I mentioned in prior posts how we only recently moved into our current abode. Eight months ago, in fact. We’re still going through the growing pains of figuring out how our new neighborhood operates.

This includes uncovering the following mysteries:

  • How many kids to expect on Halloween (zero)
  • How often neighbors host parties loud enough to keep us awake (one, so far)
  • The extent, elaborateness and intensity of outdoor holiday decorations (the problem)

As the new old people on the block, we want to fit in. Or at least not stand out as the PF (problem family). Every block has at least one, and I did not want to opt-in for that role.

Turns out, the Christmas light situation leaves us as exactly that: That Family. The Dark House. The People with Obviously Weird Religious Beliefs that Prevent Them from Celebrating Holidays Like Normal Human Beings.

I should add that when we first moved into this house the whole block seemed abuzz with activity. Each time we had a reason to come to the house during negotiations and moving in, someone would be walking a dog, mowing their lawn or otherwise be outside watching to see who would be their new neighbors. 

The day we moved in, neighbors on either side of us came over to chat, shake our hands, and let us know they were here if we needed them.

Those would be the last conversations we’d ever have with those people.

No, nothing tragic happened to any of them. They simply seemingly disappeared, like extras in a movie who were hired for a small bit part and then went back to their real lives.

I admit, some of their invites were a little weird.

For example, after finding out I was a fitness professional, one neighbor suggested I stop by “anytime” to meet his daughter because “she weighs out all her food before she eats it, too.” 

Interesting, but umm… no.

Food measuring bonanza aside, I did make an effort to be accepted into the fold and was ready to play along this Halloween (my husband and I usually keep the lights off and sit in the corner of a dark room to avoid having to answer the door) and bought a big bag of candy. 

Then no one — not a single, sheet-draped ghost — showed up. (For the record, I gave the candy away to a handyman in lieu of eating it myself or tossing it out.)

Christmas is a different story. Non-participation shows up like the face-shaped mountain on the moon. Everyone notices, but few people say anything about it.

The problem is, our new block consists of people who seem to have a competition for the greatest number of lights ever hung in a single square inch of space. 

One house down the street, for example, features an ice skating Santa and mechanical elves dancing around a “frozen” pond, alongside a ferris wheel of presents and flying reindeer on the roof. Another yard is decked out with bobbing reindeer “eating” off the lawn, and every bush in his front yard lit up in a display visible from the Space Shuttle.

Then there’s our house. We have ZERO outdoor lights. It’s literally the neighborhood black hole where all fun and festivities are sucked into and go to die. 

So driving down our street is: BLINDING BLINDING/BLINKING COLOR WHITE BLINDING dark house (us) BLINDING BLINKING

Personally, I’d like some lights on the house, but my husband is not into it and I’m not about to get up on a ladder and propagate this project.

In short, block party invites are not exactly pouring into our mailbox at the moment.

If they were, I’d have an excuse to buy a new little black dress and fancy shmancy shoes I’d wear once before selling them on consignment at the local Salvation Army.

If you’re not a party pooper like me, you may have an excuse to buy that dressand get your arms and shoulders in shape, ready for the Big Reveal when you take off your shrug.

Here are a few tips for stellar shoulders that look good in any dress, sleeveless top or strapless gown….

First a couple of general tips:

  • Include these in your upper body workout 2 to 3x a week
  • Use enough resistance to enable you to get 12 to 15 reps, where the last few are a challenge
  • Start with one set of 12 to 15 reps and work your way up to 2 to 3 sets over time

 

1.OVERHEAD PRESS: These may be done with dumbbells, tubing or kettlebells.

Expert tips:

  • Keep your arm slightly in front of your head, not directly to your side. This creates less stress on the shoulder joint
  • Lower your elbow(s) only until it’s parallel with your shoulder, not all the way down to your side – keep tension on the muscle throughout the move
  • Brace your abdominals (imagine someone’s about to tickle you) to protect your core and spine

1.Start with elbows out to the sides, shoulder level, arms in a goal-post formation

2. Bring hands up and together overhead and slightly in front of your body

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. LATERAL RAISES: Tubing, dumbbells or kettlebells also work well here.

Expert tips:

  • Keep your elbows slightly bent throughout the movement — do not lock your elbows
  • Raise arms out to your sides until they’re parallel to the floor
  • Lead with your elbow, not your hand – imagine pouring a jug of water
  • Avoid shrugging

1. starting position

2. Bring arms out to the sides until parallel to the ground, keeping elbows slightly bent throughout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REVERSE FLY: These are awkward at first but hit those oft forgotten rear deltoid muscles

Expert tips:

  • Bend over your thighs or do these face down on a bench, arms out to your sides
  • Focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together with each rep
  • Pause at the top of each rep, as for all these

1. Bend forward over your lap or standing up against an incline bench (torso supported by the bench), holding onto dumbbells or kettlebells

 

 

 

 

2. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you bring weights up and out to the sides, keeping elbows slightly bent.

LET’S CHAT… What exercises do you like to do for shoulders? Let me know by commenting down below…

Other posts you may enjoy:

3 Best Glute Exercises for Women Over 50 – no lunges or squats

3 Exercises women over 50 should never do

How to get motivated exercising at home

Got questions? Email me at linda@lindamelone.com! I’d love to hear from you.

Your Ageless Body Coach,