Archives for April 2017

April 25, 2017

Happiness Is The Path

Most people I know, including myself, have the same goal in life;  to be happy!  The reason we do almost anything is to bring about a state of happiness.  Living with health, financial, and/or relationship challenges can put a damper on one’s ability to be happy. Or does it? When any challenge arises, as in my situation, it is health related, I don’t feel in control of what is happening in my life. This makes me extremely unhappy.

It has been a challenge living with a chronic illness. I’ve always had a laundry list of goals to reach, but since living with RA, I now believe that many of my  goals were shallow and never guaranteed happiness. For example, I felt I needed to lose a certain amount of weight, to do things that would have made me very happy, like retail therapy.  There were also, places to go and things to do, that my health wouldn’t allow, that would have made me happy. While pondering the realization of capturing the elusive state of being happy, I realized I had most of what one would need to be happy. A  fancy car, better home, nor more money would actually make me happy. They would make my life easier maybe, but not happy.

So when I’m down and out, thinking/feeling life is somehow so unfair, I still should be happy! I’m fortunate that my family has all our basic needs met. This makes me happy. I am gainfully employed, receive a fair salary, this makes me happy.   But most importantly, I realize what makes me most happy is Jeff and I are really in control of how we act when things are happening in our life. When things happen, beyond our control, we take action, and together move forward to keep the happiness we created in our lives, intact! 

Buddhism teaches that attachment is the root of suffering.  Attachments to a certain weight, state of health, and a magic number in the bank account lead to our suffering. Be free of those and all other attachments, and just be. You will soon find yourself in a state of contentment and true bliss.

Here’s hoping we all have a great week!  I leave you with some of the pictures that made me happy this past week!

Sunrise Service on Easter Sunday!

The delectable Chocolate Malt Cake!

Finally, my friend, the grey heron took cover in front of my house during the relentless rain last week!  He posed and I obliged by taking an outrageous number of pictures of him. These are a few of my favorites!

April 18, 2017

Made in the Shade!

Growing up close to the beach, I spent summer vacations taking swimming lessons every day. Rain or shine, my friends and I headed to the beach to swim, eat lunch on the sand, and hang out!  Not once in all the years I spent at the beach, did I ever apply sunscreen.  I don’t remember hearing about sunscreen, but I do remember the Coppertone commercials and according to my mother, I didn’t need it, I had Mediterranean skin.  When I got older and realized that I could cut down on tanning time by covering a record album with tin foil. I adopted the habit of using a foil covered record album as a reflector.  Another genius  plan I adopted was purchasing baby oil and iodine mixed together.  I would generously slather on this concoction of  aromatic magic lotion and wait and bake until the golden goddess results appeared!  


Unfortunately, as I got older, I did notice that more products were advertised to protect you from the sun.  Yet,  I never paid attention to the advertisements and continued to use oil to tan, without any sun protection factor (SPF).  As time marched on I continued to spend weekends at the beach and even spent my honeymoon on a tropical island!  I love the beach and swimming in salt water!  Even though I am a teacher and have more discretionary time during the summer, my beach time is now limited mainly to walking early mornings or early evening, not laying in the suns direct rays! 

Well, a few weeks ago I visited a dermatologist with a skin complaint which I swore would be a result of the rheumatoid arthritis.  As with any complaint I  have, I automatically assign blame to RA. The dog ran away; we are out of milk; or, being late for work!(RA may have something to do with this!)  But it certainly was a surprise when my biopsy results came back with a diagnosis of solar keratosis.  So, no big deal I think, I’m being treated for solar keratoses, I’m told that; “This is very common for people in this area and age bracket.”  The symptoms, scaly lesions are the result of long-term sun exposure and sun damage, common on fair-skinned people, this made sense to me!  What is most upsetting is this was preventable!  So now, in addition to seeing my  dermatologist more often, I will  follow rigorous preventative measures, to ensure I don’t further damage my skin.

What is most upsetting to me now, is the fact that the information was available decades ago on how to protect myself from the sun.  For whatever reason, I decided this message did not apply to me, and now I have another health concern to deal with.   

So now I would like to share some of the preventative measures that were explained to me. These suggestions may be of some help to you in preventing skin cancer and premature aging. 

Seek shade/cover up when the sun’s rays are the strongest, 10 am to 2 pm.

Wear Sun Protection Factor (SPF)/sunscreen of 30 or higher on exposed skin, and make sure that your sunscreen protects against UVA rays (cause premature aging/wrinkles and dark spots) and UVB rays (they burn your skin).  

Wear sunglasses and any hat as part of your summer uniform.

Avoid ultraviolet light tanning beds.

Use common sense!

I for one will continue to go to the beach. Instead of sitting in the direct rays of sun, I will be comfortably seated, reading my books, under a very large umbrella.

April 15, 2017

Easter Greetings!

Mary Ann & Joy

April 11, 2017

Gone By in a Flash!

I know the decision to create this blog was the right thing for me to do!  Even though there were times when the thought of a self-imposed publishing deadline felt overwhelming, the sense of accomplishment when completed, felt so much better!  The enjoyment I feel, exploring clean living while simultaneously, navigating life with Rheumatoid Arthritis is exhilarating, and is made most enjoyable sharing my work with my readers. 

Believe it or not a year has passed since my first post on RA Style & Flare.  It feels like yesterday that it all began!  I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly and would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all my readers that visited my site and comments that served as a guide for my content throughout the year!

It is my intention to continue RA Style & Flare and in the spirit of the season “Spring”, my readers should expect a fresh new approach that I hope will inspire you to live life with Style & Flare!

Link to first published post:   About

Just a note!

Joy Always has been living with and managing chronic fatigue syndrome, since 2000, through nutrition and meditation.  She enjoys exercising, cooking, and drinking wine. She has been happily married for 21 years!  Stay tuned for Joy and her contributions with life experiences while living with a chronic disease, on RA Style & Flare

April 4, 2017


In a previous blog post, Cold Weather Skincare Update!   I shared my impressions of the Sephora Mask Products that I used. I felt that all the products lived up to their intended purpose, and were reasonably priced.  Recently, I came upon some great new products that are considerably less expensive and just as effective or better, by Daylogic and Yes. Daylogic, is a personal care and beauty product line exclusively available at Rite Aid  for a price of $2.99 per application. What a bargain? I selected four to try.  What impressed me most about the product was the packaging, the easy readability, and easy to locate information that would prompt you to purchase the product was front and center.  All individual packets are labeled on top with the amount of time needed for results.  Packing is also clearly labeled with the type of mask it is, what the mask will do, and what it contains and does not contain.  For the price, I had nothing to lose!  I also purchased two Yes masks that I had read about for the same price, these are my impressions of the six products I’ve purchased repeatedly over the previous month!

 Daylogic Rejuvenate Facial Creme Mask

Onto a clean face, apply a thin, even, layer of the mask onto your face avoiding eyes and lips. Leave mask on for 15 minutes (I left it on longer, it felt good!), then rinse with water.  The mask is creamy and has a slight pleasant scent.  I have combination dry skin, I felt the mask was moisturizing and left my smooth and refreshed.  Definitely worth the $2.99.

Daylogic Glow Facial Peel Off Mask 

This mask is intended to reduce the appearance of enlarged pores, as well as removing excess dirt and oil with purifying tea tree extract, revealing a more refined complexion.  I really don’t know the difference between tea tree extract or tea tree oil, I only know that this facial peel is sulfate, paraben & artificial dye free, but it is not a natural product.  I do know that masks and other products that contain tea tree oil that I have read about, are considerably more expensive than this product.  I do know that I had no adverse reaction from using this product on my extremely sensitive skin.  This clear gel, that I sparingly applied, peeled off 20+ minutes later left my skin smooth and refreshed.  

Daylogic Bright Eyes Gel Eye Mask

Unlike the Sephora eye/lip paper masks, the Daylogic product is a gel patch that was much easier to apply, and it was not messy in any way!  There is a slight pleasant scent to this mask even though it is labeled as fragrance free.  When the mask was removed, I was pleasantly surprised with positive results, it definitely diminished my dark circles around my eyes.  I use this mask at least twice per week.

Daylogic Illuminate Gel Eye Mask

The gel eye mask magically reduces under eye puffiness.  I use this product on the occasions of the morning after a difficult time staying asleep due to pain.  It could be a combination of starting as such a distressed point that this product is so remarkable or that it just is, you be the judge!


Yes to Coconut Hydrate & Restore Paper Mask & Yes to Tomatoes Clear Skin Detoxifying       Charcoal Paper Mask

Paper masks are not my favorite, but the reasonable price and the enticement of detoxifying my skin with charcoal was reason enough to give the Yes masks a whirl!  I started off with the coconut ultra hydrating paper mask because I was particularly dry that day.  I was not impressed with the coconut hydrate mask, it began to feel uncomfortable within minutes, was not positioned properly on my face, it was an annoying experience.  I didn’t keep it on my face long enough to have an opinion about the mask!  A few days later I read/reread the directions on the Yes to Tomatoes Clear Skin Detoxifying Charcoal Paper Mask before the application.  I felt the tingling, but left the mask on.  I was not distracted by the tingling feeling because I carefully applied the mask, and before I knew it, the tingling subsided.  When the mask was removed I was left with a ruddy complexion and unimpressed with both of these products.

I have no regrets trying these new products!  I know I’ll probably never purchase another Yes mask, but I do love their cucumber soothing hypoallergenic facial wipes. Daylogic gel masks will be in my refrigerator, ready for my weekly indulgences.  It is always exciting trying new products, especially when there is a minimal investment.  Trying new product allows you to appreciate the quality of the products you currently use or add new favorites to your arsenal of besties!