July 25, 2017

Birchbox Update & a Bit of Inspiration!

                                         Everything’s not coming up roses!

In February I purchased a year subscription to the Birchbox, an online monthly subscription service that sends you a box of five samples of  beauty related products. The boxes range from skin care items, perfumes, makeup or whatever they throw in!  If you have read my previous blog posts about Birchbox, you know I am not their biggest fan. From this day forward I will no longer critique all the items/samples in each box.  Since I’ve committed/paid for the yearly subscription, I will continue to evaluate, but only share product information, I believe are worth reading about, and not commenting on cheap filler/samples among a few worthy items. The following is a mix of the products worth mentioning in the June & July boxes!  

Benefit Cosmetics

Boi-ing Airbrush ConcealerThis was a solid good product. It was easy to apply, blendable, covered dark under eye circles, was easy to remove and did not irritate my sensitive skin. I think it’s a good buy for the money. Full-Size, $20

 Oribe

Oribe Dry Texturizing SprayThis is an invisible dry spray that is supposed to build volume, and it did. I used it as a dry shampoo and it extended the life of my blowout from the previous day. The scent is light and I noticed a slight shine on my hair after application. I love this product as much as the Oribe, Apres Beach Wave and Shine Spray that I reviewed in my A Questionable Value post and the Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo that I reviewed in my A Jolly Thought post!  If all of these Oribe products were not as costly, I would be using all three of these products regularly, and loving them!  Dry Texturizing Spray,  Full-Size 8.5oz $46  or  2.2oz $22 Wowee!!!!

 Klorane 

Dry Shampoo with Oat MilkNo reason to re-view this product, I purchased it and reviewed it in my Cold Weather Skincare Update, and here is what I wrote and still believe!

“Good product, but when compared to the Klorane dry shampoo, there is no comparison. Klorane is the superior product.  It not only works as a dry shampoo should, absorbing excess oil from hair, it adds volume and texture to your hair after application and leaves your hair looking healthy and smelling fresh and clean. ” 

The Beauty Crop

Fabulous Flocking Lashes MascaraIt has been a wonderful experience trying new mascaras, since I was a teen I’ve been loyal to the many different Maybelline washable mascaras.   Of late I’ve tried a few mascara’s that are all waterproof, contain argan oil or jojoba oil that I have loved, and the Fabulous Flocking Lashes Mascara just joined the ranks!  This was the only full size sample I have ever received in my Birchboxes!  I loved the way it easily glided and adhered to my lashes, didn’t smudge, and was easy to remove. I am now a fan of waterproof mascara that contains essential oils and make my eyes look alive. Full-Size $19.00

So that’s the wrap up of the two Birchboxes I received for June & July!  Not many items that tickled my fancy, but I will continue to evaluate and share anything useful I find.  

This is something I need to share; this week I viewed this segment on the local news, I am in awe of this woman and the road she traveling! 

Self-proclaimed ‘dying woman’ becomes mother of invention for necessary comfort

July 18, 2017

Why Can’t I Maintain Proper Nutrition?

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you are aware that it was started on the premise of sharing information that empowers you to live life with Style & Flare, in spite of RA, or any other chronic disease.  I live and breathe each day working to live a life free of any of the effects of RA, or at least being able to be productive on days when the effects are dominant.  

Sadly, it is a challenge many days, and little setbacks can/will undermine my greatest efforts to control this disease, so it doesn’t control me!  Well, today I admit defeat with my efforts to lose weight on the Weight Watchers program.  I appreciated their response to me; 

“Dear Mary Ann,

Thank you for contacting Weight Watchers. My name is Chessy and I’m sorry to hear that you decided to cancel your Monthly Pass subscription.

Though we never enjoyed losing a member, as you requested, your subscription with us has been cancelled. You will have full access to the interactive tools, tips and recipes as well as access to unlimited meetings with your Monthly Pass card until July 17, 2017.

Please note that your sign up date was on April 18, 2017.

When your Monthly Pass account expires, it automatically becomes a FREE registered user account. You can log in whenever you want and enjoy the free features found on the site. In addition, you will continue to receive our newsletters and announcements……..” 

Even though the response was not a personalized one, it hit me hard, I realized that once again I was unable to stay the course and do something that would benefit my overall health, and potentially contribute to the reduction of  painful RA flares.  It’s odd that I feel a huge physical improvement within days of eating healthfully, yet I fall back into my original eating habits, and gaining what little weight I’ve lost.  I’ve chewed over why dieting success has eluded me, and can only come up with is the time needed to live the best life possible, is time-consuming and all-encompassing.  From the moment I wake up, I start with the myriad of medications I take, in two stages.  To prepare for a successful day starts with a well orchestrated plan of what will be!  Healthy eating is a job unto itself, but it is one that I must commit to and I need to prove to myself that I’m all in before I join any more programs, buy anymore books, or try the latest and greatest diet trend.  So, when I wake tomorrow, I’ll take my pills, stretch, hug my dog, and realize that the shame is not really from failing, but rather failing to try again!  Wish me well!

I wish I could eat like my neighbors!

June 20, 2017

KNOW THY MEDS!

Back on April 18, 2017, my blog post Made In The Shade!  was published.  The post was about a dermatological appointment,  the results of my biopsy, and most importantly the preventative measures that I should follow to prevent further sun damage to my skin.  At the time, it was explained to me that I was being treated for solar keratoses, as a result of long-term sun exposure.  I shared with my readers some of the preventative measures that were explained to me, and I now follow.

Well, here in Rhode Island we experienced torrential downpours all of Friday night and into Saturday morning. As soon as it cleared I headed to the beach with my dog, Sean Patrick.  Because it was gray and overcast I wore a sweater, but eventually removed it during the walk.  When I arrived home I realized I had a sunburn on my face, chest, and exposed arms.  For the life of me I couldn’t figure out how this could be, since I had only been out an hour, and it still had not completely cleared up.  I was confused on why this happened since I religiously apply SPF 30 on my face, arms, and hands each day.  Jeff suggested that I check all my medications, and see if any causes photosensitivity, and therefore may cause sunburn or rashes in a brief amount of time.  I researched my medication’s side-effects and realized that three of the many caused protosinsitivity.  Methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine, & my occasional ibuprofen were the culprits.  

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that treating RA stinks, at best!  But to learn and treat RA each day for over 3 years and still get stumped at what it throws at you, is a rollercoaster ride that I want off of!  We do what we can at the time the challenge is presented and hope the challenges decrease.  Even thought the weekend was a washout, I spent last Tuesday in Boston, hanging at the Pru and watching the B 52’s at Symphony Hall, it was wild!  

Have a great, pain free week!  

 

 

June 13, 2017

DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER!

I chose to live my life downplaying anything that considerably limits any of life’s activities. Living with a chronic illness is a lot of work, and without visible disabilities, it is even more difficult living in a world that judges you because of your lack of noticeable limitations.

In the past I have shared in my blog, suggestions and skills that make life easier living with a chronic illness. But, recently it was brought to my attention that some individuals are unaware that hidden disabilities are just as valid as physical ones.

Every day is a struggle for me to go to work.  Somedays I am fatigued and in pain, and the commute is unbearable.  Other days I am full of energy and strength, and dreading when this frame of good health will end.  I have strategies! One of the most important ones I use is getting to work at least an hour before my start time, securing an advantageous parking spot close to the entrance, and conserving energy early in the day, in order to make it through a full school day. 

Last week, the parking space I usually occupy and don’t own, was taken by one of the few individuals that are privy to many of my work challenges. It was disappointing to me that this person lacked common sense and consideration by parking in that spot, knowing how it would adversely affect me, which is the reason for this post.  I am saddened to come to the realization that there is a lack of understanding in the workplace of what a disability is and knowledge that all disabled people don’t look/act alike and by no means are confined to wheelchairs or need specialized accommodations.   Some of us just need understanding and common courtesy, and that shouldn’t need explaining!

 

Smooth Sailing for all this coming week! Mary Ann

  

June 6, 2017

A FRESH APPROACH TO LIFE!

It’s not all bad living with a chronic illness!  As bad as it may seem and feel, I’m realizing that there are silver linings that appear as your life continues.  This is my fourth spring/summer season with Rheumatoid Arthritis and I’ve come to realize I love solving the problems associated with the disease, and I embrace its challenges. Every season presents you with an opportunity to explore and learn what works and what doesn’t.  As the seasons change you realize yours needs, whether it be professional, dietary, cosmetic, or wardrobe. This year I haven’t purchased anything in season,  just necessities that are what I would call my personalized adaptive style!  

 

 

All the items I purchased are replacements of things I already own, that are no longer useful, comfortable, or fit.

 

 

 

 

Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall I’ve always had a bunch of warm, cozy, and comfy sweatshirts to wear on chilly evenings or informal daytime excursions.   I’ve finally given up fighting to get the sweatshirt over my head with swollen fingers and lack of strength.  The ribbing on the knit cuffs are absolute torture, if they don’t get stretched out over time. Basically, I needed something that slips easily over my head, and doesn’t put pressure on my wrists.   I found the perfect sweater to take the place of my now defunct sweatshirts.  

Coastal Blue and Bleached are the colors of each sweater I purchased recently to replace my sweatshirts.  The Vince, oversized, lightweight, 70/30 cotton/polimide blend sweaters, are keepers.  Unlike sweatshirt’s ribbed neck and cuffs, this sweater is a loose knitted, dropped shoulder, at Saks for $108 each on sale, versus the original price of $345 each.  I justified the expense when thinking about the ridiculous prices of some of the sweatshirts I have purchased, since they are only used casually and were rarely revered.  The coastal blue sweater has seen major action since arriving, dressed up and for lounging.  Totally worth the ease and clean look for any season. 

My watch needed to be replaced!  When my wrist swelled up, and the concealed folding crown clasp was not adjustable, it was impossible to wear.  Getting on in years I no longer could read my small faced watch without glasses.  So two strikes, I sold the watch and have been using my cell phone for telling time.  Since I don’t always travel with my cell phone, I choose to buy a 40 mm watch from Abbott Lyon, UK.

I choose a Nude Pink Leather Kensington 40 with a white case and gold metal.  This is not an expensive watch, I just happened to love that it only has necessary details, simple clean design, and was only $99.  I’ve had it a few weeks and it is serving its purpose and I am pleased with this purchase.

Give a Girl The Right Shoes,

And She Can Conquer the World”

Marilyn Monroe

For years I’ve struggled finding shoes/boots that I could wear to work and out, even during a flare.  Previously, I’ve posted a blog about the shoes and brands I now wear, and surprisingly since those shoes wore out, I have had a horrendous time replacing them, especially winter shoes.  This past winter I figured it out, buy suede! Suede will give during times of flares, allowing you to wear your regular shoes.  They absolutely stink in the rain and snow, but I found the perfect solution a month ago, the  Aquatalia Red Boot!

I can’t remember being so enthused about a pair of boots in my life.  These are the Farell Suede Chelsea boot with a 1.2″ stacked heel.  Wait, this shoe has a padded leather sock lining, I actually put these boots on and occasionally glance at them on my feet, while reading in bed!   But the most impressive attribute of this boot is they are weatherproof and stain resistant! I love these boots and cannot wait till the fall to wear them outdoors and out of bed!  I leave you with a link to Aquatalia’s Weatherproof Guide! 

Have a great week!  

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