Category Archives: Health and Beauty

Back to School Supplies Your Kid Needs

This article first appeared in Sassy Direct on August 8, 2017. 


It’s that time of year when parents purchase school supplies and the kidlets grab their backpacks and head back to school. It’s a time for new clothes, new notebooks, new shoes, new pencils and pens, new book covers (do kids still use book covers?) and the inevitable first day of school angst. 

It’s tough to be a kid! Especially a kid on the first day of school. Choosing the perfect outfit, styling the coolest style, rockin’ the clear skin…Wait, how do you do that? How many of you got up excited on the first day of school only to find a new pimple had formed overnight? Or worse, it appeared on school picture day! What is a kid to do?

My first pimples arrived at age 12. I’d like to say they have gone away, but a few times a year, one pops up and reminds me that they are still out there, watching, waiting to ruin a perfectly good day. I had little to fight them except a horrible product that dried the offending area out so that it looked worse than when I started. I always ended up piling makeup and cover-up on to try to deflect from the issue. It didn’t work.

When this happens to a kid, it can be devastating. Enter the willa line of products from Willing Beauty.  We offer a variety of better for you products to help tweens and teens get the upper-hand against pimples and blemishes while learning the importance of a good skin care regimen. The willa line is made to the same standards as the HY+5 Regimen, making it a kinder, safer approach to teen and tween skin care.

The Essentials Regimen is a gentle “starter set” to get kids going in their skin care regimen. This set is all about prevention and developing good habits. It is perfect for tweens as well as teens who have fewer issues with acne and blemishes. For the occasional blemish, the TAKE ACTION Acne Spot Treatment pen is a perfect companion. Kids (and adults) can keep one at home and one in their backpack (or purse) so they are always ready to stop blemishes in their tracks. I never leave home without mine!

The Clear Skin Regimen battles everything from blemishes to full-on acne. It was created especially for blemish-prone skin. It treats, soothes and protects leaving kids with healthier skin. Oh, how I wish I’d had that when I was 14!

What do you do if your kidlet isn’t into skin care? What if he or she doesn’t want to take a bath more than once a month, let alone wash their face twice a day? Everything in the willa line can be purchased ala cart. Find the product that they WILL use, and take baby steps with them. This too shall pass, really!

During the month of August 2017, we are offering a special on all of our regimens. You can choose either The Essentials Regimen or Clear Skin Regimen AND receive a FREE XO Lip Oil for just $48! That is a $32 savings! When you sign up for our No-Brainer Replenishment at the time of purchase, you will receive a special code in September to lock in the $48 price for the life of your replenishment. The last day to order is August 31, so don’t delay! The prices on the website are already marked down to make it easy. The free gift will automatically be added to your order. How awesome is that? 

What happens when your kidlet starts using these products, falls in love with them, and starts telling all their friends about it? Kids 14 or older can become a willa Boy or a willa Girl! What a great way to share the better for you skin care love while earning money for things like class rings, car insurance, cool designer clothes that mom and dad don’t want to buy, school jackets, prom and college! 

You may visit my website to learn more about willa the girl and product line (yes, she is a real girl!). Got questions about the products or how to become a willa Boy or a willa Girl? Contact me on Facebook. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have! If you’d like to hang out, join my Facebook Group, we have a lot of fun!
Here’s to a healthier, happier you!

~Penny

Request a Willing Beauty Catalog

Thanks for wanting to request a free catalog for Willing Beauty…Wait! We don’t have a traditional catalog!

“But how can I see what you have to offer?”  That’s easy! Read on…

WebsiteWhat we DO have is an easy to navigate website with all our company and product information readily available. Providing our story, services, and products electronically makes it easy for everyone to find what they need without depending on a print piece that can be easily misplaced and outdated. Best of all, we are able to invest the dollars spent on catalogs on YOU and the products your skin loves most.

On our website, you will learn the company’s “why” – the story of a mom who, through a skin cancer experience, began to question the safety of the ingredients in our personal care products. The more she learned, the more determined she was to provide her children safer options.

You can read about the ingredients behind our proprietary HY+5 Complex™ – Hyaluronic Acid + the 5 Forces of Nature representing the best age-defying, skin nourishing goodness that Mother Earth has to offer:

  • Prickly Pear Seed Oil
  • Alpine Edelweiss Flower
  • Deep Sea Hydrothermal Enzymes
  • Vitamin C
  • Antarctic Glycoproteins

You will find that we offer three regimens plus ala carte options to cover the skin care needs of young adults and grown ups alike. We truly have something for everyone!

Are looking for the HY+5 Regimen, the Start Fresh Foaming Face Wash, the Clear Skin Regimen, Peel Away Charcoal Mask or the amazing XO Lip Oil? Our website makes to easy to select your desired product, learn about it, and make a purchase.

You can also easily see the fabulous perks that are available to our customers;

  • Our 100% Happiness Guarantee ensures you get back every cent of your purchase, including shipping if our products are not right you.
  • The Crush Club helps you earn Golden Heart Rewards with every purchase. You can use your rewards for FREE product. You also get a personal website and the ability to share the love with others!
  • Our flexible No Brainer Replenishment can be set to YOUR schedule (4, 6 or 8 weeks) which guarantees that you never run out of the products your skin loves most.

Are you looking to start a business, add another income stream to help with monthly expenses, earn some mad-money or work full time for yourself instead of someone else? We make it easy to become a Beauty Advisor. You can use your Golden Heart Rewards to upgrade to Beauty Advisor at no additional charge or you can opt to become a Beauty Advisor from our “Join” menu and start right away.

To put all this in a catalog would make for a big ole thick book! Who wants to keep track of that? Our website allows you to point, click, and go straight to what you want to see.

If you’d like more information about Willing Beauty, our products, or the opportunity, you can visit our website or contact me on Facebook.  I’m happy to answer any questions you may have!

Here’s to a healthier, happier you!

~Penny

Three Fast, Easy Steps to Better for You Skin

I’m a busy girl.  I’m rockin’ and rollin’ all day long, and when I get home at night I want nothing more than to change into my jammies, curl up and relax.  I don’t want to be bogged down with a complicated skin care regimen.  One of the things I love about Willing Beauty’s regimens is that they are SO simple to use! Three steps in the morning, three steps at night, and they take less than 5 minutes.  I am more than willing to commit to that kind of routine!  (See what I did there?)

Pinterest Morning Regimen TINYHY+5 Regimen Morning

Step 1 is the cleansing. In the morning, I hop into the shower, wash my hair, apply conditioner, and then wash my face with DO OVER Nourishing Cleanser.  I love this cleanser!  When I was a kid, I was always told my skin wasn’t clean until it felt tight.  No more!  It smells so…clean, and it does not make my face feel tight after I’ve used it.  In fact, the first day I used it, I washed my face twice because I thought maybe I didn’t use enough!

Step 2 is to moisturize with DAYDREAM Illuminating Day Moisturizer.  This stuff is so yummy!   It comes out of the tube thin, so you think, “I’m going to need a lot of this.” That is not the case.  A little goes a long way.  A pea size amount takes care of my face and my neck/chest (because we should always cleanse and moisturize there too!)  It absorbs nicely and doesn’t leave any kind of “moisturizer feeling” behind.

Step 3 is the GET SET SPF 30 Tinted Primer.  Again, a little goes a long way.  Slightly tinted to help give a smooth appearance to your skin, this product has better for you SPF to protect your skin from the damaging rays of the sun.  You can use it alone or follow up with makeup.

Easy Peasy! Less than 5 minutes (not counting the shower time, because I take a seven-ten minute shower.)

HY+5 Regimen EveningPinterest Evening Regimen TINY

I don’t take an evening shower, usually, so we can skip the shower time.  The evening routine is just as simple and just as effective.

Step 1 is cleansing my wash my face with DO OVER Nourishing Cleanser.  It washes away the day and leaves my skin feeling clean and fresh.

Step 2 is to moisturize with PARTNER IN TIME Ave Defying Night Serum.  Like the DAYDREAM, it out of the tube thin, but a little goes a long way and you immediately feel the difference.  This product has a little extra oomph, so it works it’s magic while you sleep.  Again, a pea size amount takes care of my face and my neck/chest.  It too absorbs nicely and doesn’t leave any kind of “moisturizer feeling” behind.

Step 3 is my little secret weapon, the SLEEPOVER Replenishing Night Cream.  Thicker and creamy feeling, it too does not require a lot.  It seals in the PARTNER IN TIME goodness while giving yet another boost of HY+5 action.  It absorbs nicely and doesn’t leave that icky “I’ve got thick moisturizer on my face” feeling.

Again, less than 5 minutes and super simple!

Penny's Morning Regimen TINYHY+5 Regimen Morning Modified

I have VERY dry skin.  Even living in the humid state of Florida, you can look at my arms and legs and see that I could possibly be reptilian.  I’m not, I just have dry, scaly skin!  I have adjusted the daily HY+5 Regimen to accommodate my moisture needs.  Thus, my personal regimen is 5 easy steps.

Step 1, cleanse with DO OVER.

Step 2, after cleansing I use the BORN TO GLOW Skin Elixir, a wonderful mix of luscious oils that gives my skin that extra attention it needs.  A few drops go a long way.  I use it around my eyes and mouth, my forehead, and neck.

Step 3 is DAYDREAM.

Step 4 is a tiny amount of SLEEPOVER Replenishing Night Cream. Honestly, the tiniest bit.

Step 5 is the GET SET SPF 30 Tinted Primer.

How did I come upon this combo?  I played with the products and amounts for a couple days until I landed on the combination that left me feeling fresh and hydrated all day long.  And it still takes me less than 5 minutes.  Easy Peasy!!

Do you have 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the evening to devote to beautiful skin?  Hop on over to my Facebook Page and shoot me a message, or shop here.  I’m happy to answer questions and help you get on the path to beautiful skin.

Here’s to a healthier, happier you!

~Penny

 

In Search of My Lost Inner Superhero


If you watch Grey’s Anatomy or you have read Shonda Rhymes Year of Yes, you know of the superhero pose:

“Standing around like Wonder Woman in the morning can make people think you are more amazing at lunchtime.” Stand up like a badass, legs in a wide stance, chin up, hands on your hips. Like you own the place. Like you have on a magical silver bracelets and know how to use them. Like your superhero cape is flapping behind you!

-Shonda Rymes, Year of Yes 

First, Year of Yes is an awesome book. Second, buy the book. Everyone should read the book! 

I never realized I had an inner superhero until long after I’d lost her. 

I grew up in a small town. From as far back as I can remember, I felt like a fish out of water. I mean no disrespect to anyone in my family or the town I grew up in. I simply always longed to see and experience what the world had to offer, and I never felt like I belonged, even in my own family. I often felt like an outsider looking in, wondering what was wrong with me. 

I always had a lot of fear in me, deep down, paralyzing fear. Fear that held me back, fear that left me on the sidelines. There was always a voice in my head saying “you don’t need that” “stop over-reaching” “why can’t you appreciate what you have” “it’s good enough for us” – years later I would learn that the voice in my head was the mother. 

At the age of 12, I began planning my escape. Things happened that year, things that scarred my soul. 12-13 were hard years for me. Being the good girl I was, I never said a word about my struggles. Never once, to anyone. But, I knew I wouldn’t stay. I just had to get to high school graduation. 12 year olds should never think like that. 

At age 14 I read the book Scruples, or as I like to say, sex education in paperback! It was a great book full of adventure, strong women…and sex!  I hid that book for a long time because, well, the mother did not need to know I had read all THAT! (When she read the book, I got yelled at.) But the sex part didn’t make an impact near as much as Paris did. It was then that I fell in love with the idea of seeing Paris. Paris was Utopia, my ultimate goal. I had to get to Paris. When I would mention that? I was told I didn’t need to go to Paris. There was nothing in Paris for me. “It’s just a book. Stop trying to be someone you’re not.” “Everything there is old, there’s nothing to see.” “Parisians are rude.” “Be realistic. People like us don’t go to Paris.” 

Throughout high school, I began to come into my own. I credit a few amazing teachers who saw potential in me, encouraged and mentored me. They truly changed the path of my life and made me believe I DID deserve all the world had to offer. I could BE more, DO more, WANT more. 

I took part in Future Homemakers of America and was able to travel to regional and state meetings, participate in competitions, and meet new people who were not from our small community. Me? Homemaker? It wasn’t just about that so much as giving young women the skills to be amazing. 

By Senior year, things were clicking for me. I was evolving into a confident person whose fear of everything was slowly being replaced with anticipation for the future. The beginnings of my superhero cape were forming. 

I became a regional officer for FHA. The leadership training and time spent with my advisor was a true, life-changing gift. The mother did not approve. She didn’t understand why I never wanted to be home. That was her stance. Me, looking for excuses to be gone, wanting more than I really needed…

My music teacher encouraged me to sing the National Anthem at our first or second home football game. A Capella. I don’t remember that very well. I recall walking out onto the field, taking a few breath, and for the first time, unconsciously assuming the super-hero stance. I remember it ending and people being amazingly kind and complimentary. I thought, if I could do that, I could do anything!

There was a flurry of music training, music and FHA camps, drama, and other FHA related activities in high school. It all prepared me for life on the outside (although I did not realize that at the time.)  Gifts I never took for granted. 

Those experiences taught me to perform. 

If nothing else, I could push the fear down and PRETEND I was brave. I could put on my game face, assume the superhero pose, step “on stage” and be amazing. 

I desperately wanted to go to college. That was not encouraged at home. Waste of time. Waste of money. We didn’t go to college, we are doing fine. “What have we ever done to make you want to leave?  “You’ll get no help from us!” 

She kept that vicious promise, and I was determined to NEVER move back home and let her win. I won a few scholarships, but in the end, the choice was college or rent. I ended up ending my brief college career and losing those precious scholarships. “You just have to work hard, you don’t need more than that.” “Come home and I will take care of you. Just come back home.” 

My superhero cape had a tear in it. I’d failed. I couldn’t figure out how to make college happen on my own. I was all of 19, how could I let that happen?  I later learnedthatnlack of parental support was punishment #1 for having the audacity to move out of the house after graduation. That tear in my cape was the first of many. 

I was 23, I think, when I decided to go to a trade school and get my accounting certificate. I needed more skills to get a better job. That opened the door for my 17 year career at a company that changed my life. I learned amazing skills in the accounting and IT departments, and they didn’t care that I didn’t have a degree (that wasn’t as big a deal in the 80’s and 90’s as it is now.)

While I excelled at work, I did not excel at a personal life. I fell into a rut, believing, finally, that if I just worked hard I didn’t need anything else. I had drank the Koolaid. My cape was slowly shredding. She had won. A business trip to Florida woke me up and changed the course of everything. 

A co-worker invited me to spend the weekend with her. We went to the beach. I experienced downtown. This was a place I could see myself living in. It wasn’t Paris, but there was 28 miles of white sandy beaches. It was kind of like the Santa Cruz I remembered when I was really little, without the boardwalk. The place my Nana taught me to love the ocean. The mother hated that my Nana had such influence in me. 

St Petersburg Florida is an amazing city with a small town feel. The vibe, the pace, it all just clicked for me at that time. It was exactly the change I needed to make, and I hadn’t been looking for a change! 

I took a deep breath and made a superhero decision to move. That was twenty years ago. My cape was slowly mending itself. 

That decison began a 19 year battle with the mother, full of anger, hostility, lies, manipulations and verbal abuse. I was over-reaching again. She must have failed if I needed to live so far from her. Yada. Yada. Yada. As hard as I tried to fight it, she continued to influence me. My poor cape. 

I blossomed. I took up volunteering and focused on fundraising. I was a member of the Junior League (which made the mother crazy, me being one of those “stuck up, elitists”. “You’re not one of them. You never will be. Stop over-reaching.”) I worked with Race for the Cure. I loved volunteering, giving back, being a part of something bigger. It was satisfying. 

It took superhero powers to approach businesses for funding. Hell, I solicited $500 from my gynecologist while my feet were in the sturrups! I was terrified, but I was DOING. Living. Being. 

I finally went back to school. Twenty-odd years after failing, I was back. I loved it. I did amazingly well. I got a bachelors in three years, while working full time. I worked, I studied, I went to class, I did homework. That was my life. The response from home? “That’s a waste of money. Why do you continue to want more than you are meant to have?” “You are wasting your time, you need to come home.”

I graduated, exhausted, run down, and numb. As much as I loved school, keeping up with everything took a toll on me. A few months later my 17 year career came to an end. Changes were in the air and I did not want to be a part of them. While I don’t regret leaving when I did, doing so broke my spirit. That was my home, the place I had grown into an adult, it was in my blood. My boss and I didn’t part on the best of terms and that ate me up as well. Part of me has never fully recovered from the loss. My cape had a new, huge tear and a few shredded areas. 

I ventured out on my own and started a business. Timing was bad, economics were not in my favor, and try as I might, I couldn’t make a go of it. When my biz ended, the experience broke me some more. My cape looked like Swiss cheese. 

The last ten years have been, well, hell in many ways. The abuse from the mother plus the ups and downs of my finances, health, and overall life…everything I tried to achieve left me scarred and two steps behind where if begun. Soul sucking is the word you’re looking for. The pressure from the mother became unbearable. 

That brave little girl retreated and my inner superhero disappeared. The cape fell into ruins, and the remnants blew away in the crazy, wild winds that were ruling my life. 

In the last two years I blew out my ankle a a second and third time. The mother died, and I felt guilty for feeling relieved. The father died. I reconnected with family I had been denied a relationship with most of my life. I learned a great deal about the truth of my childhood and the lengths the mother would go for absolute control. I woke up and saw the mother for the insane, sociopath she truly was. 

In the end, I was going through the paces.  Get up. Go to work. Go home. Sleep sometimes. Get up. Go to work…

This week I realized…I am a shell of my former self. 

In the shower a couple days ago, I realized I need to get that brave little girl back. I need to make a new cape. I assumed the superhero pose. I stood there, allowing the water to wash off the grime of the previous day and some from the previous years.  I realized I will need a lot of showers to wash all that grime away. I began searching for that brave 12 year old who wanted to escape that world and have more. This world, my world,  needs her. 

I decided to enter performance mode. Put on my game face, every day. Strike the superhero pose, every day. Push the fear back, every day. I expect some days will go better than others. I have to keep moving forward. 

I can see that little girl, peaking out from the sideline, tentatively deciding how to proceed. I need to coax her out again. 

I need to be brave, get out of my way, and return to me. 

PS: I went to Paris in 2004. It was was amazing as I thought it would be. In fact, on that trip I saw Rome, Florence, Vincenza, Venice, Milan, and Paris. I will go back. I will have coffee at a cafe and eat strawberry crepes. I will sit among the artists on the steer and sketch the most beautiful city on earth. A superhero can do that. 

Photo from Grey’s Anatomy borrowed from https://goo.gl/images/mVgdaz 

What’s Herman Been Up To?


Does a skull fracture heal or just float around? I should probably find this out. I swear that there are days when Herman is bothering me, but not in the usual place.

A CT scan is $300…or $400, in either case, it’s kind of a lot and I’ve not gotten around to it. Yet. I’m thinking I need to, as good ole Herman continues to raise his head now and then. 

Herman doesn’t like extreme heat. When I get overheated, he acts up. It’s summer in Florida. Herman is restless. 

He still does not like lifting or any type of exertion. Damn it Herman, I need to be able to DO things! I need to exercise, and I need to lift things at work without you wreaking havoc the rest of the day. 

Today was one of those days. I lifted a 35 pound or so item up from the floor and into a wagon. I ended up with a headache. My coworker jumped in my case, worried that I’d hurt my back. I didn’t even tell her that I had woken up Herman. He and I simply spent the rest of the day co-existing. 

I think my memory is as improved as it’s going to get. Long term is pretty good. Short term can be spotty. Somethings I remember really well. Some things I don’t. I have noticed that on “Herman Days”, the memory isn’t as good as it should be. I’ve decided I need note cards in my pocket and purse to help me with things I need to know at the drop of a hat. Key points. Elevator speeches. 

One really annoying thing with all this is me trying to learn everything I can about Willing Beauty – the company, the product lines, all of it. Some things have stuck well. Some just don’t stick at all. I find that if I read something over and over, and study a lot, it helps. I didn’t have to study this hard in high school or college!

There is a bright spot in the Herman saga! Yes, I said a bright spot! It’s really exciting. Are you ready??? 

I am able to put more of my head on a pillow. That’s huge. I still sleep at an incline with a pillow under my neck. It’s kinda comfortable, I don’t snore, and I don’t wake up sore. I kind of like it. But I can get more of my head on a pillow for a longer period of time now than I could even six months ago, so that’s good. Plus, it gives the kitties a place to snuggle next to me (they do love a good pillow.)
I’ve begun to wonder, is it all in my head? Maybe I’m all better and my head just THINKS I’m not. Sometimes I think it’s all a dream and I will wake up. Oh how wonderful that would be?!?! I don’t think that is going to happen though, so I need to keep making it work. Herman is, by far, the toughest relationship I’ve ever had! 

50 Doesn’t Look Like 50 Did Thirty Years Ago

I was watching The Golden Girls recently. You know, that 80’s show about the adventures of ladies entering their golden years. At the beginning of the show, at least two characters were in their 50’s. 

When I first watched this in the 80’s, I thought “They are so old!” Rose dressed in old lady clothes. Blanche dressed in grampa old lady clothes. Dorothy dressed like Maude, who I always thought was old also. There was grey hair, aging topics, and the attitude that they were almost elderly and living younger lives. They made growing old look like fun. 

The last few months, this show has bothered me. I am 51. Many of my friends are in their late 40’s and older (a few into their 70’s.) as I watched the show one afternoon it hit me:

I am not 51 like my grandparents or parents were 51. 

My Nana died at 54 after a three year battle with pancreatic cancer. She died in the mid-70’s, when treatments were not as successful as they are today. 

My Nana was always old. I remember her as always having grey hair, wearing dirty blonde wigs and housecoats, and acting like she was elderly. She was a grandmother afterall!

My other grandma? Same thing, except there were a LOT of mumus. She wore them around the house. I don’t remember her wearing a top or pants unless she left the house. (I will have to check with my brother on that point!) 

My grandpas were the same. Always old. They both worked until they were 65, but even before they retired, they were old. 

The parents were old at 40. I kid you not. They began acting old at 40. By 50? They may as well have been in rocking chairs. They traveled by motor home and they took cruises until their health declined to the point they couldn’t. But they were never young during those years. 

Maybe it’s because I was a kid, or maybe it was the lifestyle of the times. Either way, I realized that afternoon watching The Golden Girls: 

I am younger at 51 than my parents or grandparents ever were. 

I color my hair. I take care of my skin. I work on my health. I try to maintain a youthful appearance. I work full time and have one freelance job and one business that I work on my off hours. I don’t see myself slowing down. The thought of retiring is a crazy fantasy (what would I DO?) I socialize, I DO things. I don’t sit in a chair aging. I don’t want to age. I want to live as much as possible. (Falling off a ladder cemented my need to do that!)

My friends? Same thing. We are all more vibrant, active, and young than our parents and grandparents ever were. We live very different lifestyles. We are always learning and expanding our minds. We are not waiting for grandchildren and death. 

I don’t own one mumu, housecoat, or wig. I don’t sit by the window knitting and watching the world pass by (not that I don’t enjoy knitting!) I don’t even take advantage of the “you’re 50 or older” discounts that are out there (though I probably should!) AARP? I won’t join in principle. Ok, that’s silly, but I’m not mentally “ready” to do that. 

I am a young 51. Many people don’t believe me when I tell them my age. I like that. I like that I’m mistaken for ten years younger. I like that the cashiers look shocked when they automatically card me and then see my age. 

I like being young. 

That’s not to say I’m not aging. I have less patience. I live more simply. Obtaining material things means less to me. I like wearing flats and flip flops. Heck, flip-flops are my all-occassion shoe (black Crocs to be exact.) I wear mostly black and grey because it’s simply easier. I don’t have to agonize over outfits, I just grab and go. It all matches. I enjoy my alone time. I can’t drink like I used to (probably not a bad thing.) I certainly don’t handle a hangover as well as I did ten years ago. 

I’m aging gracefully and slowly. 

My 51 is where my parents and grandparents were in their 30’s. 

I’m cool with that. 

My Irrational Fear of Fireworks, Explained 


Wait. What? How can that be? Who doesn’t love fireworks? The anticipation, the whooshing sound as they fly into the air, the surprise when they explode, showering the sky with delightful colors. Everyone loves that, right?

No. Not everyone. 

Not me. 

When I was a child, we would go to my grama and grampa’s house on Independence  Day to set off fireworks. They had a long sidewalk in the middle of their (always) lush, green lawn and two water sources close by, which made for the perfect fireworks launch site. 

Grampa spent a lot of time keeping that lawn lush and green. Mainly because he took great pride in doing so. Also because a green yard surrounding a house in Northern California during fire season is a good thing!  

Fire season. Every summer, the state of California catches fire.  It always has, it probably always will. The mother would say it was natures way of cleaning house.  To me, fire is terrifying. 

I always had anxiety during the summer, worried about the fire hazard (which was always posted in town on the Smokey the Bear Sign by the fire station.)  I would see that sign, and my stomach would flip. Every fire that started in our area would send me into a silent anxiety attack. Silent because, I never told a soul about my fear. 

I’m rather terrified of fire. Every summer I would make a list of things to take with me in case we had to evacuate (we never did, although the parents were evacuated a few times in my adult years.) I also kept a small suitcase packed under my bed with some of those things. No one knew that I did that, but I was ready…just in case. 

Fireworks require fire. 

The dad and grampa would lay sheets of plywood over the sidewalk and lawn to create the perfect size fireworks perimeter. A bucket or two of water was strategically placed. Once they were ready, the family would gather (sometimes just us, sometimes the aunt and the cousins, sometimes others.)  There was always watermelon. I think melon was a theme. (Hmm. I’m not a big melon fan…interesting.)

Anyhow, I digress. When it got dark, they would begin setting off the fireworks. I would begin the anxiety attack. I was always terrified one would fall on me and I would catch on fire. 

Yes. That was my fear. Crazy? Probably a little!

Sparklers? They are the devil. Little balls of fire close to the skin. They can catch your hair on fire! Burn your skin! Poke your eye out! The devil I tell you!  THE DEVIL!

The mother would inevitably try to make me hold a sparkler. In fact, she found joy in holding them way too close to me and taunting me because she knew I was afraid. I suppose that was her way of wanting to cure me of my “irrational fear”. Her words.  It didn’t work. 

I never outgrew that anxiety. 

I don’t mind watching fireworks from afar. The cities in my area put on lovely displays. Backyard fireworks? No thank you. I fear one will land on me and I will catch on fire. I fear someone else will catch on fire. I fear someone will have one explode in their hand. I fear a dog will eat one. 

Irrational. 

I now live in a neighborhood where the neighbor’s all around me enjoy fireworks. They REALLY enjoy them. The weeks of Independence Day and New Years, they set them off for days. They are loud, they sometimes shake the walls, and I fear one will land on my roof and burn my house down. It only takes one. 

Irrational. 

Just a few more days of fireworks, and I can push that anxiety back down until New Years. Thank goodness fire season is only twice a year! 

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!

Memorial Day 2017

Memorial Day 2017 tiny for blogThis holiday finds me a bit retrospective.  The meaning of the day often gets lost in the picnics, pool-parties, barbecues, boat outings, and family gatherings that go hand-in-hand with a three-day weekend.  I always take some time to reflect, remember, and honor those who have made it possible for me to live in this wonderful country with the freedoms that I have.

My grandfather on the mother’s side served proudly in the Pacific during World War II.  He was a long-time Merchant Marine who found himself in San Francisco the day Pearl Harbor was bombed.  Upon hearing the news, he went straight to the Navy recruiting office and signed up.  He left his wife and newborn son behind to serve and protect our country and our way of life.  I remember him telling me he was angry that we had been attacked, and he felt he needed to do his part.

He was awarded a Purple Heart and bore the scar on his stomach where he was shot.  He would show us grandkids his scar now and then.  It looked like a second belly button, and we grandkids thought it funny that he had a second belly button.  It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized the seriousness of his war wound.  He also lost a good part of his hearing, the result of being too close to an explosion, and I never knew him without hearing aids.  He served his country with pride.  When he passed in the mid-80’s, we honored him with an honor guard and a tombstone which reflects his service in the Navy and his rank.  He was especially proud that he was not an officer.  He always saw himself as an every-man, and he would say that most of the officers we jerks (although he did once confess that he had a few friends who were officers, with a twinkle in his eye.)

My other grandfather was one of four or five boys (my memory is foggy on this one,) who drew straws to see who would go to war.  They were afraid that no one would be there to care for their mother or families if they all were to die in the war.  He drew the short straw and stayed behind to take care of his mother and his brother’s families.  He was proud to serve in that way.

One of my grandfathers had a brother who died in the war.  I can’t remember which one, and I don’t really have anyone to ask.  I think it was the mother’s father, but I can’t be certain.

Ironically, both of my grandfathers were raised without fathers.  They both had a fierce sense of honor and family.

The father who raised me served in the Army during the brief period of “peace” between the end of the Korean War and the beginning of the Vietnam War.  He eventually landed on Guam, where if I recall correctly, he was the company clerk.  “Kind of like Radar,” I was told when the TV show MASH was popular.  We hear they had a really good time on Guam.  I never heard him speak much about that time.  When his four years were up, he returned to the states, got a job, married, etc.

I learned two years back that my biological father was in the Air Force.  He was a medic.  I don’t have a lot of details, and I’m not sure if he served during wartime.  I think he spent most of his time in Alaska.  My aunt his sister, sent me his Air Force photo for Christmas two years ago.  It’s a wonderful photo of a young, handsome man who I never knew.  The only photo I’ve ever seen of him.

I have friends and acquaintances who have served our country over the years, both in war time and peace.  I recall hearing that a number of boys I grew up with served during Desert Storm.  Timing is everything, and we were the right age for them to go.  I recall at the time the mother telling me, “Every generation has been in a war.”

To all the men and women who have served our country, to all who have given the ultimate sacrifice, a simple thank you does not suffice.  I am humbled and forever thankful for your service to ensure our freedom.

 

…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.