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! 

August 14, 2018

Back In The Swing Of Things!

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve last posted, and I’ve missed it!  I needed time to work on healing my shoulder, since the surgery.  Physical therapy has been going smoothly, but knocks me out after each visit.  So I’ve stayed local, and took it easy except for one outing to a concert in Boston.  The concert was fabulous! It featured The Thompson Twin, B 52’s, and Culture Club.  We decided to book a room last-minute, and stayed at the Sheraton Boston Hotel.  

The venue was at the Music Hall, currently named Boch Center.

The Thompson Twins act was electric, but could not compare to the other two bands.  It was a fun time, great music, and many familiar faces from home.  

When you feel good and think you can accomplish anything you set out to do, you forget about your chronic illness.  The idea behind staying overnight in Boston was to preserve optimum health and have a great time.  Unable to book a room in my regular haunts led us to the Sheraton Boston Hotel.  This Sheraton boasts 1220 rooms, and I believe it!  The lobby was the hub of loud confusion and groups, similar to a drop off at a large summer camp.  What was particularly concerning was the putting green set up in the middle of the lobby with balls not contained within the green.  Wow, I got nervous, I walked with my head down, navigating the “young uns” running around, and avoiding lost golf balls.  I learned a great lesson through this adversity.   It is not only the disease that can rage its’ ugly head, but the predicaments you place yourself in, may also have adverse affects on you.  

My first impression of the room was satisfactory.  We left and ate dinner and returned to get ready for the concert.  The dim lighting in the room, forced us to keep the curtains open and allowed the constructions workers, from the building across the street,  the opportunity to monitor our every move.  I gathered my clothes and retreated to the bathroom to shower and dress and was met with an unrelenting small doorway and a toilet that I estimated to be no more than 12″ from the floor.


The bathroom was clean, but difficult to navigate as you notice the position of the door, blocking the bath and much too close to the sink, you had to adjust your movements in an effort to not bang into things.


It is not my intention to bash this hotel, it is a reminder that even when you feel great, you still must take into account your needs that allow you to be comfortable at home and away from home.  After a great night, we retreated to this room by the elevator and ice machine, that was on the direct route of the guests that were still enjoying the night as they walked by our room in the early hours of the morning.  

I hope this cautionary tale can help you.  Feeling healthy leads us to make spontaneous decisions. And that’s such a relief for me to feel that way!  However, when over night accommodations are needed, it might be best to forego that last-minute decision if the tried and true hotels are not available.  


June 26, 2018

Comfort & Joy!

It’s not Christmas, but it sure feels like it!  If there ever could be a positive reason associated to treating RA, it’s that you try many products in an effort to find ones that will accommodate your condition.  I hit the mother load approximately 5 weeks ago, shoes I had thoroughly researched and ordered, had arrived. Purchasing footwear has been a dilemma because of the RA flares I experience in my feet.  The flares are not constant but regularly affect how I walk and feel when they are present.  There are only a few pair of shoes that I am able to wear during a flare.  So with great enthusiasm I wore my new shoes for the last 5 weeks nonstop.  Here is my experience with these two pairs of shoes that were absolutely comfortable on good days and not so good days.

allbirds Wool Lounger

They look like something Grandpa Puchalski wore in the house, they look like slippers!  What sets them apart from slippers is that they are made of soft merino wool, breathable, supportive, and wonderfully functional and comfortable.  I wore these shoes with and without socks, and washed (in a machine as advised) them after wearing them for three weeks usually without socks.  Normally, the shoe naturally wicks moisture away, yet was unable to handle the Coke Zero I dropped on them.  I believe the Lounger shoe looked neat with jeans and a summer t-shirt dress.  The shoe conforms to your foot shape, and did not cause any friction during flares.  They don’t come in many colors, but if you look online they have seasonal colors in addition to the gray and black regular choices.  A comfy choice at $95 a pair with no shipping fee.  The return policy is 30 days.

tieks by Gavrieli Ballet Flats

Similar to the allbirds Lounger, the tieks Ballet Flats conform/mold to your feet making them equally comfortable.  There are so many colors to choose from, I chose the Pacific Green, not really a good summer color, but great with jeans.  The flat has a split, non-skid, outer sole and a flexible midsole which allows the shoe to fold.  I was ecstatic for another pair of shoes that required no break in period that I wore for hours the first time out.  I attribute the comfort level to the soft leather and cushioned back.  I probably will not buy other flats after my experience with these.  They are neat and tidy looking and the only negative that I can think of is the price.  At $175, I thought they were on the high side but will reserve final judgement until their demise.  They may seem as if they are an extravagance, but when comfort is fleeting in most shoes, I had to give it a go and have no regrets.  Hopefully they will last beyond my formative years.   

Have a great week and I’ll continue to be on the lookout for comfort and joy!

June 19, 2018

Minimizing Chronic Pain In The Summer Heat!

The heat can exacerbate pain symptoms during the summer months.  For me, the summer has always represented a non-routine time of the year that I savored, until the RA diagnosis.  Hot weather has changed so many of my healthy routines.  I’ve chronicled a pain/weather journal for a few years, and I am traveling head on into summer with strategies to minimize discomfort during the hot summer months.  I’ll share what I intend to do this summer in order to achieve a comfortable and enjoyable summer.

I’ll be scheduling outdoor activities in the early morning or evening to avoid times when the sun is at its strongest intensity.

I’ll not only continue to follow a healthful diet, and eat all the fruits rich in anti-oxidants and inflammation fighting ingredients, looking forward to the peaches and local berries.  I definitely will include cherries in many of my newly acquired recipes due to their pain fighting and inflammation reducing compounds.  Lastly, I will make sure I stay hydrated in the summer when my body requires a higher water intake.

I’ll put to good use all the comfortable footwear and breathable clothing I’ve been purchasing. The proper footwear will hopefully reduce pain due to inflammation from temperature fluctuations, and the breathable clothing will be comfortable and make me feel snazzy in the humid weather.

Finally, I’ll slow down and minimize my exposure to sun and heat while doing daily chores, such as shopping, socializing, and doctor’s appointments.  

In a nutshell, the summer temperatures can be a challenge for everyone, but for people treating for rheumatoid arthritis it can have a detrimental effect on your pain level.  Consideration should also be taken to the drug interactions of ones medication and sun exposure.

Have a great week and here is one of the first signs of summer in my neighborhood!

June 5, 2018

Not Everyday Is A Picnic With RA!

Early on when I was initially diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, I not so graciously decided to will it away, no such luck.  My next attempt at accepting this diagnosis was to live it with style and flare.  I’ve worked real hard trying to maintain a positive attitude and I am usually successful.   At times I even surprise myself when the effects of rheumatoid arthritis have enhanced my standard of living.   Yet, after two hot and humid days, and a Monday filled with rain, and torrential downpours, my Pollyanna attitude eluded me.  

On this rainy day Monday I searched online for places I could relocate too that would be most conducive to living with this chronic condition.  There are many individuals that move to areas that are warm and dry, others move south or west. I searched for hours, not impressed with any one area, and moved on to read medical information regarding rheumatoid arthritis.  To my surprise I came upon an article examining best places to live with rheumatoid arthritis.  In a nutshell, many individuals that treat for RA, including myself are affected by low barometric pressure before a storm, causing uncomfortable pressure in ones joints.  The article went on to explain that living in a warm climate, individuals actually will experience greater discomfort when weather changes.   If you live in an area that experiences frequent barometric changes, such as the New England states, your inflammation is lesser than individuals living in states that have fewer barometric changes. Individuals that normally live in a dry or warm area are more affected by weather changes since they are not accustomed to changes.

So today was not such a good day, and I am not suffering in silence, I shared/vented my frustrations with this miserable condition.  Self-care was my number one priority today, and I am feeling my Pollyanna attitude returning.  I’m refreshed, with renewed energy and ready to take on any new experiences, maybe even predicting weather in a circus side-show!  Have a great week and hopefully the weather will moderate!