September 19, 2017

Reflection On Life With RA!

I flatly refuse to let RA define or dictate my life and daily activities. It’s one thing to have no control over the medical treatment I receive, but it’s up to me to deal with the physical and psychological effects that RA challenges me with daily. What I struggle greatly with is being my manager of my physical needs that change way to often. Even possessing an unrelenting strength to succeed, doesn’t always yield positive results. I’ve come to realize that medication alone does not guarantee any quality of life, but I am solely responsible for my quality of life. So once again I reevaluate my commitment to only treat this disease, not live this disease. These are the things I have come up with!

My success is rooted in my attitude and mastery of time management. I must focus on efficiency and prioritize my needs by setting realistic goals. My goals should focus on my environment and passion of acquiring tools that will sustain a gratifying life with RA. I must stay on top of things in spite of challenges. Being goal oriented would include eating healthy, incorporating to-do-lists in my daily life, and making multitasking a thing of the past. It is instrumental for me to periodically reassess what works and what doesn’t, and finally, work harder on things that need change. I’ll never lose as long as I keep trying! Have a great week! Mary Ann

September 12, 2017

Art Naturals

On April 19th, 2016, Essential Oils, was the title of my second blog post when I started writing  RA Style & Flare.   The post was a short review of three essential oils I had tried to reduce dry skin.  At the time I knew nothing about essential oils other than they were an alternative product that could be used to heal skin conditions.  I did find success with one of the three products, yet never really adopted any affection for essential oils.  Well, I am now a total fan of the oils since I was sent samples of the Art Naturals Artisan Oil, Essential 8 Set.   

It wasn’t as if I knew exactly what to do with the oils, so a recipe book explaining the myriad of uses for the 8 different bottles of oils, prompted my experimentation.   I was so excited that I tried many recipes and would like to share my favorites with you.

 In the kitchen, I substituted a few drops of lemongrass oil to the dishwasher rinse dispenser instead of my Finish Rinse Aid.  My dishes came out just as clean and shiny with the addition of the pleasing scent of lemon and sans chemicals.

I now spray my counter tops with lemongrass and tea tree oil mixed with warm water, I enjoy the scent, and my counters are as clean as when I  use my chemically infused products.

 A burst of lavender engulfed my bedrooms when I vacuumed with drops of the lavender in my vacuum bag.

 I added a few drops of sweet orange to my foot bath and didn’t notice any difference in comparison to the bath oils I usually soak my feet in, but now I prefer the scent of sweet orange essential oils in my foot bath.

The list is extensive on how you can use the essential oils. The recipes range from beauty, seasonal scents developed with a combination of oils, as well as aromatherapy play dough and scented finger paints and more!

I discovered the advantages of using these oils are to be cost-effective, as well as having the ability to premix my all-purpose cleaners, carpet deodorizer, and insect repellent as needed.  The icing on the cake is the purging of so many products that contain synthetic compounds rather than the natural oils.  I probably would have never changed my ways if Art Naturals did not include the recipe book that is easy to follow and listed so many ways to use the oils.  It is to my advantage to maintain a healthful lifestyle and I intend to continue to use these essential oils.  Have a great week!



September 5, 2017

First Kitchen Swap Out!

I totally understand the reasons for using adaptive equipment, yet I just can’t bring myself to use any, even though in quite a few situations, it would make my life a lot easier.   I think it’s a psychological thing; if I act as if RA is not a problem, it will go away!  It will never go away and I’m still feeling the sense of personal loss, when everyday activities were not an exhausting experience or an exercise in futility.  This summer I worked on swapping out kitchen ware and kitchen gadgets that challenge me when cooking.  Here are a few that have made life easier:

These are my nesting mixing bowls that I have used and loved for years.  The handle and spout on the bowls were what attracted me to the set, yet it had never occurred to me that the weight of them would be a challenge for me when I was no longer in my twenties, or dealing with a debilitating disease.  So with great sadness they were donated and I purchased….

Cuisinart 3-Piece Mixing Bowls

I should have been using these from day one, they are light, easy to clean, & best of all they have a non-slip bottom that makes life very easy!!!

My garlic press caused problems before my diagnosis yet, I never replaced it until a few months ago.  I now use a stainless garlic rocker that is a breeze to use and easier to clean.

Lemmon squeezers have always posed quite a challenge, especially after a few drinks.  Since my squeezer was rusting out, I took a chance on the Prepara® Glass Juicer.  It’s the best!  Different name and design, but serves the same purpose and more!  This juicer is easy to use and clean, best of all it will store the left over lemon juice in a glass container that will not rust. 

Just a few transitional pieces, I’ll post more as I progress in my quest for a non-adaptive products that make life easier in the kitchen.  Have a great week!



August 15, 2017

Things that work for me this summer!

It may seem odd or delusional, but I believe I’ve found the silver lining of having a chronic disease.  Since I no longer stroll department stores or malls perusing items I may or may not like, I shop with a purpose to hunt down items that accommodate my lifestyle with RA. The items run the gambit of kitchen gadgets, cosmetics, skin care, clothing, and most importantly shoes.  It’s been a blast shopping online and finding things that make my life easier.   It is a great comfort to have clothing that is not a challenge to use or wear, beauty items that don’t irritate my skin and cause problems, or kitchen tools that make life manageable on challenging days. Early this summer I purchased these items and have worn this shirt and used these cosmetics repeatedly since purchase.  The best part was realizing I can recognize by store descriptions and ingredients that I know by previous experience, will agree with me! In no particular order here are my Summer of 2017 favorites! 

  This Rag & Bone 100% cotton, long sleeve, round neck, relaxed fit, and asymmetrical front and sleeve slit t-shirt is first-rate.  It is loose-fitting but not untidy and it soft and a joy to wear. I wear it at every opportunity possible!  

Each morning after I moisturize my face I mix the Becca First Light Priming Filter Instant Complexion Refresh  with my sunscreen and apply.  I use this primer product to even out my skin tone, leaving my skin with a dewy finish.  As a primer, I appreciate how quickly it is absorbed and does not leave my skin greasy.  



Clarins Limited Edition is a trio of bronze tones that renders a natural and healthy glow, not a fake look!  It does not cause any adverse reactions to my sensitive skin and is appropriate for all skin types and skin tones.  I’ll continue to use this product daily into the winter months, without worry of an artificial look.  The compact is sleek and best of all easy to open!



Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Mini is the final product in my summer faves!  I heard so much about this product and only when I was able to find the mini size did I purchase it.  All I use this product for is to brush a bit on my check bones to add a dressier appearance if I’m going anywhere that requires it.  So, it is just a sweep of the brush on my cheekbones, in addition to the previous two items.  How easy is that? 

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I whole heartedly believe I’m now working on a level in most areas of my life, where I’ve assembled, a medical team, household items, clothing, cosmetics, and even friends who make my life not only livable but enjoyable, in spite of Rheumatoid Arthritis!

Have a great week!  

The kids in the neighborhood are getting big!

August 8, 2017

The iluminage Experience!

When life gave me lemons, I went shopping!  I’m on a steadfast path to making my life phenomenal as I confront RA.  Medications, diet, and exercise play vital roles in battling RA, yet the physical side effects of the disease need to be addressed.  I work on finding and trying items that not only make me feel better, they must provide some noticeable improvement as well!  So, with great enthusiasm I purchased three iluminage products that I expected to improve and correct some of my physical concerns.  I chose these three products because I became familiar with the medicinal uses of copper decades ago when my mother fought chronic and terminal illnesses.  I often wondered if copper technology really worked or was my mother being gracious when telling her well-meaning friends that the copper bracelet made a difference. So here are my findings and without any regrets or disappointment, I’m pleased that I tried these products.

  The iluminage Rejuvenating Sleep Masks purpose is to minimize the appearance of wrinkles with the embedded mineral copper that possesses skin-enhancing properties.  The copper is responsible for the skin’s renewal process.  After five weeks of dedicated wearing of this sleep mask, I did not notice any significant difference in the appearance of wrinkles. What I did love about this mask was that it did not sit on my eyes, it contoured to my eyes and blocked light completely.  It also has small and narrow pockets on the interior where I added a drop of lavender oil that I enjoyed.  Unlike the less costly face masks with “wake me up for champagne” or “zzzzzzz’s” printed on the mask,  I would not be embarrassed  to wear this soft and silky mask on any plane or anywhere for that matter.  This mask is one size fits all, adjustable, and washable.  It is made of 100% Cupron® cooper oxide polyester.  No, it did not succeed in minimizing the appearance of wrinkles, but it was a welcome discovery of a comfortable and light blocking mask. 

  The iluminage Skin Rejuvenating Socks are a big hit with me!  My dry and scaly feet responded in a positive way, but I applied a thick cream, before putting on these socks. The socks are woven with high-tech copper infused thread, so it should repair and replenish, moisture on dry feet.  These are cushioned socks are extremely comfortable with shoes and wearing them at night.  My feet still look like crap, I didn’t notice any of the “skin’s renewal process” by wearing these socks, but I did notice a softer sole and loved the comfort level of these socks.  The socks are made of 89%Cupron® copper-infused polyester, 9%nylon, and 2% spandex.  The socks are non-irritating and washable by hand.  If I had the money, I’d probably buy a half dozen of them and wear them all the time. 

  I didn’t “turn back the hands” of time but I absolutely loved iluminage Skin Rejuvenating Gloves.  Once again, they are embedded with patented copper technology and are supposed to change the appearance of your hands in four weeks by promoting the growth of proteins in the skin.  I just put them on each night over my La Mer hand treatment and enjoyed how my hands felt each morning.  The slight compression of these gloves felt wonderful!  The compression gloves that I fight to keep on longer than five minutes were of no use, at least these gloves were extremely comfortable.  Hand washable, made of 88% Cupron® copper infused nylon and 12% spandex.  I really like these gloves and think they are worth the price!

There is nothing in my power I won’t do or try to make my life more comfortable with RA. There are hits and there are misses, and not all things I do affects the RA, they just make me more comfortable.  So, when there are nights I don’t sleep, it doesn’t matter that I have dark circles under my eyes, it matters that when I was having a rough night, a comfortable mask made it bearable.  I’m not just throwing darts at a random list, I’m just flushing out anything and everything that will allow me to live life with style and flare!  Have a great week!





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