January 23, 2018

Tried & True!

Late December at the end of my scheduled rheumatology appointment, I was asked if I had any questions.  I asked; “When will I be able to live my life and not think about rheumatoid arthritis every waking hour?” My rheumatolgist explained that I will not be able to lead such a life as RA is chronic condition that is present and persistent, even when you are without pain.   In an odd way, it made me feel relieved, because it validated how I live my life, even though I vehemently resent the time and energy I spend addressing the disease. Waking up, meditating, stretching, ensuring that my day starts out on a level plane is a constant chore.  Continuously  assessing how life in general may adversely affect me is exhausting.  

Yet,  on a positive note, I’m pleased as punch to have collected an arsenal of products that have not left me, nor my will behind. I have used the following products for years and they have not abandoned me.

  Sephora Collection Dark Rainbow Antibacterial Brush Set

In my Favorite Day to Day Items!  post from July 26th, 2016, I first reviewed this brush set.  Nothing has changed with this set, I find the price point of $62, acceptable for a 7 piece brush set, but the new one I just purchased from Sephora after Christmas, I picked up for $29. It is no longer available for the lower price but another version is available for $62. I find this an invaluable set, being antibacterial, it may lower my chances of acquiring an infection, due to my compromised immune system.  It is also a good quality brush set that is full, soft, no shedding, and blends beautifully.

 Atelier Cologne Jasmine Angelique Cologne Absolue 200mL and a Personalized Travel Spray 30mL

My August 16th, 2016 blog post The Heat!!! , summed up the difficulty of finding perfumes, body wash, and body lotions that agreed with me.  The staying power of particular scents no longer were the same since the RA diagnosis.  I’ve read that medicines will change your body chemistry, and encourage skin to throw off the scent of perfumes.  I don’t know if that was the case with me but, it has been my experience that perfumes I’ve used for decades, a summer and winter fragrance, no longer smelled the same since the RA diagnosis.  I was introduced to the Atelier Cologne by way of samples and found sweet success. It is pricey and for that reason I did not jump ahead and purchase this big bottle until I had used all the samples I collected at fragrance counters, and had enough confidence in the cologne and my relationship. We have been together for almost a year and have had no adverse or diminished reactions from this product. I love the smell of jasmine mixed with lemon, rather a strong scent that has a major staying power and lingers for hours.  Hopefully I will be able to have a long and loving relationship with this cologne!

  Buxom Lips Off Leash ™ Plumping 15 Piece Mini Lip Collection

A selection of 15 shimmer shine lip polishes and glassy smooth lip creams.  Mini in size, maximal in color, these lip plumping polishes pack a wallop.  In the past I have purchased a full size Buxom Full-On Lip Polish for $20.  thoroughly enjoyed wearing it, loved the color, but it was not worth the price since it only lasted a couple of weeks.   After Christmas, I purchased this collection for $29.50 and I was extremely pleased and didn’t care that a few of the polishes were odd colors.   I can honestly say that I’ve tried all 15 shades (even the ones that did not appeal to me), and loved each and everyone.  Astonishing!!!  They all went on easily and left you with a pleasant tingling sensation.  The moisturizering, non-drying formula was never sticky, greasy, or tacky.  The bonus for using this product is they contain Vitamin A & E, the reason they are so moisturizing.  

 The Buxom lip polishes were an after Christmas splurge since I had already purchased 3 new lip products early fall, and they have been a joy!  I am a fan of the Dior Lip Maximizers and decided to try Dior Addict Lip Sugar Scrub.  It was my intention to use this sugar scrub for sloughing off winter dead skin, but never expected this sugar scrub to exfoliate and leave my lips moisturized and soft.  Always preparing for the fall/winter climate change I also purchased the Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil.  I was enticed to purchase this lip oil by magazine ads, and it was a score!  The lip comfort oil hydrated and soothed my dry skin.  As well as nourishing my lips its fruity smell and hint of color is more than a bonus!  The final lip product, Tatouge Couture Mate Stain by YSL is a new product to market.  It received rave reviews, I fell for it, and all the hype over this product was accurate and true.  YSL states; ” A liquid-matte lip stain that offers a high-impact, ultra-matte color with a lightweight, naked feel.”  true on all accounts and it was non-drying and long wearing.  I have tried many matte stains and have yet to find one that equals this YSL product.

  Becca Beach Tint Fig  

Within the last 14 months whenever I applied make-up, Becca Beach Tint Fig was definitely in the mix.  In My Squirreling Ways!post from October 14, 2016, I mentioned that this product was recommended to me by a cosmetic rep from a store that did not sell this product. Luckily I took her advice and have no regrets.  This cheek and lip tint, (I only used it on my checks) produces a nice, natural, subtle glow to my checks.  It is a nice pop of color in every season, best of all it is enriched with antioxidants and Vitamin E and smells divine!  I especially love that I’ve had no adverse reaction from this product.  

Learning to live with the challenges of Rheumatoid Arthritis is a time-consuming physically challenging grab-bag of learning experiences.  If there is one thing that I can honestly attest, your self-image and happiness are not dependent on how this disease may affect you, self-care, whether medicinal or cosmetic is just as important!  Have a great week!

January 16, 2018


Just some thoughts……

In my lifetime I have started more diets than the passing of ships through the Suez Canal! Each and every time I joined Weight Watchers, Opti-Fast, Medi-Fast, and countless other diets, it was always going to be the final one. My diet always started with a great amount of determination and willpower to succeed, and always seemed to end with a feeling of disgust and disappointment. I was sometimes able to sustain weight lose, but never able to make the lifestyle changes that allowed me to end my dieting dilemmas. I’ll never pish-pish any diet that allows individuals to realize weight lose and a healthy relationship with food, yet it has eluded me for years!

This past December I contacted an online registered dietician named Patty Berry. I was so done with the numerous attempts of starting and learning about different techniques, and it seemed as if this might be more of an educational experience in learning how, what, and when to eat. Well, a little more than a month has passed, I haven’t weighed myself within this time frame, but I do know that it is clicking in the areas we discuss, and I have never felt the confidence that I feel today, that I will never diet again! This journey has been enjoyable and I haven’t felt this content in quite a long time.

Working with Patty is a one to one experience. Even though she is located in San Diego, I touch base with her every couple of days after she has perused my food records, and I have just completed my second online visit with her via the “safe HIPAA compliant platform” this morning. There is no disappointing/negative feelings working with her, there is only support, suggestions, and solutions on how to eat healthy, balanced, and satisfying meals and snacks. There are no foods that are bad, there are meals and snacks to be eaten in very lenient amounts. I laugh to myself when some of her responses to my food records suggest I may not be eating enough, but after further explanation, what she suggests makes perfect sense. So there is no truth in the saying that you; “can’t teach an old dog new tricks” because I am putting that saying to rest!

I occasionally plan on sharing my progress while working with Patty Berry,  and sharing some of the life changing behaviors I am experiencing. RA Style and Flare is a platform where I share positive experiences during challenging times! This is certainly one experience I am so happy to share!  Have a great week, and people in the northeast, stay toasty!

January 2, 2018

A New Year , 365 New Chances!

Some choose January 1st, as the day they have designated to commence work on goal(s) they have identified in their New Year’s Resolutions.  You can tell by reading or hearing in the media advertisements what most people’s goals are for the new year.  The gym and diet program specials have been running for weeks.  It makes perfect sense to start anew on January 1st, but I’ve never realized success in all my many years of resolutions, that this was the best time to commit to life changes.  I think I’ve got this sewn up!

Late November, I realized my weight gain was rather frightening, I had gained approximately 13 lbs. since October 3rd when I was weighed in an emergency room.  It was a wake up call for me to lose weight, my first inclination was to start on January 1st, just a month away!  Feeling so uncomfortable, I didn’t think eating the way I was and limited mobility, waiting to January 1st, was such a great idea.  At this point I contacted Patty Berry RD , and have been following a food plan filled with nourishing food, and sometimes not so nourishing.  I haven’t been perfect following her direction but what I have learned is my goal should never have been to lose weight, it should have been a goal that would make me a healthier and better person.  To achieve this goal I needed to enlist Patty’s  expertise, I’m planning my future by working towards small changes and easing into this new food plan.  I really am embracing change with many of her suggestions and looking forward in becoming mindful and responsible for my food choices, during holidays, in restaurants, and at home.

What has been the most important aspect of working with Patty , is the realization that it doesn’t matter what day you choose to start working on a goal, it just matters that you do.  It doesn’t matter if you hit some bumps in the road, it matters that you cruise on.  New Year’s Day is a national holiday on the first day of the calendar year, but it is not the only day you can start/commit to a goal for the next 365 days, or a lifetime in my situation. 

December 26, 2017

Picture Perfect Christmas!

Christmas is the holy day/holiday commemorating the birth of Christ!  The Christmas Season has been dubbed; “The Most Wonderful Time of The Year”!  Whether you observe this holiday or not, it is virtually impossible to ignore the splendor that besieges you wherever you look at this time.  This holiday season I was inundated with visual representations of Christmas, some outstanding, others missing the mark entirely.  It didn’t matter to me because it really put the holiday season into prospective, because the meaning and rituals of the holiday change as you grow older.  As you get older, the holiday season is not solely about the presents, the traditions, or the foods you eat.  As you get older, the receiving of gifts is of little importance, traditions become memories as the people you have shared holidays with are no long living or no longer live close by, and foods that you normally associate with the holiday, you don’t pretend to like, when you really didn’t.  What made this holiday season, a true joy in the secular sense was the efforts of my neighbors, friends, and family with their effort to celebrate this Christmas!  So I share with you the pictures of the decorations I see when I walk in the daylight hours, drive by in the evening, some home pictures, and Jeff’s attempt to compete with our artistic neighbors.

Each morning Sean Patrick and I walk by this decorated tree that I equate to a train wreck!  It is fun and bizarre, brings a smile to my face, but is totally ridiculous!

Love the way this guy makes Sean Patrick howl with delight!  

Talk about attention to detail, I look for the elves who make the cookies when I walk by!

All year long this holly tree is a sight to see, yet it takes on a more significant meaning during the Christmas season!

Christmas Blooms!

Riding along side the river, it always makes me wonder why they put a Christmas tree on a dock!  Probably to put a smile on my face!

Last year Santa was riding a bicycle, this year he switched to a tractor!

Love this home with the understated lights, shooting star on the roof, and the deer antlers decorating the wreath.

A tasteful reminder of the reason for the season!

Christmas Eve!  Light up the night!

Our tree and decorations!

Jeff’s attempt to get into the game and light up the front of our home!

Nothing deep or profound to say about the holiday season!  I hope all enjoyed their holiday in the way they chose to observe or celebrate it.  Warm wishes to all and may we all have a pain free week.


December 19, 2017

Why Wait for Change?

It’s that time of the year when life is hectic and time seems to fly by!   Enjoying the holidays is a high priority on  most  people’s list.  All the gift buying, food preparation, and decorating can certainly exhaust you!  I’m sitting back, still out of work, and waiting for a date for my shoulder replacement.  Most of the holiday preparation is not doable so I spend my time being miserable and very unhappy with my life.  Well, in early December I recognized that I had more problems than a damaged shoulder.  My biggest challenge has been my weight, and being as heavy as I am, I realize it affects my damaged shoulder.  You may remember some of my posts mentioning my determination to lose weight, that lasted a New York minute.  I shared with my readers the excitement I felt when I embarked upon The Microbiome Diet, it was slow burn that fizzled quickly.  At this time I would be embarrassed to rejoin, for the umpteen time, Weight Watchers!  So instead of waiting for New Year’s Day to start working on a weight loss resolution I contacted a Registered Dietitian, and had my first video Telehealth appointment with her this past Sunday.

Before joining Patty Berry Registered Dietitian online, all I could think about was the changes I would have to make and all the foods that needed to be eliminated in my diet.  Surprisingly this initial meeting was painless, thought provoking, and exciting all at the same time.  She spent quite a bit of time gathering my medical information, my personal goals, and explaining how we were going to work together.

I wanted to share this experience with you because after the meeting was over, I felt a sense of hope and optimism. This could very well be a sustainable plan that would allow me to reach my weight loss goals but most importantly, break the cycle of constantly trying and failing at too many to mention diets.

It seemed to click when I heard that certain foods are not off-limits, I would be eating a healthy diet, not overly complicated, or drastic, just a manageable plan.  I will be keeping food records and Patty will be overseeing my progress by reviewing the records and making suggestions.  She made it clear that she is available to answer any questions I may have before our next mutually agreed upon meeting.  All materials needed for this plan were emailed to me, I was printing them moments after the appointment was over. 

I’m really enthused and anticipate success as well as setbacks that are part and parcel toward improved health.  It is my intention to stick with this plan, hell or high water, I will do it, and rather excited to be part of this program!  So occasionally I will be sharing with you my progress and thoughts on my journey!  Have a great week!  


The Seasons First Snowfall

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