September 18, 2018

Things I Can’t Live Without!

Spoiler Alert!  There is no intellectual content in this blog post, just a realization and sharing of things that have had a great impact on my life and make me extremely happy!  Its been a challenging year and these have made my life tolerable and enjoyable as well!

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie:

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe was found on the Saveur.  Saveur is a website that; “Bring the world’s best recipes, drinks, seasonal dishes, and kitchen tips to your home.”  I allowed them in and fell in love with this cookie recipe.  It is the ultimate chocolate chip cookie that has a chewy texture without being doughy.  I fell in love with this recipe over a year ago and make these cookies regularly.  I weigh the dough, roll into a ball, and freeze most of the dough, and only bake a half-dozen at a time.  You can surmise why I only bake a few!

S’well Bottle:

My S’well Bottle is always with me at home or on the road.  I love my 15 oz S’well , I rely on it everyday to keep me hydrated.  My goal is to drink 64 oz of water a day, the bottle needs to be refilled often during the day.  This water bottle is great for both hot and cold beverages.  This smaller design is ergonomic due to the tapered design and narrow top that makes it easier to use/hold and drink from during challenging days. The bottle is toxin free, doesn’t leak, and best of all, S’well® supports UNICEF USA, which provides clean and safe water to the world’s most vulnerable communities.  


cote’ des roses

Prior to Spring 2018, my only experience with rose wines were limited to combining red and white wines from practically empty bottles of wine.  Constant advertising of trendy rose’ wines, and the housewives guzzling it down on television, and I, attracted to  pretty and shiny objects, was enticed into trying current rose’ wines.  On a rainy spring morning, I perused the shelves of wine in the local BJ’s.  I’m enthralled, thinking I was getting a deal, purchased one bottle of each rose’ wine in stock.  Slowly, from spring to mid-summer I tried all the wines except one.  I wasn’t in any hurry to try the cote’ des roses, it was such a pretty color and the bottle was designed to look like a rose. (turn the bottle upside down I believe)

Well fate be my guiding star, my favorite, an Argentinian rose’ Finc Wolffer was no longer available at BJ’s and I went home to try out my pretty bottle, chilling in the basement.  Low and behold it was delicious!  It was outstanding compared to the other bottles I had purchased and enjoyed.  This rose was dry, refreshing, and left no aftertaste, I was smitten.  The glass stopper was easy to open and can be recorked easily on this bottle as well as other wine bottles.  This wine is no longer available at BJ’s and it has taken me weeks to locate a store that sells this wine.  Mission accomplished, I’ve purchased enough to last me 6 months in case of another prohibition!

There is always a lesson to be learned and hopefully you agree that somethings superficial and unimportant, are worthy of recognition and it is a good thing to sometimes be distracted by pretty and/or shiny objects!


Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater:

This multi-purpose toner is a frequent flyer in my handbag and one resides in my car.  A quick spritz to the face provides a pick-me-up anytime.  The toner smells fresh and is soothing.


At home I use the toner to set make-up and spray on dry hair.  I’ve blogged about this product before and believe it’s worth repeating.  The 4 oz, $7 bottle is a steal compared to other toners I’ve tried, that are not as gentle as this facial spray.

I often ponder the value of material things equating to happiness.  It seems so superficial to believe they do.  My higher order thinking wants to believe that experiences, rather than material things are most valuable.  Experiences are probably most valuable if you regularly go to the theater/concerts, sporting events and partake in travel.  I don’t know if there is a correct way to discern which one is most beneficial, but I do know I’m going to keep on making material purchases, preferably shiny ones, and have as many life experiences as well! 

May 22, 2018

The Resurgence of Exercise

Exercise is great if you want to lose weight or for weight management, but I have always put it into the same category as dieting.  In my younger years, I had no problem during the school summer break going to aerobic  classes twice a day, riding on the bike path, 6 miles out, breakfast of bagel & cream cheese with coffee and stopping a few miles into the return trip for my first aerobics class of the day, before biking the rest of the way home!  The rest of the day I walked the beach, swam, cleaned house, and then set off for my 4 o’clock class.  For most of the summer this was my schedule expect for the three weeks we spent at Old Orchard Beach, at this point, all bets were off!  Jeff and I spent hours during the year plotting and planning what we would do on our summer vacation.  Sadly, I think of the decade plus on these vacations fondly, it was time we went wild!  We ate ice cream, fried foods, pizza, candy, and liquor daily!  Some of my fondest memories are the nights we spent planning for our upcoming vacation.  We spent hours discussing what would be our drink of this summer,  and judging which one would win the coveted spot of “Summer Cocktail of 20..”!  Things changed when our vacations were halted in 2010 due to Jeff’s medical condition.  Until Jeff was back on the road to recovery we only returned a few times spending a week here and there!   Subsequently, my diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis squashed my wanderlust physically, but now I’m ready to embark on tamer vacations, with the same anticipation and gusto we once enjoyed, primarily due to my updated relationship with food and exercise.  

Working with Patty Berry, my registered dietician, my attitudes and behaviors are slowly changing.  We will go to Maine this summer, but we are not preparing as if it is the last supper or our last hurrah!  I’m ready and willing to eat in moderation because I realize how good  I feel when I do! Feelings are extremely powerful, so I am embracing moderation and will enjoy the good feelings it brings. 

As far as exercise is concerned, I doubt I would risk a fall after a shoulder replacement so recently, so biking is out!  Jeff and I have been strategizing what we will do for exercise, we have eliminated miniature golf, arcades, and hiking.  It seems rather straight forward that we will be walking and swimming.  Unlike my acceptance/enjoyment of eating in moderation, I really did not give up anything in the food category.  The only downsize of eating in moderation is the loss of income for Dairy Queen, Feilder’s Choice Ice Cream, Beach Bagel, The Pirates Den, Bill’s Pizza, and Pier Fries.  The absence of biking is really going to impact our vacation.  Without the bikes, the traffic will determine where we go, as well as the parking situation is always difficult in this tourist town.  We will need to substitute our biking adventures for something and hopefully we think of it before we leave for vacation!

Here is a sampling of past Maine adventures!

April 17, 2018

Eat to Live a Better Life!

This week marks the beginning of the fifth month I have been working with Patty Berry, RD. In previous blog posts I’ve shared my progress without sharing the amount of weight, to this day I don’t have an accurate number, and frankly, I don’t care about the number. Living a healthy lifestyle is more than a learning experience, it is more of an awakening! I never realized how many components are involved in eating a healthy diet. It is so much more than portion control, types of food, timing of meals, and food preparation. Eating healthy is a commitment to change, not a temporary change until a desired result is attained, but a commitment to accountable eating habits and maintaining lifestyle changes. I needed to safely change to help manage my chronic condition. It was evident to me that my excess body weight might be increasing inflammation and may also be affecting medication effectiveness. What most impresses me about my growth by working with Patty is the steady improvement of decreasing stiffness and increased mobility. Whether these are attributes of diet or increased exercise, doesn’t really matter, but I’m loving it.

Here are a few of the elements of healthy living I’ve adopted and ways working with Patty has been both challenging and satisfying:

…after our initial conversation, Patty coordinated my specific needs and tailored a food plan not only for my health needs, but more importantly by my food preferences and lifestyle.  

…by regular interaction whether by phone, email, or video conferencing, she consistently helps me with challenges I face eating healthy, at times tweaking my food choices and meal plans, making it work for me.

Patty’s non-judgmental approach to slip ups allows discussion and accountability without sense of failure or of making a mistake.

…the added bonus of working with this dietician is her savvy food shopping experiences, food prep, exercise, and just about anything that will make this experience meaningful and worthwhile.

It feels so good to not be complaining about my weight, just sharing this wonderful experience.  Have a great week!

March 6, 2018

Nor’easter 2018

March, 2018 came in like a lion and hopefully will leave like a lamb!  After 2 1/2 days of brutal,  wet, and windy weather, I awoke this Monday morning to a light dusting of snow and winds whipping through my side yard. Being a true New Englander, severe storms and hurricanes are what one grows accustomed to living here!  I don’t know whether it is the rheumatoid arthritis or I’m not a kid anymore, but I realize you need more than milk and bread to survive a Nor’easter. A young Mary Ann would love sitting around in candle light having a few cocktails and playing games while listening to the transistor radio, eating junk food.  Well, this past weekend it was mighty difficult putting together combinations of healthy food and limited exercise, leaving me in a blue funk craving healthier food choices and wallowing in the carb doldrums.  Even though I didn’t stray very far from nutritional balance, I really missed the energy and sound sleep I’ve grown accustomed to when eating healthy.

So, this morning I’ve started to compile an “ICE” file, suggested by my RD, Patty Berry!  My “In case of emergency file” will be supported by a gas fireplace, gas stove top, and great neighbors. I will not be dependent on the 3 day supply of non-perishable food products commonly suggested by emergency readiness organizations.  My supplies are going to be the large amounts of batteries I will need to allow me to read my large print books and dine sensibly.  I will now structure a three-day meal plan that will contain ready-made salads and protein, stored in a cooler on the porch.  On the stove oatmeal, soups, and omelets will be a mainstay, and I will have that bottle of wine ready to be uncorked.  Writing this after weathering the storm I realize the cavalier attitude I had that placed me in an awkward position whereas we didn’t have a great selection of healthy food available.  I hem and hawed a day before the storm and didn’t make it to the store, therefore our food selection was limited.  Thankfully, our neighbors fed us Friday night, and Saturday we hunkered down, listened to the wind howl, and ate soup!  

I’m sharing this in an attempt to explain how complacency bit me in the butt, and I’m glad because I’ll be ready when the next storm hits!  It is always a wake up call when you wander the neighborhood and realize just how powerful Mother Nature is!  

Aftermath of the Nor’easter!

Have a great week!  


January 30, 2018

Lifestyle Update!

Approximately 6 weeks have passed since I’ve started nutritional counseling with Patty Berry, RD.  I honestly believe that I’m breaking through my self-imposed hurdles that have kept me in the past from losing weight and keeping it off!  Developing a positive relationship with food and my body has never been a part any of my weight loss attempts, but is now a dominate part of developing healthy eating habits.  I purposely will never again think about the ill-fated attempts at weight loss nor regret those attempts, they will be part of my past, not part of my future.

Nutritional counseling is much more than a diet, it is shaping my healthy eating habits, meal planning, and changing beliefs about weight loss.  I am slowly making changes and feeling confident and strong about achieving weight loss.  It will be a long road to weight loss freedom, but I believe it is going to be full of new ways of thinking and many successes along the way!

My successes to date is not in the number of pounds I have lost, I haven’t weighed myself since December 14th.  I’m most proud of what I have learned, but most importantly I am proud of what I am retaining and using everyday, and feeling so much better!

Have a great week!