SNOWmotional: Top Cold-Fighting Products

At Least Someone Likes This Crap.

At Least Someone Likes This Crap.

I am not sure anyone has noticed, but I have REALLY tried not to whine and moan about the weather this year. I mean, it’s common knowledge that I hate cold and I hate snow even more, but this winter I decided I’d lay off the Facebook posts every time I saw a flake because my bad attitude wasn’t helping anything.

So, I bought a warmer coat and I dug out my boots and plastered a fake smile on my face.

Guess what happened?

Don't Let the Sun Fool Ya. It's Freakin' Freezing.

Don’t Let the Sun Fool Ya. It’s Freakin’ Freezing.

Oh, what? You were expecting some turnaround tale where suddenly I’m out making snow angels and jauntily tossing flakes in the air as I sing a sweet snow song.

No. I still hate winter and I hate snow even more. The only difference is my feet are warm.

My skin still hurts. My hair is a static mess. I can barely open my eyes every morning for they are full of sinus-y mess. My bones ache and I want to punch everyone who squeezes into a damned snow covered parking spot so no one else can park anywhere near them in the crowded parking lots we are forced to visit as if the 8 foot drifts aren’t supposed to stop us from living normal lives. Ha!


There are a few things that have made this winter a bit more bearable than others. And no, I don’t mean wine. (Although…)

My top four winter survival products of 2015

(Four? Not five? Leave me alone. It’s cold.)


SOREL Women’s Slimboot Boots, Nutmeg/Coffee Bean: If you have to wear snow footwear more often than two times a winter, it might as well be cute. These boots are as cute as ugly shoes can be and they are might comfortable as well. I still have to wear thick wool socks with them to stay warm in my frigid office but overall the lining makes my calves toasty warm. They’re pricey, but totally worth it when you live on the tundra, which apparently I do.

Fleece Lined Tights: I am not exaggerating when I say I wear these almost every day. Because, not only is the land a frozen tundra, the air is arctic. This winter has been so cold that even pants aren’t warm enough. So, last year at Marshall’s I picked up some of these bad boys so I could still wear dressed and boots in winter. This winter, I went out and bought about six pairs so I could wear them with dresses, leggings, pants etc. You name it, chances are I have on fleece lined tights under it!


Burt’s Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Crème: When I say my skin hurts, I am not exaggerating. Everything is so damn dry it’s cracking like the parched clay of the desert…except my hands which are beautifully moisturized by this ooey gooey creme that is not too ooey gooey but just enough to keep my hands silky smooth, which is good for when I have to scratch my alligator legs.


Lands End Coat and Scarf. Fake Smile is All Mine.


 Infinity Scarf: Wool, fleece, cotton and anything in between. If it’s round and cute, it’s around my neck at all times. It started as just an outdoor accessory, but it’s so darn cold all the time I’ve become one of those hippies who has a scarf around my neck at all times. If only I had the willowy hippy body that often accompanies this look!

*Disclosure: the above are Amazon affiliate links. Should you click on them to buy an infinity scarf or boots of your own, I will make a fraction of cent due to your purchase. So, my tiny bank account thanks you in advance for your fraction of a cent. Enjoy your boots. 


Parenting Tweens: Who Knew Toddlers Would Seem Easy?

rp_wedding-004.JPGI remember the first time my heart broke for one of my babies. The Girl was not quite 18 months and we were at a mall play area fighting a cold winter of cabin fever (sound familiar) with a little organized run around time. It was pretty empty except for two other little boys who were probably about 6 and 8. There was a ball, or balloon or something of that nature. My memory for that isn’t so great. The Girl was playing with it then the boys got it and started a little monkey in the middle game with my precious babe as the monkey.

She was laughing and skipping around, oblivious to the fact that these boys had locked eyes over her head and make a nasty little silent agreement to keep the ball away from the baby and then laughed every time she missed grabbing it. rp_OCMD-132.JPG

At first I wanted to scoop her up and run away from these jerks (yes, I thought they were jerks at 6 and 8. Protective mom much?) but I didn’t do anything but watch in agony because I seemed to be the only one of us who realized she was the butt of the joke. She thought she was playing with new friends and was thus unaffected by the entire thing. Pretty quickly the boys got bored of the game and gave back the ball/balloon back to my little lady and all was well. But for those few minutes, I finally understood the saying about parenthood feeling like you wear your heart on the outside because mine broke a million different ways that day.rp_beachsl10-032.JPG

Little did I know this incident of my early motherhood was a precursor to all that I would feel as my children grew into their tweens. Now, the hurt doesn’t just happen with strangers in a play area, but often from people they know the best, including themselves. Also, the hurt seems to be around every corner-real or perceived, there are daily questions and slights and hits against their armor, sometimes, the worst comes from inside themselves. And they are never oblivious, but instead painfully aware. rp_DSC_0385.JPG

The difference now that I’m a parent of tweens, not toddlers, is that I can’t and probably shouldn’t, protect them like I could back then. I can no longer race in to scoop them up and remove them from situations where people are mean. I can’t hug and kiss her enough to heal the hurt. I can’t single-handedly rebuild his self-confidence that inevitably takes a hit when people aren’t nice. I also can’t just presume their innocence either. It’s important that I make sure they aren’t either bullied or the bully, so each story they needs redirection questioning to ensure all angles are seen and then much prayer that they keep sharing, even if I question. rp_OCMD-133.JPG

The hate joke in all this is that if you’re doing your job right as a parent, then you will have less and less ability to protect your young ones just as you feel more and more compelled to do so. The world gets harder and harder just as you have to let them go more and more. They need to learn to protect themselves and rebuild their own esteem or at least guard it from attack. They must navigate the difference between bullied and bully and learn to choose well. I can advise. I can model and discuss. I can listen without judgment when they cry and I can hope it all works out alright in the end. rp_19968_288201851187_607121187_3599489_4975856_n.jpg

Indeed, parenting feels like wearing your heart on the outside all while trying to build a protective cover around a tribe of tiny hearts that you can never cushion as much as you’d like.

Parenting toddlers is hard. Parenting older kids is worse.


Money Reinvention: Next Steps

Photo Credit SueBarrPhoto

Photo Credit SueBarrPhoto

So we’ve talked about getting clear on your budget and your needs. We’ve talked about tracking spending and calling creditors. We’ve talked about getting right in your mind about money. So, now what? Well, lucky for you, and me. I’ve written pretty extensively about what we did with credit counselors and how to pick a good one.

For information on our “next steps” go here.

For information on picking a reliable and safe credit counselor (there are SO many scammers!) please, read this. It includes an editorial note with what I’ve recently learned about credit “counselors”.

We’ll be back next week with how to live on next to nothing and not feel like you are. It can be done. I promise!

Behind the Scenes


So often lately I’ve had these experiences that leave me thinking, “huh, you just never know”. Be it a person or an event or the history of a town, I’ve found myself surprised over and over again.  I’ve learned things about people and places in my life that I never would have guessed just viewing them from the outside. The nature of both my work and what I’m studying at school obviously lend themselves to many such moments.

I read a book recently that talked about true compassion not being something that we felt for someone else, but rather the feelings that come when you see yourself as someone else. I feel so strongly about this. When you’re teaching kids about being a good person, it is so easy to slip into service for service sake, which has a connotation that one person is better than the other.

I so want to impart a different view on not only my kids but the ones that I teach. I want them to see themselves as part of this large community and we all have to work to hold one another up. I don’t want them to be people who reach down toward others but rather reach across. It sounds so hippy Communist, right? Maybe. But it’s so important to me that the people I teach feel true compassion, not superior compassion.

I feel like in order to do that, we need to look beneath the surface. We can’t know everyone’s stories, but we can try to see and understand that there is always more than meets the eye. So just because you’re serving lunch to someone who is currently homeless doesn’t mean you’re better than they. You may have more, but you aren’t more.

The only truth is we never really know another person’s truth. So, we should always treat people as if they’re just like us.


This post was inspired by the book Trapped Under the Sea: by Neil Swidey. This is the true story of what happened underneath the Boston Harbor during the great clean up of the 1990’s. I’m not usually one for non-fiction as pleasure reading but this book is so well written and the story so compelling, I found it read just like a novel and I loved every word. Talk about the ultimate story of what’s behind the scenes! You sure never know what goes on beneath the surface. Join From Left to Write on February 19th as we discuss Trapped Under the Sea As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.