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 29, 2017

benefit sizzlin Six Review!

It’s back to school next week, and Nordstroms Half-Year Sale is behind me!  It was a great time to purchase reasonable beauty sets for a fraction of the price, to try.  The sale coincides with my major cleaning out of all cosmetics & brushes, so I have room to grow! 

I’m going back to work and arming myself with all the tools of my trade, cosmetics being way up on the list.  My makeup camouflages and allows me to feel confident and looking my best, no matter what type of day I’m having.  I constantly adjust my products by season due to climate change and facial requirements.   I know I will continue to use my Clarins Bronzing & Blush Compact and the Becca First Light Priming Filters, into the fall, yet couldn’t resist trying the benefit sizzlin Six set from Nordstroms this season.   There were six products in the set, what attracted me to the set was the inclusion of the mascara that I had previously sampled out of a Birchbox selection and loved.  To bad I didn’t take a closer look at what I was buying, the mascara was not the same but, here are my results of the sampler! 

Stay Don’t Stray is a primer that you apply on eyelids and under eyes. Primers are meant to even out discoloration on eyelids and under eye dark circles. It definitely worked, just as well as my usual product, Urban Decay Original Eyeshadow Primer Potion. Even though the two products yielded the same results, I will change brands even though the benefit product is more expensive because it contains sodium hyaluronate (hydrates) and the Vitamins C & E, which combats the signs of aging.  That’s all I needed to know to jump on board!  I’ll give it a serious whirl and let you know if there is a noticeable difference with the benefit product.                                                                               

The Hoola Matte Bronzer is benefit’s award-winning bronzing powder.  The bronzer was buildable and stayed on all day.  I found the small, non-closable compact a nuisance.  It only contained one natural color that would limit daily wearability for me!  It did not compare to my Clarins Bronzing & Blush Compact.  The flexibility of a bronzer of different shades in addition to a blush, makes Clarins Bronzing & Blush heads above the rest.

Being of a certain age, I remember the rage surrounding the benetint rose tinted lip & check stain.  I hoped on that wagon and thankfully, didn’t purchase the full size.  The results from trying both these cheek and lip stains, were the same, dismal.  I encountered the same challenges with the poisetint as I did with the benetint.  You must work fast when applying the product to your checks, or you will be left with streaks of color.  I couldn’t get used to applying this product on my cheeks and using it as a lip stain, failed, conceptually, I want to love this product, but it just doesn’t work for me.  I think it’s gimmicky!  

benefit high beam is a liquid high lighter that worked beautifully.  It is a long-lasting high lighter that I wore to brighten my complexion.   I liked it, but will continue using  Josie Maran  Argan Enlightenment Illuminizer.

“that gal” brightening face primer they’re Real! mascara were both serviceable products.  The face primer was no better or worse than many other less expensive ones.  The they’re Real! mascara is a lengthening mascara that I applied and re-applied until I looked as if I was auditioning for a position as an exotic dancer.  I do love the benefit Roller Lash Mascara that I previously sampled from the Birchbox.

For the amount of money I spent for this sampler, it was not worth it! I’m easily enticed by advertising, and sometimes it’s a hit or miss.   The only addition from this sampler will be the  Stay Don’t Stray primer, because it contains ingredients which combats the signs of aging.  Have a great week and a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!








August 22, 2017

Labor Day Lament! 2017

On September 6, 2016 last year’s blog post focused on Labor Day being the end of summer for me, even though September 22nd was the official end date.  Labor Day being the end of summer fueled me with anticipation of all the work I/we needed to accomplish before the winter and holiday season was upon us.  This year I’ve adopted a totally different outlook regarding the end of summer. I’ve decided Labor Day will not mark my end of summer, I’ll live the endless summer for as long as possible.  I’ve made a list of things I will continue to enjoy until the actual end of summer in September and beyond, until the weather makes it impossible.   So here is to living in the present and a few of the things from the summer of 2017 that I intend to continue to enjoy…..

In the morning I’ll sit on the porch, sipping coffee with my friends!

Sitting around the bonfire on weekend evenings!

Have picnics at the beach and enjoy the view!

Enjoy all my fresh produce, yogurt, and eggs from 4 Town Farm!

Appreciate the landscape at my home that Jeff painstakingly works on!

Continue to explore local areas where we can take Sean Patrick for new and fresh walks! 


I’m working on relaxing and not being controlled by real or imagined time restraints. I’m taking each day appreciating all the good and positive things that are in my life.  I work on not worrying about life’s deadlines, expectations, and societal norms. Everyday I put one foot in front of the other, with or without pain, and surround myself with positive individuals that support and encourage my lifestyle.  Living with a chronic illness is a challenge, and it is the most difficult challenge imaginable.  To focus on only the challenges of the illness, will certainly rob you of the goodness that inherently surrounds you!  Have a great week and I’m leaving you with pictures of my Old Orchard Beach vacation.  





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!

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