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!

July 11, 2017

Going Natural!

Spring and early summer has left me battling allergies, and the constantly changing weather isn’t helping it either!  I hate calling doctors, I just don’t want them to prescribe any more medications, there is absolutely no more room in my pill-box for any new ones.  So I took it upon myself to monitor and change some of the products I use daily.  It was my intent to replace items that I normally use with natural and/or organic products. Since it was my watery eyes, constant sneezing, and a runny nose that were the problems, I’d start with replacing my soaps, add calming oils to my nightly ritual, and try aromatherapy shower tablets to help me breath.  Earlier this year Reverie Farms of Argyle, Texas sent me two of their natural and organic soap products, I hadn’t tried them yet, so I brought them out and started.  Daily I used the Sensitive Shea Bar Soap and the Peppermint Organic Foaming Soap.  I have sensitive skin and was pleased that I had no adverse reaction to the Sensitive Shea Bar Soap, it left my skin super soft, and moisturized,  without the use of chemicals. The Peppermint Organic Foaming Soap worked beautifully as a hand soap.  I love that the soap not only cleansed my hands, it smelled delicious, and left my hands soft and moist.

The other products I introduced into my daily self-care were the Aura Cacia Purifying Eucalyptus Aromatherapy Shower Tablets and the Relaxing Lavender  Shower Tablets.  

Found the scent not strong, but medicinal.

 

Lavender scent shower tablet was lovely!

The product was rather expensive for not accomplishing what I wanted it to do, relieve some of the congestion and aid in easier breathing, it also bombed out as a shower experience.  You need to know if you use a shower tablet the aroma quickly dissipates into the air and that’s all it does.  Finally I put a towel over my head tried to absorb the aroma of the relaxing lavender tablet, the aroma was good, but it quickly disappeared.  I did not realize any relief from these products.  

Even though I felt confident in what I was attempting to accomplish, relief from allergies, it did me no good!  I finally went to my doctor who explained that any medication used to treat allergies would not affect any of the medication I was taking.  

July 4, 2017

LET FREEDOM RING!

                                  

It is not very often I recognize the silver lining associated with my Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis, but since my diagnosis I realize holidays, whether religious, secular, or patriotic have been a source of stress and exhaustion. Now, I need to listen to my body and do what is right for me, which excludes following any tried or true traditions normally associated with a certain holiday.

So here I am, early morning on the 4th of July, the fifth day of this holiday weekend, thinking about how great I feel.  I participated in all the activities that I had anticipated at my speed,  following a healthy diet, and not feeling deprived because I left early or canceled going to one of the events.  Doing so allowed me to enjoy the true spirit of this holiday and not be so distracted by superficial trends.  I wish you all a very enjoyable 4th of July and look forward to a day filled with sun and fun!

June 27, 2017

I’m In Love!!!!!

I’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of my summer selection of the Rachel Zoe Box of Style!  The summer edition came a couple of weeks ago, and I used all the products in the box, and loved each and every one of them.  My impressions of the products are all positive yet, what baffles me is the amount of time this service was available and I didn’t jump on it!

Helena Quinn Kimono, Retail Value: $120

 This is a light weight, sheer, and slimming Kimono.  I’ve never had one, never wanted one, and now I’m in love with it, and will not live without it!  It is an easy on, easy off Kimono, and so comfortable to wear.  I wore it over a t-shirt and a blouse and it draped beautifully over my husky frame.  Need I say more?

 

RAEN Durante Sunglasse-Black or Tortoise Shell, Retail Value: $150

♥ I chose the polished black frame design.  The glasses are sturdy, comfortable, and have a smokey lens.  I’ve never heard of this company that makes these sunglasses of such high quality at a competitive price point.  So glad I have them, I probably would have walked by them in a store, and now I will not live with this demonstrative pair of sunglasses!  I now know how a movie star feels!

 

♥ A delicate 16″ necklace that I needed help putting on, and it looked fabulous, not because it was on me, just because it  was very pretty to look at.  There is an added bonus when you purchase this necklace, you are supporting the fair trade Cambodian artisans that donate 10% of the sale of this necklace, toward the fight against human trafficking.  The Box of Style Zoe Report stated: “Summer is synonymous with travel, and this handmade necklace is a chic symbol of those sweet escapes we look forward to all year long.  -xo RZ”  I disagree with Rachel Zoe, when I wear this compass necklace, I will be thinking of all the individuals who are helped by the sale of this compass necklace and happy some are able to navigate life on their own terms.  

♥ Lightweight, simple straw hat that stays in my car, at all times!  I thought this hat resembled a casual fedora more than a panama hat, either way it is cute and a lifesaver in last weeks blazing sun.  The pom pom trim adds a dressier look, and it is a great fit for large head individuals, FYI.  The only drawback that I could detect was wearing the hat in the scorching sun and sweating.  This hat does not have a removable/washable terry cloth interior band that soaks up the sweat.  I like the price point, but if you sweat in it, that dried sweat is eventually going to build up and sit against your forehead, yuck!

Beautycounter, Color Pinch Cream Blusher, Retail Value:  $37

Beautycounter, Protect Stick Sunscreen, Retail Value:  $ 18

Both of the Beautycounter products are outstanding.  I love a cream blusher, and this one in the shade Hibiscus, is lovely.  It is a multi-purpose blusher for your cheeks and lips, which weirds me out.  I know my face is clean, but I have a problem putting it to my lips after I have glided the product on my cheeks.  I did try it on checks and lips when I first opened it,  and it looked equally as pretty.  It is extremely easy to apply, it took seconds to yield a nice healthy glow.  The blusher is creamy and highly pigmented.  A bonus when you purchase the blusher is that it is made with organic ingredients.

The sunscreen for the face was not greasy, water-resistant, and had a slight cocoa butter scent, I loved it.  I liked the fact that you reapply the product every two hours, and every 80 minutes when swimming.  It was great on the go, and will be a staple in my bag!  

I don’t know whether I’ve gone a little soft and it may seem pathetic that I act like a kid on Christmas morning when my Box of Style is delivered.  But the adult in me is saying: “wow, $467 worth of product for $100, geewhiz, I’m brilliant”.  I really do look forward to the delivery, now more than ever knowing what quality, variety, and lovely products have crossed my threshold in the past two deliveries!  Have a great week, stay cool!

 

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!  

 

 

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