Welcome to the Mrs. Stafford Community where no topic is off limits! I want this blog to be a forum for women my age to be able to discuss everything beauty and fashion, as well as the more sensitive subjects such as menopause and healthy aging. I’m starting my sixties and I feel the best I have in years, and I want to help other women feel the same way. As a community, I think we can come together and start the conversation. This is all about women supporting other women, and trying to have some fun in the meantime.
Attention Ladies: We’d love to hear from you! Your questions are driving the discussions. Don’t hesitate to comment, especially on the “Can We Talk” series as well as “Glowing with Mrs. Stafford”. Without you there is no discussion, so don’t be shy!
Since I started this blog I have received many compliments and questions on my skincare routine. Women have asked, “what is my secret” and honestly it’s a combination of multiple things. I use many different products, and tend to switch up my routine often. Staying out of the sun, and wearing sunscreen is a huge one. Finally, I have not been shy about the fact that I get Botox and filler. I even made a video of myself getting Botox injected which you can find on my Youtube channel. I have written some blog posts about the beauty products I use and routines based on the season or specific skin problems.
Glowing with Mrs. Stafford is my take on an advice column based around skincare. Each person has unique skin and their own issues they would like answered. Glowing with Mrs. Stafford is my idea of how to share my knowledge on this topic.
Basically, this is a place where all of you can ask questions about you’re personal skin issues. Ask me about certain beauty products you might want to try, or even about treatments such as lasers or Botox since I’ve done it all! All and any questions are welcome (concerning these topics).
How to Participate in Glowing with Mrs. Stafford Column:
Ask your questions below for a chance to be featured in next month’s Glowing with Mrs. Stafford column. I will answer one question in detail and make sure to do all my research to give the most informed answer I can provide! I will also be asking experts and trying the products myself for a period of time.
We’re also running a giveaway to celebrate our monthly Glowing with Mrs. Stafford Advice column. I will pick one beauty product and one winner at the end of each month. All of the products will be bought with my own money, and products I have personally used and loved.
How to Participate in the Glowing with Mrs. Stafford Giveaway:
You will be able to enter the giveaway either on Facebook or Instagram. All you have to do is
1. Follow me
2. Like the post
3. And tag a friend
We are doing it both on Instagram and Facebook because I realize not everyone is on Instagram or vice versa. This month the giveaway is the GLAMGLOW Good in Bed Passionfruit Softening Night Cream.
I have been using this night treatment for months now and I LOVE it! It is made to help combat dryness, dullness, and uneven skin texture. It includes one of my favorite ingredients, Hyaluronic Acid, which plumps, hydrates and nourishes your complexion. The acids gently (keyword) exfoliate and softens the skin. Apply a thin layer after cleansing at night. This products works on my skin which is extremely sensitive. I can use this product at least 2-3 times a week. I wake up with soft, glowing skin. All this while you sleep!
*Note: When I’m recommending any skincare item I will always test the product for at least 30 days, most times longer. I feel you need to see how the product works over time, the benefits and results, which in most cases does not happen with just one use.
Price Point - $54 (you can purchase this product on Sephora and of course on GlamGlow’s website).
At the beginning of the year, I got the idea for Glowing with Mrs. Stafford. It took at least six months of planning and organizing to try and make this idea work. So, this is a test run and hopefully, all of you will enjoy it! If you have any suggestions on how to make this forum better please don’t hesitate to give your constructive criticism below.
For me, the first two years of going through menopause were, simply put, miserable. I’m sure most women would agree with me here. I was extremely depressed and uncomfortable in my own skin. I ended up gaining about 25 lbs and it took a lot for me to start actively dealing with menopause in a healthy way. I've talked openly about menopause in my "Can We Talk Series", but this post is specifically about how to lose weight during this time in your life.
You always hear the warnings about how terrible menopause can be, but it’s not until you actually experience it that you understand. At some points I was like, “Why did no one tell me about this?” Throughout this time, the most difficult part was finding the support and answers that I so badly needed, which weren’t easily available.
Menopause affects and changes essentially every woman’s weight. However, when you look around for information, it’s impossible to find. I often heard comments such as:
Just watch what you’re eating.
Menopause doesn’t actually make you gain weight.
First, your body is going through extreme hormonal changes, so weight gain during this time is a real thing! You can have healthy eating habits before you experience menopause, but during and after, your body can react differently to certain foods you’ve always eaten. I don’t know why there isn’t more information out there on this subject, but let’s try to fix that here.
Together with my good friends and experts in their field, Paige Kelly BA, MSACN (functional nutritionist) and Charlotte Brynn (my physical trainer) we will give you 10 tips on how to lose weight during menopause! The information here is based on my personal experiences, as well as credible advice from professionals. Hopefully you can find the answers that you’re looking for here, and get back to feeling like yourself again. Please, please, please: Whatever questions you have after reading this, leave them for us in the comments below and we’ll get right back to you!
Hi All! We are already 5 months into 2019, that’s crazy right?! I thought a fun post would be to write about my new favorite products that have popped up on the market this year. I’ll give you my opinion of why I think they are so great and how well they actually work. I started using all the products I’ll be writing about at the beginning of January so that I would have at least three months to see results and give you my thoughts. It's important to me that I use a product for an extended period of time to see what type of results I get before sharing them with you. These are all products that I purchased myself and that I use personally.
There seems to be something new and exciting coming out every day in the beauty world, which is awesome, but can also be overwhelming! So below are a few things that I thought were exceptional and that I'm keeping in my regimen going forward.
OK, so my first product is LUMIFY Eye Drops. Right now you're probably saying WHY????? Typically, people don’t think about eye drops as essential. Well, let me tell you, I've always had a problem with redness in my eyes. Whether it be reading on the computer, being out in the sun or just a bit tired, I always have red eyes. Especially, during this time of year, allergy season, my eyes used to always be a red watery mess. It's a pretty common condition and I've used Visine for years. Visine works to take away the redness but I noticed shortly after using the drops, my eyes would be red again.
This is what is so different about LUMIFY Eye Drops. First of all, it works within 1 minute to take out redness and works for up to 8 hours. It works differently than other redness relievers by selectively targeting the redness and alleviating some of the potential side effects common to redness relievers, rebound redness (the redness come back worse) and loss of effectiveness of the product over time.
The other thing that sets LUMIFY apart is that it has been approved by the FDA. It is the only over the counter products that contain brimonidine tartrate, a safe and powerful redness reducer. Also, a plus is that it is made by Bausch + Lomb, a leader in eye health.
When we went on vacation in St. John back in March LUMIFY was a lifesaver! Between all the traveling and sunshine, LUMIFY helped to instantly brighten my eyes and kept the redness away. It's that one product that I never knew I needed but will now never be without.
You can purchase LUMIFY in drugstores and also on Amazon (of course!!).
I have two new overnight masks that not only do I love but I've purchased for my daughters and they love also.
The Avocado Melt Sleeping Mask from Glow Recipe is the answer for dry, stressed skin. I began using this in January, so during those very cold months in Vermont plus being indoors with the heat drying out my skin, this was what kept my skin looking healthy and fresh. With a combination of Avocado to hydrate, Honey to sooth the skin along with PHA which gently exfoliates the skin while you sleep, this was my go to this winter.
On vacation in St. John I kept this in the refrigerator and put it on every night. After a full day in the very bright sun of the Island, this is what kept my skin from drying out. A small amount on the skin before bed was all that's needed. You can also use this as a wash off mask too but I really love it as a sleeping mask. Your skin really does look so beautiful when you wake up in the morning, you’ll see a difference right away. One thing, you do need to mix this up with the spatula that is included before using.
The Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream is another overnight mask that is rich and deeply hydrates and brightens the skin. This mask will help with dryness, dullness and uneven skin tone. What you wake up to is brighter, hydrated more radiant skin. This is another mask that my daughters love as much as I do. We all have our own skin types and it works well for us all. I love an overnight mask because everything is working while you're sleeping. Starting with beautiful skin in the morning makes whatever you do, whether it be a full face of makeup or just a bit of sunscreen, look all the better.
Youth To The People is a new brand for me and I'm interested to try some of their other products. They base the line on what you put on your skin should be as whole and clean as what you put in your body. Sounds good, right!
One of my favorite brands in skin care is SUNDAY RILEY. If you follow my blog you know that I love this brand. Their products are in my daily routine and I'm always excited when a new product hits the market. At the beginning of January, SUNDAY RILEY offered an Early Access Kit that I purchased which had two brand new products, A+ High Dose Retinoid Serum and C.E.O Glow Face Oil, along with a reformulated version of their very popular Good Genes now with Glycolic Acid. Here is my review on all three products.
It was announced that in the UK they were no longer going to be offering the Good Genes with Lactic Acid so they reformulated and launched with Good Genes with Glycolic Acid. Here in the US, we have both available.
The Glycolic Acid treatment deeply exfoliates and repairs the look of dull, congested, damaged skin. This product is formulated for dehydrated, oily, sensitive skin. One of the excellent benefits of all of Sunday Riley's products is that they work fast. When I came home from vacation, even though I wore sunscreen and big hats in the sun, my skin did have way too much sun than I'm normally used to. My pores were clogged along with my skin being dull. To try and get my skin back to normal this was one of the first products I used. Not kidding, when I woke up in the morning I could tell the difference. My skin felt smoother and that glow was back. I'll use both versions of Good Genes and would not be without this product, it works and really does give you instant, noticeable results.
The Sunday Riley - A+ High Dose Retinoid Serum is an amazing product but if you are new to retinoids slow is the way to go! Start off easy maybe two days on, two days off to see how your skin handles the product. Also, only use in your nighttime routine. That goes for any retinoid product. You do not want your skin exposed to the sun when you have a retinoid on your skin.
I used this product for two months before we went on vacation. For my very sensitive skin, I found it to be very easy on my skin. What this product does and does very well is to fight the signs of aging, without the side effects that stop many people from using a retinoid. So no flaking, redness or irritation compared to high-strength retinol products. You will see a fresher, smoother improved complexion. I use this on my skin and follow up with Good Genes.
Then last but not least is the new C.E.O Glow Vitamin C and Turmeric Face Oil from Sunday Riley. This product didn't hit the market until mid-March but since it was included in the Early Access Kit I've been able to test it out since January.
I use a number of the C.E.O products, such as the Repair Moisturizer and the Rapid Flash Brightening Serum so I was excited to try the oil. I love the oil, it absorbs into the skin quickly. Products that have Vitamin C are my favorite for giving that glow that everyone loves. Golden Turmeric helps to calm the skin. You can use this day or night. What I love about a product like this is that it gives your complexion that healthy glow, so if you go without makeup, your skin still looks great.
Well, that's it for some of my new favorite products this year. I’ve already started using a few new ones that just came out, so in a few months I'll follow up and give you ladies an updated list! Hope you enjoy and let me know what some of your favorite new products are in the comments!!
Hi Everyone! Since the warmer weather has finally arrived I decided to show you guys some of the newest pieces I've added to my closet. I think these three outfits really give off that Spring feeling! It's that time of year to start wearing some bright pops of color and showing a little more skin. So pack up those bulky sweaters and trade in your winter boots for wedges and dresses.
#1 J.Crew Pink Gingham, Done Right!
There's no one who makes classics like J.Crew. If this outfit doesn't scream Spring then I don't know what does. J.Crew clothing is made with exceptional quality. As you can see it's all about the details. I know some people don't like the matchy-matchy look, but I'm kind of in love with this look. I think I can rock it and rock it well. It's all about confidence ladies and what you feel good in!
J.Crew belted gingham sheath dress in bi-stretch cotton - $150.99
J.Crew Women's 2011 Icon trench in oversized gingham - $204.99
Shoes - Dolce & Gabbana
Look-a-like option: Ted Baker London Vixen Floral Pump -$99.97
Bag - Dolce & Gabbana
Look-a-like option: QIWANG Genuine Leather Handbags -$80.99
Stella McCartney Sunglasses - $345
Affordable Option: Fossil FOS 2083/S Sunglasses - $59.99
#2 A Classy Twist to BoHo Chic
This outfit is true summer vibes! The simplicity of the white on white really makes the shirt, which is the focus piece of the outfit, pop. The shirt is from Free People and they are all about that boho chic look. Adding a few elegant touches of high-end jewelry and accessories really brings a classy element to the look as a whole.
Free People Golden Hour Tie Front Kimono - $68
J.Crew wide-leg trouser jean in white - $148
M.Gemi The Scultura Shoes - $175
Salvatore Ferragamo Gancini Bucket Bag - $2300
Look-a-like option: Woven Straw Bag from Nordstrom - $49
Ray-Ban Sunglasses - $178
#3 Blue in Tweed Ensemble
J.Crew does it again! I'm in love with this blue tweed dress with the matching jacket. When I put this outfit on I feel like Jackie O. It just gives that classic look that you don't see that much of anymore.
J.Crew a-line dress in multicolor cobalt tweed with fluted hem - $144.99
J.Crew lady jacket in multicolor cobalt tweed with braided trim - $169.99
Channel Classic Handbag
J.Crew Enchantress Sunglasses - $79
I hope this post gave you some spring inspiration to add to your closet. Let me know what you think in the comments:)
Located in Jeffersonville, VT
Spring Cleaning for our Body 101
Around this time of year, everyone wants to do a little spring cleaning in our homes. One big thing most people enjoy cleaning out are closets, thanks to the very organized Marie Kondo. After a long winter, it feels good to get things nice and tidy. As the saying goes, “out with the old and in with the new”.
But how about doing the same to ourselves? This means supporting the shift of our bodies from a long winter into a glorious spring by using foods medicinally. In my practice, I hear, “I want to detox” almost everyday. What most people don't know is that your body is actually detoxing 24/7. Feeding your body with fresh vegetables each day will provide the tools it needs to spring clean itself from the inside out. Let’s take a look at our digestive organs with a few corresponding “veggie buddies”:
To help clean out your Liver eat cruciferous veggies*, garlic, and any bitter vegetables such as Arugula or Radishes.
For your Gallbladder try Beets, Swiss Chard, plus bitter foods including Arugula, Radishes, and Watercress.
For your Kidney eat Celery or Parsley.
For your Stomach try eating Cabbage (red, green, napa).
For your Intestines, a few options are cooked/cooled Potatoes, fermented foods, and cruciferous veggies.
Cruciferous vegetables which brooms of the Colon include: Broccoli, Kale, Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Turnip, Bok Choy, Collard Greens, Mustard Greens, Swiss Chard, and Watercress.
The addition of one or more of these on a daily basis will fill your belly due to high fiber content and support healthy elimination to help sweep toxins out of your system. If you find some of these difficult to digest, try steaming or roasting...delicious!
Choose to eat for optimal health, your body will thank you!
Paige Kelly has worked in the healthcare field for over two decades. She graduated from the University of New Orleans and later returned for postbaccalaureate work in Biology. Paige ended up graduating with honors from New York Chiropractic College, receiving a Masters of Science in Applied Clinical Nutrition.
Her nutrition and therapeutic massage experience comes from working in chiropractic offices, physical therapy clinics. As well as owning a wellness office in Louisiana called “All About Health” which included colon irrigation and therapeutic massage. Paige began her own journey toward health long ago when she was presented with several of the chronic lifestyle diseases many of us face today. Paige brings a unique understanding and compassion to her clients based on many years of trial and error with her own experiences which have been heightened by research and higher education.
Paige Kelly is very passionate about sharing nutritional information and the tools to use in order to make changes in your health. Nutrition is an integral part of everyone’s health and healing.
“I feel privileged to share my knowledge with you and grateful for your trust in me. I hope in writing these monthly blog posts I am able to help you begin your new journey toward optimal health.” - Paige Kelly
Be kind to yourself,
Paige Kelly MSACN, CNS
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When Mr. Stafford and I head out for a warm weather vacation, the one thing that always comes with us is a few good books. We’re old school in that we don’t like to read our books on a device. We prefer a tangible hardcover book where you can see how many pages you have devoured in just a few hours. Also, it just feels better to hold a real book, sorry Kindle.
When we’re on vacation its one of the few times where we can sit and get lost in a good book. I find it hard to read at times when we’re home. There is always some kind of interruption. If I try to do some reading before going to bed I’ll read two pages and then I’m asleep!
So each year I’ll do the research and try to pick at least five books that my husband and I can pass back and forth with each other. Luckily, we have the same taste in reading. In past years we’ve read some incredible books on vacation, such as “Boys In The Boat”, “Big Little Lies”, and "All The Light We Cannot See” to name a few. We will even include some books that we have already read just because we love to read them over and over again. For me that book would be “Wuthering Heights” and for Vince, he loves reading “The Right Stuff”.
So for this year’s choices, I thought we would do a review of the books we have just recently read. This is the first time I’ve ever written a book review. So bear with me on this, it’s definitely my opinion. Vince and I really do have such similar taste that we even agreed on ranking them! So here we go!
An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
One of my most favorite feelings is when I start a new book and I'm immediately hooked on the first page. Oh my God, I love that feeling!! That’s how it was with when I started reading “An American Marriage”. First, it is so beautifully written, Vince and I, both found it really hard to put down.
The book is told from the perspective of the three main characters, the wife, Celestial, the husband, Roy, and their friend, Andre. Celestial and Roy are a newly married African American couple living the American Dream in Atlanta. He is an upwardly mobile executive and she is an artist right at the beginning of what looks to be an amazing career. Their perfect life is suddenly destroyed by circumstances beyond their control. While on a visit to Roy’s parents in Louisiana, he is wrongly accused of a crime and sentenced to 12 years in jail. This is not a story about prison specifically. It is more a story of how they as a couple, deal with this devastating situation. While Roy is in prison we see their relationship only through the letters they send to each other, and how those letters change over the years.
The characters in this story are real. So real that they are all the things that make someone human. No one is perfect in this story. At different points, I found myself so angry at each character and then just in tears for them at other times.
I must say the parents of Roy and Celestial were probably my favorite characters. What they brought to the story was the love parents have for their children and the sacrifices they were more than willing to make to ensure a better life for them. At one point I had to put the book down and grab a box of tissues and pull myself together. So did Vince. Don’t tell him I told you.
The book is an honest look at race and class in America, but also at the heart of it a book about love, marriage, and family. Vince and I both agree this is one of our favorite books of all time.
Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
To start off I just saw that this book is being made into a limited series on Hulu starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. I’m deceased!!! You know if Reese is involved then it's going to be good!
The book takes place in Shaker Heights, a suburb of Cleveland, where everything is planned out perfectly. The colors of the homes, the charming roads, and the successful, all-American families. Think of Stepford, the fictional town in the book "The Stepford Wives" (the 1970’s version). The major difference here is that women are not weak, pretty robots!
By far the leader of this community is Elena Richardson, perfect mother, and wife of four children and a successful lawyer husband. She is also a journalist for the local paper. She lives by the rules, and you better believe, she wants everyone else to do the same.
Then Mia Warren enters into this community, who is a bohemian artist with a teenage daughter Pearl. The Richardson’s have a rental property and Mia and Pearl become their tenants.
The Richardson’s have four children, as I've said which includes, 2 boys, and 2 girls. The girls are completely different from each other, the oldest, a senior in high school is smart, popular, beautiful and excels at whatever she does. Her sister Izzy is the exact opposite. Combat boots and flannel shirts are her go to and she constantly is at odds with her Mother and any authority figure at school. Izzy was definitely my favorite, a real hoot but also the soul of this book.
The younger son meets Pearl and is crazy about her. He finally brings her to his home where she meets his siblings (she kind of goes crazy for the older brother, who of course is the jock in the family) and Elena, his mother.
When she sees their home and how beautiful and warm it is, she begins to resent her own mother (Mia) and their lifestyle. Since she was little they only stayed in an area for a short period of time until they left everything behind, took off in the VW Bug and started all over again somewhere else. She sees Elena as the type of mother that she wishes she had. Dinner on the table every night, constant attention to the kids and that feeling of home that she never has had.
The Richardson children begin to wish that Mia was their mother when she comes to work as a housekeeper and cook a few days each week. She is not held down by rules, is more forgiving and not judgemental. She is a free spirit who is open and more than willing to help Izzy fight back against the status quo at school. She is also there to give comfort and understanding to Izzy’s older sister, Lexi when she knows that her own mother would not be there for her.
When friends of the Richardson’s adopt a Chinese baby that was left abandoned by the mother, a custody battle occurs that pits Elena and Mia on opposite sides. This leads to the heart of the story and how both of these women will fight for what they believe in and try to keep secrets that they’ve been holding on to for a very long time.
We both loved this book, the characters being so thoughtfully written. Just when you think you have them all figured out they change, they are multi-dimensional and that’s what makes this a compelling read.
The Woman In The Window, by A. J. Finn
OK, let me just get this off my mind and then I can go on and tell you how much we enjoyed this book. Here’s the deal, why does every thriller with some twists and turns have to be compared with "Gone Girl". Honestly, I loved that book, but please can they stop comparing every thriller to "Gone Girl"! Thanks, I’m done now.
To start, let me just say that if you enjoy a good Alfred Hitchcock film you’ll love this book. The central character is Anna Fox, a child psychologist who lives alone and is severely afflicted with Agoraphobia. She is a recluse in her home who cannot venture outside because of her fear of open spaces. She no longer lives with her husband and daughter but talks with them daily.
Her days are made up of drinking too much red wine, always mixed with her medications, and dreaming about happier times. She watches old black and white movies, the Hitchcock flicks being her favorites. Caring for her constant companion, her cat Punch. She plays chess online and also gives counseling advice to an online community. She also loves spying on her neighbors.
When a new couple with a teenage son moves in across the way, she becomes fascinated with them. One evening while watching them with the zoom lens of her camera she sees something horrible take place. Or did she?
I’m not going to get into any fine details of the book. This would give too much away. But because of how she lives her life, drinking heavily and abusing her medications and the mental issues she deals with we are left to wonder if she is hallucinating or if the things she claims are real.
We both thought this book was a great read. We got caught up in the twists and turns that the book took you on and right up to the end still did not have anything figured out. It keeps you interested and dying to find out what made Anna the person she is. What happened in her life? It’s much more complex than an old B&W movie.
Then She Was Gone, by Lisa Jewell
Disclaimer: I did not read this book but Vince did. I’ll tell you why when I get to our last book on the list. So let me tell you how Vince explained this to me.
First, he said it was a fast read and that it was good for something to pass the time. His major complaint was that it was incredibly predictable right from the beginning. There is no climax because everything was so obvious.
Once again it was compared to "Gone Girl" and "The Girl on the Train" (help me!!!).
The fifteen-year-old daughter of the central character goes missing after she leaves their home for a quick trip to the library, just blocks away. The book then takes you forward in time to 10 years later. The story then focuses on the aftermath of this loss and how the mother is dealing with her daughter missing for so long, along with her marriage breaking up. This is where Vince said things got really predictable along with being farfetched.
So I’m going to leave it at that. I think it’s sometimes so hard to get into an average book when you just get done reading some incredible books that you become so invested in.
Less, by Andrew Sean Greer
So let me start by saying that this book was the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2018. I’m not going to lie, it was certainly one of the reasons I bought it, as well as the reviews that said it was insanely funny. All sounds great, right?
So to start off, Vince read this as his first book, while I was reading "An American Marriage". When I finished my book he was still working on this and was only about a quarter of the way through. He told me he just could not get into it. So he started reading the book I just finished and I started on "Less".
I had such high hopes. I was like, "bring on the laughs, let’s see what all the hype is about, this is going to be a great read!"
Three days later and I’m still on page 30, pushing myself to keep reading, it has to get better. Well, it didn’t. After a few more days I put it down and started on something else, determined to go back and finish before the end of our vacation.
So here’s the story. Arthur Less is a struggling (failed) novelist getting ready to turn fifty. His boyfriend of the past 9 years has left him and is engaged to someone else. To avoid the wedding he accepts a number of lesser-known literary events that he has been invited to around the world.
So what happens?!? Nothing, absolutely nothing. Less goes to NYC, nothing happens. Less goes to Paris, nothing happens. Less goes to Morocco, yeah you guessed it. Nothing. Happens. A writer travels the world and nothing happens.
The character of Arthur Less is so unappealing with really nothing interesting about him. He feels sorry for himself each and every page. He is constantly obsessed with turning fifty (like really? 50??) and just feeling bad for himself because of his poor love life. Which, by the way, he did nothing to make better.
It was very hard to feel anything for the main character. There was just nothing that pulled me in to want to root for him.
So after I finished my second book, I went back to Less. To give it another try. I had to. I mean I have to be wrong, it won the Pulitzer for God’s sake. But "Less" was still less than what I hoped for (pun intended). The book itself makes a really bad pun for its last sentence, like really Pulitzer committee??
So no, I never finished the book completely. It did stop me from being able to keep up with Vince and read the previous book. I did read ahead just to see what the heck happened to Less. I could not believe how predictable the ending was.
By the way, I never once laughed out loud like the reviews promised I would. I was so looking forward to that.
Well, here you go! My first book review! Let me know your thoughts in the comments! If you have any really good books that are a must read for this summer please let me know! I'm always looking for the next book to get caught up in. Hope you enjoy.
What's the easiest thing that you can do to look fantastic? The answer is a great SMILE! It really is that simple. Having a beautiful smile changes your whole face and invites people to be around you. When you have a pearly white smile you exude happiness and confidence. As the lovely and talented Marilyn Monroe once said, “A smile is the best makeup a girl can wear”.
But here's the thing, as we go through life your teeth can become stained or a bit yellow. There are many reasons for this such as medications, food, wine or poor oral hygiene. Sad to say age also plays a role in yellowish looking teeth. There are a lot of reasons for this dilemma but the important thing is that there are so many products out there that can easily fix this problem.
There are a ton of ads on social media and TV promoting various kinds of devices or products to help whiten your teeth. So, what’s the problem you might ask? Most of the products or devices advertised either don’t work or they can actually be harmful to your teeth. For example, one product that kept popping up on my Instagram Explore page was this black charcoal looking paste or powder which you brushed your teeth with. First, that just seems messy and gross, also I would assume that rubbing charcoal powder on your teeth cannot feel good. I haven’t tried that trend myself. So I can’t knock it completely and say it doesn’t work. All I can give you are some of the products I have used and have made a huge difference for me.
The first time I noticed my teeth were stained was a few years back at a Phillies baseball game. My daughter and I took a selfie together and when I saw my teeth compared to hers I was like -“Wait, WHAT???!!???" Since it was such a closeup picture it was the first time I realized how sparkly white her teeth were and mine was, well, not. I got back home and started my search for the best products to get my smile looking healthy again.
Of course, you need your teeth to be healthy along with being white. In today's world, we can achieve all of these things at the same time in your own home. The products that are on the market make it so easy to have a healthy, beautiful smile. Being able to do at-home treatments saves time and money for you to be able to care for your smile while working within your busy schedule.
Here are the items that I have used for the last several years and have been able to change my teeth from dull yellow to bright white!
So the first thing you need to do is make sure you are doing everything to correctly clean your teeth properly. The first thing you can do to improve your dental health is to invest in a good toothbrush. I know this seems silly. You might think a toothbrush is a toothbrush. Also, any toothbrush you see in Rite Aid to infomercials are all “dentist recommended”. This is basically a marketing phrase that has come to mean nothing, same as “fat-free or organic foods”.
The Sonicare is the toothbrush that my personal (real life) dentist suggested I use! Specifically the “Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100” version. This electric toothbrush will remove more plaque than a manual brush and it will also let you know how long to brush for. Meaning it will shut off at the end of two minutes, which is the recommended time for thoroughly brushing your teeth. I never knew that until once again, my dentist told me. The brush is good for sensitive teeth and it lets you know if you're pressing too hard. There are so many more cool and helpful features that really takes the guesswork out of your dental hygiene.
There are other variations of the Sonicare but this is the one I've been using for some time. After looking at all of their latest versions I may think about upgrading to a newer model soon. If I do I’ll keep you posted on which one I decide to go with. I’ll do my research beforehand, so you don’t have to.
Again there are endless options for whitening toothpaste. I’ve tried a few others, but the one brand I swear by is “supersmile”. I've been using this brand for over seven years now and I must say I saw a difference immediately. I am in no way getting sponsored for this post, so I am not lying when I say that it really does work!
It was developed by a doctor for his patients in 1987 and not only will it safely help whiten your teeth but it will also improve the overall health of your teeth and gums. You know what that means, no gingivitis for you!! It comes with a whitening toothpaste along with an accelerator. You put both products on the brush at the same time. An added benefit is that the toothpaste itself tastes great, which is sometimes not the case for whitening toothpaste out there. My favorite is the Icy Mint. You can purchase this product directly on their website. They have a huge selection of products to choose from, including monthly subscriptions.
Another teeth whitening toothpaste I have been using for the last few months (and love!!) is Linhart. The Linehart toothpaste was developed by a father and son dental practice and they have been perfecting the formulation for the last 10 years. It is a family-owned company and their story is actually pretty interesting. You can read more about it on their website by clicking here. This year was actually the launch of their newest formulation which is the Linhart I use today.
I use Linhart both in the morning and at night. Along with the toothpaste I use the whitening gel, it comes with, the same as Supersmile. I switch back and forth between the two brands, but from my experience, they both work equally well. Don’t worry about using too much because you can’t overdo it with these products. It’s not the same as whitening strips where it can cause some discomfort or sensitivity after using it for a long period of time. It also tastes like peppermint which is a delightful new flavor for your senses. Mr. Stafford actually prefers the Linhart taste over the Supersmile. I enjoy both, but it’s really all about your personal preference. Linhart keeps my smile white and it’s also very good for the enamel. Overall, the results are excellent!
The only major difference between the two is that Linhart is sold in only one size. Linhart toothpaste is priced at $12 and the gel for $24. Supersmile has a much wider range of products to choose from. They have various sizes, flavors, and a few different special selection packages. I would say the prizes even themselves out since they offer just a different range. At first glance, Supersmile looks more expensive, but if you signup for a subscription package you get more bang for your buck. If you rather keep it simple and buy just one tube of toothpaste and accelerator (the gel) then Linhart is the way you should go.
Teeth whitening devices can be fun to play with and try out. They are great because it feels like you have this advanced technology right in your own home. It doesn’t hurt that they look cool as well. I’ve used “Glo Science” for many years now. Get this, I still have my original device! You just need to replace the mouthpiece every now and then. I know it seems like a lot of money to throw down on a product that only has one purpose, but believe me it pays for itself. Since I’ve had mine for a few years I know it will defiantly last. That is considering you are careful with it, of course. I assume it will break if you’re throwing it into a drawer mindlessly. Since it is a piece of technology I would suggest putting it in a safe place once you're done using it.
This will give you the same results that you can get at your dentist office. No appointments needed! Also, you won't have to deal with messy trays, which I know many people find difficult to use and from my own experience just don't work. This kit is super easy to use and comes with everything you need to get long-lasting, professional teeth whitening results at home. The wearable hands-free design lets you multitask while you whiten, shutting off automatically when each application is complete. The GLO Brilliant Teeth Whitening Device combines the accelerating power of GLO warming heat and blue light with specially formulated hydrogen peroxide whitening gel—delivering painless teeth whitening results, in short, pre-timed, eight-minute applications. Currently, I use mine about once a month. When I first got it I definitely used it more often. Since getting my teeth to the desired whiteness once a month is perfect to keep your teeth sparkly and nice!
Now everyone knows and has heard about the Crest Whitening Teeth Strips. There has been a lot of debate for years about whether they are safe to use. The short answer is yes they are fine to use in moderation, meaning I would personally suggest using them every once and awhile. And they should be used as directed on the box. Crest 3D Whitening Strips are meant to be worn for 30 minutes.
I know one person who would wear them every night all night long, which is not safe or good for your teeth. I’m not a dentist so I can’t say if they wear away at your enamel or what chemicals they contain. All I know is that they do work.
For me, they are great to use on days when I need something quick and easy to brighten my smile. There have been many times where I'm getting ready to go out and I just want an added boost. I'll put these on while I'm doing my makeup and they are ready to come off by the time I do my lipstick. They are fast, effective and great in a pinch.
FYI, I did not use these to get my smile to the level I wanted. For that, I highly suggest the GLO Device. But once your smile is healthy and whiter, this is a great item to have when you just want to perk up the brightness. You can find these at any drug store, there are all different types, but my favorite is the Professional Effects line.
I hope you found this post was informative and helpful. Tell me some of the products that work for you if I didn't mention them. Let me know your thoughts or any questions in the comment section!
Hi All! So if you follow me on social media you know that Mr. Stafford and I were soaking up the sun in St. John for the whole month of March. Can I just say this is what retirement is meant to be. We are incredibly blessed to be able to spend so much time in such a beautiful place, but this is the reason why we worked so hard all our lives. It is pure bliss!
We've been going to this beautiful island for over 18 years and every time we arrive we fall in love with it all over again. Each time we visit we end up deciding to extend our stay for the next year just a little bit longer. We always find it so difficult when its time to leave.
I’m sure that many of you know that the island of St. John went through a devastating time in 2017. The island was hit with two large hurricanes, back to back, in September of that year. The first storm, Irma, a Category 5 hurricane, hit on September 7th and pummeled the island leaving residents without electricity, water and fuel. On September 20th, Hurricane Maria landed as a Category 5 storm and destroyed what was left.
Since tourism is their main source of income, it has been a very difficult time for the residents on the island. Some people we know left and never came back. Homes and business were destroyed and their source of income was gone. Their schools were gone. Water was in short supply and what we were told was if you had ice, you were the man. Many of the residents had evacuated to Puerto Rico and we all know what happened there. How they survived all this and kept their heads up throughout everything says so much about the kind of people who live here.
When we arrived this year, we were unsure of what to expect. But here is one of the main reasons we keep coming back to St. John - the people. What they went through and the work that is still needed across the island is unimaginable. With everything that they have dealt with in the last year and a half, you could not meet a kinder, friendlier group of people. To say they make our vacation a great experience is an understatement. They consistently go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and welcome on this island. Most of these people worked on getting rental housing back up and running before they even started working on their own homes. The facts are that many are still without their own homes.
As you can see from the photos, it is a beautiful place to spend your time. The beaches are incredible, the food is outstanding, and the views are unreal. The quiet and peacefulness is exactly what we love about visiting St. John. It’s the perfect place to be able to get away, relax, and unplug. It’s not called “Love Island" for nothing!
In the mid-1950s Laurance Rockefeller donated his vast land holdings to the United States National Park Service. Due to this donation, 60% of the island is protected from further development. This also includes most of the beaches and coral reefs, which is another reason we love St. John so much. It’s not over-saturated, allowing the natural beauty of the island to remain as it is. The existing nature and ecosystem, which makes the island such a desired place to visit, will not be ruined by continued development. It lets you feel as if you are far away from the hustle and bustle and still having all the comforts of home.
Now, it is a chore to get from where we live in Vermont to basically anywhere, but St. John is quite the adventure. Our travel includes catching two planes, three shuttle rides, and even a water taxi to get to our final destination. Once we reach the actual island of St. John we then have to get our rental car and drive up the winding roads to get to our home.
Needless to say, this makes for a long travel day and that's only if you end up making every connection. Which this year, we did not do. Honestly, it seems like every year we deal with some kind of delay or change in plans. Everyone in our family says I jinx it by stressing too much. Note to self, you have no control over this. So I need to stop stressing about it. I need to try that next year.
This year really was the winner though for our most difficult experience of getting to St. John. To start, we woke up at 2 AM to drive an hour to Burlington to catch our first flight at 6 AM. The plane was delayed because a flight attendant called out sick. Which was okay, that kind of thing happens all the time. No big deal, right? This meant we could not catch our connecting flight in Charlotte, NC, so we had to spend the night, which was fine. We booked a hotel room, had a nice dinner and went to sleep early. The following day we woke up well rested for our flight to St. Thomas. Everything was going great, we boarded our plane and then we were told that due to mechanical problems with the plane everyone had to get off! So we were delayed another six hours while they found a new plane with a new crew. At this point, we were like “come on, really!” Once we landed we had to take a taxi to our water taxi. It was now 10 PM. So off we go in the boat, in the dark and in very rough seas. I was holding on for dear life. Finally, when we arrived our rental car wasn’t there, so we had to hunt down our driver who was so kind and stayed working so late to take care of us. By the time we got to our house, it was close to midnight. What a trip! It took us about 42 hours to get there, but no one said getting to paradise was easy!
Once we arrived Vince and I popped a bottle of champagne took in the warm island breeze and enjoyed that fresh ocean smell. Then we slept for about 10 hours!
Our winters are extremely long and very cold in Vermont. So by the time March rolls around, we are more than ready to leave the frigid cold of the East Coast and head somewhere warm and sunny. St. John is that place for us, and the strenuous travel is all worth it once we get there!
So our days were filled with early mornins at the beach, Trunk Bay being one of our favorite this year. Getting there at 8:30 AM and having that beautiful beach all to ourselves was amazing. Lazy mornings were filled with swimming in that magnificent ocean, reading, walking the beach and just relaxing. If you are able to wake up early that is the best time for the beach. You feel as if you are on your own private island. I know waking up on vacation is not what most people like to do, but that’s why God invented naps, which we did a lot. That sun and relaxing beach smell just puts you right to sleep.
Maho Bay is the beach we normally would go to in previous years. This year when we got our first look, we couldn’t believe the destruction. All of the lush greenery and foliage that were on the beach was completely gone. The beautiful palm trees that hung over the beach were no more. It was heartbreaking. This beach is wonderful for snorkeling with turtles and the water is shallow and calm. It’s also one of the favorite beaches for the locals. Hopefully next year Maho will be looking healthier.
Driving in St. John is, well, different. They drive on the left side of the road and that can be tricky to get use to. Also, all roads are one way in each direction and they can be quite narrow and very hilly. I'm just going to say it, Vince does all the driving!
Having time alone is so important for us. No phones, no TV, and just a few good books that we passed back and forth was all we needed. When we vacation, we're not the type that plans activities each day and just go, go, go. We like to relax, take each day as it comes and just go with the flow. We both like to come home from vacation well rested and ready to get back to the all that needs doing in the real world!
Now for the food. Obviously there is an abundance of fresh fish. This year we went out for lunch/dinner more often than we usually do. We found three restaurants that we fell in love with, each with their own special style. I'll put the links for these restaurants below. This year from what we were told, those living and working on the island were very surprised and incredibly happy with the amount of tourist that arrived. That being the case, I don't think the food markets were ready for the crowd. As soon as food was stacked on the shelves, it was gone just as fast. This made us try more local restaurants and we were so happy that we did. Here are a few of our favorites places to dine.
First, the Greengos Cantina was by far our favorite restaurants. It was great for a late lunch after spending the morning at the beach. It also has outdoor seating and is in a central location with parking, which is hard to come by in St. John. Yes, the food was to die for! So fresh, so good, it was fabulous! The freshest nachos, the tastiest shrimp tacos, and Cadillac Margaritas were our go to. I also highly recommend their MexicanStreet Corn, Mango Chili Shrimp, and their freshly made guacamole & salsa. I’m not exaggerating when I say we ate there almost daily. It was that good. Honestly, I could go for that shrimp taco right about now!
The Extra Virgin Bistro was another spot that we enjoyed several times on this trip. With an Italian menu and their own roof top garden this was a wonderful place to spend a few hours and enjoy some incredible food. The “catch of the day” was often our first choice to order. Their crab cakes and appetizers were also wonderful. I'm so hungry right now!
The Terrace restaurant was another one of our favorites. The location is stunning and outdoor seating gives you some of the best views and sunsets you could ask for. This is a French influenced restaurant and again, fish was in abundance on the menu. Whatever the daily catch was, that's what we ordered.
So where do we stay in St. John? Right now a few of the larger resorts are still closed or just partially open. Caneel Bay is unfortunately still very devastated. The Westin is open but they are still doing construction and maintenance from the storm.
We have always rented a home through a company called “Catered To”. They have a great selection of villas for rent. They have been in this business for a long time, so they know how to make our stay very easy and special! There is nothing too small or too big for them to take care of. Tyler, who owns “Catered To” and his staff are incredible. Their company name is perfect because they really do cater to your every need. They can setup a chef made a meal delivery service. You can request certain meals you want before you arrive and they will bring it right to your house. Meals are freshly made and well prepared just for you. It is nowhere close to takeout. They can also stock your refrigerator with food for your arrival, which came in very handy this year! Since we have used “Catered To” for planning all of our trips to St. John for the past 18 years, it feels like going home and seeing family.
St. John is one of the most amazing places to visit. But even with all this beauty, sunshine, relaxation, and great people we are always homesick toward the end of vacation. That's a good thing though! Paradise is wonderful, but eventually home is where you want to be. We missed our dog Buddy, sleeping in our own bed, and our girls. But mostly, we missed Buddy!
Like Dorothy Gale says "There's no place like home".
Hi Everyone! A few of you requested a blog post about what makeup you can wear to the gym. I thought this was an excellent idea for a post, so let's get started!
*Disclaimer: If you are strongly opposed to wearing makeup while working out then this article is not for you. I completely understand the reason behind not wanting to wear makeup at the gym, but I would also like there to be no judgment passed on those who do want to wear makeup while working out.
I know there are those out there who are like “makeup at the gym, no way, you need to sweat at the gym”. Well, I work out pretty hard at the gym, believe me, and my trainer Charlotte Brynn makes sure I'm sweating! But I also wear makeup while working out. I wear makeup to go to the mailbox. I wear makeup to run errands.
I. Wear. Makeup. Period!
I'm not saying I need a full contoured face to leave my house. I just feel better with a little coverup and some mascara on. So for those of you out there who feel like me, here are some of the products I wear when I’m busting out a tough workout.
Step #1- Moisturizer
First of all, no matter what makeup I wear or for what occasion, I always make sure I moisturize. I don’t like to put heavy moisturizing cream on but I always put a moisturizing serum on my skin. My two favorites that I wear every day are both from Drunk Elephant called "The B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum" and "C-Firma Day Serum". I’ve mentioned their products in a few other posts, but that's because its a quality brand that works! Really well.
You can use either one under your makeup on a daily basis. I like combining the two at the same time, especially in the winter. The Vitamin C serum brightens the skin and makes it look healthy during these brutally cold winters. Used together your skin receives great hydration without a heavy cream feeling. On a side note, I keep both of these products (along with whatever eye cream I have) in the refrigerator to keep them nice and cool. This makes your skin feel so good upon application.
The B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum
This serum is so hydrating but also incredibly lightweight! It's perfect for underneath your makeup. It will continue to hydrate throughout, while also not leaving you with that oily feeling. This is really important if you’re kicking butt in the gym.
C-Firma Day Serum
You can use this alone or as I prefer to use it, combined with the B-Hydra Serum. So along with the brightening effects of Vitamin C, you also receive a big boost of hydration.
Step #2 - Foundation, Concealer, Or CC Cream
Now that your skin is hydrated and ready for your foundation here is what I use to make my skin look healthy. Since I’m only going to the gym, there isn’t all the contouring, highlighting, full coverage foundation, eyeshadow thing happening. This is just a routine that will make your skin look fresh and healthy. That’s why I think its really important to start off with good skin hydration so just a light touch of foundation is all you’ll need.
My favorite foundation for the gym is Dior Airflash Spray Foundation. Yes, it’s a bit pricey but I will tell you it last a very long time. Since it is a spray it is super light on the skin but gives you amazing coverage. The way I apply to my face is spraying the foundation directly onto a flat Kabuki brush, 2 or 3 short sprays are enough for one side of your face. It feels like nothing on the skin but gives you super nice coverage.
If you think foundation is too heavy to wear to the gym another way to lightly cover your skin is with Tarte Shape Tape Concealer. I use this only on the areas that I need to cover. Such as under the eyes to get rid of those dark bags. I then blend it in with a damp beauty blender. This is a really fast, quick way to get out the door without too much fuss. Covers the skin beautifully and it’s America’s #1 concealer. This is that product that I would name on my must-have list!
If you want an even lighter coverage than foundation or concealer can offer a good CC Cream is the best product for you! CC Creams are different from foundations because they are lighter wear. Also, they will easily color correct any redness or dark spots while hydrating your skin at the same time. What I would suggest is the "It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream With SPF 50+" which has a long-lasting effect great for the gym. "Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream" is another one I've heard great things about, but I have never personally used it before.
Step #3 - Setting Powder
To set my makeup I use "Bye-Bye Pores Pressed Powder". It’s super light, translucent and covers pores, giving you an airbrushed finish. I just use a big fluffy brush to apply all over my skin. Easy as that!
Step #4 - Mascara
Now on to the eyes. Just a really simple mascara like "Benefit Roller Lash Curling and Lifting Mascara" is all you need. It does all the work for you. Curls and lifts your lashes, giving you a nice fresh, wide-eyed look, and one coat is all you need. Really simple and one of my favorite mascaras out there.
Step #5 - Setting Spray
Now here’s what I think is the most important step. A setting spray. My all time favorite that I’ve used for years is "Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray". I use this product whenever I do my makeup. I feel it truly makes a difference in keeping your makeup in place and making it last for hours. I can leave the gym after a super intense workout and my makeup still looks as perfect as it did when I applied it. All you need to do is hold the spray about 12 inches from your face and spray all over. This may sound like you’re ruining everything you just did but that fine mist that lays on your skin will set and hold your makeup for hours. I know for some of you this might be a new step in your routine but try it. You will not be disappointed. After spraying just let it dry for a minute and you’re ready to go.
I hope this post had some helpful tips for everyone. This routine should really only take about 15 minutes to do. It’s easy, fast and you’ll end up with healthy, fresh looking skin. So hit the gym ladies looking FAB and let me know in the comments what you think. Don’t forget to drink lots of water at the gym and throughout the day. It keeps you hydrated but is also one of the best things you can do for your skin. Remember this blog is for all of you so keep those questions coming and we’ll be working on getting you the answers!
Located in Jeffersonville, VT
What is the most important item to remove from my diet for wellness?
You guessed it – SUGAR!
Sugar was once called “white death”!
I know, I know, you have heard this over and over again, but the reality:
Sugar is making us sicker and sicker.
The Avg. American consumes appx. 152 pounds of sugar in 1 year = 6 CUPS per Week!
70% of adults are overweight
40% of children are overweight
Consequences of sugar intake:
Looking for hidden sugars is one step forward to decreasing sugar intake. Start looking at the foods you are eating which have labels such as those yummy power bars or snacks at the checkout. Loaded with sugar! Also, are you eating a cereal that “looks healthy”, what about ketchup? Read the labels, you will be surprised! It's also a great idea to go through your pantry and read the labels on all your products. It's pretty surprising to find how many dressings, condiments, canned goods, tend to have a high percentage of sugar. Even when you feel you are eating clean those hidden sugars will slip you up."
What can I substitute for the sugary snacks? Try adding nuts/seeds and an apple for a snack instead and don’t forget more veggies. What can I substitute for processed sugar? Local honey, maple syrup.
Just one small change is one step forward toward success!
Hi! My name is Paige Kelly and I have worked in the healthcare field for over two decades. I graduated from the University of New Orleans and later returned for postbaccaulaureate work in Biology. I ended up graduating with honors from New York Chiropractic College, receiving a Masters of Science in Applied Clinical Nutrition.
My nutrition and therapeutic massage experience comes from working in chiropractic offices, physical therapy clinics, and owning a wellness office in Louisiana called “All About Health” which included colon irrigation and therapeutic massage. I began my own journey toward health long ago when I was presented with several of the chronic lifestyle diseases many of us face today. I bring a unique understanding and compassion to my clients based on many years of trial and error with my own experiences which have been heightened by research and higher education.
I am very passionate about sharing nutritional information and the tools to use in order to make changes in your health. Nutrition is an integral part of everyone’s health and healing. I feel privileged to share my knowledge with you and grateful for your trust in me. I hope in writing these monthly blog posts I am able to help you begin your new journey toward optimal health.
Be kind to yourself,
Paige Kelly MSACN, CNS
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