May 29, 2017



All we have of freedom, all we use or know--
This our fathers bought for us long and long ago. 
 ~Rudyard Kipling, The Old Issue, 1899

We will never forget!  MaryAnn & Joy-2017
May 23, 2017


No sooner had I posted an April Birchbox review on May 2nd, another box was at my door.   Taking a quick glance at the contents of this box, and recognizing my affection for two of the brands, I immediately went to work.  Below are the results of the products I tested.

Derma e

Microdermabrasion Scrub|Full-Size, $32.50

The sample size weighed 1/2 oz., enough for 1 and 1/2 applications (I have a large face). The scrubbing beads are finer than most microdermabrasion scrubs, yet  worked as well as the more granular products I have tried.  The scrub left my skin with a glow and smooth appearance, the same results achieved using pricier products.  

Living Proof

Perfect hair Day® (PHD) In-Shower Styler|Full-Size, $24

This is a new Living Proof  product that you apply in the shower after you shampoo and condition.  You liberally apply the product from roots to ends and quickly rinse.  This product is formulated for air-dried hair styles. Products are being introduced often for this type of style and I have yet to try one that achieves the same tousled look that should be rendered.  Air drying your hair is a great way to cut down on time blow drying and exposure to the drying effects of blow drying your hair. This product did absolutely nothing for my hair.  I read some of the given suggestions to braid or put your hair in a bun if you do not have wavy hair.  Well, I do put my hair in a bun when I want air-dried tousled hair and I don’t have to use any product to get it, or maybe the 1 fluid ounce sample was not enough to cover the length of my hair.  

Lord & Berry

Line/Shade Eye Pencil-Black|Full-Size, $19

This is a highly pigmented eyeliner that was easy to apply (no drag), looked sharp, but then the product smudged under my eyes or I wiped my eyes and ruined the look.  I’ve never been a fan of eye pencils, yet this brand that I never heard of, before it arrived, sells quite a selection of eye pencils which I probably will look into.  

Manna Kadar Cosmetics

Glo Illuminator|Full-Size, $29

Glo Illuminator shimmer lotion can be mixed with foundation or worn alone, on face and/or body!  I applied this product on my face and body(well my arm) and there was no shine or glow on me!  I re-applied the product and did not notice any difference.  It is advertised for mature and dry skin, that would be me!  I am accustomed and in love with the Josie Maran Argan Enlightenment Illuminizer and have found this works best for me, not only in appearance but financially.  The Glo Illuminizer is $29/oz, while the Argan Enlightenment Illuminizer  is $26/ 1.5 oz.  


Apres Beach Wave and Shine Spray|Full-Size, $22-$24

These are directions on how to use this product according to Oribe: “Shake. Spray on wet or dry hair. Tousle to taste and let dry in the St. Tropez air.”  I followed the directions both ways to a “t” without traveling to St. Tropez!  My hair looked magnificent, if I say so myself. I haven’t been as enthused with a product, since I picked up the   Gloss Chap Stick Rexall Drug in South Station, decades ago!  

I’m getting extremely impatient with this Birchbox subscription service.  My online profile would suggest that many of the products that do not receive raving reviews never did fit my product preference profile, yet still are sent in my boxes.  Tonight, I did email Birchbox and hopefully they will address the issue, and I will start to receive products and brands  that are of interest to me and my readers.   



May 16, 2017



Summer:  A time from June through August when the days are longest and the nights shortest.  A time to smell freshly cut grass, take meandering bike rides, watch skyrocketing fireworks, and lots of leisurely reading!  Here is my first installment of “Summer Reads”!

Here’s to Us by Elin Hilderbrand

Celebrity chef Deacon Thorpe is found dead at his vacation home.  All of Thorpe’s family, current wife, two ex-wives, and children are summoned to Nantucket, where they will spread his ashes.  The story is told through each character’s point of view.  This is a story of complicated relationships, both past and present, Hilderbrand’s lively character development enhances the entertainment value of this book!  A quick and easy read, exactly what I like on hot and muggy days!

The End of The Point by Elizabeth Graver

A loving look at family over four generations, focusing on a second generation woman who succeeds.  There are triumphs and tragedies; friends and strangers.  The measured pace of the tale is comforting throughout.  I loved it!

The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand

Affairs, tragedy, broken hearts and betrayals can be entertaining, remember Dallas and Dynasty?  This is another Hilderbrand novel told from multiple view points.  This read is filled with descriptions of restaurants, houses, and beaches on the island of Nantucket.  Quick and interesting beach read that will add a little intrigue to a lazy summer day.

In The Company of Women by Grace Bonney

A compilation of beautiful photography and answers to questions posed to creative women entrepreneurs.  Inspiring art and practical advise shared from the women.  Extremely interesting and inspirational!  A great coffee table book that will not disappoint!


Sean Patrick on the road to get his first summer styling!

Two hours later we have a puppy cut Sean Patrick!


May 9, 2017


When you were hired at your first job, I’d bet the farm that most of us never thought about how this was going to affect our social life.  We were happy to just have a job that was going to put cash in our hands, and concentrated how we were going to spend our hard-earned cash!  In essence, this would be considered our first financial plan, what we would do with our pay.  I thought about this because I couldn’t understand why or how I have a financial plan but, no health strategy after being diagnosed with RA.

Things really change when you deal with a chronic disease on a daily basis.  On good days, you may be elated that pain has subsided, but it is difficult to appreciate these days, because you anticipate the return of pain.  It seems like such a waste, wallowing around the time you are feeling great, thinking about what may or may not be ahead.  So I figured I’ll take a lesson from all the organizers, planners, and lifestyle mavens and construct my health strategy.

My life/health strategy is to embrace what I can control and to let go of what I can’t control.  First, I will commit to a health/wellbeing goal to stay active and take medication that may help with the pain.  Secondly, I will plan for times when the disease symptoms are severe.  I will manage my condition day-to-day by eating nutritious food, exercising, and working with a mobility trainer.  My idea of measures of adaptability never included adaptive devises, I will develop new skills and habits that will best work for me.

This all came to light this previous week, experiencing the unpredictable weather, range of temperatures, and torrential downpours.   It was a stressful week, and I knew I had to take steps to manage my condition and maintain some semblance of a healthy lifestyle, while still in pain.  In a nutshell, I’m still learning to adjust my expectations and practice simple self-care.  Have a great week, I intend too!



May 2, 2017


I recently received my second box from BIRCHBOX, the health and beauty product subscription service.  This month’s box is a plain brown box with plain writing on it, plain and unattractive.  Inside the box, it screamed  Lily Pulitzer, pastel beach/island life motif.  I don’t usually purchase things for the packaging, but after using the products sent to me this month, I’m beginning to rethink the value of this service!

What was in my box?  Not all boxes are alike, it depends on your preferences and whether you paid more for the curated box, which I did not!  So here goes:

amika Nourishing Mask/.7 fl. oz sample

All the ingredients in this hair mask suggested to me that it would have a positive effect on my dry hair.  Sadly, the sample was not barely enough to cover my hair.  I did leave it on for more than the suggested 10 minutes.  I cannot discern whether or not the product did not work, due to ingredients or insufficient amount of product.  It did not change the appearance or feel of my hair when dried.   Based on my experience, I probably would not purchase this product.

English Laundry Noting Hill Femme

There was a rather strong scent of bergamot, of which I am not a fan.  It is advertised as a flowery scent, but, you will have to judge if you dare!  I didn’t like it!

The Beauty Crop GRLPWR Lips Liquid Lipstick in Imma Bawse

Not a full size liquid lipstick, but enough to use for more than a week everyday!  This lipstick is a deep rich berry color that stayed on for hours.  Ordinarily, I’m not a fan of the liquid lipstick due the drying nature of the ones I have tried, but I am extremely impressed with this product’s ingredients.  It is enriched with shea butter and vitamin E, that is probably why my lips didn’t dry out!

Ursa Major Fortifying Face Balm/.33 fl oz

I’m always on the hunt for the perfect moisturizer, and I might have scored here!  This fortifying face balm is 100% natural, it smells divine, is lightweight, fast absorbing, matte finish, and just makes my face look better!  I had never heard of this product before, so I visited their website and will purchase their skin trial kit, I will update!

Whish Shave Crave Shaving Cream-Lavender/.75 fl oz

Great shaving cream product, aromatic, and leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth.  The biggest downfall of this product is the price.  A 5oz container costs $16 vs my Gillette Venus Shaving Gel which costs $3.00 for 7oz.  I have no complaints with my shaving gel.  I do like the lavender fragrance of the Whish product, but my Gillette shaving gel does the job, and I like their scent as well!  I will continue my relationship with the Gillette Venus Shaving Gel.

SHOW Beauty Our Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner/.33 fl oz of each

I tried the single pouch of shampoo & conditioner that boasts hair with moisture and shine.  There is nothing else to say about the combo/sample other than, the one time I used it, I really liked the results.

I think you can sense the disappointment I have with my BIRCHBOX subscription.  It is telling when you are happier anticipating the arrival of the box than the samples that have arrived.  I understood completely that I would be receiving samples of products, but can’t help but notice, these are the same samples you can get at the cosmetic counters of department stores and Sephora.  From now on, if BIRCHBOX doesn’t step up their game, all they will be good for is introducing me to products I may not be familiar with, so I’ll extract any useful information I can from the samples sent. 


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