Category Archives: Better For You

A Time to Celebrate

It’s 4:08am. I’ve been awake for almost two hours. It seems to be my new routine. As I lay here with a million things running through my mind, I suddenly remembered something I’ve been quietly excited about for months:

Yesterday marked one year since my last “monthly visit”, “that time”, or as I came to refer to it as “my monthly hell”.  

It was never an easy road. I started when I was 12. I remember waking up one morning, seeing the evidence, and being angry. This was not something I ever wanted to deal with. I certainly had never looked forward to it. I had awful cramps all day, and I had to go to school and suck it up. I remember being so nauseous and in so much pain I could barely concentrate. I was miserable. 

When I get home, the mother had called EVERYONE she knew to tell them “the exciting news” – I was woman!

Actually, I was humiliate.  She became irate. She told me I was being stupid, that I should be proud of “becoming a woman”.

H U M I L I A T E D. 

I told her that it was nobodies business and she had no right to announce it to the world. It was my personal. It was embarrassing and I was miserable. She told me to grow up. She told me I was a child and had no rights. I told her I was supposedly a woman. She told me to shut up before she slapped that look off my face. Oh the warm memories…

The next 39 years were mostly hell where this was concerned. Severe PMS hat dragged on for two weeks. Extreme cramps that often left me sick for two days every month. Heavy flow that left me exhausted and wondering how people ever survive such blood loss. 

In high school, the cramps were so bad my doctor prescribed Vicodin. Yes, I said Vicodin! WTH??  Who does that??? 

I was never allowed to stay home with a migraine or cramps. I was told at an early age that I had to learn how to live in the world with these things, and that I was never to use them as an excuse. I won’t say as an adult that I followed that advise. Rarely did I call in sick, and if the mother got wind of it, she gave me hell. 

I had an abnormal pap about 19 years ago. Precancerous cells were caught early and dealt with. I asked for a hysterectomy, and was told no. I was serious, but the doc didn’t take me seriously. 

At this point I will mention that I am the only female on the mother’s side of the family to have a uterus after the age of 30. There was no family history to compare me to. There was a lot of cervical cancer, cysts, hardening of the uterus, and generally not healthy female parts. 

In my late 30’s/early 40’s I asked again for a hysterectomy. I was told that would be “elective surgery” and insurance doesn’t cover that. Instead she put me on the Depo Provera shot and for four glorious years I had no “time of the month”. 

H E A V E N. 

The PMS was gone. The severe nausea and other symptoms that arrived on day one were gone. It was amazing. Then my job situation changed and my insurance changed and they were no longer covered. Heavy sigh. 

Then they got sporadic for several years. Every two weeks…every six weeks…every few months…every two weeks…you get the picture. 

Finally, I skipped several months. I started keeping count. On month six? Surprise. Mother Nature did that to me three times. 

This time, I wrote the start date down and forgot about it. A couple months ago I checked to see what it had been. June 19, 2016. It had been heavy, ugly, made me sick as a dog, and lasted a full seven days. Then nothing. 

It is now 4:45am on June 29, 2017. One year has officially gone by. One year, which marks the official start to menopause. 

Perimenopause has been here for several years, as have hot flashes, night sweats, and the like. I can live with that. 

I will make a doctor appointment to get checked out and make sure all is well. Then I may call my friends and suggest a celebratory drink. 

This bears celebrating. The horror that began 39 years ago is no more. 

Welcome menopause!! I’ve been anxiously awaiting your arrival!! 

30-Days

I completed 30-days of better for you skin care a few weeks back.  I am always a skeptic.  I always expect another shoe to drop, and I never let myself believe in the amazing.

I’ve now seen amazing.

What I see now is hydrated, healthy skin.  I rarely feel tight or dry anymore (except when I sweat a ridiculous amount, you know, because it’s summer in Florida.)  The lines around my eyes and on my forehead have lessened.  I don’t know if my skin is simply plumper, or if there is magical healing taking place that turns back the hands of time, but I’m full on IN!

I use the full HY+5 Regimen plus the amazing Born to Glow skin elixer, a delightful oil that doesn’t at all feel like I’m putting oil on my face.

See the results for yourself!

Before After Collage 30 DayTiny

If you would like to know more, I’ll be happy to share more about Willing Beauty!

Hello June!

Half a year has whizzed by in the blink of an eye! Where did January go? February? March? Winter?? 

June. Officially summer. Hot days, warm nights. In Florida, it’s not even the hottest time (we’ll revisit that in August/September!)  when we were kids it meant pool time, motor home vacations, reading a LOT of books and vegetating until the school year began. 

I woke this morning feeling like time has swept past me and I’ve not moved. Ever feel like that? 

I have a problem you see, a very big problem. I live as I was trained to live. I wake up, I go to work, I work hard, I come home, I eat dinner, I go to bed. 

Trained since birth!

Now, that’s not to say I don’t socialize. I go out to dinner, meet up with friends, all the fun things. I don’t do that as often as I probably should. You know, the balance thing and all. Balance? Yes, it’s a thing. I’m told it’s an important thing. 

I find myself in a rut this first day of June. I just don’t make enough time for me. There, I said it. It’s out in the universe. 

I need more me time. 

Sounds simple, yes? No. It’s my age old struggle. 

What to DO? 

I declare today the first day that I purposefully  spend a little more time on me. This month I will do more things that benefit me, my life, my future. Wow, that sounds incredibly selfish! How DARE I think such a thing? Another part of the training. Oh, that damn training to be content with nothing, to not over reach, to not dream of a better future, to not be selfish. I may need a detox of some kind…

I want to better serve the people around me. Friends. Strangers. I want to make a difference. I want to be someone who can make someone smile, even if they don’t realize it. I want to bring forth joy. 

I don’t need pomp and circumstance. I just want to give back to this world of ours, and be a brighter spot, a positive spot, a good person. 

I will work on me, body and soul. A healthier me is better for everyone. 

I think it’s doable. I just need to start. 

…But Is It Vegan?

Vegan means a lot to me.  I had a six year adventure in the world of vegan.  My return to non-vegan was more about finding things that worked for my body and less with missing meat.  Unable to find the magic formula, I added some meat back into the mix and many issues I was experiencing cleared up.  It makes no sense to me, but I’m still playing with the balance.

That said, when I first learned of Willing Beauty, one of my first questions was, “Are the products vegan?” I’m happy to report that most of them are!  Three products contain beeswax and are not considered vegan.

leaping bunnyWilling Beauty does not participate in animal testing, and the products are cruelty free. At launch, you will see that our products contain the Leaping Bunny™ seal.  Leaping Bunny™ is a big deal!

The three products that contain beeswax are Zero Shine Mattifying Moisturizer (from the Willa line,) and Partner in Time Age Defying Night Serum and Sleepover Replenishing Night Cream (from the HY+5 line.)  Basically, my night time regimen.  I can live with that.

I happen to have friends who have bees. I have seen how the bees are handled, how honey and beeswax is harvested, and the loving kindness involved in maintaining the hives. I’m ok with a bit of beeswax.

Ethical products.  That was a HUGE deciding factor for me.  It’s a question I ask often, and often am not pleased with the answer.

An added bonus? The packaging is recyclable!

Are all of the products I use vegan?  No.  Do I try?  Yes.  Do I have friends who walk the walk and talk the talk?  Yes.  I will find my balance again. For now I am thrilled to be a part of this company, and to use such wonderful products!

You can read the full list of ingredients for the HY+5 Regimen here.  If you’d like to take the 30-Day Challenge, click here to shop.  Our 100% Happiness Guarantee makes it easy!  Follow me on Facebook.

 

 

A New Skin Care Regimen

I received my Willing Beauty box on Monday April 24.  I was so tired when I got home from work that night, I dropped the box in the garage and forgot about it!  Eek ads, yes I did!! THAT is how tired I was.

The next evening I remembered it, and took my new goodies into the house.  I put the face wash in the shower, and I kept the rest in the box (it’s a pretty box!)  I am using the HY+5 Regimen because my skin is over 25, and it needs the amazing properties associated with Hyluronic Acid plus all the five super cool “forces of nature” –  vitamin C, prickly pear cactus seed oil, marine glycoproteins, alpine edelweiss flower, and deep sea hydrothermal enzymes.

Day 1 – I showered, washed my hair, remembered not to wash my face with the shampoo (don’t judge,) conditioned my hair, and washed my face.  I used about a pea-sized blop of the Do Over Nourishing Cleanser.  It felt really good!  I washed my face, rinsed with cool water, and to my surprise…my face didn’t have that “I just washed my face and now it’s really tight” feeling.  As I finished my shower and dried off, my face still didn’t feel tight.  I followed up by applying the Daydream Illuminating Day Moisturizer.  It felt very light.  Now, I’ve been using Ponds Dry Skin cream for years, so I’m used to something heavy that feels like it’s gone by noon.  I wasn’t comfortable with the light feeling.  I followed that up with the Get Set SPF30 Tinted Primer. It felt a bit like makeup, but it went on really nice and smooth.  It did even out my complexion a bit.

At noon I touched my face.  It felt good – as in not dry or rough.  At 3pm I noted that overall, I didn’t feel like my moisturizer had left the building.  My eye area felt a bit tight, but that was it.

I ended the day washing my face gain with Do Over, followed by a small amount of Partner In Time Age-Defying Night Serum and Sleepover Replenishing Night Cream.  Here’s the thing, I do NOT usually wear lotion or serum of any kind at night, as I sweat (not perspire, sweat!) at night and it ends up in my eyes.  I gave this a try though.  To my surprise, it behaved.

Day 3 – I added the Born to Glow Elixir to the morning routine, as I decided that I needed some extra umph.  That has really made me feel hydrated.  I’ve also increased my water intake to 80 or so ounces of water a day.  Yes, that’s a lot of water…and trips to the bathroom!

Day 7 – So far, so good!  When I first started, I was using very small amounts, probably too small.  Each day since I’ve adjusted the amounts.  It’s now day 7 and I think I’ve got it figured out.  A pea-size portion of the wash is perfect.  I have no doubt that I will get 30 days out of my products – possibly longer.

Day 20 – I am LOVING these products!  I took pics again about Day 14.  I’m going to wait until Day 30 to take another.  I am beginning to see a change, and I can not get over feeling hydrated all day long.

I am trying really hard not to analyze my face every day to look for changes!  I did that the first five days.  Then, I decided to “let it go” and take pics again in another week or so.

Overall, I feel more hydrated, I look more hydrated, and my skin on my face, neck, and chest feels smoother.

Bonus!! I rub the excess lotion on my elbows when I finish up my face/neck/chest.  I wish I’d taken before pics of them!  They feel amazing and are no longer scaley!!  I am also using the Elixir on my toes a few days a week and my toes are looking quite hydrated as well.  Who knew??

Would you like to try the 30-Day Challenge?  You can order here!  We offer a 100% Happiness Guarantee – if you don’t like it, you can return it and receive full credit (including shipping costs) no matter how much you used.

Day 0

 

Why Mother’s Day is Hard for Me

Yesterday was Mother’s Day.  I have had a rough time with Mother’s Day for 20 years.  That’s a long time.  A dear friend of mine told me today, “Time to let go of that hold she has on you…”

My friend is right.  I just haven’t figured out how to do that yet.

20 years ago, probably in the February-March time frame, I excitedly announced to my parents that I was moving cross country, from California to Florida.  I had thought about it a long time, I had friends there, and the time was right for me to make such a change.

I made the three-hour trip to their place one Friday after work.  I took them to dinner at their favorite local haunt.  Once dinner was done, I shared my news, expecting support and undying love.

That did not happen.  Quite the opposite in fact.  The mother became terribly angry.  She accused me of telling them in a public place so she would have to “behave” (I later learned what THAT meant!)  Try as I might, I could not convince them that I was unhappy in my current situation.  Why?  Because…”All you need is your family. I don’t know why you always have to go looking for things you don’t need. You always do that. You don’t appreciate any of us!”

I stayed until Sunday afternoon, as which point I had to get out of there. The anger and hostility was too much to bear. It never eased up. In 19 years, it never eased up.

I moved in September and made a new life for myself. The next 19 years were spent at the receiving end of a furious mother. As each year passed, it became worse. I didn’t return to visit after a while because I didn’t feel I needed that kind of hatred in my life.  Every trip I did make left me battered and bruised emotionally.

I came to dread all holidays. Mother’s Day. Father’s Day. Christmas. Thanksgiving. Every single one of them.  

She died a year ago April.  The dread did not.  I spent most of Mother’s Day crying and angry.  Not because she is gone, because so many have loving mothers who they would walk through fire for. It pains me to know that I will never have that experience. Facebook is really good about showing all the love out there. I need to stay off Facebook on holidays.

I hate that she still has that hold over me. I picture her, wherever she ended up, pointing at me and laughing about it. She always told me that she would haunt me.  For now she does. For now, until I learn how to release myself.

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Summer Means…Sunscreen, Part 2

ScarI was getting my hair colored one afternoon, and the stylist kept scrubbing at a spot on my neck.  I finally asked her what was going on back there, and she said there was a spot of color that wouldn’t wash off.  I was watching her face in the mirror, and I noticed her expression change from determined to concern.

“When is the last time you saw a dermatologist?” she asked.

“Never,” I answered, as my heart dropped into my stomach with a big ole thud.

“You need to find one,” she said as she put a mirror up so I could see what she was looking at.  It was a spot the size of a pencil eraser, and it had not been there five weeks earlier.  We stared at it and tried to comprehend where it came from, and why it was so big in such a short amount of time.

Time stood still for three days until I was able to see the dermatologist.  He looked me over, and then asked, “Do you drive a convertible?”

“Yes, a red one,” I answered, wondering where he was going with this.

“Do you drive with your hair pulled back in a ponytail?”

“Yes.” OMG. Was he suggesting???

“Do you use sunscreen on your neck?”

I didn’t answer.  I just stared at him and I my eyes welled up with tears.

It had never occurred to me to put sunscreen on my neck.  

I had driven a convertible for over ten years.  I was proud of the tan I maintained while driving.  I’d driven those cars in California and Florida, serious sunshine states!  I’d picked up some great color driving across Alligator Alley once.

I put sunscreen on my face and arms for long drives.  Never on my neck.

It was Basal Cell Carcinoma.  I was so thankful it wasn’t Melanoma that I didn’t think to ask too many questions about it.  I made an appointment to get it removed, went home, and had a big ole glass of wine.

A few days later, the doctor removed it.  They put me in a room after to wait while it was biopsied and the surrounding tissue tested.  Fortunately, he got it on the first round (others in that room had to be sliced two and three times!)  He said it “had legs” and was hard to get, but he got it. He gave me instructions to treat my wound while healing and I went home.  On one of my follow-up visits, he was upset that the scar had spread.  It happens sometimes, no matter how much Mederma or Vitamin E a girl uses.  He wanted to fix it (he’s a plastics guy as well, and his pride was hurt.)  I said no.  It was, and still is, a war wound of sorts for me.  A reminder of how I took so much for granted.

I remember being incredibly thankful.  I’d dodged a bullet.  I know a LOT of people who have these Basal Cells removed.  I was so glad it wasn’t one of the others, not that I really know the difference. I know a few who have had to deal with Melanoma.  That is absolutely terrifying.

I stopped going out in the sun that week.  It was more than ten years before I would go outside or get in a pool for the purpose of getting a little color.  Last summer was the first time I hung out by a pool.  Not a lot, mostly under the umbrella, but I did pick up color and a few more freckles.

I still forget my sunscreen.  Seriously?  Yes.  I’m that girl.  I rely too much on my friends to remind me, or to just spray it on me when I’m walking by.  You’d think it would be on my radar.

How can I be so stupid?  I’m human I suppose.  

The scar is ugly. My hair hides it for the most part.  When trying to get a photo of it, a friend was surprised it was there.  Yes, I keep my hair a certain length to hide it.

I have sun damage all over my chest, shoulders, thighs, and face.  I also have sensitive skin, as you can see from the red mark in the photo (caused when I pulled my hair up and out of the way and barely scratched my neck with my nail.)  I have all kinda of yucky things going on with my skin.  I’m working on that.

I can’t undo the years of sun-abuse, but I can be kinder to my skin.  I am counting the days until my Willing Beauty order arrives.  I truly believe that I will see improvements to my fine lined, sun damaged, under-eye disaster of a face.

I now own a really huge hat which I got for Christmas.  I plan to break it in this weekend, at my besties pool, under the umbrella.  Oh what a site that will be!

Don’t be like me.  Wear your sunscreen!  🙂

Summer Means…Sunscreen Part 1

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I am terrible about wearing sunscreen.  Terrible.  I have sun damage all over my body to show for the years of abuse I put my skin through when I thought, “There’s plenty of time…I’m young…I am invincible…”

I wasn’t allowed to use suntan oil as a child.  We had a pool, and I had SPF 15 sunscreen.  All my friends had gorgeous tans, and my wicked mother insisted I be protected when I laid out.  I really did think that was wicked of her.

What’s a teenage girl to do when she’s being denied the glorious, oily, tropical smell of Banana Boat, Hawaiian Tropic, or St Tropez? She snuck into the kitchen and slathered on the Wesson Oil before heading out to the pool, that’s what she did!

Insert horrified face here.  

I got away with it for years.  I became a master. I could time it so I never got too burnt (I’m lily white, I burn!) I worked on that “base tan” all summer.  I looked GOOD when school started!  All the while, the mother was impressed with my tan, thinking I was safely slathered in SPF 15, saying things like, “See how good sunscreen works?” and wondering why her tan wasn’t as good.  In fact, when SPF 30 was invented, thought she would wet her pants with excitement.

My senior year, I did a LOT of tanning.  I skipped sunscreen as often as I could.  I was stupid.  Yes, I said stupid.  I sustained several severe sunburns that year.  1984 was the year I learned the joys of Noxema and White Vinegar, and how they took the sting out of a sunburn.  God bless my Home Ec teacher for the vinegar trick!  I kept white vinegar in the house for years for just that reason.

Spring break 1984 was spent at Pismo Beach.  A week at one of my favorite beaches with the family.  I was in heaven.  I laid out every day, and every day the weather was kinda yucky.  No tan was developing. I began to panic.  The day before we left, I used the Wesson Oil.  It was overcast.  Do you know what happens to a lily white girl slathered in Wesson Oil at the beach on an overcast day?

She burns.  Badly.  So badly that she can’t take her swim suite off.  So badly that the seams of her t-shirt cause excruciating pain upon her shoulders.

I got in trouble for not using the sunscreen.  She never knew about the Wesson Oil.

We left Pismo and took a side trip to Yuma Arizona to visit the grandparents.  From there we drove to a dry lake bed in the Mojave Desert to watch the space shuttle land.  It was pretty dang hot in that dry lake bed in the middle of the desert.  Too hot for clothing.  Ya, I wore the swimsuit and shorts.  After-all, I felt better, and the tan was building.

Oops. Burn on burn, not a good thing.  Apparently the desert is just as bad as the beach on an overcast day.  Eventually it was necessary to cut the swimsuit of me.  The burn was that bad.

I blistered and peeled like I never had before.  It was at that time that I noticed…freckles.  Not a lot, but a few, on my shoulders and on my chest.  Hmm, they kinda looked like a tan, so I didn’t care.  Freckles were cute as long as they were minimal.

Soon it was graduation week.  We went water-skiing the weekend before graduation.  Now, no matter how much sunscreen one slathers on, it washes off every time you fall down on the skis.  Boy did I fall down a lot.  I am not meant to stand on water-skis.  I’m not mean to be in the same body of water with water-skis. I spent a lot of time in the water that day.  I also burned again.  Really, really bad.

I clearly recall a trip to the doctor who declared a first degree burn.  I remember my mother placing huge gauze pads on my shoulders under the straps of my dress which I wore under my graduation gown.  I remember my boyfriend being both fascinated and grossed out at my shoulders. When the pealing and healing was done, my shoulders were covered in freckles and a lot of damage. They still are.

Do you think I learned my lesson?  Heck no!  I tanned all through my 20’s and a good chunk of my 30’s.  Then, a trip to the salon changed my wayward tanning ways.  More on that tomorrow…

Summer Means…More Water

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Summer has hit Florida. Not, you know, like August Summer…I’d call this May Summer.  In April. August summer is hell on earth.  May summer is warm enough to be uncomfortable, but nice in the evenings.

I have put away the leggings and taken out the skirts. The fans are dusted and going. My home and wardrobe are switched over to summer mode. My water consumption is increasing.

Water consumption? Yes! The warmer it gets, the more water I drink.  

My grandfather (who I always called Papa) used to drink ice tea in the winter and hot coffee in the summer. He reasoned that the liquids helped maintain his body temperature and keep him from becoming too hot or too cold. I remember telling him that was crazy. It was a blistering hot 110+ day in July, and he had stopped by the house for lunch. He ate his sandwich, drank steaming hot coffee from his thermos, and tried to explain to my why it worked for him. I’m still not sold on that one.

What I can tell you, now that I’m a grown up and all, is that when it’s warmer, I feel more thirsty. My water consumption jumps about a third. A THIRD! And maybe it’s my Papa’s influence on me, or maybe it’s in the genes, but…I don’t drink ice water. I like my water room temperature…even if that room is 90 degrees. I don’t care much for cold drinks or drinks that are overly hot.  Call me Goldilocks, I like the liquid temperature just right. Unless it’s white wine. Wine should always be chilled. And Moscow Mules. And Bloody Marys…

Now, let’s talk about my water habit.  I drink a lot of water.  Still water, sparkling water with no sodium or calories, and herbal tea. I shoot for half my body weight in ounces each day. Yes, I said half. Yes, depending on how things are going in my life, that is often a lot of water.

(Side note: when you drink that much water, you need to pace yourself. If you don’t, you will be up every half hour all night long. Find your cutoff time and stick to it. Trust me. Learn from me. )

During the winter, I hit about 40-60% of that goal. Now that it’s warmer? I’m getting closer. Every day I drink a little bit more. Yes, I count. I have an app that I track it in. I can look at a glass and guess pretty darn close how many ounces it will hold. I have cups and glasses that I drink from daily so I don’t have to guess. Obsessed? No. Accurate!

Water is good for the body. It makes our skin look and feel better. It washes our insides. It gives toxins a way to exit the body. It helps with the poops. Water is a good thing.

Now that the days are longer, I will begin walking again. That means even more water. Water helps maintain your weight, it helps keep you from dehydrating, it’s just plain good for you.

My general rule is, IF I have something with caffeine or alcohol, I drink that much more water to counteract it. OK, I have caffeine once or twice a month. I have alcohol once or twice a week. I always have extra water when I indulge. Which I do. On occasion.

I am working on getting my water consumption back up to par before I begin using my new beauty regimen. Water will only help! Let’s face it, I lack any kind of regimen right now, so ANYTHING will help, right?

Drink your water.  It’s good for you!

Happy Mail

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2,000 new Beauty Advisors are being processed today (I’m number 2,086 when last I saw the number.) I should be processed in the next few weeks, and rumor has it my kit will ship today or tomorrow.

Having stalked my bank account all morning, watched a movie, and partook in some quality time with the kitties, I decided I should leave the house and find something worthwhile to do.  Like get a cup of tea, put gas in the car, pay a couple bills, write a blog post…When I got outside, something caught my eye.  My mailbox was exploding with Happy Mail.

What is Happy Mail?  Mail that makes you happy, of course!  Today’s mail brought me a skirt I bought from a direct sales gal I know (it’s blue, and it’s fabulous,) new business cards, nail wraps, and a lovely gift from a fabulous friend.  I couldn’t wait, I had to open it all IN MY CAR!  I found the overflowing mailbox when I was leaving the house, so that kinda made sense.

All these envelopes of happiness made me smile really big, and it really did brighten my day. You could say, it made me happy!

Who doesn’t like new, shiny things that make them happy?