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7-Step Recipe To Survive Extreme Cold

“The cold never bothered me anyway.” ~Elsa, Frozen

A parka is awesome in cold weather. This one is an olive, fur-trimmed hooded parka with gold accents. Roomy pockets and faux-leather trim around the pockets and zipper/snaps.
Photo doesn’t do the parka justice b

I sure hope the cold wouldn’t bother Elsa, she is the Snow Queen in Disney’s Frozen after all. Me, I’m the exact opposite.

Since anything lower than 70 degrees is cold to me, I’d never survive arctic-like weather for any amount of time. You’ll never find me gracefully walking up a snow-clad mountain, in nothing more than a gown, cape, and one glove, singing no less.

Take this morning, for example, it was 3 degrees below zero. I was enjoying a steaming cup of coffee while catching up on a few of my favorite blogs when it happened. Mollie, my ride or die a.k.a. furbaby gives me the signal she’s ready for her daily constitutional.

Gray beanie, gray faux-fur lined and trimmed gloves and multi-colored zig zag striped fringed scarfIt Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken But You’ll Be Warm

One thing I dislike most when it’s this cold is preparing for outdoors. It takes too much time to layer up so as to not succumb to the harsh elements. So I’ve created this little recipe to send the cold packing.

  1. Take 1 bandana for the head, tee-shirt, leggings, and knee-high socks
  2. Next, put on a knit beanie hat, sweatshirt, and fleece pants
  3. Then an over-the-head hooded sweatshirt, pull hood over beanie
  4. Follow up with fuzzy shearling lined, lace-up knee-high boots (tuck in fleece pants)
  5. Add faux-fur-trimmed hooded parka
  6. Next, add faux fur-lined gloves
  7. Finally, tie a scarf around hooded parka to cover face then you’re all set

Black faux-fur lined and trimmed lace-up knee-high winter bootsTwenty minutes later, yeah, thank the lord I don’t have to put on makeup, I grab Mollie’s leash, poo bags, and door keys to venture outside. As soon as I opened the door and felt the wintry blast of snowy cold air I swear we were heading into a polar vortex.

Trudging in the snow while Mollie leaps—somewhat sorta like a graceful gazelle—through the snow-laden grass, my mind begins wandering. I think back to the days of my youth when I pretended the cold didn’t bother me. Then suddenly I realize how content I am where I am.

The cold bothers me 

As Mollie digs in the snow for the perfect spot to do her business I remembered how beautifully poised Elsa appeared yet she had a secret. When she sings “Let It Go” this is where she’s comfortable with who she really is.

I begin thinking of some of the things I am not. I am not a queen, or a princess even, I am not a writer, at times I don’t feel like a blogger, I am not an adventurer, singer, dancer, actress, photographer, artist or philosopher.

No, I may not be many of the things I longed to be and as I get older my mind isn’t as sharp as it once was but there’s freedom with age. Having lived more days than what’s left going forward, I can be unapologetically selective, to do what’s best for me instead of following the crowd. Standing up for myself, treasuring my time, and speaking my mind is more important than seeking approval.

I am still a work in progress, learning new things every day and striving for balance instead of perfection. Oh, and before I forget, after 10 minutes or thereabouts Mollie did her thing and I’m safely ensconced in my cozy home.

Have a great weekend and stay warm!!


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Fabulous, Functional & Frugal Fashion Tip #6

Sweater + Skirt + Boots = Classy

photogrid_1479767866787A couple of weeks ago I had a Care Plan Conference meeting for my mom at the nursing home. Not knowing what to expect I opted for my black Ann Taylor skirt, Old Navy black & white striped v-neck sweater, black knee-high boots, black tights, silver plated cuff bracelet & lacy statement earrings.

Sometimes it’s the smallest things that make the biggest impact. Take this skirt for example. The material is a heavy wool, there’s a split in the back, the waist band is a faux leather and the best part are the three gold-plated zippers (on two front pockets, frontal closure and split which can be zipped closed). This is such a beautiful garment that it would enhance just about anything.

Even though it was very cold the day of the meeting I felt nice and toasty. As a matter of fact I felt so good I was able to pull out the faux fur vest since I would going directly from my place to the facility.


The meeting was very productive and my mom had quite a bit of input. While many people tend to write off Alzheimer patients, the social services and nursing staff treated my mom with dignity and respect by listening to, and addressing her concerns. One of the more serious issues was a medication snafu which mom was able to detect because she still documents her doses, times, etc.

Being unafraid to speak up on her own behalf has worked well for my mother because very little gets by her. I guess we’re a family of advocates.

Happy Hump Day!



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Your Best Skin Ever

Caring for the Skin You’re In

Bowl of fresh rasperries Found on
Found on via Pinterest

You might recall that during the latter part of last year I was reading a book on makeup and skincare for the over 50 woman. While many of us are aware of the changes our skin goes through as we age, unfortunately our skincare and makeup routines are seldom altered to benefit us as we go through these changes.

In the book, “Toss the Gloss: Beauty Tips, Tricks & Truths for Women 50+,” Andrea Q. Robinson offers great insight from her vast experience as a cosmetics professional. By using less makeup, colors and formulas suited to our evolving skin, strategic application and a complimentary skin care regimen we can achieve our most fabulous 50+ look. It all begins with a great foundation (and not foundation as in cosmetics rather how we care for the skin we are in).

I think it’s important for us to understand that there are NO miracle cures for aging skin (unless of course you’re counting plastic surgery). And all those claims of ridding the face of wrinkles, bags, sagging skin and turning back the clock in decades are nothing more than claims but this doesn’t mean we can’t look our absolute fabulous best even if we are over 50. I dare say this is the time for us to revel in who we are and why not? We’ve made it this far, we’ve earned it!

What is this Foundation Business?

The foundation to healthy skin is in part the same as a healthy lifestyle. Getting enough sleep, exercise, avoiding sun exposure (without sunscreen), hydration and healthy eating go a long way in maintaining healthy skin. In addition sunscreen, edible and topical antioxidants, retinoids, alpha hydroxy or salicylic acids, moisturizers and cleansers help to keep our skin soft, supple and vibrant.

Glass of water splashing over the edges from a lemon slice being dropped in. Found on Buzzfeed via Pinterest
Found on Buzzfeed via Pinterest

A word on edible antioxidants – I found a list of what is calling the 10 best antioxidant rich foods to add to your diet. To view the article you can click the link to the Medical Daily website however for your reference following are the foods:

  1. Prunes
  2. Raspberries
  3. Cloves
  4. Strawberries
  5. Cranberries
  6. Walnuts
  7. Blueberries
  8. Pinto Beans
  9. Blackberries
  10. Small Red Beans

For the topical skin care products (sunscreen, antioxidants, retinoids, alpha hydroxy or salicylic acids, moisturizers and cleansers) I compiled a list of each type of product at three price points from lowest to highest in each category. All the products listed are free from animal testing and are rated the Best on Paula’s Choice Beautypedia:

  • Sunscreens – are essential for skin care day in and day out every day of the year.
  1. Sun Shield For Faces Extra Sensitive Skin SPF 25 by Physicians Formula
  2. Essential-C Sun Balm Broad Spectrum SPF 35 PA +++ by Murad
  3. Marini Physical Protectant 45 by Jan Marini Skin Research, Inc.
Bottle of Sun Shield For Faces Extra Sensitive Skin SPF 25 Found on Google
Sun Shield For Faces Extra Sensitive Skin SPF 25 Found on Google
  • Antioxidants – help fight environmental damage and stimulates healthy collagen production.
  1. Luminous Eye Serum by Andalou Naturals
  2. Reclaim Age Braker Line Breaker Serum by Principal Secret  Reclaim
  3. Juno Body Transformation Lipid Serum by Sunday Riley
  • Retinoids – Retinol a derivative of vitamin A helps our skin cells to be healthy again.
  1. Resist Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment by Paula’s Choice Skincare Resist
  2. Time Release Retinol Concentrate for Deep Wrinkles by Murad
  3. Ossential Advanced Radical Night Repair by ZO Skin Health
Bottle alongside its box DISROBE BODY LOTION by Sunday Riley image found on Google
by Sunday Riley Image found on Google
  • AHA Alpha Hydroxy – Exfoliant mainly used for dry skin.
  1. Oil-Free Formula 10% Glycolic AHA Anti-Wrinkle by Alpha Hydrox
  2. Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment With 5% Alpha Hydroxy Acid by Paula’s Choice Skincare  Resist
  3. Disrobe Body Lotion by Sunday Riley
  • BHA (salicylic acid) – Exfoliant mainly used for oily skin and/or blackheads.
  1. Skin Perfecting 1% BHA Lotion by Paula’s Choice Skincare Skin Perfecting
  2. Clarifying Night Cream by Proactiv & Proactiv+
  3. Photo Finish More Than Primer Blemish Control Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment by Smashbox
  • Moisturizers (without sunscreen) – Helps skin fight environmental damage, increases healthy collagen production, improves skin texture and hydration.
  1. Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM by CeraVe
  2. Pure Argan Milk Intensive Hydrating Treatment by Josie Maran Cosmetics
  3. Ommerse Overnight Recovery Creme by ZO Skin Health
  • Cleansers – Remove oil and makeup without stripping the skin, rinse without residue.
  1. Expert Sensitive Gentle Cleansing Lotion by Boots Expert
  2. Delicate Balance Calming Cleanser by Merle Norman
  3. Soothe Gentle Cream Wash by Rodan and Fields Soothe
Bottle of Delicate Balance Calming Cleanser by Merle Norman Image found on Google
Delicate Balance Calming Cleanser by Merle Norman Image found on Google

Even though I currently do not use topical antioxidants or retinoids, I’ve noticed that since I changed my skincare regimen my skin is softer, clearer and it seems that my freckles have faded. Over the summer I tried using an AHA exfoliant but it was too strong for my skin so I had to go with a BHA that seems to be working out great. Both my moisturizer and foundation contain sunscreen for my face. I’ll have to give you the down low on my foundation change on another day but I’m very happy with the results of the new stuff.

The journey to appearing our absolute best begins with a proper skin care program. As I said earlier in this post while there are no magical solutions to issues that come about from aging with great care we can minimize some of the effects.

Always remember – when you feel good, you look good!

Questions, comments, suggestions? Leave a message in the comment box or email me directly at

Have a great week!!

“I know who I am. I am not perfect. I’m not the most beautiful woman in the world. But I’m one of them.” ~Mary J. Blige


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Silently Suffering for Shoes

A Moment of Silence Please

Cinderella is proof that a new pair of shoes can change your life

Ever wish you could go back in time to change the outcome of a specific situation only to come to a peaceful resolution? It’s never easy to experience a significant loss but life is full of ups and downs, and we have to take the good with the bad because perseverance is what makes us stronger.

It was a sad day here in Pittsburgh not too long ago when I suffered the loss of a very dear friend. If only I were paying attention, and recognized the signs maybe things could have been different. I was inconsolable and kept asking myself why? Why did one so young have to go? It just didn’t seem fair.

When I received the news I went through the appropriate 5 stages:

  1. Denial – No, it can’t be. I won’t believe it!
  2. Anger – “This is so wrong!!” as I raise my fists and scream at the top of my lungs.
  3. Bargaining – “Please, please I’ll do anything just don’t let it be so.”
  4. Depression – “I just can’t go on. What am I to do now?”
  5. Acceptance – I say to myself “you can do this, you can go on and while life will be different you will laugh once again.”

It took me a time-span of 24 hours to go through these stages of grief and you may be wondering what kind of friend would go through such emotional turmoil in such a short time? Well, it wasn’t easy but like I said in a previous post “I like options” and while good friends may be hard to come by when one passes on you really have no other option than to replace them with another.

We met back in 2009 after my last eye surgery which left me legally blind. Since I had to stop driving the previous year and had to rely on mail-order, this friendship worked out beautifully. It started out a little rocky but then developed into a great relationship full of mutual trust and respect. I was so honored to have such a dear friend but now it’s time to say goodbye <sniffle> to my DSW Premier Rewards Status.

I don’t know how it’s possible that I missed out on acquiring enough Premier qualifying points to keep my status however I refuse to keep dredging up the past. It’s time to move on and release myself from the bondage called Premier Rewards and just become a lowly Rewards member. For 4-1/2 years I enjoyed free next day shipping, Triple Points Days, and exclusive access to offers and events. It may be tough but I can and I will get through this.

In the interim though I think I’ll order some shoes from who offers free standard ground shipping on all orders, regardless of size or value. If this isn’t an incentive to change my shoes shopping habits I don’t know what is.

Thank goodness I ordered the boots pictured left. I’ve been on the lookout for Victorian boots like these for some time now and I found them at, of all places Amazon, and I really like the following description:

Funtasma by Pleaser Women's Dame-05 Ankle Boot
Funtasma by Pleaser Women’s Dame-05 Ankle Boot

When you want your retro bootie a little less granny and a little more glammy, try the Dame from Funtasma on for size. Smooth faux-leather traces a classic silhouette, complete with short heel and grommet-rich lace-up panel. What we really love are those sexy lace panels – they’re provocative without being the least bit tacky. Team this pair with a lacy cocktail frock for pure elegance.

So I think for now I’ll muddle my way through living without my Premier Rewards Status and do my best to support other online shoe shops. It’s the very least I can do because that’s just the kind of person I am.

“I could walk a mile in your shoes, but I already know they’re just as uncomfortable as mine. Let’s walk next to each other instead…” ~ Lynda Meyers