Health and Beautiful Living
April 29, 2016

SPF Pros and Cons

Could there be benefits to NOT wearing SPF?  We know there are definite benefits to wearing sun protection.  But, is it possible there are times when you shouldn’t put on SPF?  Let’s explore the pros and cons.

As a 40-something women, I know I damaged my skin in my teens and 20’s.  Lying in the sun for hours covered in baby oil.   Probably not the smartest thing I ever did.  As a teenager, you don’t consider skin damage or even skin cancer.  It either never crosses your mind or you consider the mere thought of skin cancer completely ridiculous.  When you’re younger, it’s easy to think nothing will happen to your skin because the signs of damage usually don’t show up until later.  Read about that here.

Sun protection (SPF) has an important role in preventing skin damage, premature wrinkles, sun spots and helping to block the cancer causing effects from UVA and UVB rays.  We do need to wear SPF for extended periods of time in the sun.  I like this one.  It’s good for my skin and I can keep it in my purse and apply it right over my makeup.

So, we know what SPF can do for us.  Let’s talk about “cons”.  Could there be any benefits to NOT wearing SPF?  Yes! 

The biggest benefits are vitamin D and calcium.  Our bodies need vitamin D.  Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium.  Calcium helps keep teeth and bones strong.  We also need vitamin D for our muscles and to keep our immune systems functioning properly.  As a woman, and a mom, I want to make sure I’m caring for myself now and in the future (thinking about osteoporosis).

Your best source of vitamin D is the sun.  Read more here.  When exposed to the sun your body actually makes vitamin D. You can eat food fortified with vitamin D.  Did you see that I said “fortified”?  That’s because very few foods have vitamin D naturally.  Not that you can’t get it from food, but if your body can make it naturally why wouldn’t you make this work for you?

How much sun exposure do you really need?  Truly, only about 10 or 15 mins.  That’s not much time at all to receive the huge benefits the sun can provide.  That’s good news.  So, don’t be afraid to go out and check the mail, walk to the neighbor’s house or water your flowers.  (Unless otherwise advised by a doctor.)  The sun is actually working for you and making you healthy.  However, if you plan to spend the day outside working in the yard, going for a hike, or cheering on your favorite team in the stands, wear your SPF, sleeves, a hat, etc.  Note:  high SPF blocks the absorption of vitamin D.

Can you get too much vitamin D?  You can only get too much when taking supplements.  You can’t over do it from the sun because the body limits the amount of vitamin D it produces.

Important tip:  there is no vitamin D benefit while driving.  UVB rays are blocked through glass, so there is no vitamin D absorption while in the car.   Read more about that here. 

So, get out of the house and let the sun shine on you for a few minutes.  Your body will thank you.

Love and Sunshine,


SPF pros and cons

Read about the pros and cons of wearing SPF. Pin it and save it for later.

This post contains some affiliate links.  It’s possible I could receive some benefit from the links shared.

Health and Beautiful Living
April 21, 2016

5 Steps To Start A Real Food Lifestyle

4 years ago, during the holidays, my husband and I were shocked at the amount of weight we gained.  Cookies, pie, candy, yikes!   So when the new year started, as most people do, we began thinking about our weight and (more importantly) our health.  We took a hard look at the food we eat and how it was affecting both.  We slowly started taking steps toward a real food lifestyle.

What is “real food”?  Real food (in a nutshell) is food consumed as close to it’s natural form as possible, organic when possible and as little processing as possible.

My husband had a few health concerns and was going to the doctor once a month to have his blood tested.  Our weight wasn’t horrible, but not great either.  When you’re over 40, it’s not as easy as it once was to lose weight and get healthy.  Gone are the days when you can simply drink more water and cut out candy bars and BOOM you lose 10 pounds!!

We knew diets were short-term fixes and usually don’t work.  We wanted better for ourselves.  Losing weight would be great, but what we really wanted was to be healthy!!

After some research, we quickly discovered the biggest culprits to bad health and weight gain are sugar and chemicals.  Believe me when I tell you we did not change all of our habits overnight.  It was a process.  Truth be told, it was a slow process.

Here are the 5 easy steps we took to start a real food lifestyle.

  1. Identify your WHY?  If you simply want to lose weight, you probably won’t stick with a real food lifestyle.  If you are concerned about your health, what’s in your food, and what the food (good and bad) does to your body, you will most likely make this change and stick with it for many, many years.
  2. Baby steps.  Unless otherwise advised by your doctor, I suggest starting with baby steps.  Cutting back on every unhealthy thing at once will make you angry and people around you will hate you.  (Just kidding, not really!)  We started by cutting back on sugar first.  I’m not going to lie, this is probably the hardest part, at least for me.  I can eat meat, fruit, veggies all day, but take away my dessert and Starbucks and I might have to hurt someone.  But, and this is a big but, cutting back on sugar (especially processed sugar) will have a huge impact on your health.  For us, it had to be done first.  Read why here and here.  We cut out sodas and started making iced tea.  We went thru the panty and fridge and made sure we didn’t have anything to tempt us (e.g., Halloween candy, breakfast cereal, etc.).  We stocked the house with good choices like fruit and 100% juice for our daughter instead of “juice” boxes (which are usually only 5% juice).  Read about more changes you can make here.
  3. Start reading labels.  The fewer the ingredients, the better.  5 ingredients or less is a great goal, but not always easy to do.  Make sure the ingredients are things you can pronounce.  Don’t assume that if the label says “organic” it’s low in sugar, high in protein, etc.  Organic is definitely a great place to start, but do your own research and know your ingredients.  Watch out for ingredients like these.
  4. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store.  “Real food” or “whole food” is most likely going to be found around the perimeter of the grocery store (i.e., meat, produce, dairy, etc.).  Not to say there aren’t good choices down the aisles, but this is where all the temptation is also.  Take your time while shopping and go with a list.
  5. Don’t beat yourself up.  We are not perfect eaters.  I still have Starbucks once in a while and eat dessert and don’t lose sleep over it.  90% of the food choices my family makes are good choices.  We do our best when we eat out and when we’re home we make sure there are good choices at the ready in case temptation hits.

After 6 months my husband’s doctor told him his blood sugar, white blood cell count, cholesterol and blood pressure had all improved.  Plus, he lost weight.  He went from visiting the doctor once a month, to every other month, to every 6 months.  Now, he checks in once a year with the doctor for a simple physical.

Our family is so much healthier.  We rarely need to see a doctor and our pants fit a little better also.  Changing to a real food lifestyle was a great choice for us.

I hope this helps encourage you to make a healthy change with these easy steps.  Just remember to make health, not perfection, your goal.

Love and Healthy Choices,


5 steps to real food

Here are 5 easy steps to start a “real food” lifestyle.
Pin this article for later.

Health and Beautiful Living
April 14, 2016

2 Makeup Must Haves – If You’re Over 40

Whether you love makeup or consider it a “necessary evil”, there are two products I think are MUST HAVES if you’re over 40.  Both are easy to use and will make a world of difference for you.

As we age, our skin changes quite a bit.  None of the changes are any fun and unfortunately we notice them more on our face.  In addition to crows feet and wrinkles, our skin becomes more transparent (read about that here) and pale.

It drives me crazy to see these beautiful women in makeup and skin care commercials.  They are gorgeous in the makeup they are selling.  Well, yes they’re gorgeous, they’re 23 years old.  They don’t have sagging skin or sun damage and certainly not going through menopause!!!!

23 was a while ago for me.  Now I have to work a little harder to look and feel good.  That’s why I have a few makeup must haves or, as I like to call them, secret weapons.

The first is eye shadow primer (this is a good one).  Don’t you hate it when you apply eye makeup and a few hours later it either creases or fades away?  Eye primer (or base) keeps your eye makeup in place and the color true.  Apply primer to your lid before your other makeup.  In addition to the lid, apply it to the inner corner of your eye.  It will brighten that dark area and make you look like you had an extra hour of sleep.  Bonus!!!

My second makeup must have is cheek and lip stain.  This one is my favorite.  If you’ve never used a cheek stain they can be a little tricky and take some practice.   A little goes a long way.  (I suggest applying it to your finger and then applying to your cheek.)  If you’re not a big fan of makeup, this is the little “wash of color” that will make you look more awake.  I apply this stain under my regular makeup when I need a little extra color or wear it alone so I don’t look pale and tired.

I always want to look and feel my best, I’d really like to do it without makeup.  But, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.  (Smile).  In the meantime, I like having a few secret weapons to boost what God gave me.

Love and Good Makeup,


Makeup must haves for women over 40

2 makeup must haves for women over 40. Read now or Pin for later

This post contains affiliate links






Life Lived Well
April 7, 2016

We Need Good Friends Even More As We Get Older

I am very lucky to have a few great girlfriends.  There have been several times when I’ve really needed them and I’d like to think they have leaned on me a time or two also.   The older I get, the more I realize we need good friends even more as we get older.

As women, it’s usually pretty easy for us to strike up a conversation with other women, even complete strangers.  The next thing you know they are an integral part of our lives.  We have friends at every stage of our lives.  We can remember our best friend from grade school, our best friend in high school, our college roommate and the maid of honor at our wedding.  But, life happens and we lose contact with a lot of those friends.

If you’re married, your husband is probably your best friend, as he should be.  But, we need female relationships outside of our marriage.  As we age it’s more important than ever to cultivate and feed the relationships we build with our female friends.

We need women in our lives who will encourage us, love us, cry with us and give us advice.  Sometimes we need the kind of advice only a woman can give.

Typically in our 20’s fun things are happening in our lives.  We graduate college and get “real” jobs.  We get married and have kids.  Usually all great things and our friends are there to celebrate with us.  But, in our 40’s our lives look different, not always bad, but different and we need good friends by our side.

Kids grow up and move out.  Sometimes we get difficult news from the doctor.  We have big job or career changes.  Divorce.  Death of a parent.  You name and it happens.

Good friends build up our confidence when career changes come our way.  Good friends are there to talk you through a divorce.   They can support you and your family through illness or the death of a loved one.  But really good friends can also help us with big decisions.

It’s important to listen to our friends and be willing to gently offer advice when our friends are going through tough times.  Words of encouragement and sound advice can be just what you need to change a potentially bad situation to a more manageable life experience.

During our 40’s and 50’s we have great life experiences also, but our lives don’t look like they did in our 20’s and we need good, stable friends by our side.  We need to foster our friendships by going out to lunch, sending birthday cards or calling just to say hello.

Be the friend you want your friends to be.  Take time to invest in your friendships.  You never know when life will serve up an expected surprise and you’ll be glad you have a good friend there to help you through whatever comes your way.

Love and Good Friends,


We need good friends even more when we get older

Read here why it’s so important to have good friends as we get older OR Pin it and save it for later.

Dressing Your Best
April 1, 2016

Stitch Fix Review March 2016

“Stitch Fix Day” is my favorite day of the month.  I’m always excited to see what was picked out just for me.  My stylist hit it out of the park in March.

Scroll down to see what I received.  If you’re not familiar with the clothing service Stitch Fix, here’s the scoop.

Stitch Fix is a monthly subscription box.  You start by filling out a style profile here on their website that includes your budget for each item.  You can even link a Pinterest board to your profile.  It’s a great way to build your wardrobe and get out of your comfort zone, without driving all over town.  I’ve been receiving Stitch Fix for over 2 years.

The initial cost is $20 for the “styling fee”.  The styling fee covers the cost for your personal stylist to pick out your clothes/jewelry/shoes and covers shipping.  They will send you 5 items.  Pay only for the items you keep, send back the rest.  If you keep all 5 items you get a 25% discount and they deduct the $20 styling fee.

A few tips to help you have a great “fix”.  First, be specific about what you’re looking for in your clothes.  Also, be specific when you send something back.  Tell them why ( i.e., I don’t care for this color, this dress was too short on me, etc.).  This helps them make better choices for you in the future.  Second, understand that someone who doesn’t know you is picking out clothes for you.  It may take a time or two for you and your stylist to get it right.  You can also let your stylist know if you’re looking for something special, like if you’ll be attending a wedding or need clothes for a vacation.

My first “fix” was just ok, but they keep getting better.  After 2  years, they can go back and see what I’ve kept and why and what I didn’t like and why.  I receive a lot of “fixes” where I keep all 5 items.  But, I’ve also had them where I sent back all 5.  I look at it this way, if I only keep 1 or 2 items from each box it’s a win.  I do so much less shopping in stores because of Stitch Fix.  It’s so easy and convenient.

On the to the box!!


Stitch Fix Review March 2016

Left – Crescent Windsor Bell Sleeve Tunic. Right – Kut From The Kloth Siena Cropped Pant and Mia Amari Scallop Trim Flats

Stitch Fix Review March 2016

Left – Liverpool Zarina Button Down Top w/ Siena Cropped Pant. Right – Gentle Fawn Alesia V-Neck Dress











I loved the Windsor bell sleeve tunic, especially with white pants.  The fuchsia pants were a little out of my comfort zone, but they fit great and my husband loved them.  As it turns out, they were perfect for church on Easter Sunday.  I’m not a fan of the Liverpool Button Down Top.  I don’t care for light denim and this is a little big on me.  But, it was cheaper with the 25% discount to keep it.  The dress was amazing.  It’s lined and hit me just above the knee.  LOVE!!!!   The blue scalloped flats are super cute.

The cost of the entire box after discounts and the styling fee was $205.75.

Stitch Fix is a fun experience.  If you do try it and it’s not for you you’re only out $20.  But, I think you’ll love the excitement of seeing what your very own personal stylist picks out for you each month.

Love and Great Clothes,


Stitch Fix Review for March 2016

My Stitch Fix Review for March 2016.




Dressing Your Best
March 24, 2016

2 Ways To Remove Smells From Your Clothes

When you’re allergic to antiperspirant and deodorant you become a master at removing smells from clothes.  I can’t wear antiperspirant AND I’m peri-menopausal, that means I sweat.  A lot!!!   January or July, it doesn’t matter, I sweat every day.  I’ve been allergic to antiperspirant for several years, but my allergies to the ingredients in deodorant are a relatively new problem for me.

I’m very self-conscious about the way I smell.  I change my shirt often and do all I can to ensure my clothes and laundry smell good.  I only wear natural fibers.  Can you imagine wearing polyester tops and sweating frequently?  Then you’re stinky and wet.  Gross!!!   God bless my husband.  He swears I don’t smell but I can’t help but worry and I always try to stay proactive.

Whether the problem is you or another sweaty body in your house, how do you handle odiferous laundry?  I have 2 ways to remove smells from the clothes that really work.

Tip #1 – White vinegar.  Did you know vinegar can rid your laundry of odors?  Did you know it can remove sweat stains as well?  Soak the spot in question with white vinegar for a few minutes before laundering.

When I do laundry I just pour white vinegar where I would normally add liquid bleach.  Then, it gets added automatically during the wash cycle.  When my clothes need “extra help” I run an extra rinse cycle and add vinegar instead fabric softener.

White vinegar removes odors, acts as a fabric softener, reduces lint and helps keep colors from running (perfect for new jeans).  Read more tips here.

Tip #2 – Baking Soda.  Adding baking soda to your laundry also helps with smells and boosts your bleach for whiter whites, BUT here’s another great trick.  This is terrific for removing smells from your clothes that don’t really need to be laundered.  Have you ever ordered clothing and an item came with a foul smell or you come home smelling funky from a restaurant or club?  Yuck.

Lay the offending garment out on your table and sprinkle baking soda liberally over the sweater, coat, etc.  Let it sit overnight.  The baking soda absorbs the smells just like that little box sitting in the back of your fridge.  I shake off the baking soda (outside) and repeat the process on the other side of the garment.

Whether you have skin allergies like I do, you live with a professional athlete or just don’t like smelling like country fried steak, these tips really work and will help keep you smelling like a rose.

Love and Sweet Smelling Laundry,


2 ways to remove smells from your clothes that really work

I’m allergic to deodorant and don’t want to smell sweaty. Here are 2 ways to remove smells from your clothes that really work. Read more here or Pin it for later!



Health and Beautiful Living
March 18, 2016

What’s Hiding In Your Personal Lubricant?

Personal lubricants are something we don’t talk about over lunch with friends, but we’ve all used them for one reason or another.  If you’re a woman over 40, it’s most likely because we are losing estrogen and, as a result, we become dryer everywhere.

If you’ve been with me for a while, you know I’ve experienced a few skin issues (read more here) and have been focused on taking control over what I put in and on my body.  One day I started thinking about what could be in my personal lubricant.  Have you ever read the back of your lubricant bottle?   You might be shocked to know what’s in it and what those ingredients could be doing to the most private and most sensitive area of your body.

Before we get into that, there was something I was shocked to learn when researching this article.  You need to sit down for this.  The Food and Drug Administration does not require testing of personal lubricants on humans.  Personal lubricants are considered “medical devices” like a wheelchair, and are required to be tested on animals.   WHAT?????   Are you kidding me?  Let that sink in for a minute.

It’s important to know that your vagina is very absorbent.  Studies suggest that you absorb more thru your skin and vagina than if you ate something containing the same chemicals.

Now that I have your attention, here are some of the things that could be hiding in your personal lubricant.

  • Parabens.  These are synthetic preservatives.  (Methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparabens, etc. have been found in breast tumors and they mimic estrogen.)  Parabens are believed to be one of the causes of early puberty in young girls.
  • Petroleum or silicone.  They don’t allow the skin to breathe and have been linked to cancer and other health conditions.
  • Petrochemicals.  (Propylene glycol similar to that used in anti-freeze and brake fluid and polyethylene glycol used in laxatives and oven cleaner.)  Petrochemicals are damaging to the genital tissue.
  • High hyperosmolar lubricants (very thick)
    • Propylene glycol and glycerin make a lubricant hyperosmolar.  When a lubricant is hyperosmolar it (basically) means it’s very thick and causes epithelial cell disease.  This weakens the body’s defenses and makes it easier to contract infections.  (Read more here).
  • Sodium Hydroxide (also known as lye).  A corrosive chemical.

Now that you know what to look for, what do you do now?  There are cleaner options out there.   I’ve been using this lubricant for a few years.  When I started doing this research I had no idea Good Clean Love was one of the “cleanest” lubricants on the market.  Bonus!!!

It’s important to be aware of what we are putting in and on our bodies and what the side effects can be.  Do some research.  You and your body are worth it!!

Love and Good Health,


What's hiding in your personal lubricant

What could be hiding in your personal lubricant? You might be surprised. Read it now or Pin it and save it for later


*This article contains affiliate links.  I may receive some compensation from these links.  However, I would never recommend a product that I haven’t used and/or believe to be acceptable.

Life Lived Well
March 8, 2016

5 Things You Need In A Crisis

Life altering events happen when we least expect them.  We all hope and pray that we never have to deal with a catastrophe.  But, unfortunately, they do happen.  If you’re ever faced with a house fire, tornado, death of a loved one, etc., are you prepared?

When we think of “emergencies”, we could probably list several things we would want or think we need.  I’ve created a short list of things to have at your fingertips.  Here are 5 things you need in a crisis.

  1.  A will.  There’s nothing worse than having a family member pass away and their family starts fighting over “stuff”.  And let’s face it, when it happens, they usually aren’t even fighting over good stuff.  And, the fighting can last years.  If you don’t have a lawyer, there are plenty of inexpensive legal websites where you can get a will and it’s pretty easy.
  2. A list of passwords.  Update this often.  Make sure your spouse knows where to find the list.  If something should happen to you or your spouse, the other will need to know how to access your accounts.
  3. Life insurance policy information.  Did you know that it’s often possible for a funeral to be paid for with the person’s life insurance benefit?  In the event of the death of a spouse or a parent this can be a huge relief if they didn’t make funeral arrangements prior to their death.
  4. Mortgage holder information or deed to your house.  In the event of fire, tornado, etc. you’ll want to get your hands on this quickly.
  5. Cash. (I suggest at least $1000.)  There are several reasons to have a cash emergency fund.  Here are just a few:
    1. I’ve experienced a few natural disasters and when they occur there will be stores open for business for necessities but their electronic cash registers won’t be running.
    2. You normally only use your credit card/debit card and your wallet is stolen.  Now what do you do?
    3. In the event of the death of a spouse, the living spouse can be temporarily “locked out” of their bank accounts.  A horrible and worrisome inconvenience in the middle of a tragedy.

Get yourself a fireproof  safe or a small lockbox.  Something you can take with you easily and quickly in the event of an emergency.   Make sure your spouse or trusted loved one knows where these items are as well.

We hope we never have to deal with a crisis, but it’s better to be prepared and pray it never becomes necessary.

Love and Good Health,


5 things you will need in a crisis

This is a great list to help you be prepared – just in case. Read it now or Pin it and read it later.

February 29, 2016

Easter Basket Goodies Kids Will Love (plus better for them candy)

I love putting together the Easter Basket every year.  It’s fun and my daughter really looks forward to it.  But, since Christmas wasn’t that long ago, it’s easy to run out of ideas.

I try not to spend a ton of money filling the Easter Basket and there’s not a big emphasis on candy.  This year I wanted to find a few gifts the kids probably won’t expect and maybe haven’t ever seen – Bonus!).

Here is a list of Easter basket goodies the kids will love.

We all know kids love candy.  Each year I try to find candy I can feel better about giving my child.  She’s going to be disappointed if she doesn’t get at least a little candy in her basket.  The candy and treats on this list are made with “healthier” ingredients and we usually have one or more of them on hand at our house on a regular basis.

I hope this list helps make your Easter Basket shopping easy this year.  Please let me know if these gifts were a homerun!!!

Love and Happy Easter,


*This article contains some affiliate links.  I may receive some form of compensation for links or recommendations.  Please know that I do not recommend anything I haven’t personally used or feel good about using myself.

Easter Basket Goodies the kids will love

Great ideas the kids will love. Read it now or Pin it and check it out later.

Health and Beautiful Living
February 23, 2016

Natural Anti Aging Skin Care (part 2)

If you’ve ever shopped for natural anti aging skin care you know it’s not easy to find products that work that aren’t expensive.  In my last article, I shared my skin issues and what natural products I’ve been using.  I shared what a big difference I’ve seen in my skin since using Rosehip Oil and Frankincense essential oil for my skin care regimen.

As women age our skin can change dramatically.  We can be oily, oily and dry or dry and itchy.  I think I’m all 3 on any given day.

By now,  you’ve probably heard to “be careful” of some ingredients in skin care products.  But, do you know what to look for and why?  Here’s just one chart that points to some of the potential toxins in cosmetics and skin care products.

When I started experimenting with natural skin care, I started with coconut oil.  That seemed to be what all the articles on Pinterest and Facebook recommended as an “all over” moisturizer.  My experience using coconut oil was just okay.  I liked it on my legs and arms, but it was nothing impressive on my face and neck.  My skin seemed dull and I didn’t see any improvements in age spots, breakouts, under eye circles, etc.  Additionally, in winter it seemed like my skin needed a little more moisturizing.

Coconut oil does have a slight SPF, so if that’s important to you, it might be a good “muli-tasker” in summer.

The next carrier oil I tried was grape seed oil.  I read about people having great results and it was supposed to help with acne.  I didn’t find that to be the case at all.  It felt like the oil just sat on my skin.  Not really soaking in and I was breaking out more.  Then I found this chart and it helped shed a little light on the problems I was having.  However, I do like the grape seed oil as a deep conditioner for my hair.

I moved on from there to organic Rosehip Oil and haven’t turned back.

In addition to using a carrier oil, I also started experimenting with essential oils.  When this journey began I didn’t know a lot about them but I knew I was spending a fortune on products that weren’t working.  So, I had nothing to lose.

There are several essential oils that are very helpful for skin concerns.  A few of them are geranium, clary sage, lavender, ylang ylang and frankincense.  I’m going to be very honest with you.  Are  you ready?  I tried a lot of them.  My husband hated the smell of most of them (especially geranium).  They quickly got moved to the back of the shelf.  So, that was also a waste of money!!

I kept reading about the benefits of Frankincense.  I tried it and then tried others and ultimately came back to it.  It does have a smell, but it’s not as strong and does go away.  And, like I mentioned last time, the combination of Rosehip and Frankincense has made my skin brighter, clearer, less irritated and my age spots are fading.  Yeah!!!

Here is where I get my frankincense essential oil

We will experience changes in our skin as we age and you need to know there are easy, less expensive options out there.  My hope is that my experience gives you a direction to go in when considering natural anti aging skin care.   Beautiful skin can be yours at any age!!

Love and Beautiful Skin,


Natural Anti Aging Skin Care

Natural Anti Aging Skin Care. Read about a great formula for women over 40 or Pin it for later.



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