Broken ankle recovery: learning to walk again

September 6, 2015 is the day I went from a healthy, strong, independent woman to an instant cripple. You see, while walking on the sidewalk in my platform wedge shoes, I stepped on a pebble and lost my balance. My left foot went sideways and my leg landed right on top of it.

Have you ever twisted a chicken wing to separate the joints? Well it was kind of like that. All the bones were broken in what’s called a trimalleolar fracture. Basically my foot was disconnected. It’s the worst fracture you can get and the worst case my surgeon had seen in many years.

And from that fateful day the only thing I wanted to know was when can I walk again. The short answer to that question is this: I was able to walk on my own 20 days after the doctor said I was allowed to walk.

But there’s a lot more to the story, a story I wasn’t sure I wanted to tell because I’d rather pretend this nightmare never happened. But reading other people’s stories helped me, so here goes.

Broken ankle: waiting for surgery

There was surprisingly little pain. My ankle was stabilized at the ER and I was sent home with instructions to stay off my left leg (non weight bearing or NWB) and keep it elevated while awaiting surgery. Oh, and I wasn’t allowed to shower either. (Try washing your hair in the kitchen sink while standing on one leg.)

Being NWB means I had to use crutches which is its own little nightmare.

Using your hands for crutches means you can’t carry anything, not even a cup of coffee. Luckily I had a small thermos and bottled water which I packed in a tote bag along with my phones and other items. I had to plan every excursion from the couch as if I were going on a long trip: what did I need to take with me, what did I need to bring back, how many stops did I have to make.

Sometimes I would take a break from crutches and roll around the kitchen in an office chair. That’s how I was able to prepare meals for me and the dog.

Drive Medical DV8 Aluminum Steerable Knee Walker Crutch Alternative

My borrowed knee scooter looked like this

The week after the accident my sister-in-law borrowed a knee scooter for me. This was life changing! I could get around faster and, with the tote bag hanging from the handlebars, was able to carry a dish in one hand and steer with the other.

Even with the scooter, the physical exertion of going from one place to the other left me extremely tired. I spent much of the time napping on the couch. I think my body was in shock. This exhaustion continued for several weeks.

Broken ankle surgery

That happened 11 days later on September 17. Right before going into the OR the nurses told me this was going to be a painful surgery. Such an inadequate word to describe the horror of the next 24 hours. The pain was excruciating. It felt like someone was sawing away at my ankle with a hacksaw. I counted the minutes until I could take the next pain pill, and this from someone who doesn’t even take headache medicine.

The next day the pain was about 50 percent less and each day it got better. By the fifth day I stopped taking pain pills. There was still pain but it was tolerable.

The surgeon installed a metal plate and six screws on the left side of my ankle, and one screw on the right side.

My foot was in a cast for two weeks and then I had a decision to make.

flowers on broken concrete

Removing stitches, and do you want a cast or a boot?

The cast came off and I didn’t want to look at my foot but got a glimpse of it anyway. My exact words were, “I look like Frankenstein.” My foot was laced with wounds: a five inch long one on the left side, one inch across the top of my foot, and three inches on the right side.

The stitches came out and there were lots of them. It didn’t hurt as bad as I expected, just mostly felt like someone snapping me with a rubber band.

Did I want another cast or a boot? A cast makes the foot more stable but you still can’t shower or exercise much with it. It’s also much lighter than a boot.

A boot costs extra, it’s heavy and bulky, but you can remove it to bathe. And this is what really sold me—I could start physical therapy two weeks earlier which meant I would be walking two weeks earlier. Done.

That being said, I hated every minute wearing that boot especially in bed where it was nearly impossible to get comfortable. Still, it was the right decision.

Then the doctor dropped a bomb on me. I would have to go another six weeks without being able to walk.

I was crushed thinking it was only going to be four weeks because bones take about six weeks to heal. I think he was being extra cautious due to the severity of the fracture.

The long road to recovery

dog laying on my pillow

My little doggy nurse testing out my pillow. Puppy approved!

The next six weeks were hard and I counted down the days until I would be allowed to walk again.

I rented a ramp for the back door so I could do a few things in the garden and dump my trash. Being able to finally get outside lifted my spirits somewhat.

I kept up with light housework, running the vacuum cleaner, keeping the bathrooms and kitchen clean, doing a little bit of cooking.

In the evenings while lounging on the couch I would take a break from the boot and let my foot out. By that time it really seemed like a very fragile foreign object attached to my body. I massaged it a little and did various exercises like curling my toes, bending my ankle and making little circles.

I noticed that the surgery had left me with slight numbness on the skin and a lump on the bottom of my foot.

I started physical therapy on October 23. I’ve done a separate post with more details about the exercises I did on my own as well as the ones that were prescribed to me.

Being released by the doctor, I can walk again…or can I?

Finally the day came on November 12 when the doctor told me my X-rays looked good and I could now walk! Well, I think what he meant was that I was allowed to walk, having previously stated it would take 3 to 5 months before I would be able to walk.

He told me I was allowed full weight bearing (FWB) with no restrictions except that he wanted me to wear the boot when I went outside, and after a few weeks I could throw it away.

Anyway, I was so excited leaving the office that I thought maybe I could just walk right out of there. But I didn’t, so I rode my scooter one last time to the car.

Then I put my left foot on the ground for the first time in over two months, and ow, OWWW, that really hurt! I picked it right back up again, dejected with the realization that I would still be dependent on the scooter for a while.

Learning to walk again after a broken ankle

When I got home I took out the crutches and practiced walking while putting some pressure on the left foot. I found it impossibly clunky to try and walk with the boot on so I ditched it immediately. My foot needed a lot of support which the boot did not provide. Not having anything suitable I ordered orthopedic shoes which helped me a lot.

my fuchsia vionic shoes

My fuchsia orthopedic shoes help me walk without limping

The next day I went to the physical therapist. They gave me a walker to use for as long as I needed. They told me to practice putting pressure on the foot, shifting from one side to the other.

And they also told me to practice walking around about 5 minutes a day. I ended up doing a lot more than that though, sometimes too much, resulting in a couple of setbacks.

One of the scariest things happened to me two days after being FWB. It was midnight and I was trying to see if I could vacuum using the walker. I used my left foot to release the vacuum cleaner, lost my balance and fell backwards, landing on my rear end.

I wasn’t hurt, just scared at what might have happened. The tension of being alone and feeling vulnerable for so long overflowed in that moment and I just sobbed my heart out.

The next day I kept at it, using the scooter to get around and practicing with the walker. I would tell myself, “You know how to walk, just walk!” But it was too painful and I couldn’t…yet. Each day I was able to tolerate more pressure on my foot.

And then one day I walked…on my own. Granted, I looked like a monster come to life but I was walking! Like Quasimodo without the hump. Twenty days after being FWB and 87 days after the accident, I could walk on my own at last!

Driving after a broken ankle

It’s illegal to drive with a cast or a boot on either foot. When I became FWB I was legally allowed to drive but couldn’t since my car has a manual transmission which requires the use of both feet. So I had to learn how to drive again.

A week after being FWB I started getting ready to drive. I practiced turning on the motor and shifting the gears with my right foot on the clutch. Then I turned the car off and practiced pressing the clutch with my left foot, using it as an exercise machine, pressing it 50 to 70 times. That was the first and second day.

On the third day I pressed the clutch 100 times, then drove up and down driveway a couple of times.

On the fourth day I drove around the block.

On the fifth day I drove to Trader Joe’s. And this was 11 days after being FWB. I was actually able to drive a stick shift before I was able to walk. Going to the store meant I had to take both the walker and scooter.

I needed the walker to get to the back seat where the scooter was. Then I took the scooter into the store where I was able to steer it with one hand and steer the shopping cart with the other. People stared at me but I didn’t care. I was finally on the road to freedom.

Walking without a limp

While I was able to walk on my own, limping was a problem. I began using one crutch (on the good side) for support most of the time while training myself to walk properly.

Believe it or not, it takes a lot of mental concentration to walk normally. It was frustrating as I told myself, “Why am I limping? I know how to walk.” My foot wasn’t strong enough to support my weight through each step. I would automatically throw my weight to the left and as I began falling to the right, my right leg took a step. Spending unequal time on each leg produces a limp.

To conquer that I actually had to practice walking while repeating “heel, toe” and trying to balance my weight in the center instead of throwing it out to the left, spending equal time on each step.

I also found it very helpful to do calf stretches followed by a 15 minute walk unaided.

I was finally able to ditch the crutch 53 days after being FWB.

flowers on concrete

Pain during and after a broken ankle

Pre surgery

For me there wasn’t a lot of pain when I first broke my ankle. I rated it as a 3 out of 10.

I was sent home from the ER with my foot wrapped in an ace bandage with splints which doesn’t provide a whole lot of support. I was happiest when my foot wasn’t flopping around too much. I used ice packs and occasional prescribed meds to combat the pain.

By the day of the surgery I had no pain at all.

Post surgery

I’ve already described the horrendous pain following the outpatient surgery. That was definitely a 10 out of 10. I did a lot of foot icing the first two days which was hard because the weight of the ice bag was too much for me to bear and I had to use very little ice.

I took my pain meds on schedule for the first two days, gradually increasing the time in between doses so that by the fifth day I stopped taking it altogether.

The pain greatly diminished with each passing day. Toward the end of the eight weeks while waiting to be released by the doctor, I was once again pain free.

Post FWB

The pain returned for the FWB phase. My foot hurt all the time but obviously the most when I was putting pressure on it. It felt like pins and needles combined with very sharp pain concentrated in the heel. I would rate it a 5 or 6 but I refused to take anything for it.

The one thing I did do was get acupuncture because it’s helped me a lot in the past. Right after I began driving I started the treatments, five in a three week period. I was using the walker at that time and desperate to walk on my own. The treatments did help but were not the miracle I’d been hoping for.

After I began to walk, I was still in constant pain and also began getting leg spasms in the left leg which kept me awake at night. My shins hurt too. And then my left knee started hurting as a result of limping.

Sometime in early January I noticed that there were some breaks in the pain, mostly when I wasn’t moving. It’s been gradually going away since then (but not entirely).

And I haven’t mentioned it before but there was a lot of swelling from the time I broke my ankle which continues to this day. The more swelling there is, the more pain I have.

Timeline from broken ankle to recovery

9/6/15 broke ankle, couldn’t walk, NWB

9/17/15 ankle surgery, in cast, not allowed to walk

10/1/15 cast removed, stitches removed, given walking boot but still NWB

10/23/15 started physical therapy, NWB exercises

11/12/15 released by doctor, allowed to walk, FWB

11/19/15 started “driving” practice

11/23/15 able to drive, made my first trip to the store

11/25/15 began acupuncture, five treatments

12/2/15 could walk a few steps unaided but used walker then one crutch part of the time

1/4/16 stopped using crutch, walking entirely on my own

1/23/16 walking without a limp, went dancing for the first time

My life today (March 3, 2016)

Very gradually my foot went from being something strange attached to me, a separate entity with its own needs, to once again being a functioning member of my body.

At the present time I usually only have pain when I walk or do my foot exercises. If I’m on my feet too long, it will hurt afterwards even when I’m resting. I mostly feel pain on the right side of the ankle and the top of the joint.

The numbness is almost gone but the lump on my arch remains.

I’m still going to physical therapy, with only two sessions left.

I can do almost everything I could do before. I can climb ladders, go up and down steps normally, and of course dance to about 90% of my former ability. The dancing does cause me to suffer for a day or two afterwards but hopefully that will improve soon.

I can’t wear high heels yet and had to buy some low-heeled booties to dance in.

my low-heeled shooties

These boots are made for walking…and dancing!

At night I sleep with my legs on top of a flat pillow. I’ve been doing that ever since the accident and it’s still too uncomfortable sleeping without it.

I recently resumed my kettlebell exercises.

I’m able to walk much faster now, almost up to my pre accident speed, although I’m very mindful of where I’m stepping.

To look at me now, nobody can tell anything happened. Things are looking up!

If you have any questions on things I may not have covered, please leave them in the comments below.

Update: June 14, 2016

It’s now seven months FWB and my ankle is feeling so much better. I’m able to stand for as long as I want doing my normal things like cooking, cleaning, shopping and working in the garden. In fact, I just completed a large garden project which involved a lot of digging.

I can dance for hours without suffering afterwards.

I don’t need to sleep with my legs on a pillow anymore.

There’s still some pain doing certain movements and some swelling, but not enough to make me want to ice my ankle. I haven’t used the ice pack in a couple of months.

Now I can even get out of bed in the morning and walk perfectly without having to stretch first.

I would say I’m 95 percent recovered.

I still can’t wear high heeled shoes but I don’t need to wear my magic pink shoes all the time.

Standing on tiptoe on just the left leg is difficult but getting easier every day.

I’m able to squat all the way down to the ground like I could before even though the dorsiflexion is not quite back to normal. I suspect that might be the last thing to come back.

Related posts

Rehabbing my broken ankle

My magic shoes for broken ankle recovery

Broken ankle recovery: one year later

Little known treatment for sebaceous hyperplasia

Long before I knew what it was called, I’ve been suffering with sebaceous hyperplasia. I didn’t know what those bumps were on my face. They weren’t pimples, they weren’t warts and they weren’t moles. It was only after seeing the dermatologist last year, and another failed treatment, I learned the condition is called sebaceous hyperplasia.

Update: Second Skin Classic treatment January 2020

Watch the video to see how my skin heals following my second Skin Classic treatment for SH.

The good news is that it’s not dangerous in any way, but having a lot of bumps on your face is frustrating, annoying and often embarrassing. The frustration gets compounded when you seek medical treatment and what is proscribed is more suitable to acne, which this is not.

Sebaceous hyperplasia (SH) is inflammation and multiplication of cells inside the oil glands. The cause is unknown.

You can’t get rid of it by any conventional means—squeezing, freezing with liquid nitrogen, using electrocautery, Retin-A and other exfoliants. I’ve tried it all, except for the electric needle.

With squeezing, you can sometimes get something out but the bump soon returns to its original size.

With liquid nitrogen, it’s hit or miss, expensive and can cause scarring.

Retin-A simply doesn’t work and I believe it’s bad for the skin in the long term.

Then one day I found this interesting video for the Skin Classic machine. I knew this was the answer I’d been searching for.

Watch how Skin Classic gets rid of SH and more

How it works

Skin Classic uses high frequency to heat up the sebum which causes it to instantly come out of the pore. The needle doesn’t actually penetrate the skin. A series of light taps are used around the bump.

That being said, this is not a cure because there is no such thing for SH. You may still have new bumps appear, but the ones you are treated for will not return.

Other skin conditions improved by Skin Classic

Besides SH, these skin irregularities can be successfully treated:

  • keratosis pilaris
  • broken capillaries
  • blackheads
  • cherry angiomas
  • skin tags
  • milia
  • some hyperpigmentation

What it was like getting the treatment myself

To find a practitioner, I filled out a contact form on the RNfaces website.* They referred me to the OC Spa & Wellness Center in Huntington Beach, CA. There you can either get spot treatment or full face treatment down to the cleavage area. I went for the latter since I had quite a few spots.

*As of October 18, 2018, a list of providers can be found here

Normally they clean the skin, then steam it, followed by microdermabrasion and last, the Skin Classic machine. I didn’t want microdermabrasion so my esthetician skipped that part.

During the treatment there’s a small amount of pain involved, but it’s nothing compared to getting liquid nitrogen. Every time she zapped a spot, I thought “ow, ow” and then it was over. It only lasted about one second. After that, there was no more pain or discomfort all the way through the healing process.

Besides getting rid of the SH, she also did a couple of skin tags, a cherry angioma and a dark hyperpigmented spot.

Right after treatment

Right after Skin Classic treatment for sebaceous hyperplasia

Right after Skin Classic treatment for sebaceous hyperplasia

Afterwards, my face was a little bit red and irritated looking. The next day scabs started to form and in the following days, they became more and more obvious. I felt like my face was covered with polka dots. I couldn’t really hide it with makeup so I opted to stay at home for the next week.

There was no picking of scabs allowed and I was very careful when I touched my face.

Followup visit

You’re supposed to return in 7 to 10 days to get any spots that might have been missed the first time. Some can get overlooked in places where the bumps are clustered together because the skin starts to get irritated and it’s hard to see what’s been done and what hasn’t.

I went back after seven days but I recommend waiting ten days. Waiting longer is better because at seven days there was still some irritation and a few spots were missed. I will have to go back again one of these days for another treatment.

Ten days after treatment

Ten days later most of the smaller scabs had fallen off. The larger ones took another month to heal.

Evaluating the results of Skin Classic

It took about four to six weeks for my face to completely heal, with the largest spots being the longest to heal. None of the bumps that were treated returned. One deep spot on my forehead left me with a slight indentation which took several months to fill in.

The skin tags and cherry angioma were also gone for good. The dark spot, however, lightened up considerably but did not completely disappear.

One year after my Skin Classic treatment

My skin looks much better than it did a year ago. I’m very happy with the results.

after skin classic treatment

One year after Skin Classic treatment for sebaceous hyperplasia

Conclusion: I highly recommend Skin Classic

Finding this solution was a dream come true. I thought I was going to have to live with those awful bumps for the rest of my life. I’m still amazed by how well it worked.

What I can’t understand is why dermatologists are not getting Skin Classic machines to treat SH. Perhaps they have another agenda than providing the best solution for their patients. Just a thought.

For more information and to find a provider in your area, please visit

Please note: I have no affiliation with Skin Classic, RNfaces or OC Spa & Wellness. I’m just a customer who’s trying to get the word out to other people suffering with sebaceous hyperplasia.

I had a urinary tract infection and kidney stones

Some people seem to get UTIs all the time but I never do. So I was shocked when I began noticing these classic symptoms: Having to pee all the time, cloudy and foul smelling urine, discomfort when going to the bathroom. But at least I didn’t have any pain…until a few days later. Then I was hit with a gut-wrenching, unrelenting pain in my abdomen, back and side that left me nauseous and scared. Oh no, I think I have kidney stones too!

What follows is my personal story and how I chose to deal with a urinary tract infection and kidney stones. I’m the type of person who believes in trying natural remedies before resorting to things like antibiotics and prescription painkillers. And I was thrilled to find that Andrew Lessman’s Cranberry Benefts cured my UTI in a few short days.

I will start by summarizing my experience and then include a daily diary charting the pain and progress of dealing with a urinary tract infection and kidney stones. I’m going to update this periodically to report whether or not I remain free of UTIs and kidney stones.

I’m also sharing some other natural remedies for UTIs and tips that helped me manage pain without prescription drugs.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. Please use your own good judgment in treating UTIs and kidney stones.

Cranberry Benefits cured my urinary tract infection

Within three days my UTI symptoms were gone

cranberry benefits for uti

Cranberry Benefits by ProCapsLabs

For the first five days I took two cranberry pills in the morning and two at night. Then I decreased the dose to two pills a day and will continue until all the pills are gone.

Andrew Lessman’s Cranberry Benefits is an all natural, standardized cranberry concentrate. There are no fillers, binders or artificial colors. Each capsule contains 400 mg of cranberry, 60 mg of vitamin C, 50 mg of calcium and 20 mg of magnesium.

The proanthocyanidins and anthocyanidins from the cranberry concentrate help regulate the pH of the urinary tract and balance the friendly flora in the bladder and kidneys.

Simply put, this supplement creates an environment that the bad bacteria just don’t like.

Cranberry Benefits capsule

Each capsule is filled with a microfine powder, making it easy to digest

cranberry benefits for uti2

Cranberry Benefits capsule

Discovering I had symptoms of a UTI and kidney stones

I started taking Cranberry Benefits 14 days after realizing I had a urinary tract infection. I only wish I had gotten them sooner, but I waited a few days before ordering.

I had been feeling like I had to go to the bathroom all the time and I noticed that my urine was cloudy and had a bad smell. There wasn’t any pain at first, it was more like a weird sensitivity while going to the bathroom. So I increased my intake of probiotics and spirulina, hoping that would help my body fight the infection.

About five days after realizing I had a UTI, I started having pain and noticed my abdomen was sore and bloated. Then the pain intensified. I had about three days of severe pain, mostly on my right side. It left me nauseous and with little appetite. I could barely stay out of the bathroom (constantly wanting to poop and pee) for those three days. That’s when I broke down and ordered these pills.

In the meantime the pain gradually disappeared on my right side. Then my left side started hurting, the day after starting with the cranberry pills. The pain only lasted for a day and has not returned.

Photo of the urinary system

Photo credit: urinary system by striatic, on Flickr

Photo credit: urinary system by striatic, on Flickr

How did I get a UTI and kidney stones

Stress, lack of sleep and not enough water contribute to UTIs/kidney stones

UTIs are caused when bad bacteria from your intestines/stools finds its way into your urinary tract. And kidney stones are caused by a concentration of minerals in the kidneys that stick together and form rocks of varying sizes. (For a more technical explanation of causes, symptoms and traditional remedies, please check out the links in this section, More information about urinary tract infections and kidney stones.)

I would also say that anyone suffering from UTIs has a compromised immune system, or not enough friendly flora in the gut. In my case I was going through a very stressful time as a caretaker to my dying mother. I was not getting enough sleep or drinking enough water. Further taxing to my immune system was being surrounded by other family members who were sick with a very nasty and long-lasting cold.

Home remedies for a UTI

At the first sign of a urinary tract infection, make sure to drink lots of water. This will dilute the bacteria and help flush it out of your system. Your kidneys will be happy too.

While I was researching and weighing my options, I came across these home remedies for curing a urinary tract infection. I did not try these as I opted to take Cranberry Benefits instead.

  1. Drink a glass of warm water with the juice from half a lemon. Make sure to immediately rinse your mouth out with plain water as the acid from the lemon juice will soften tooth enamel.
  2. A teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water is supposed to alkalinize the pH in the gut and make it less hospitable to bad bacteria

Drink lots of water when you have a UTI or kidney stones

Photo credit: Waterfalls by andyarthur, on Flickr

Photo credit: Waterfalls by andyarthur, on Flickr

Natural ways of dealing with the pain of UTI or kidney stones

I try to avoid prescription drugs and I keep my consumption of OTC painkillers to a minimum. Occasionally I took one Ibuprofen which did not always ease the pain. Here are my top four natural remedies for pain relief:

  1. The most effective natural way I found of relieving the pain from kidney stones was to take a shower. The pain would go away for up to several hours.
  2. In between showers I found that walking helped. My natural inclination was to curl up in a fetal position, but that only hurt more so I tried to keep moving.
  3. When I realized that curling myself into a ball made the pain worse, I decided to try doing the opposite. While standing up I would arch my back and stretch the other way. It seemed to help the muscles relax.
  4. I also found that rubbing my stomach would ease the pain. When I was laying down I gently massaged my poor bloated tummy.

My UTI/kidney stone diary

Day 1

I think I have a UTI. Feeling like I have to pee all the time, cloudy urine, no pain, loss of appetite. Increased my intake of probiotics and spirulina.

Day 2, 3, 4

No change in symptoms

Day 5

Slight pain, soreness and bloating, able to eat a little more

Day 7, 8, 9

Severe pain mostly on right side, bloating, constantly feeling like I have to poop and pee, slightly nauseous, no blood. Took two Ibuprofen per day, one in the morning and one at night.

Day 10

Ordered cranberry supplement. Constant pain, left me doubled over. Ibuprofen didn’t help. I tried to only take two per day. Taking a shower eased the pain, walking eased the pain, stretching out my muscles helped, rubbing my stomach eased the pain. Not much appetite. Was a little hungry but in too much pain to eat much.

Day 11

Slight pain, got worse as day wore on but not bad enough to take pain pill. Was able to exercise. By the late evening the pain was about 95% gone. Just a little soreness in back right, tenderness in stomach.

Day 12

No pain until afternoon. Took a shower and a pill and it felt better. Had to take my mom to the ER, my pain escalated and went to left side. Took two pain pills and went to bed.

Day 13

No pain at all. Still wanting to pee all the time, urine cloudy and bad smelling.

Day 14

No pain. Started cranberry pills, took two in morning, two in evening. No pain all day. Urine looks a little clearer by the end of day. Still a little bloated.

Day 15

Urine clear, no bad smell. Did not get enough sleep. Woke up with slight pain on left side. Progressively got worse by afternoon. Urine still clear. Feeling like I have to poop all day. Took two pain pills. Pain went away and didn’t come back. Took two cranberry pills in morning, two in evening.

Day 16

Got full night’s sleep. Woke up with no pain. Urine clear and no bad smell. Still taking four cranberry pills a day.

Day 17

No pain. Only six hours sleep. Worried about mom. Still taking four cranberry pills a day. Urine clear, no smell.

Day 18

No pain. Took four cranberry pills today. Stomach no longer swollen and bloated. Urine clear and no smell.

Day 19

No pain. Cut dosage of cranberry pills down to two pills. No smelly or cloudy urine.

Day 20

No pain. No more weird sensitivity. Took two cranberry pills.

Update: February 3, 2013

It’s been 18 days since my last diary entry. I continued to take two Cranberry Benefits each day and have remained symptom free. I’ve been very good about drinking lots of water every day, but stress management has been more difficult due to the death of my mother. I’m not sleeping enough and I’m still exposed to this lingering cold the people around me have. As a precaution I’ve decided to resume taking four cranberry pills a day until my stress levels and sleep patterns return to normal.

After my supply of cranberry pills runs out, I’ll see if I remain symptom free. I’ll do another update later.

Update: September 1, 2013

It’s been a few months since my last update. During that time I continued to take Cranberry Benefits on and off, hoping that I could just stop taking it at some point. Any time I went a few weeks without it, I began noticing the first signs of a possible UTI, such as feeling like I have to go all the time and having weird sensations in the urinary tract.

I don’t know if the reason for that is ongoing stress (the death of my mother followed by the illness and death of my dog) or if it’s just one of those fun little things that happens to you in your late 50s. Whatever the reason, as long as I take one pill a day I feel fine and have no symptoms at all.

Maybe there will come a time when I can stop taking them. I’m not feeling so stressed anymore and I have a new little doggy companion who’s brought a lot of joy into my life. But for now I have peace of mind knowing that I’m well stocked with Cranberry Benefits.

Update: February 2, 2014

It’s been over a year now since my painful experience. I’ve learned that lack of hormones from being postmenopausal increases the likelihood of getting a UTI. So at least makes sense as to why this happened when it never did before.

Since my last update in September 2013, things have been going well. I’ve maintained my urinary tract health by only taking three pills a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) which keeps the cost down. Of course I’ve been trying to stay hydrated and get enough sleep.

The stress of the past year has calmed down and I’m getting back into a normal rhythm with my new dog and my new life.

More information about urinary tract infections and kidney stones

Where can I get Red Cherry lashes?

Find out where to get Red Cherry lashes

If you’re asking where you can get Red Cherry lashes, you’ve come to the right place. I’m going to tell you where to find them at fantastic prices.

Not only that, I’m going to help you sort through the overwhelming variety of Red Cherry eyelashes so that you can find your right style. To assist you I’ve compiled a comparison chart and lists of Red Cherry lashes sorted by type and style number. I’ll also give you my review and recommendations from each category.

Kim Kardashian, with her trademark glam eyelashes, is the most famous person known for wearing Red Cherry lashes. Beyond that, you may not know Red Cherry lashes are made from human hair and are inexpensive. So let’s take a look at what Red Cherry has to offer.

Choosing the right Red Cherry lashes for you

I’m always on the hunt for the perfect eyelash and in my quest I’ve tried several different styles of Red Cherry lashes. I couldn’t find them in any stores in my area, but they’re readily available online at Amazon and eBay.

But before you go shopping, you need to figure out what you’re looking for. Unless you see them side by side, it’s kind of hard to tell the difference between styles and also get perspective on how long and full they really are. The following comparison chart will help you with the selection process.

Below that are lists of Red Cherry lashes sorted by category: natural, day and evening glamour, ultimate drama. These lists are in numerical order by style number.

Once you have the style numbers of the Red Cherry lashes you like, you can check them out on Amazon and eBay.

Comparison chart of Red Cherry false eyelashes by style number

This chart shows the different styles side by side.

rc chart

Image credit: Amazon

Red Cherry lashes for the natural look—subtle to moderate length and volume

red cherry natural lashes

List of Red Cherry natural lashes (image credit: Lynda Makara)

Red Cherry lashes for day or evening glamour—moderate to full length and volume

red cherry glamour lashes

List of Red Cherry glamour lashes (image credit: Lynda Makara)

Red Cherry lashes for ultimate drama—extreme length or volume

red cherry glamour lashes

List of Red Cherry glamour lashes (image credit: Lynda Makara)

Red Cherry lower lashes—all lengths and volumes

red cherry lower lashes

List of Red Cherry lower lashes (image credit: Lynda Makara)

Photo credit: Cherry by joka2000 (Vietnam), on Flickr

My review of Red Cherry eyelashes

Choosing false eyelashes is a very personal thing, but here’s my opinion of Red Cherry lashes. I like the fact that they’re made from human hair, they’re well made, durable and cheaper than most other brands.

I’ve tried styles from every category, natural, day/evening glamour and drama, and here are my thoughts on each:

  1. Natural. (Subtle to moderate length and volume.) Lashes described as subtle are too subtle for me. Since my own lashes are barely there, adding subtle false eyelashes does not make much difference. I end up having to build them up with mascara and then they just look okay. But they would be good to try for someone who’s new to false eyelashes.I much prefer the ones categorized as moderate and my favorite one is Red Cherry #28.
  2. Day or evening glamour. (Moderate to full length and volume.) There are several that I like from this category because they have a little bit of drama but you can still wear them during the day. My favorite from this category is Red Cherry #DW because of the way they crisscross at the base. I also like Red Cherry #110 and Red Cherry #415 which remind me of my beloved Ardell Wispies.
  3. Ultimate drama. (Extreme length or volume.) Okay, these are really out there. Most of them would only be appropriate for a club, performing on stage or walking the red carpet like Kim Kardashian. And these lashes being so long and thick means that the bands are also thicker and, therefore, not as comfortable to wear. For example, Red Cherry #138 were too long, too straight and the band was constantly poking my eyelid. I did not like these at all. My favorite from this category is Red Cherry #523. They’re a little long but the volume is just about right. They seem fairly comfortable as well. Check out Aileen’s Beauty/Fashion blog to see beautiful pictures of Red Cherry #523 being worn, as well as #117, #79, #203, #43 and #101.

Red Cherry “natural” lashes on Amazon

If you’re not sure what style will look flattering on you, it’s a good idea to try a few different styles. You can find a lot of variety on Amazon and usually for lower prices than you can find at your local beauty supply store.

The following is a small sampling of lashes that are suitable for daytime wear. They give your eyes a little more emphasis but no one will know you’re wearing falsies. You’ll be able to wear these every day. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find it quicker to apply false eyelashes than to mess around with layers of mascara.

My favorite style from this category is #28.

Red Cherry False Eyelashes (Pack of 10 pairs) (28)Red Cherry False Eyelashes (Pack of 10 pairs) (213)Red Cherry False Eyelashes (Pack of 10 pairs) (218)Red Cherry False Eyelashes (Pack of 10 pairs) (600)Red Cherry False Eyelashes (Pack of 10 pairs) (747S)

Red Cherry “day/evening” lashes on Amazon

If you like a little more drama but still want your lashes to look believable, choose some styles from this section. Some of these looks are spiky, some are wispy and some are the same thickness straight across. I think the ones with a little texture are more natural looking. These are the lashes where the individual hairs are not all the same length.

My favorites from this category are the Red Cherry #DW for their wispy texture.

More styles are available than are shown here.

red cherry 42Red Cherry False Eyelashes (Pack of 10 pairs) (47)Red Cherry False Eyelashes (Pack of 10 pairs) (62)Red Cherry False Eyelashes (Pack of 10 pairs) (217)Red Cherry False Eyelashes (Pack of 10 pairs) (DW)

Red Cherry “dramatic” lashes on Amazon

If you really want to stand out in a crowd, choose from these dramatic looks. Ladies, if your style is bold and flamboyant, you’ll be drawn to these ultra glamorous eyelashes. These are great for clubbing and parties. But the trade off here for the extra drama is a little less comfort due to the weight and the thickness of the bands.

My favorite style from this category is #523.

This is just a sampling of the dramatic Red Cherry false eyelashes from Amazon.

Red Cherry False Eyelashes (Pack of 10 pairs) (20)Red Cherry False Eyelashes (Pack of 10 pairs) (118)Red Cherry False Eyelashes (Pack of 10 pairs) (203)Red Cherry False Eye Lashes #523 (6 Pack) + Free iBeautiful SampleRed Cherry False Eyelashes (Pack of 10 pairs) (747L)

Red Cherry, BUY IT NOW from Joy017 on eBay, a highly rated eBay seller

If you really want to get the best price on Red Cherry eyelashes, getting them from eBay is the way to go. After you’ve tried a few styles and you know what you like, pick up 20 of your favorites from this eBay seller. The price per item really drops when you buy in bulk.

20 RED CHERRY False EyeLashes "Pick Your 20 Type"  *Joy's cosmetics*

Photo credit: Red cherries by jerryw387, on Flickr

Photo credit: Red cherries by jerryw387, on Flickr

How much do I have to exercise?

That’s the question you might be asking if you’re like me. My goal is to do the least amount of exercise possible and still be fit.

And it turns out that less is more when it comes to working out. Those extreme Biggest Loser-style workouts are actually counterproductive. Short bursts of high intensity movement are much more effective.

And when I learned that 12 minutes is all it takes when you’re doing that type of exercise, I was so intrigued I just had to try it.

I bought PACE Express fully intending to return it within 30 days if I didn’t like it. But guess what, I didn’t return it because I love it and I think you will too.

PACE Express is a six-week program of high intensity workouts that can be tailored to any fitness level. No special equipment is required. Read on to learn more about PACE Express and my review after using it for the last two months.

My review of PACE Express

PACE = Progressively Accelerating Cardiopulmonary Exertion

I’m used to doing kettlebells several times a week and I consider myself to be in decent shape for someone approaching sixty. (While evaluating PACE Express, I only did one short kettlebell workout a week.) So I was pleasantly surprised that my muscles were a little sore, in a good way, after working out with PACE Express. Not only that, by the end of the six weeks my heartbeat recovery rate improved. I also feel that my lung capacity increased and that I have less stiffness in the lower back.

Even though these are short workouts, they’re challenging. Afterwards, I’m a little tired, a little sweaty but very proud of myself for sticking with it.

Pace Express from Amazon

Pace Express from Amazon

Top 10 things I like about PACE Express

  1. There’s a lot of variety. There are six DVDs, one for every week. Each DVD has six exercise routines which are different every day. You do one routine a day and on the seventh day you rest.
  2. Each 12 minute routine is broken down into three sessions that last four minutes apiece. There’s a two minute break in between sessions to take your pulse and let your heartbeat recover.
  3. A timer on the screen counts down the four minutes, and the instructor is really good about cuing for the next move.
  4. Every exercise is demonstrated for different fitness levels: low impact, standard and advanced. You can mix and match as you go along.
  5. You don’t get bored because there are eight exercises and each one is only performed for 30 seconds. Every day the exercises are different, and the instructors are switched out so you don’t get tired of looking at the same people.
  6. A music tract accompanies the exercises which you can turn off if you want.
  7. You don’t need weights or any special equipment. There are a couple of floor exercises where a mat might come in handy, or you could just exercise on carpet.
  8. You don’t need a timer to take your pulse as the instructor keeps track of the time.
  9. This is a great value for everything you get. The DVDs alone are worth at least $10 apiece. Each one has 72 minutes of exercise, 432 minutes total. Plus there’s a bonus DVD with additional exercises for abs, hips, buns and thighs.
  10. There’s a 30-day money back guarantee. This was a big factor for me in deciding whether or not to give it a try.

PACE Express workout DVDs with inspiring before and after photos

Pace Express workout DVDs

Pace Express workout DVDs (bonus DVD not shown)

You also get these tools for losing or maintaining weight

pace express tools for losing weight

Diet and exercise are both important elements in losing or maintaining weight, but diet is about 80 percent of the equation. These tools, included in the PACE Express package, will help you succeed with that:

  • Dr. Sears’ Gourmet Cookbook. Contains low glycemic recipes, meal plans and a glycemic guide for maximum fat loss
  • Kick Start Your Fat Loss in Just 6 Days. A six-day quick start nutrition plan. This is a very strict plan. Two of the days only allow leafy green vegetables and water.
  • 7 Steps to High Speed Fat Loss. An explanation why conventional diets don’t work and why we should eat an ancestral diet.
  • On the Go Nutrition Glycemic Index Pocket Guide. A handy guide for when you’re eating out.
  • PACE Express Calipers. A more accurate way of measuring fat loss.

Take a look at the PACE workout in action

Final evaluation of PACE Express

PACE Express workouts are suitable for everyone: men and women, young and old. You’ll notice your heart and muscles getting stronger. As time goes on, you can progressively increase the intensity of your workouts so that you never plateau or get bored. You can look forward to more flexibility, better balance, improved endurance and the satisfaction of keeping a commitment to yourself.

Buy Pace Express from Amazon

Learn more about why you only have to exercise 12 minutes a day

Visit to read the success stories, get more information on exercising 12 minutes a day and to order the PACE Express DVDs.

Less is more when it comes to cardio

Here are some articles if you’re interested in learning why HIIT or high intensity interval training, like PACE Express, is better than long duration cardio:

Brief Intense Exercise Better Than Endurance Training for Preventing Cardiovascular Disease

Heart disease prevention: long slow cardio or HIIT

Marathons may cause heart attacks

Five foundation tips for women over 50

These five tips will help women over 50 achieve a luminous, natural look with foundation

We all want to put our best face forward, but that gets harder as time goes on. Women over 50 are dealing with hyperpigmentation, sagging, bagging, lines and wrinkles. The right foundation can minimize those problems and make your skin look fresher and younger.

Many women over 50 skip foundation because they’re afraid it will collect in lines and wrinkles. While that’s a legitimate concern, it need not be a problem. I’ll share my five foundation tips for getting coverage without caking.

To illustrate that, you’ll see my before and after photos. I’ll recommend my favorite foundations and also give you application tips for a flawless natural look.

Five foundation tips for women over 50

  1. Choose light reflecting foundation. Wrinkles are little valleys that create shadows on your face. A light reflecting foundation will illuminate those valleys and give an airbrushed look to lines and wrinkles. The magic light reflecting ingredient is mica, but you have to be careful with it. Too much and you’ll look like a Christmas ornament.
  2. Avoid talc. Make sure to read the ingredients when choosing a foundation. Talc is the worst thing for emphasizing lines and wrinkles. It also makes your skin look ashy.
  3. Avoid foundation that is too shiny or too matte. Shiny foundation, with too much mica or oil, highlights the uneven contours of the face and creates more contrast between the higher areas (bags and folds) and the lower areas (wrinkles, hollow eye sockets and cheeks). On the other hand, a foundation that’s too matte, looks dry, flat and unnatural. The perfect foundation should have a satin finish.
  4. Choose foundation that matches your skin tone. This really should be obvious, but if you want your foundation to look natural, it should be the same color as your skin. Going one or two shades lighter or darker will just end up looking like a mask, and your face won’t match the rest of you. You might have to experiment a little to find the right shade. Foundation should match the skin at the jaw line.
  5. Choose light to medium coverage. Too little coverage is just as bad as too much coverage. Something like a tinted moisturizer will do nothing to disguise hyperpigmentation. Foundation with light to medium coverage will still allow your skin to show through while concealing uneven skin tone.

Recommended foundations for women over 50

revlon colorstay and physicians formula mineral wear

In my opinion, Physicians Formula mineral makeup powder and Revlon ColorStay liquid makeup are the best foundations for women over 50.

Physicians Formula mineral makeup is my favorite for its light reflecting properties, good coverage and sunscreen protection. Minerals do not clog pores and are usually nonirritating to sensitive skin.

Not all mineral makeup is created equal, however. Some have talc, too much mica or bismuth oxychloride which will make your skin itch.

I’ve tried several brands in my quest for the best mineral foundation, from high to low end. What I’ve discovered is a high price tag does not ensure a good result. For example, I tried the popular Bare Escentuals and didn’t care for it because it had too much mica and was itchy (it contains bismuth oxychloride).

Coming in second to Physicians Formula mineral foundation is Revlon ColorStay. (My review follows the Before and After Photos.)

Best overall foundation for women over 50, Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Loose Powder

My favorite mineral foundation!

Physicians Formula mineral wear

Physicians Formula mineral wear

Physicians Formula mineral powder is my everyday, go-to makeup. It goes on smoothly and looks great (see the photos below of me wearing Physicians Formula). Does not irritate or dry out the skin. Contains derivatives of antioxidant Vitamins A and E. It’s very forgiving in that it resists caking even if you apply a little too much. Provides light to medium coverage which lasts at least 12 hours without touching up (and I never touch up). You get a lot of product and it comes with a brush which I find perfectly adequate for makeup application.

Before and After photos

No foundation or concealer

no foundation or concealer

Wearing Physicians Formula mineral foundation (with concealer and blush)

physicians formula foundation with concealer and blushThis photo was taken just minutes after the before photo.

Wearing Revlon ColorStay foundation (with concealer and blush)

wearing revlon colorstay

I wear the Combination/oily skin formula. And normally I’d put a light dusting of mineral powder over this foundation, but I left it off to to show how the foundation looks on its own.

Adding a little powder on top will tone down the shine a bit and make the foundation super long lasting.

Revlon ColorStay liquid foundation review for women over 50

Medium to full coverage that lasts 24 hours

Revlon ColorStay liquid foundation is a good choice for mature women with dry skin. It has silicone which is supposed to glide over wrinkles. It contains emollients for softening the skin. And it contains just enough mica for an airbrushed look.

Revlon ColorStay comes in two formulations: Normal/dry skin and Combination/oily skin. The Normal/dry skin formula has more emollients and looks dewier than the Combination/oily skin formula, especially around the eye area. It’s also easier to blend.

This is the foundation I use when I want more coverage for a night out or when I’m facing an extremely long day. Provides medium to full coverage. It’s supposed to last 24 hours, and it really does. The staying power is phenomenal, especially when finished with a little mineral powder. Comes in a variety of shades.

How to apply loose mineral powder foundation. The key for natural looking makeup is to blend, blend, blend.

This video is a little long but you can skip to 5:54 to see how loose mineral powder is applied and how very little you need to use.

Before applying mineral foundation, start with clean, moisturized skin. Then shake out a little mineral powder into the lid. Dip the brush in the powder. Swirl the brush around in another lid or container. Tap off the excess. Buff into the skin using a circular motion.

How to apply Revlon ColorStay foundation

Begin with clean, moisturized skin. I never use a primer and I don’t really think it’s necessary. Plus I have the idea that it would ball up during the blending process.

My preferred application method is to use my fingers. Since the Combination/oily formula I use dries a little faster, I dampen my fingers with water. A makeup sponge dampened with water would also blend nicely.

Some people prefer to apply liquid foundation with brushes. If you use brushes, you’re going to end up using more of the foundation, plus you have to clean them later.

For whatever application method you use, put one or two drops of Revlon ColorStay in the middle of the area to be blended and smooth it out from there. Take extra care with the nose as the pores are larger there. A drop of water helps with blending.

Please watch the short video below to see how to apply Revlon ColorStay foundation with a makeup sponge and see the natural look that is achieved.

Women over 50, take the mineral makeup challenge

Is Physicians Formula the best foundation for over 50?

As a mature woman, you might be skeptical that putting mineral powder on your face could actually minimize wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. So I invite you to take the Physicians Formula mineral makeup challenge. Make up half your face with your current foundation, and use Physicians Formula mineral makeup on the other half. See how it looks indoors and outdoors, day and evening. And take pictures if need be to help you evaluate. I think you’ll find that Physicians Formula mineral makeup will make your skin look naturally flawless.

Five false eyelash tips for women over 50

These five tips will help women over 50 get the most flattering look with false eyelashes

They say 50 is the new 30 and in many ways that may be true, except when it comes to your eyelashes. After 50, they’re just not what they used to be. False eyelashes are the best solution to thin, skimpy lashes if you know what you’re doing.

False eyelashes open up your eyes and make them look bigger, giving you a more youthful appearance. They enhance your beauty and make you feel feminine. Just like every work of art needs a focal point, your eyes will be the focal point with expertly-applied false lashes.

But where do you start? There are so many styles and brands to choose from. So I’m going to point you in the right direction and give you five tips for choosing false eyelashes and adhesive, applying them, removing them, and getting the most flattering, realistic look.

Five false eyelash tips for women over 50

  1. Choose realistic looking eyelashes
  2. Use a waterproof, flexible eyelash adhesive
  3. Apply eyelashes with tweezers and a 10x magnifying mirror
  4. Use eyeliner before and after applying eyelashes
  5. Use mascara and an eyelash curler to blend real and fake lashes together

Tip 1: Choose realistic looking eyelashes

The most realistic lashes are ones with the same rounded shape as real lashes and the same feathery texture. Eyelashes that are too thick will not only look fake, they’ll have the effect of closing a middle-aged eye, rather than opening it up. Also, the bands should be as thin as possible for looking more realistic and for being more comfortable to wear.

Eyelashes that are winged out on the end can make your eye look droopy. I prefer false eyelashes that are tapered on both ends, with the inner edge being the same length as my own lashes and the outer edge being slightly longer.

I’ve tried many different brands and styles of false eyelashes, both human hair and synthetic. I think human hair lashes look the most real because they are real hair. And my favorite brand is Ardell. Here are my recommendations for realistic looking eyelashes for both daytime and nighttime.

Best Ardell eyelashes for the natural look

False eyelashes come in strips or individuals. While individual lashes look very realistic, they take so much longer to put on, take off and clean, just the thought of it drives me crazy. So I use and recommend the strip lashes. With care, they can last for up to three weeks.

This assortment of Ardell eyelashes are all good choices for the natural look.

Ardell Invisiband Babies

Ardell Babies Black

Here I am wearing Ardell Babies, a very subtle look

ardell babies

Ardell Babies

Ardell 110 Demi Lashes

Ardell 110

Here I am wearing Ardell 110 lashes, slightly longer and fuller than Ardell Babies

ardell 110

Ardell Invisiband Beauties

Ardell Invisiband Beauties

Ardell 108

ardell 108

Ardell 122

Here I am wearing Ardell 122 lashes, a lighter version of Ardell Wispies

ardell 122

These could be my new favorite! They have the same feathery quality as Ardell Wispies but they are slightly thinner and a just a bit shorter.

Best Ardell eyelashes for the glamour look

These Ardell eyelashes have more drama and still look believable. Except for maybe Ardell Elegant Eyes with glitter, but they’re too much fun to resist!

Ardell 105

ardell 105

Here I am wearing Ardell 105 lashes for the glamour look

ardell 105

Ardell 102

ardell 102

Ardell Elegant Eyes

ardell elegant eyes

Ardell Wispies, my favorite false eyelashes for the glamour look

ardell wispies

Here I am wearing Ardell Wispies , long and glamorous but still very realistic

ardell wispies

I love my Wispies so much, I want to wear them all the time!

Wispies are practically “the” perfect eyelash. I just love how feathery they are! They’re the right length for evening but can be a little long for daytime. Sometimes I just can’t resist and wear them in the daytime anyway.

They’re slightly thicker and longer than Ardell 122, and they’re not as tapered on the inner and outer edges.

Compared to the 105s, Wispies are more feathered and spiky while the 105s are only slightly feathered with the volume being even all the way across.

Tip 2: Use a waterproof, flexible eyelash adhesive

No matter how pretty your false eyelashes are, the look will be ruined if your eyelash adhesive doesn’t hold them in place. A waterproof, flexible glue will withstand a little moisture and will move with your eyelid. Duo and LashGrip are the two top eyelash glues. Some people think that Duo holds better, but having tried both I can’t tell the difference between the two. LashGrip is a little cheaper so I’m recommending that here.

These adhesives come in clear and dark. I’ve tried both and they each have pros and cons.The dark one has the advantage of blending in faster while it’s still drying. What I don’t like about it is if you accidentally get some on your eyeshadow, it leaves a black mark that has to be touched up. The clear adhesive will not ruin your eyeshadow, but it takes about ten minutes to dry clear. Currently, I’m using the clear and I think I prefer it overall.

Eyelash removal tip: Some people use eye makeup remover to remove lashes, but I just use water or a drop of coconut oil. I put a drop along the lash line and let it sit for a minute, then I pull off the lashes starting from the outer corner. Even though the glue is waterproof, it will soften up and the eyelash will come off easily without pulling your own eyelashes out. Then I hold the eyelash close to the band while I pull off the glue. I just use water to rinse off water-resistant mascara and eyeliner from the lashes.

Tip 3: Apply eyelashes with tweezers and a 10x magnifying mirror

Another fact of life over 50 is that our eyesight is not quite as good as it used to be. That makes putting on any makeup a difficult task, and mission impossible for applying false eyelashes.

I don’t wear prescription glasses or contacts, but I do wear readers for close work like beading, sewing, painting and putting on false eyelashes. And here’s how I do it.

First, if the eyelashes are new I remove them from the container by holding the outer edge and gently pulling them off. Then I put adhesive on the eyelash strip while wearing my reading glasses, applying just a small amount directly from the tube with a little extra dot on each end.

After allowing the glue to set up for 30 seconds (or using the blow dryer for five seconds), I grab the strip with tweezers. I take off my glasses and look into the 10x mirror. I hold both ends of the eyelash strip (using the tweezers and my fingers of the other hand) and put it on my eyelid starting at the outer corner. Then I use the tweezers to push the eyelash strip into place along my lash line.

I only use the 10x mirror for applying eyelashes, eyeliner and mascara. It sits in front of a regular mirror that I use for the rest of my makeup application.

Here’s a selection of 10x magnifying mirrors from Amazon. There are some freestanding mirrors, as well as one that mounts on the wall. And don’t forget to get a 10x compact mirror for your purse. It’s great for touch ups during the day.

Jerdon MC449N 5.5-Inch Folding Travel Mirror with 10x Magnification

jerdon 10x folding mirrorOnce you start using a 10x mirror for makeup application, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without one! It’s indispensable for expertly applying false eyelashes and eyeliner, plucking your eyebrows and cleaning up eyeshadow fallout. This mirror is so versatile because it’s double-sided, 10x on one side and 1x on the other, and you can fold it up and travel with it.

Jerdon JP7510N 8-Inch Wall Mount Makeup Mirror with 10x and 15x Magnification

jerson 8" wall mount mirror

Floxite Elegant 10x Compact in Cobalt Blue with Crystal Medallion

10x compact mirror

How to apply false eyelashes

See how to apply them and how to remove them in this short video.

Tip 4: Use eyeliner before and after applying eyelashes

Use eyeliner before putting on false eyelashes to camouflage any gaps there may be between the real and fake lashes. So why do you need to put eyeliner on twice? I do this to cover up the eyelash glue. Whether you use clear or dark eyelash glue, they both look shiny when dried. So I go over the edge of the band with black liquid liner. It’s also important to fill in the line from the inner corner of your eye up to the eyelash strip.

Tip 5: Use mascara and an eyelash curler to blend real and fake lashes together

A lot of people put mascara on before the false lashes, but I like to do it afterwards. I start at the base of my lashes and wiggle the wand up while pushing into the fake lashes. Then I carefully curl my eyelashes. I think this helps bind the real lashes with the fake ones, and it makes your eyes look more open.

I like to use water-resistant mascara, not waterproof, because it’s easier to remove with just water.

Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye by Dr Ellie Phillips

Brush. Floss. See your dentist twice a year. Most of us believe that’s all we need to do to take care of our teeth. And yet most of us still get cavities, have tooth sensitivity, plaque buildup, yellowing teeth and receding gums. These things are not the inevitable result of aging, poor genetics or just bad luck. These are signs of dental disease. The good news is they can be prevented and even reversed.

In the book Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye you will find out what your dentist doesn’t tell you, or possibly doesn’t even know. You will learn what products to use and what products to avoid. Dr Ellie Phillips takes the mystery out of mouth care and gives you the knowledge to control your dental destiny.

I was amazed by the things I learned from this book. Later on, you’ll read about my experiences with Dr Ellie’s mouth care system.

About Dr Ellie Phillips

Dr Ellie is a dentist whose mission in life is to educate her patients on the prevention of dental disease. She has studied the cause of this disease and has developed a simple, inexpensive mouth care system using over-the-counter products. For 35 years her patients have been getting great results using her system. With Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye, Dr Ellie is reaching out to help people everywhere who find that flossing and cleaning are not keeping their mouths healthy.

The most surprising things I learned from Dr Ellie

Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye: A Do-It-Yourself Mouth Care System for Healthy, Clean Gums and Teeth

I learned so many things from this book, but these surprised me the most:

  • Dental disease is caused by certain type of bacteria that not only lives in your mouth, but also in your ears, nose, throat and sinuses. The bacteria stick to your teeth and produce acid. Acid in your mouth softens tooth enamel. Further damage is done to our teeth with bleaching products, whitening toothpaste, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and mouthwash with alcohol, just to name a few. These products scratch and weaken the teeth and create more acid in the mouth.
  • The key to having a healthy mouth is to keep it in an alkaline state. The bad bacteria will not be able to survive and your teeth will get stronger and whiter.
  • Flossing is not recommended. Dr Ellie believes that flossing damages the gums and leads to gum recession. Her mouth care system is like “liquid flossing” and does a better job of eliminating harmful bacteria.
  • Sugar free gum is bad for your teeth. Sugar free gum and mints contain sorbitol, a sugar alcohol. The bad bacteria are able to use sorbitol as fuel and that makes sorbitol just as harmful as sugar.
  • Teeth can be remineralized. By keeping your mouth in an alkaline state, minerals in your saliva get deposited onto your teeth, making them stronger and whiter-looking.
  • Cavities can be reversed. This was the most amazing fact ever! It takes about six months but many cavities can heal just by keeping your mouth alkaline.

Dr Ellie’s complete mouth care system

Photo credit: Big teeth by CB and GK, on Flickr

Photo credit: Big teeth by CB and GK, on Flickr

In order to be effective, Dr Ellie’s mouth care system must be followed exactly with no product substitutions.

You will need:

  • A bottle of pH balanced, chlorine dioxide rinse (Closys)
  • A new or clean toothbrush (swish in ½ oz undiluted Listerine for 30 seconds)
  • A tube of Crest regular toothpaste
  • A bottle of antiseptic rinse (Listerine or generic, mint OK)
  • A bottle .05% sodium fluoride anticavity rinse (ACT anticavity)
  • A small cup for brush storage and toothbrush disinfection
  • One or more sources for 100% xylitol (not sorbitol). Mix and match mints, gum, wipes, spray, granules, etc. You must consume 8 to 10 grams per day (or about two teaspoons of the granules).
  • Optional pH testing paper

Proper brushing helps remove plaque

Do you know the right way to brush your teeth?

Most people don’t. Watch this short YouTube video to learn the proper technique.

Using Dr Ellie’s mouth care system

Photo credit:  Tooth-Brush by get directly down, on Flickr

Photo credit: Tooth-Brush by get directly down, on Flickr

Brush your teeth in the morning and right before bed as follows:

  • Rinse your mouth with a small amount of Closys for about a minute. While you’re doing that, disinfect your toothbrush by swishing in Listerine for about 30 seconds. The Closys prepares your mouth for brushing. It kills germs and puts your mouth in an alkaline state so that when you brush you are not brushing away tooth enamel.
  • Rinse off your toothbrush with water and put on a small amount of Crest toothpaste, smaller than pea-sized.
  • Brush your teeth, wash off your toothbrush with water and put it in a cup to dry.
  • Spit out the toothpaste but do not rinse your mouth with water. Put a small amount of Listerine (can be diluted with warm water) in your mouth and swish it vigorously for 60 seconds. This is considered “liquid flossing.” Listerine will kill 99% of the harmful bacteria, but it contains alcohol and cannot be left in your mouth for too long.
  • Spit out the Listerine and immediately put a small amount of ACT mouthwash in your mouth. The ACT mouthwash neutralizes the effect of the alcohol in the Listerine. It also protects your teeth with fluoride. Swish it around in your mouth for at least one minute, longer if you want. Spit it out and you’re done. Do not rinse your mouth out with water.

Between brushings:

Use xylitol every time you’re finished eating or drinking anything. It’s ideal to consume a small amount about five times a day using any combination of granules, gum or mints.

Xylitol is a natural sweetener found in birch trees, fruits and vegetables. (I recommend using birch xylitol made in the USA.) It has the same sweetening power as sugar but contains 40% fewer calories. Xylitol has a very low glycemic index. It’s metabolized without using insulin which makes it safe for diabetics.

Xylitol makes your mouth alkiline. It kills the bad bacteria, not only in your mouth but throughout your entire body. You should have xylitol on hand in every form, bulk, gum and mints. When you’re at home it’s easy to put a small amount of the crystals in your mouth and let them dissolve slowly. It’s so good—it tastes just like sugar! Xylitol gum and mints are convenient to have around. I keep some by my bed, in my purse and by my favorite chair. Another handy thing to do is to put a couple of teaspoons of xylitol crystals in a 16 oz bottle of water. Consume the water throughout the day, especially after eating or drinking.

Photo credit:  Teeth-Of-Glass by peasap, on Flickr

Photo credit: Teeth-Of-Glass by peasap, on Flickr

My experience with Dr Ellie’s mouth care system

I used to be one of those people who thought they were taking adequate care of their teeth by brushing, flossing and seeing the dentist regularly. I hadn’t had a cavity in years. Then one day that changed and I was faced with some problems. My dentist was unable to explain to me what might have gone wrong. I started doing my own research and eventually found Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye.

I started using Dr Ellie’s mouth care system in June 2011 after getting some dental work done. Within a couple of weeks my teeth were feeling slippery which means plaque isn’t sticking to them. Then after about a month my teeth started getting dark stains around the bottom. That means the bad plaque is dying. The stains come off when your teeth are cleaned and will not return as long as you’re using the mouth care system.

I recently went to my new dentist and everything is looking good. He even commented how “you can always tell when someone’s a flosser.” I just smiled.

Proof that teeth can be remineralized

Teeth can heal themselves if given the chance. Here are photos of a child whose cavity was reversed over the course of eight weeks.

Interviews with Dr Ellie Phillips on YouTube

Dr Ellie explains what’s wrong with dentistry and how you can protect your teeth.

More information about Dr Ellie

The lazy woman’s exercise: kettlebells

Let me tell you a little secret: I don’t like to exercise. In fact, I’m lazy, okay? I want to do the bare minimum. Does that sound like you too? So when I learned I could get a total body workout in only 15 to 20 minutes, I thought, this is something I can do and will do. And I’ve been doing it now for over two years.

I’m talking about kettlebells. Kettle what? Surprisingly, most people still don’t seem to know about them, even though they’ve been gaining in popularity in recent years.

This is a kettlebell

my 10 lb kettlebell by Iron Core

My 10 lb kettlebell by Iron Core

It’s a round weight with a handle attached. They’ve been popular with Russian bodybuilders for many years but were only introduced to America around the year 2000. Many celebrities have talked about using kettlebells.

The celebrity workout

Photo courtesy user kain_020

Photo courtesy user kain_020

These celebrities have been known to work out with kettlebells: Jennifer Lopez, Kim Cattrall, Penelope Cruz, Kim Basinger and Katherine Heigl.

In fact, it was seeing Katherine Heigl on TV talking about her kettlebell workouts that really piqued my interest: “It’s a mix of cardio and weight training but I only do it for 20 minutes twice a week and it’s changed my body shape.”

And that’s the key right there. It’s an efficient and effective workout because you train different body parts at the same time, and you really work up a sweat while doing it.

I’m not saying you’re going to look like Katherine Heigl or JLo (hey, it’s a kettlebell, not a magic wand), but you will be the best version of YOU that you can be.

What I like about using kettlebells

  • I like the simplicity of it: not having to drive to a gym, not having large pieces of exercise equipment cluttering up my house, and having just one small kettlebell I can tuck away in my closet.
  • I like feeling strong and having a body that’s flexible.
  • I like knowing that my bones are being strengthened as well.
  • I like having plenty of time to surf the web, talk to friends, watch TV and hang out with my dog

The basic move

The basic move in kettlebells is the swing. It looks deceptively easy but you’ll be working up a sweat in no time. To do the swing, stand with your feet about 12 inches apart. Hold the kettlebell with both hands and swing between your legs, aiming for your hips (swinging too low will cause injury).

As you’re swinging, bend your knees and push your hips back as if you were going to sit in a chair, then you pop your hips forward as you swing the kettlebell out in front of you while tightening your buns and abs.

The proper form is demonstrated in this video

There is only one right way to do the swing. Doing it wrong will put you at risk for injury. Watch this short video by Iron Core trainers to see the right and wrong ways demonstrated. The sound quality isn’t great, but it’s still worthwhile.

More about the benefits of kettlebell training by Sarah Lurie

Certified Russian Kettlebell Trainer and founder of Iron Core

An interview of Sarah Lurie by Vanessa Valiente on the benefits of kettlebell workouts and how popular they are with celebrities. You will also see some moves in action.

What you need for a kettlebell workout

I use and recommend GoFit kettlebells and workout DVDs.

Someone who has not been weight training should start out with a 10 pound weight. That’s the one I started with, then went to 15 pounds, and now I use a 20 pound weight.

When you buy a GoFit kettlebell, it comes with an instructional DVD that only shows you how to do the different moves. You’ll also need to get a separate workout DVD.

This four DVD set will take you from a beginner all the way to an advanced user.

Tips for sticking with your fitness program

You need more than willpower

Photo credit: motivation by Nono Fara, on Flickr

Photo credit: motivation by Nono Fara, on Flickr

These techniques have helped me stick to my fitness program for more than two years:

  • Find your motivation. Starting an exercise program is easy. Sticking with it is a lot harder. Think about what you want to accomplish and why. You should have both positive and negative motivations. For example, a negative motivation might be that you want to avoid getting osteoporosis like your mother. A positive motivation might be the good feeling you have wearing your skinny jeans.
  • Make an exercise schedule. Decide how many days per week you are going to exercise and what routine you will be doing.
  • Make a commitment to yourself. There will be times when you just don’t feel like exercising. We do lots of things we don’t feel like doing because they must be done. Not being in the mood is not a good enough reason to skip your exercise. When all else fails to motivate you, just do it because you promised yourself.
  • Record your accomplishments. When I’m done with my workout I mark it on the calendar. Seeing my accomplishments in writing makes me feel good.

My workout

I started off with three 15-minute workouts a week. Within a couple of weeks I was seeing great improvement and wanted to do more. That’s when I started working out with Sarah Lurie’s Iron Core kettlebell DVDs. I couldn’t even do all the reps at first but I would do as many as I could. Every day I was able to do more until it became quite easy and took less time. That’s when I would switch to a more advanced routine or get a heavier kettlebell.

As a middle-aged woman, I felt like I needed to do a little exercise six days a week. Three days a week I would do the longer “strength training” workout and the other three days I would do more aerobic-type workouts of kettlebell swings or an 8-minute Tae Bo workout. Now after reaching my goals, I maintain my results with six 10-minute workouts per week. I do the Kettlebell Express workout, with a 20-pound weight, on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. On Monday, Tuesday and Thursday I do kettlebell swings or an 8-minute Tae Bo workout. Saturday I rest.

Update: I’m still exercising six days a week, but I’ve switched up my exercise routine a little bit. Now I only do one or two kettlebell workouts and the other days I do 12 minute PACE Express workouts.

My results

Photo © 2012 Lynda Makara

Photo © 2012 Lynda Makara

It took about nine months to get fit with kettlebell workouts and healthy eating. Yes, it was slow (that’s the tradeoff for being “lazy”) but consistent. This was the only thing that worked for me (a postmenopausal woman in my mid 50s), and it will work for you too.