Author Archive: FiftySetGo!

My Rocky Road Recipe, Christmas Candy at It’s Finest!

When I was a child, I don’t remember a lot of cool holiday traditions.  I do remember the baking and the candy.  Cookies, pies, fudge, and my favorite, the mother’s Rocky Road.  It was a delicious candy involving chocolate and marshmallows.  What child or adult doesn’t love chocolate and marshmallows?  That pan of candy goodness was the one tradition I remember clearly (along with some kick ass fudge) and was my childhood favorite.

She never shared the recipe with me, and I never saw her make it.  When I grew up, I asked her what was in it.  She rattled off a few things and that was that.  So, based on what I remembered, I made up my own version of that candy I loved as a child…with my own awesome twist.

Funny story, I once had a boss who LOVED my Rocky Road!  He looked forward to it each year.  Right before I moved cross country, he asked if I would still send him a batch at Christmas.  I think I did for many years…

BONUS!  This recipe can be made vegan very easily by simply substituting vegan ingredients.  Enjoy!

Rocky Road Recipe

To save this recipe, right-click the image and choose “save image as…”

Now, I wonder whatever happened to the mother’s ancient copy of the blue Betty Crocker Cookbook…there was an amazing recipe for Boston Cream Pie in that book…

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Holiday Gift Guide for Teens and Tweens

fa la la love your skinKids these days have so much more than we had when we were kids.  While the times have changed, a few basics remain.  Kids need to learn how to care for their skin now just as we did back in the day.  The willa line of products was developed for teens and tweens as an answer to a young mother searching for safe products for her daughter after she herself had a skin cancer scare.  You can take advantage of our holiday specials and introduce the gift of healthy skin to a new generation!

BUY 2 GET 1 FREE WILLA REGIMENS

The willa line has two regimens perfect for teens and tweens (and adults too!)  The B2G1 special can be used for any combination of the two, giving you better savings and more gifting power.

The Essentials Regimen is a gentle system that gets girls started on the daily routine of cleansing, hydrating, and protecting. This Regimen also comes with a detoxifying peel-off charcoal mask that can be used as a weekly skin rest or for a fun girls night in. This regimen is also good for adults who need a little less hydration and blemish control.

The Essential Regimen includes: Start Fresh Foaming Face Wash, Zero Shine Mattifying Moisturizer, Face The Day SPF 30, and Peel Away Charcoal Mask.

The Clear Skin Regimen uses gentle yet powerful blemish-banishing ingredients to treat and prevent breakouts while calming and soothing to reveal skin that’s smooth, bright, clear and always protected.

The Clear Skin Regimen includes: Clear Skin Exfoliating Cleanser, Pore Perfector Breakout Banisher Pads, Zero Shine Mattifying Moisturizer, and Face The Day SPF 30 Tinted Protection.

Now through December 19, we are offering a BUY 2 GET 1 FREE Holiday Special on the willa regimens!  This is the best deal for these amazing products as it breaks down to $32 per regimen.  This is a great way to introduce The Essentials or Clear Skin Regimens to the younger crowd.  You can choose all one or mix and match the two regimens.  The willa Regimens regularly retails for $68, or if you prefer a replenishment subscription (your choice of 4, 6, or 8 weeks) it’s $48.  Retail Cost Savings: $48 on three.

Tip: Mattifying Moisturizer is great for those who live in humid climates and Start Fresh Foaming Face Wash is wonderful for boys to use for shaving!

BUY 3 GET 1 FREE Holiday Specials

XO Lip Oil
Receive four of our popular XO Coconut Lip Oils for $36 (Retail Value: $48) and gift them to everyone you know!  Our lip oils are perfect for stocking stuffers, teacher gifts, hostess gifts, gifts for coworkers, and more!  infused with a rich mix of argan, marula, coconut and avocado oils, this transparent gel-oil hybrid leaves lips balmy-soft and subtly luminous. Regularly $12 each, you will pay only $9 each.  Retail Cost Savings: $12

BONUS: As part of the Willing Hearts Project and our overall Force For Good movement, we are committed to giving $1 from each XO Lip Oil (Coconut or Peppermint flavors) sold to benefit single mothers who are homeless, living in shelters or just struggling to make a difference in the lives of their families.

PEEL AWAY Charcoal Mask

An original in our willa line of projects, the PEEL AWAY Charcoal Mask is for everyone.  Teenage girls and boys love it.  Adult women and men love it (ask me about my bestie’s hubster who is addicted to this product!)  Our peel-away mask reveals a fresh, glowy complexion thanks to nutrient-rich charcoal which draws out impurities and refines pores for smoother, brighter skin…and it is easy to peel off!  Regularly $14 each, you will pay only $10.50 each.  Retail Cost Savings: $14

TAKE ACTION Acne Spot Treatment

Another from our willa line, the TAKE ACTION Acne Spot Treatment combines Salicylic Acid with willow bark, lavender, and peppermint extracts to help unclog pores and reduce redness fast.  Teens use them.  Adults use them.  I use them for my occasional breakouts!  Regularly $14 each, you will pay only $10.50 each.  Retail Cost Savings: $14

I’d love to help you give the gift of safe, effective products to the teens and tweens in your life.  I’m easy to reach by email, through my Facebook Page, or you can come on over and join Penny’s Lounge, my super special Facebook community of fun folks who hang out, visit, listen to records and right now, sharing cookie recipes.  I can help you solve your gifting dilemmas this holiday season!

Christmas Gift Guide for Women from Willing Beauty, or…What To Buy My Wife for Christmas?

Photo Nov 21, 11 21 42 PMJingle all the way-HEY!  Have I got some great deals for you to give to the special ladies in your life – wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, bestie, grandmother, aunt, cousin, niece…you get the idea!  Willing Beauty has something for everyone!  Now through December 19 you can purchase our most popular items and save.  Who doesn’t like to save money during the holidays?

The BEST Deal for Healthier Skin!

HY+5 Regimen
If you know someone who cares about what they put on their skin and avoids the toxins in traditional products, then the HY+5 Regimen is the ticket. Our HY+5 Regimen is an age-defying, interactive, streamlined skincare system of five products that fight the signs of aging while providing advanced hydration and protection against environmental aggressors. Each product is feather light in texture and contains a customized dose of our proprietary HY+5 Complex, rich in hyaluronic acid plus 5 forces of nature – vitamin C, prickly pear cactus seed oil, marine glycoproteins, alpine edelweiss flower, and deep sea hydrothermal enzymes, all known for their ability to survive and thrive in some of the most compromising climates.

The Regimen includes: Do Over Nourishing Cleanser, Daydream Illuminating Day Moisturizer, Partner In Time Age-Defying Night Serum, Get Set SPF 30 Tinted Primer, Sleepover Replenishing Night Cream.  Now through December 19, we are offering a HY+5 Holiday Special BUY 2 GET 1 FREE!  This is the best deal for this amazing product as it breaks down to $65 per regimen.  This is a great way to introduce HY+5 to your family and friends (and maybe keep one for yourself!

The HY+5 Regimen regularly retails for $138, or if you prefer a replenishment subscription (your choice of 4, 6, or 8 weeks) it’s $98.  Retail Cost Savings: Over $200 on three

Looking for stocking stuffers, teacher’s gifts, or little treats for your loved ones? Check out these BUY 3 GET 1 FREE Specials!

XO Lip Oil
Receive four of our popular XO Coconut Lip Oils for $36 (Retail Value: $48) and gift them to everyone you know!  Our lip oils are perfect for stocking stuffers, teacher gifts, hostess gifts, gifts for coworkers, and more!  infused with a rich mix of argan, marula, coconut and avocado oils, this transparent gel-oil hybrid leaves lips balmy-soft and subtly luminous.

Regularly $12 each, you will pay only $9 each.  Retail Cost Savings: $12

BONUS: As part of the Willing Hearts Project and our overall Force For Good movement, we are committed to giving $1 from each XO Lip Oil (Coconut or Peppermint flavors) sold to benefit single mothers who are homeless, living in shelters or just struggling to make a difference in the lives of their families.

PEEL AWAY Charcoal Mask

An original in our willa line of projects, the PEEL AWAY Charcoal Mask is for everyone.  Receive four for $42 (Retail Value: $56.)  Teenage girls and boys love it.  Adult women and men love it (ask me about my bestie’s hubster who is addicted to this product!)  Our peel-away mask reveals a fresh, glowy complexion thanks to nutrient-rich charcoal which draws out impurities and refines pores for smoother, brighter skin…and it is easy to peel off!

Regularly $14 each, you will pay only $10.50 each.  Retail Cost Savings: $14

TAKE ACTION Acne Spot Treatment

Another from our willa line, the TAKE ACTION Acne Spot Treatment combines Salicylic Acid with willow bark, lavender, and peppermint extracts to help unclog pores and reduce redness fast.   Receive four for $42 (Retail Value: $56.)  Teens use them.  Adults use them.  I use them for my occasional breakouts!

Regularly $14 each, you will pay only $10.50 each.  Retail Cost Savings: $14

DAYDREAM Illuminating Day Moisturizer

A perfectly light daytime moisturizer that the provides instant hydration that lasts all day, DAYDREAM Illuminating Day Moisturizer is a lightweight formula that delivers our antioxidant-rich HY+5 COMPLEX™ and moisturizes the skin so your complexion looks and feels softer, more supple.  Receive four for $72 (Retail Value: $96.)  Part of the HY+5 Regimen, it is a wonderful solution for someone who wants a light, hydrating solution.

Regularly $24 each, you will pay only $18 each.  Retail Cost Savings: $24

I’d love to help you give the gift of safe, effective, more affordable beauty.  I’m easy to reach by email, through my Facebook Page, or you can come on over and join Penny’s Lounge, my super special Facebook community of fun folks who hang out, visit, listen to records and right now, sharing cookie recipes.  I can help you solve your gifting dilemmas this holiday season!

Willing Beauty Black Friday Small Business Saturday Cyber Monday Ultimate HY+5 Regimen™ Special

She’s checking her list, she’s checking it twice, have you been naughty or nice?  Who cares!  Willing Beauty has something extra special for everyone on your list. It’s the ultimate Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday gift all rolled into one gorgeous package!

Our signature HY+5 Regimen™ retails for $138. When you purchase on no-brainer replenishment, the subscription price drops to $98. That’s a nice savings of $40, right?

Hold onto your Santa hats, it’s gonna get a whole lot better!

Now through November 30th, 2017 at 11:59pm CT, you can purchase the HY+5 Regimen™ on Buy 2 Get 1 Free for only $196. That is a whopping $200 savings on the best better-for-you, clean, safer, nasty toxic chemical free skincare in town!

This breaks down to $65 (plus tax) per regimen. Say What?  You read that right.
$65 per regimen! That’s an additional $33 savings!
High-end skincare at a crazy affordable price!  I would be speechless if I wasn’t so darn excited!

Now, I’m not gonna lie. I love a good sale. I’ve been thinking, how can YOU best take advantage of this special?  There are a couple ways to approach this.

  1. Make the purchase and gift the extra regimens to your special peeps. Your mom, sister, daughter, bestie, husband, boyfriend, brother, dad. HY+5 may be in pretty packaging, but it really is for everyone!
  2. You and two of your special peeps can go in on the purchase with you. Then three of you can benefit from the savings!

This is a great opportunity for those who have never tried HY+5 to give it a whirl. What a wonderful way to try it out, or if you already love it, share the gift of beautiful skin with others!

What are the benefits? 

Our website says it best:

Our proprietary HY+5 Complex™ is the cornerstone of our age-defying regimen and is designed to defend against environmental aggressors that your skin faces daily (UVA/UVB rays, pollution, a harsh climate) that can lead to lines, wrinkles, and discoloration.

HY+5 Complex™ also replenishes and restores your complexion with vital moisture, nutrients and antioxidants to fulfill your desire for soft, supple, youthful-looking skin that glows and radiates health and happiness.

Plus it’s free of harsh chemicals, toxins, parabens and synthetic fragrance, making it a better, healthier, choice. 

This stunning before and after photo tells the story.

I’d love to help you and yours give the gift of safe, effective, more affordable beauty.  I’m easy to reach by email, through my Facebook Page, or you can come on over and join Penny’s Lounge, my super special Facebook community of fun folks who hang out, visit, listen to records and share all kinds of fascinating tidbits. Let me help you Be Beautiful and Be Willing this holiday season!

Hugs and sloppy kisses,

Penny

Making a Wishlist and Checking it Twice

Have you started your holiday shopping yet?  Better still, have you told the treasured WBC_WishList (1)-page-001peeps in your life what YOU would like to receive this holiday season?

I’ve got the cutest little Wishlist downloadable for you!  Click here to download a copy of the Wishlist I am using this holiday season.  On it you’ll find space to include:

  • Name of the person you are shopping for
  • Budget that you want to work within
  • What the product is you would like to buy
  • The SKU number to make finding that product all the easier.

I am using this for all my treasured peeps, whether I am gifting them Willing Beauty products or not!  You can also fill this wishlist out and give it to your loved one – a little hint-hint to ensure you receive what you really want.  (WINK-WINK!)

Better still, if your holiday wish is from Willing Beauty, you can send me a picture of your wishlist and a way to email or text your wishlist to your treasured peeps.  I’ll be happy to deliver it to them and help them do their shopping!  Who doesn’t want to give and receive better-for-you, safer, effective, clean products that are safe for sensitive skin and pregnant women, and free of parabens, sulfates, mineral oils, DEA, phthalates, chemical sunscreens and synthetic fragrances at a more affordable price?

We have some wonderful holiday specials that you and yours may want to take advantage of, including HY+5 Regimens™ and Stocking Stuffers (or teachers gifts, or hostess gifts…):

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Stocking Stuffers are available while supplies last.  The HY+5 special is good through November 30.

I’d love to help you and yours give the gift of safe, effective, more affordable beauty.  I’m easy to reach by email, through my Facebook Page, or you can come on over and join Penny’s Lounge, my super special Facebook community of amazing folks who are also sharing their holiday traditions and preparing for the best holiday season yet. I’ve got my Santa hat on for you!

 

 

 

Shop Willing Beauty for Holiday Skin You will Love!

You’re checking your list.  You’re checking it twice.  

You’re planning gifts whether they’ve been naughty or nice.  You’re busy with work/school/kids/home/pets/LIFE!  You wonder, “How will I be able to do it all this holiday season?”  You, my friend, you need an elf.

I give you permission to slow down.  Take a breath.  Sit quietly. Enjoy the moment.  I’m the elf with a little something in my holiday gift sack to help you out with everybody on your list.

This year you can give the gift of safer, affordable, better-for-you products for you and your loved ones.  Products that harness the power of nature to bring your skin exactly what it needs, without the use of those nasty ingredients like phthalates, parabens, DEA, sulfates, mineral oils, chemical sunscreens, and synthetic fragrances.  Doesn’t that sound wonderful?  Here’s what I’ve got in my sack for you:

For the Grown-Up Ladies…

Now through November 19th at 11:59pm CT we are offering a free PARTNER IN TIME Age-Defying Serum with the purchase of a HY+5 Regimen.  This gift with purchase is available for both one-time purchases or No-Brainer Replenishment orders.  This is the gift that gives and gives.  I use PARTNER IN TIME as part of my night-time routine.  I also apply it to the backs of my hands every morning.  Oh, how I wish I had taken before/after photos of my hands!  It’s a guilty pleasure and the product we offer with the highest concentration of our HY+5 Complex™. Take that wrinkles and fine lines!

BORN TO GLOW Skin Elixir is another wonderful indulgent item that everyone’s skin loves!  Use it after washing and before moisturizing to give your skin an extra boost of moisture.  Use it on your cuticles, elbows, toes and heels – anywhere your skin could use a little extra TLC.

For the Grown-Up Men…

Man ShavingYes!  Men all across the land are Willing too!  START FRESH Foaming Face Washis a favorite for shaving.  In fact, some say they’ve never had a finer shave!  Men are sneaking into their wives and kids stash of PEEL AWAY Charcoal Masks so they too can have soft, glowing skin.  In fact, I know a fellow whose wife has had to limit him to using it only once a week, as he wanted to use it once a day!  He loves feel of his skin after the mask.  Many men are using the HY+5 and the willa regimens as part of their daily routine and begging their wives to keep them stocked up.

Girl with SPFFor the Teens and Tweens…

The willa line is perfect to get your child started with a good skin-care regimen.  The Clear Skin Regimen is perfect for the child who battles breakouts.  The Essentials Regimenworks well for the child who has only occasional breakouts.  The ZERO SHINE Mattifying Moisturizer is well loved by  my friend’s 15 year old who cares about his skin but prefers not to look like he cares about his skin.  FACE THE DAY SPF 30 Tinted Protection is perfect for kids to use when learning the importance of protecting their skin from sun damage.

Stocking Stuffers!

We have four-packs of all the favorites!  Each are Buy 3 Get 1 Free, so they are easy on the gift giving budget.  They make great stocking stuffers as well as hostess and thank you gifts this holiday season and beyond.  Choose from the XO Lip Oil Mulit-Pack (2 original and 2 peppermint,) DAYDREAM Illuminating Day MoisturizerPEAL AWAY Charcoal Mask and TAKE ACTION Acne Spot Treatment Pen(which I keep in my purse to use the moment I feel a blemish starting.)  In packs of four, you can cover a lot of gifting ground!

Wait, There’s More!

All of our regimens purchased between November 1 and December 20 will ship in our gorgeous new holiday packaging.  You don’t have to wrap it, just add a bow and a gift tag and you’re all set!  And remember, between now and November 15, the HY+5 Regimen ships with a bonus PARTNER IN TIME.

This elf is ready to help you handle your list!  Give me a shout and I can answer your questions. I’m easy to reach by email, through my Facebook Page, or you can come on over and join Penny’s Lounge, my super special Facebook community of amazing folks who are also preparing for a crazy holiday season. I’ll be waiting with bells and a green pointy hat on.

Should I Become a Willing Beauty Crush Insider or a Beauty Advisor?

If you’ve been around the Willing Beauty world you’ve heard the terms “Crush Insider”, “Crush Club”, “Golden Heart Rewards” and “Beauty Advisor” and, quite frankly, you may be confused.  Good golly, I know I was when I first started!  What are these things?  Why should you care?  Seriously.  Is it important?  Yes.  Yes it is.  Let me break it down for you.

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The Crush Club is Willing Beauty’s “frequent buyer program” or “customer reward program” and it costs nothing to join (and I recommend that EVERYONE join.) NOTHING!  It’s FREE TO JOIN!!  Membership has its perks, and you get some nice ones.  When you join The Crush Club you become a…

Crush Insider, which of course is a member of The Crush Club.  Crush Insiders, or CIs as we like to call them, receive a personal Willing Beauty Website upon joining.  Why do you want that?  To purchase your Willing Beauty products from, of course!  Every purchase made through YOUR personal website earns you Golden Heart Rewards.  You can also share YOUR personal website with friends and families so they can make purchases too!  “Why would I want to do that?” The answer is simple.  So you can earn even more…

Golden Heart Rewards! These are your “frequent buyer points” and you earn 10 for every dollar you spend.  If you have friends and family who purchase using your website, you will also earn GHR for THIER purchases.  Get it?  Pretty cool!  Golden Heart Rewards can then be redeemed at the time of purchase to offset the cost of your product or, depending on how many you have saved up, to receive free product.  If you want to be a Beauty Advisor save your GHR!  Once you hit 3,500 you can redeem them to become a Beauty Advisor at no additional cost!

Wait.  What?  Why would I want to do that?

BA vs Crush ClubBeauty Advisors are people who want to build a business or receive the product they love at a discounted price.  Beauty Advisors in good standing receive a minimum 25% discount on products.  That percentage goes up depending on how much product you and your customers purchase each month.

How do you stay in good standing?  Maintain the minimum Personal Volume required over a two month period.  That’s basically a Hy+5 Regimen and an XO Lip Oil every two months.  And if you decide to cash in your Golden Heart Rewards to become a Beauty Advisor?  You get to keep all of your customers!  Nothing changes for them, and you have an instant business.

Choices, choices!  If you like earning points, become a Crush Insider and earn points on what you purchase or what your friends and family purchase.  If you prefer shopping at a discount or you wish to build a business, become a Beauty Advisor.

Does that make sense?  Have I muddied the water?  Are you dying to know more?  Give me a shout and I can answer your questions.  I’m easy to reach, shoot me an email, send me a message from my Facebook Page, or join Penny’s Lounge, my super special Facebook community of fun-loving folk who care about things like sweet tea and noodles.  I’ll be happy to hear from you!

 

 

Giveaway Winners and October Specials!

Peppermint Lip Oil is officially for sale!  It was fun to kick off the launch with a contest.  A big ole congratulations to the Peppermint Lip Oil Giveaway winners!  Shaindel and Linda will both be receiving a red-hot, just arrived, I haven’t even tried it yet, Peppermint Lip Oil.  The packaging is so pretty!  I do love red…

October is full of pretty autumn leaves and pumpkin everything.  As we settle into all that Fall represents (unless you are in Florida, then it’s just another Summer month,) some of us have a little voice in the back of our head saying “Christmas is almost here!”

Some of us jump for joy.  Some of us shrug it off.  Some of us panic.  So many gifts to buy, so little time!  Willing Beauty is making it a little easier to get ready for the holidays.

Not only is there the limited edition Peppermint Lip Oil, we are offering two opportunities to buy one now and get one for next time…

 

 

 

The Story of Peppermint and a Giveaway!

Peppermint XO 2 TINYOnce upon a time in a land way up north, there was a jolly man and his jolly wife who just wanted to make people happy.  They came up with many ideas, and they finally settled on celebrating the holiday season, especially Christmas.

They began building a factory and distribution center so they could make toys for children all over the world.  They hired quirky elves because they fit right in!  They designed a state of the art transportation system so that the jolly man could deliver the toys in one night.  It was all quite magical!  Everything was clicking and children all over the world were happy.  But it wasn’t enough.  The jolly man and his wife needed to do more.  They needed to give back to the adults as well.  What could they do?

Holiday flavors and scents.  Things that smelled and tasted like holiday cookies and candies, potpourris and sachets.  Things that would remind a person of Christmas and holidays past. Evergreen.  Gingerbread.  Citrus.  Cinnamon.  Berries.  Cloves.  Apple pie.  Pumpkin Pie.  Mincemeat Pie.  Pecan Pie.  Pinecones.  Sugar Cookies.  Turkey.  Ham.  Fruitcake (possibly a less than stellar choice.)  Rum Balls.  Eggnog.  Peppermint…PEPPERMINT!

Peppermint became a very popular seasonal staple, with adults across the land enjoying the flavor and scent in things like candies, cakes, ice cream, cookies, coffee, candles, essential oils, and luxury personal care items. Lotions.  Soaps.  Lip Balms.  Lip Oil.  To make this happen, the jolly man and his wife needed to expand their distribution system.  They set to work with retailers and direct sellers across the land to make that happen.  Soon all the flavors and scents were everywhere!  The jolly man even spoke to me and asked me if I could help deliver special Lip Oil across the land.  I, of course, said yes!  XO Lip Oil is amazing.  Peppermint XO Lip Oil?  OH MY!

Coming in October, XO Lip Oil will be available in PEPPERMINT!  These are perfect as stocking stuffers, office gifts, hostess gifts, girls-night-out gifts, Christmas gifts, and just giving out to family and friends!  Where the XO Lip Oil smells like you are at a beach resort, the Peppermint XO Lip Oil is all about peppermint holiday goodness.  I happen to have a few on the way.  Would you like to be added to my waitlist?  Click here, read the instructions and fill out the order form.  I’ll shoot you back an invoice and when they arrive I’ll get your order in the mail to you.

In the spirit of the jolly man and his wife, how about a giveaway?  YES!  Click here to view the “how to enter” information (no purchase necessary!)  On Wednesday, October 4 I will draw two lucky winners who will each receive a Peppermint XO Lip Oil!  How awesome is that?

Let’s recap, Peppermint Lip Oil is coming soon, I’ve got some that you can pre-order, and I’m doing a giveaway.  This pleases the jolly man and his wife, and I hope it pleases you!  If you have any questions, drop me a note at penny.fiftysetgo@gmail.com or message me on Facebook.  Here’s to Peppermint dreamin’ on such a winter’s day…

Penny

 

Hurricane Irma, Before, During, After


Shell shocked. 

One week ago today I sealed the house, locked my doors, and wondered if I would ever see it again. 

I moved from California to Florida 20 years ago this month. My plane landed the evening of September 21, 2017.  It was a new adventure, living in a city that I fell in love with the first moment I saw it. 

We’ve had storms over the years. Tropical weather, Cat 1 hurricanes. We’ve had scares. Remember Charlie? He scared the hell out me up until he took an odd east turn and destroyed the center of the state. We’ve had nothing like Hurricane Irma. 

Usually, there is about a week of warnings. A week. A week of every news organization, local and national, warning of every conceivable bad thing a hurricane can bring. Death. Destruction. Mayhem. Heartbreak. Devastation. They thrive on it. They spend every moment warning of the upcoming apocalypse. It’s their job. 

The meteriorologists and anchors love a good hurricane. They become giddy at the idea of 24-hour coverage, meyham, death, and destruction. High winds will take down mobile home parks, trees, and roofs. Heavy rains will bring street flooding. Storm surge will bring worse. WE MUST WARN THE PUBLIC! Yes, they must, and it’s overwhelming. 

A week of these messages leaves a person battered and bruised before the storm even arrives. 

Then there is Storm Anxiety. That feeling of dread that takes over. The inability to decide, do I stay or do I go? For me, the inability to eat without running to the bathroom. Constant nausea. I lost five pounds in four days. Five pounds. Four days. Think about that. Storm Anxiety brought me the need to lay in a fetal position. All day. Storm Anxiety led me to accept the fact that I would not have a home when all was said and done. 

My Storm Anxiety set in on Monday September 4. I was scheduled to work only Tuesday and Wednesday that week, as I had taken a few vacation days to “relax and rejuvenate” after a crazy couple of months. Ha. Irma had other plans. That damn Irma. 

The reports stated that: 

  • Irma was going to take out the Keys. 
  • Irma was going to take out South Florida. 
  • Irma was going to take out the Tampa Bay Area. 
  • Irma was going to come right on up and wipe out St Petersburg. 
  • I live in St Petersburg. 

I reserved a rental car that Tuesday for a Friday pick up. I had a list of what to pack and a doctors appointment on Thursday to refill my blood pressure meds. Kind of a necessary appointment. 

By Thursday, Irma had shifted east enough that I cancelled the car and used that money to trim up my front trees. I went to the doctor. The pharmacy screwed up my order. They said to return on Friday to pick it up. It was chaotic there and I forgave them and headed home. 

Friday morning, Irma had jogged again and was heading straight for us. My car rental was no longer available, there most likely wasn’t enough gas in the state to get me to safety (not that anyone could guess where that might be,) and I still didn’t have a prescription. 

Here’s the thing about evacuating that people don’t understand or ever really hear. There are two roads in and out of Florida, one on either side of the state. I live in the middle on the west coast. If you want to safely leave, ensure there is gas along the way, and that you won’t get stranded on the side of the road, you must go at least four days in advance. I’d lost my window of opportunity. It could take 20 hours to go what would normally take three hours. I know this to be true, as I know many this happens to. 

Over the course of that week many friends and relatives called and texted and messaged. At one point it was so overwhelming I had to turn my phone off for 14 hours. I did not listen to the radio, I did not watch the news, I pretty much turned off anything electronic. It was kind of nice being in the dark so to speak, for those 14 hours. 

Everybody meant well. It was just too much all at once, and constant reminders of the doom and gloom that was being spread. While I love everybody, it did not help my anxiety level. I did my best not to let on. 

A friend invited me to ride the storm out at her place. She tempted me with her new hurricane resistant windows and not being alone. I took her up on it and am I glad I did. 

I stood in my house last Saturday, a few keepsakes in hand, and said goodbye. I expected that I would lose my roof, as it is almost 20 years old. I knew if that happened I would lose everything inside. I live in evacuation Zone C, so I wasn’t worried about the water rising. If the water rose that high, well, we would have bigger problems. I honestly couldn’t think of anything I had to take except my kindle, some clothes, and a very special book. I locked the doors and drove away, crying. 

Sunday we hunkered down and sat out the storm. We watched it get windier and windier, rainier and rainier. I posted some video updates periodically on Facebook, which seemed to give my friends and family something to watch and hear from me. 

Sunday night was when all the action was to occur. I went to bed about 11:30 PM and the power went out at 12:04 AM. I listen to the wind and the rain batter the front of the house. Thank goodness for new windows! I did finally fall sleep for a few hours, and woke about 6 AM Monday morning. It was still windy but the worst had passed. 

We waited until the city and county said it was safe to be on the roads and then we ventured out. We checked a couple friends houses who were out of town and then I went to my house. Everywhere we went there were downed trees, branches, debris. Overwhelming. 

I insisted on going to my house alone. Whatever had happened, I wanted to be there to soak it in before letting anybody else into my emotions. I was raw and numb by that point, and I just didn’t know how I would react.

On September 11, 2001 I sat in my living room crying, a feeling of disbelief and numbness washing over me as the towers fell and our country changed. 19 years later, I sat in my living room crying again. This time the numbness and disbelief were joined by gratitude. 

My house was standing. I had a roof. There was a lot of debris in the yards. One small tree had came down in the backyard and barely brushed my back porch. There was no power, and there wouldn’t be for several days. But my little house had survived.

Tuesday we went full force into cleanup mode. I cleaned up the front and sides of my house, and then I joined my friend and cleaned up the front of her house. We also helped a couple of her neighbors take care of some things at their houses. It was a full day, And no time to really let anything sink in.

Tuesday night it all hit me. My family and friends were still messaging and texting to make sure I was OK. The only way I can describe how I felt then and now is shell shocked. It is still incredibly overwhelming. You’re thankful, and then you feel guilty because you actually came through it OK and so many others didn’t. 

  • 80% of the county I live in lost power. 
  • 25% of the homes in the Florida Keys were destroyed. 
  • 4 million people in Florida lost power.
  • 12 people died at Irma’s hands the last time I looked. 
  • 1.1 million lost power in the Tampa Bay Area. 

There are islands in the Caribbean that may not exist anymore. There are other islands in the Caribbean who are running out of food and water and desperately waiting for help to arrive. Elderly people who went to shelters and can’t go home. So many people displaced. So much devestation. 

And the media? They are hanging on every horrible tidbit, cameras in faces, reporting the worst. Again.  Death. Destruction. Mayhem. Heartbreak. Devastation. 

Overwhelming. Shell shocked. I haven’t complained much as I’ve been fortunate to come through relatively unscathed. A little house damage that can be dealt with. No power for five days. A place to stay that had power and all the comforts of home. 

I am exhausted. 

I cry easily. I find myself driving around taking it all in. I close my eyes and hear the wind and rain. I still can’t wrap my head around it. Shell shocked. Numb. 

I will go home tomorrow and move back into “normal”. I will take less for granted. I hope I begin to feel normal soon.