing.
Katherine Mansfield


Being understood, accepted and loved exactly as we are is one of the greatest rewards of friendship.


But the ultimate reward was discovered in a Nurse’s Health Study from Harvard Medical School. It was found that the more friends women have, the less likely they are to develop medical problems as they age, and the more likely they are to live joyfully long lives.

Since women create the chemical, Oxytocin, which encourages nurturing and seeking comfort, studies show that having close girlfriends and confidants keeps us healthy and adds years to our lives. (It’s probably just as healthy for you guys.) This is yet another way to grow younger and healthier instead of growing unhealthy and decaying.

Anyone, man or woman, who has a close friendship with another woman, doesn’t need me to tell you how important that friendship is to your life and well-being. I can tell you though, that there are few ways to help that friendship last forever.

**Check criticism at the door. There is no room for that in a friendship.

**Leave envy and jealousy at home, too. Not only are those unattractive modes of behavior, they will chip away at the foundation of your relationship. Jealousy is a sign that you’re not feeling so lovable. We’ll talk about how to change that in a post next week.

**Never berate a friend’s spouse or children. It’s okay for a friend to vent about her family member, but no one else should join in. Just be supportive and a good listener, unless your friend is in danger of being physically harmed by the family member.

**Listen. Listening is the most powerful way to connect with people. Don’t offer advice. Wait to be asked.

**Don’t judge. No one has a right to judge another. Allow your friend to grow and change with your support.

**Celebrate your friendship. You can do that by simply telling your girlfriend how important she is in your life. At the other extreme, you can plan a “girlfriend getaway”. Depending on your common interests and your life situation, you may choose from a healing spa vacation, a no-holds-barred birthday blast, an adventurous escape, or a shopping splurge.

To heck with diamonds! Other girls are a girl’s best friend! Since There is No Such Thing As Too Many Girlfriends, get out there and make new ones! We’ll talk about how to connect and find more healthy relationships next week.

We need old friends to help us grow old and new friends to help us stay young.

– Letty Cottin Pogrebin


To each of my current and future girlfriends :
You are each the best part of my life. I treasure our friendship and will always be as good to you as you are to me.

I love hearing from you! Tell me, what is the best thing about girlfriends for you?

Don’t forget to hop on over to the Life List Club for Lara Schiffbauer’s patriotic 4th of July post!

1st Anniversary of LLC and Milestone Party!

Wine and chocolates

Welcome to LLC’s Milestone and 1st Anniversary party!

On May 27, 2011, I stumbled on Jess Witkins’,  Happiness Project. Her post was “The List” which laid out her goals for the next year when she would turn 26 yrs old.  She was inspired by Emily Jane’s “26 before 26” list.

I loved her and her list immediately! This was my comment:

“Hi Jess! I love the list. It’s no more boring than anyone else’s would be. What would you think about starting a community of writers who keep a list like this to work on over a 12 month period? Let me know what you think.”

And Jess’ response:Jess Witkins' Happiness Project

“I’m for a support network of writers making goals and holding each other accountable and realistic as we go out to achieve them. Shoot me an e-mail with ideas on how you think we could organize it.”

And  so, The Life List Club was born.

Our first posts published on July 1, 2011. My post, Welcome to the The Life List Club Kickoff! and Jess’ post, New Writer’s Network: The Life List Club introduced the LLC to all of our readers. Our first 3 writers joined us in writing posts over the course of that month: Jennie Bennett, Sonia Medeiros and Gene Lempp.

So many more amazing writers followed and helped build the LLC to what it is today. Jess and I appreciate their contributions and value the friendships we’ve grown over the past year.

 I’m ready to have a go at another year of the Life List Club. I know Jess and our contributing writers will stand with me.

Are you with us?

Good! Now it’s time to grab a beverage of your choice (I’m having a Martini) and something chocolate. Get comfy on the couch while I fill you in on the progress I’ve made in one year. Feel free to open a window to the Life List I wrote last July 1st to compare.

I’ll keep this part short:

Thanks to sticking with ROW80 for 3 1/2 rounds, I’ve completed the first draft of my novella. I’ve learned so much about writing, social media, marketing and publishing from reading excellent blogs, taking several online classes (currently taking a Holly Lisle class!) and being part of a few amazing groups of the most generous, supportive and knowledgeable men and women.

I have not been able to attend a writer’s conference yet, nor have I attempted making a podcast or book trailer. They will be moved to my 2012/2013 Life List.

In the past 12 months, I’ve read a total of 51 books. By July 1st, the total will be 53. Woohoo!

The household chores are more evenly split between hubs and I. We spend a generous amount of time together daily talking, laughing and dining. Everyday is a gift and I’m so grateful to spend it with him.

In the realm of fitness, I’ve lost a few pounds, refined my meal plans and finally figured out a workout routine that actually works for me!

C. S. Lewis' quote on setting goals

My 2012/2013 Life List:

1. No more cheater-readers. I can tell my eyes have finally reached the point where I need REAL glasses because I’m leaning closer to the laptop screen than ever before.

2. Get my novella, The Sins of Eve,  published by the end of August, 2012.

3. Write and publish the sequel, The Salvation of Eve, by the end of December, 2012.

4. Plot and write my series, Harleigh McAllister, Book 1, by January 31, 2013.

5. Learn how to do a podcast and book trailer for Eve and Harleigh books.

6. Take a mini-vacation during the Fall of 2012.

7. Clean basement and attic, gathering and selling household items and furniture we won’t need, in preparation for moving (hopefully) in 2013.

8. Paint my dozen chairs and other assorted glass and wood decorator pieces and sell them.

9. Continue my resolve to live in the moment, notice and appreciate the little things, play, and show my husband how much he’s appreciated every single day.

10. Continue to get fit…exercising twice a day most days and eating healthy, with a goal of dropping 50 pounds by my 60th birthday, 12/12/12. Continue the fitness quest in 2013.

I have a teaser for you…a hint as to what my Harleigh series will be about. I spent the first 6 years of my adult life riding with a motorcycle club (not a gang). This was my theme song back in the early 1970s.

*Could someone pour me another Cosmo?*

To our LLC readers/members:

We have a special prize for one lucky commenter on the Life List Club Blog’s Milestone Party/Anniversary Post


The other writers may have a prize for one lucky commenter on his/her own blog, as well.

One more time you’ll have the pleasure of blog hopping the Life List Club to look for more prizes!

If you leave a comment on this blog, the LLC Blog and the other writer’s blogs, you would be entered to win several different prizes!

Win Prizes
The winner at my Sexy, Smart and Strong Women Blog will be awarded

a $10 eGift Card

from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, winner’s choice

The comments must be received between 6 AM (EST) June 29th and midnight (EST) July 5th.

All of the the winners will be announced on Friday, July 6th at LLC and the writers’ blogs.

LLC Writers’ blogs:

Jess Witkins

Sonia Medeiros

Gary Gauthier

Lara Schiffbauer

Sherry Isaac

When did you begin your Life List? Where are you on your progress meter? Please share. We love hearing from you!

What Creative Entrepeneurs Can Learn From Bette Davis

Strong women in films are hard to find today.

Women like Bette Davis, confident, strong and smart, set a standard for the rest of us that has endured over time, but has been copied less and less often.

Bette Davis wouldn’t have been called beautiful in her prime, nor was she the typical Hollywood starlet. She had a voice like a panther and sometimes an attitude to match.

She instinctively knew that she had to learn the lay of the land in order to get ahead. She didn’t look for parts that increased the glam-factor, but parts that were substantial and showed off her natural talent.

She was never one to ‘sleep her way to the top’ for the return of more money or better parts. She acted because she loved it. She interacted with her audience and appreciated the praise she received…because she loved her work.

Bette earned leading roles and  better salary by being authentic and developing her talent and style.

Bette Davis didn’t care about glamour, she cared about being recognizable.

Cropped screenshot of Bette Davis from the fil...

Cropped screenshot of Bette Davis from the film Of Human Bondage. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bette’s acting was authentic, as well. She loudly refused to act in a morning wake-up scene in full make-up and perfect hair. When a character role  called for her  to look beaten  or to have a bald head, she was adamant that was how it would be.

Bette Davis was the brightest example of all the tough Hollywood actresses. It wasn’t easy being strong. Women were scorned for speaking their minds. Bette once said, “When a man gives his opinion he’s a man. When a woman gives her opinion she’s a bitch.”

Bette stood her ground and kept it real. She was honest and forthcoming with everyone. The reaction was, “At least we know where she stands.”

Bette Davis succeeded as the most famous woman in the world using nothing more than raw talent, self-confidence and headstrong determination. And, she knew how to connect.

From an article found at StumbleUpon by Johann Hari “For a while, this not-especially-beautiful woman in her forties ruled Hollywood, playing tough women who chose their careers and their own desires over sacrificing for men or children or a picket fence. She never pretended to be dumb, or a little girl. She didn’t do soft, or simpering. She had a voice like sour cream, and eyes like a raven.” And she was one of the great events of her time.”

What does all this mean for creative entrepreneurs, like writers, musicians and artists?

Be authentically you. Use your real voice. Don’t fear the critics. Stick to what you believe is right for you.

Being a creative is not for sissies. Tough out the hard times. Revel in the good. Treat it like the business that it is.

Do what you love simply because you love it. Don’t do it for money. Realize it may take a very long time to actually make a living at it.

Support others like you. Praise their work. Reach out to your audience. Work for them more than for yourself.

Be a ‘great event’ of your time. Make a splash. Be unique. Be the best at what you do.

Aside from being an example to other creative folks, Bette Davis’ persona was a lesson for all women. She was strong, smart and sexy. Bette lived life fully and well. She was true to her ideals. She soaked up all the knowledge available to her.

Bette Davis was self-confident enough to demand to look bad on camera. She never played down her ambition or intellect to fit a preconceived notion of women.

As her biographer Ed Sikov says, “Bette Davis didn’t give a goddam. She dares us to hate her, and we often do. Which is why we love her.”

What do you think of Bette Davis? Do you know of another person who sets an example to follow?

You know I love to hear from you, please share your thoughts.

Don’t forget to stop by The Life List Club blog and visit Gary Gauthier who is posting today!

Friday is the 1st Anniversary of The Life List Club and it’s Milestone Friday! All of our writers will be partying at the LLC Blog as well as our own blogs. Don’t miss out on all the fun and prizes!