Wheat & Soda Free Life 

This month features us going entirely wheat free. That means any compound or binding ingredient with a derivative of wheat is a huge no no as well. This is all in hopes of resetting how our bodies break down wheat to avoid inflammation in the future.

Along with this, I also have been 2 weeks now with no soda and no creamer in my coffee. The coffee bit was not much of a stretch for me. With an allergy to eggs and cow’s milk I was ready. Of course, the allergy won’t kill me; I just have to watch my limits of it. Instead, I cut out sugar all together and am using vanilla flavored coconut milk and just a couple of drops. I’ve long loved coconut milk! Super yummy, the least processed, and just never gets to me.

Soda was a little harder. As an avid drinker of 2 liters of water a day, the idea of a variety of taste vanishing worried me. Yet, this is the easiest time I’ve ever faced switching. We started drinking Sparkling Ice flavored waters with no aspartame with our light mixed drink at night. Then I switched to unsweetened iced tea otherwise.

One other drink I discovered through my cafeteria at the hospital where I work. The enzymes I usually take have wheat present. So, they’re a no go. Now, after eggs, and maybe other times, I rely on a ginger ale. However, regular ginger ale is not appropriate. 

Bai has these awesome 5 calorie sparkling drinks with no added sugars. It’s entirely fruit flavors and tons of antioxidants. So, it’s healthy. The kola one tastes to me like a cherry cola. So, in the event I seek a sweet drink, I can find that. They also have a root beer in the cafeteria I haven’t tried yet. But the one I’m loving and helping me is the Jambi Ginger Ale. Literally 5 calories, no sugar, and chalked full of natural ingredients and antioxidants it is awesome when I need bubbly or my tummy has any unease.

This morning I discovered too they also have a Super Purified Water infused with Antioxidants called Antiwater. So giving it a go. It’s pretty good in its 28.4 FL oz bottle. If I forget my liter bottle it’s a good option to fill the gap. It’s got coffee fruit extract, electrolytes, and selenium present.

I’m telling you it’s been so good switching again. I missed it and always love how I feel once I do. Plus it follows suit how yoga makes us aware of our body and I only want to put good things in it. Now, even a sip of soda is WAY too sweet to think of. 

Props to My Husband

Just a crazy blog post to share how much I love my husband! We’ve been going through a lot and both working hard, but I know I couldn’t get by without all the love, strength, support, and comfort he provides me. I seriously lucked out.


Yes, maybe I’m just gushing but it’s important to take time to remember all of our blessings. It keeps us grounded and finding refinement in our lives. After all, isn’t that what my blog is all about? 

Here’s a feminist unafraid of being feminine and reveling in a total girly move!

The Duchess and Cropped Pants – Is it a Do?

So, I found to my delight on Friday morning that the Duchess of Cambridge visited the 1851 Trust for the sailing enthusiast children. A huge treat: she opted for cropped trousers versus her usual skinny jeans! While I adore her skinny jeans and have a couple of pairs myself, it was so nice to see her change it up a bit, especially after many comments on blogs were about that she should not just wears skinnies.

Yet, here she changed up her look and still there were detractors that had to make me laugh. Some say it just looks ridiculous, but I think it looks great on her! Here’s a photo from a fellow blogger who follows the Duchess:

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Of course, the irony is I’ve been searching for an absolutely fabulous pair of ankle pants or cropped trousers myself for over a month now! I love to wear them to work. For some reason, maybe the hazard of a small town with only Walmart really, they won’t carry them in store. I found a pair via JC Penny one day, but they were a little snug. So, I have to try again.

I can’t believe how pricey they cost, even for just a simple pair that doesn’t look just like leggings. I ADORE THESE THAT KATE WORE! Yet, really not at all in my budget for a pair of pants. I think I found something similar via Amazon though at this link and for only $21. Hmmm… I’m not sure, but I may just find out.

In the meantime, what do you guys think? With summer heat rising, do you think cropped pants or ankle pants are a do? And any suggestions on where to purchase great but easily affordable ones?

Smooth Body: Awesome Body Butter

Along with, of course, taking care of our face, we must remember that the rest of our bodies require moisture too throughout the day. Sure, I drink a liter of day throughout daylight hours. Then, I consume another liter of water once I return home from work. However, that’s not quite enough, especially in a very dry, arid mountain climate like here in Southern Colorado. There are days I feel downright flaky! Maybe even scaly like a snake!

That’s why I consider lotion an absolute must! And, our skin will thank us for it later. Keeping all our skin supple and dewy also prevents the signs of premature aging and wrinkles. Who doesn’t want a fountain of youth to keep us appearing younger?

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I’ve tried using baby oil lathered all over my skin before I towel off from a shower, and I love it! I’ve also made sure my body scrub (post to come) contains essential oils and other nurturing oils that I don’t even need the step of lotion or baby oil as I dry off.

However, what about when we aren’t showering or bathing? What about those days when we’re taking off to work or out and about anytime? That’s where I highly recommend a delicious body butter!

My body butter product is really simple. I combine only a very few ingredients together that bring about AMAZING results! You can ask anyone at my job – I LOVE BODY BUTTERS! In fact, people frequently enter my office in search of one. So, you can imagine my huge surprise when I discovered how simple it was to have an all natural product that actually delivered results WAY better than any other body butter I experienced.

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With my body butter you can delve into a sea of coconut oil and shea butter. They are whipped together in perfect combination. Coconut oil adds moisture and the shea butter locks it in, shielding your skin from the sun and wind’s drying forces. I love how smooth it glides on from the jar, melting slowly into the skin, and the best part: No greasy residue! My husband uses it, my mother uses it. I use it constantly. One other great part: it lasts a great deal of time before I need another batch.

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I’m telling you, an all natural body butter is insanely awesome! Your skin will thank you for it. I know mine has. Even better news is that I’m not adding a bunch of weird chemicals I can’t pronounce or scents to my skin. Our skin really does act as our filter. We shouldn’t let nasty things enter our bodies through it and we shouldn’t make our body fight harder to rid itself of unnatural things back as it detoxes through the skin. Trust me, your skin will thank you!

Nature’s Dew: Face Cream

So, what naturally ought to follow a facial scrub is a moisturizer. And through my products, an all natural face cream just makes the perfect companion. 

Combining coconut oil, cocoa butter, vitamin E oil, rosemary oil, and frankincense oil, the face cream brilliantly provides moisture to the skin of the face. Coconut oil prevents bacteria and other foes from spreading. It’s also quite a natural means for treating acne. 

The cocoa butter richly lathers on a more dewy complexion and allows just a small touch to spread delicately across the canvas of your face. With the face cream, a little goes a long way. Just a tiny bit will easily melt as it meets and covers the skin.

I adore the smell of rosemary blending with the cocoa butter! Rosemary is a known antiflammatory and helps with redness. It also addresses breakouts and helps control oil production. The frankincense also is a bit antiseptic with the added plus that it reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

Vitamin E adds more moisture and healing properties. It eases scars and imperfections that may arise on the surface while also settling in to remove dullness. All in all, the ingredients merge to provide the best defense against the elements encountered in our day to day lives.

Every morning, I apply a light coating of the face cream to my skin, allowing it to soak in for at least 10 minutes before I apply any make up. I stopped using foundation just over a year ago and only use concealer as needed. The face cream just creates a real dewy and glowing complexion. I love breakouts vanishing quickly once I put the cream over it! Even old acne scars have vanished since I started using it.

After I clean my face in the evening with the facial scrub, I follow up before hitting the pillows with a light coat of the face cream. It’s even lightened the dark circles under my eyes. All of it natural too! Knowing I’m not putting any harsh chemicals or ingredients onto my skin to be absorbed into my body adds to how awesome I’m starting to feel. It’s like a little piece of heaven!

All Natural Beauty: Starting with Rosemary & Frankincense Facial Scrub

I know I said I am putting together a store to sell my new beauty and health products. It’s taken a little longer than I hoped. My hubby is working on the product images. In the meantime, I took a few with my cell phone that are just ok… lol… ok, pitiful.

My products will feature all the freshest and most natural of ingredients. And, I found the most adorable new acrylic containers to place them in. We’ll have everything from facial scrubs to face creams to body butter and even a very manly balm. Ingredients are things like cocoa butter, coconut oil, shea butter, beeswax, and essential oils. For those too who don’t know I’m currently taking a course to be certified in herbs, to be able to treat and heal naturally.

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The first product, of course, that I intend to feature is my facial scrub. I use this every time I wash my face. It is just so awesome and now that I started using it, I wonder how I ever got by without it. Probably like many of you, I would have success for a time with a facial cleanser, then suddenly I’d break out. Well, those days are long gone. That’s one great thing about my store to come: I will not sell anything without trying it out on my own first.

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In my facial scrub, it’s really coconut oil and pure cane sugar as the basis. These two are awesome together! The coconut oil is super moisturizing while also being great for cleaning. It possesses naturally antifungal and antimicrobial properties. Add in a dash of tea tree oil and, VIOLA! SUPER CLEANSING POWER! Then, the sugar is soft enough it isn’t too abrasive on the delicate skin of the face. It adds a dose of exfoliation that sloughs off dead skin cells and rejuvenates the skin to a shiny, new glow.

The essential oils were researched and picked to provide the greatest benefits to the skin. Frankincense, a known antiwrinkle agent, is present along with a couple of others leaving behind a super nice, fresh scent.

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To use the scrub, I simply splash my face with water. Taking a tiny bit of the scrub onto the tips of my fingers on my right hand I start rubbing the scrub on my face in delicate, circle like motions. It removes make up like a champ by the way! Then, I just splash my face to rinse and pat dry, aiming to follow up with my next product of mention to come: my face cream. I only use the scrub at night to remove my make up and any impurities I’ve famished my skin with. The great thing with the following face cream is that it can also nourish and cleanse anything I’ve picked up from overnight.

I simply love it and can’t wait to share it. No more breakouts and any little hint of one is quickly shot down. Plus, my skin just feels so much better and looks much more glow like since. I can’t wait to share it in my shop.

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Precious Me Time – Yoga

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About a year and a half ago, I somehow managed to catch the yoga buzz. I always read about yoga, thought it would be interesting, even tried out Pilates a bit, but never got myself set on it. A pin on a board on Pinterest somehow spurred me forward as it showed off the 11 moves for beginners.

At first, I started at my desk and then during conference calls of program updates I would engage in breaks of yoga routines. Eventually I added more and more, leading my 15 minute session into quickly 20 minute sessions. While the hubby and I lived in the RV last year for a few months with the house building, I managed to squeeze in a session most days too.

Before I knew it, I felt so empowered and loved every bit of the sensation as my muscles and body stretched and eased tension from them. Then, I started adding more intense poses. After I spent a day shooting my new bow, I noticed how horribly sore I felt. One quick yoga routine and I was back to feeling great, no pain ever. It far surpassed the ibprofen I would’ve taken normally.

It wasn’t just these awesome benefits alone that made yoga a new favorite. Along with tweaking pain and stretching away, it grew into a therapy. The stress leaving my body was an instant fix. Followed by this, my mind was more centered and I easily could relax. In many ways, it let me listen more often to my body. I became more aware of the foods and drinks I put in my body and also knew what made my body feel stronger and what felt less.

Here it is about 16 months later and I’ll tell you one thing: I sure miss my yoga even on the days I skip for rest in between sessions. I’m working out, growing stronger, gaining flexibility, toning my body, increasing my metabolism, and adding other workouts in more and more like walking and spinning. It’s become a great ME time celebration and one worthy of celebration.

Recently, I discovered a new channel on YouTube from Yoga With Adriene and I love, LOVE her videos and blogs. Yoga with Adriene is where you can find her blog. She explains everything so great and helps me with my flow and that I’m performing poses correctly. I highly recommend it!

Email List & Quick Update

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Just a quick update. It’s been such a crazy few months between moving, working, and setting up new items.

Coming soon will be a continuous stream of posts. We’ll also be updating the addition and store for my new products. Along with writing the blog and helping the hubby with his business ventures as I work full time, I also make homemade, all natural beauty products. These items will soon be up for sell and I can’t wait to share them with you. Just think it’s a great way to pamper yourself! I know I sure love the way they make my skin feel!

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All that is postponing it is that my husband needs to take the awesome product photography.

So, please stay with me and I’ll be announcing that launch soon. Plus, great posts are in the works as we speak.

I’m also creating a new email subscription to stay up to date with all my postings! Check it out and subscribe!

International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day! As I think over the issues facing today’s women, I admire even more the struggles and efforts of our predecessors. To think that even 100 years ago we had no right to vote for our leaders or to really have any voice on major issues even affecting us!

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Women have come a long way since the 20th amendment was passed in 1920. However, we still have some ways to go. I think in many instances, today’s women grow disheartened by trivial issues, issues that in many ways do not make them appear superior. We choose to leave behind our grace, our very feminine qualities which make us special. Men and their masculinity do not exist to be without our feminine sides to balance and counteract. By seeking too much to dismiss our fundamental and biological qualities, we forfeit our very existence. The point of equality was not to overrun or grow manly! It was to let us finally have the right to CHOOSE for ourselves! To let our feminine virtues stand in equal consideration besides a man’s.

Being ladylike is not forfeiting the struggles of those before us. If anything it is using our very unique abilities to show that we are just as equal. These qualities are not a hindrance, but a strength. Forgetting those virtues allows the masculine traits to still run rampant and, in fact, appear the superior.

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Women should not attack on another based on their own personal, unique choices. A woman decides to stay home with her children? No, she is not a disgrace. She freely chose this as her role as a woman. A woman decides to work instead of staying home? No, she is not any less of a woman. She simply once again chose to follow her heart. Our ancestors fought for the right of all women to choose their destiny, to be able to work outside the home if they chose. A woman who chooses to do as she pleases and is FREE to do so: that was the women’s rights movement.

Yes, we deserve the right to equal pay. Yes, we shouldn’t be hindered because we can have children while men cannot. That doesn’t make me any less intelligent than a man.

In today’s world, I see many women in the limelight. Some are vulgar, crass, and very aggressive. Others are classy, use words instead of actions, and set examples through leadership only. To me, the ones who are true examples are not ones who scream out in protest non-stop. Instead, they lead through actions. They enter the world, ready to share their own personal contribution, come what may await them. They have stayed true to themselves, to their roles as women, and they have overcome obstacles awaiting them. They show class and decency, and change the system from within. These are the women I celebrate.

Thoughts on the Affordable Care Act from Someone Who Works With It Daily

This is a little off topic but I also felt the need to share some thoughts as it is a HOT topic these days.

As a current Health Coverage Guide with Connect for Health Colorado, Colorado’s state exchange and marketplace for the Affordable Care Act, and a previously licensed insurance agent prior to the law’s start, I have some insight into what many in my area feel needs to be changed for the healthcare issue. Along with this current experience, I also worked in law offices and studied medicine in school.

First, healthcare needs to be affordable. There is no denying that, and I believe the theory of the Affordable Care Act is 100% right. However, portions of the law and the burden on individuals and families far outweigh the pros I’ve witnessed in the law. The Affordable Care Act set out to make insurance accessible and affordable for everyone, but most of the people I meet with cannot afford the high premiums or fines associated with it, nor do they see the benefit in high deductibles. I am included in this.

Per the Affordable Care Act, my employer must offer health insurance as they employ more than 50 full time employees at the hospital in my very rural town in Colorado. Therefore, that means I cannot obtain any financial assistance through insurance affordability programs and must pay full premium costs. Also, the law states that if my dependents are also offered insurance like my husband is, we must pay full cost for him to be insured as well or face the penalty at the end of the year. My husband is currently not working for any employer as he starts his own business with photography after leaving nursing because he grew ill and now has recovered. Colorado state insurance law requires that employers only pay 50% of the cost for employee-only coverage. It does not state anything in regards to dependents. As my health insurance premiums for only myself are not more than 9.5% of our household income, I am required by the Affordable Care Act to pay full price for my husband and the full 50% of mine as the employee. Therefore, we are paying approximately $500 per month to have health insurance. This is another rent payment in our community or even two vehicle payments we could be making. If we opt to not take the insurance, we will need to pay $1,395 for a penalty at tax time when our return is usually only $400. This causes an enormous problem for us.

It’s been pointed out to me that why can someone only making $11 per hour fully support their family of 3 while I have a harder time for a 2 person household making a bit more. I want to explain to him that that person probably qualifies for Medicaid and other benefits. I obtained a degree in psychology and yet I am barely making it from check to check all because I am now over the Medicaid cutoff at $21,307 for a household of 2. So, in trying to better my life, it seems I’ve hindered myself. However, I am not a person who is content to work less and collect welfare. I believe in creating new opportunities and growing my husband’s new business as well. It simply feels that the way the system is established now, we are blocked from this opportunity routinely. People tell us constantly my husband needs to quit his dream of being a business owner with his photography and that we must both work 40 hours a week.

Also, the customers for the Affordable Care Act who visit me share repeatedly how they hate the requirement to pay for insurance that includes coverages they will never use. Many in our area are near retirement or at retirement. They do not see the need to pay for maternity & newborn care or pediatric dental. A 63-year-old confirmed bachelor with no children was angry in my office when I shared he was paying for that coverage. Even on Connect for Health Colorado’s site we must explain that if the carrier does not have pediatric dental built into their plans, we must have the customer purchase a separate pediatric dental policy to meet the requirements of the law, even if they have no one in the home who can use the coverage.

Like I mentioned before, I am a formerly licensed insurance agent. Why can’t health insurance be like auto insurance where we pick and choose what coverage we want or need? Someone with no child would choose to uncheck the box for pediatric dental. An older couple could choose to uncheck maternity & newborn care. This could lower the individual and family insurance premiums alone. If anything needs to be mandatory, make that emergency and hospitalization coverage. The insurance companies can still be required to cover all the other types, but the consumer chooses what coverages are included on his or her plan.

I firmly agree about creating interstate plans and removing state boundaries when it comes to insurance coverage. Our town in Colorado is only 17 miles from the nearest town in New Mexico. Many of our residents choose coverage in that town too. Because of insurance being limited to just our state, they are not covered for any procedures unless emergency. In one instance as an example a woman was diagnosed with cancer. Her doctor told her the best treatment was at the Cancer Institute in Houston, Texas. Since her policy was by an insurer limited to Colorado only, this customer could not do so without paying the cost entirely from her own pocket.

Another issue I see in the marketplace is that insurers have discontinued PPO plans in our area. Therefore, individuals are limited to just our state networks and cannot see a specialist without a referral from their primary care doctor. If one desires a second opinion he or she must ask the current primary care doctor for permission to do so. Should they opt to change their primary care provider, insurance companies now make them wait until after the first of the next month. Isn’t this preventing a patient the right to a second opinion? In many cases, a second opinion cannot wait.

On another front, the cost of healthcare itself is astronomical. When my husband was working in nursing and ordering supplies he noticed the price of a band-aid that probably costs ten cents at most to manufacture cost the providers $5. In turn, the provider then charges $10 to cover the cost of the staff meeting with the patient to put the band-aid on them. As someone who studied medicine for a while and then became an insurance agent, I understand the cycle that exists. Providers raised their costs to discourage the consumers who consistently go to the providers for even just the sniffles instead of real needs and to cover their costs. The insurance companies now had a bigger expense and raised insurance rates also, raising our premiums. When we also remove pre-existing conditions which I think has been a great benefit to the law, we increase what the insurance companies must pay again as they no longer have the luxury to pick and choose who they will cover. That, in turn, makes them raise our premiums even more. While I understand they need to cover their costs, I also don’t understand why a CEO of an insurance provider can take home a $35 million salary each year as we, the Americans required to have health insurance, can hardly afford to pay our regular daily life bills because of high premiums.

Despite this, I do believe the removal of pre-existing conditions is something we must maintain in the new law. I witnessed firsthand as an insurance agent how this helped individuals. A man retired at 55 years of age from his job. He used COBRA for the 18-month period and then decided he needed to purchase new, individual insurance. We looked up his rates and filled out applications. All of them were denied because based on the man’s age he was at risk for heart disease and potentially a heart attack he was told. The man was still only 57 and could not enroll in Medicare for several more years. In that instance, he ended up paying nearly double the initial premium with one carrier until he could obtain Medicare. Without pre-existing conditions this man never would have faced these obstacles. Health insurance is a necessity for those with health issues. That’s why I am glad that pre-existing conditions no longer exist in our plans and it should stay that way.

I wish that more states could follow Colorado’s example. We offer a discount plan to residents of our state called the Colorado Indigent Care Program. I assist people with this program every day at work also. It is not actual health insurance. Therefore, the people on it are not covered to meet the Affordable Care Act. If they do have regular insurance it will work almost like a secondary insurance to create a rate category for the ones who sign up based on their income. The income limits are 250% of the Federal Poverty Level and one cannot have Medicaid either. The rates then provide them with set co-pays for certain crucial services, even backdating 90 days prior to their application date. Those who have no insurance have opted for this to help with medical bills should they require them. This at least helps individuals with high medical costs obtain some type of assistance and can even assist with high premium, lower cost-sharing plans in the marketplace. A customer could decide to purchase a plan with lower premiums but a higher deductible, and then sign up for the Indigent Care Program to ease their out of pocket costs for services.

Just ramblings of real life experiences from someone in the trenches.

Thank you for listening and all the best!

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