Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Review of Marley Spoon Meal Delivery Service

There are so many wonderful food delivery plans out there and we have tried about six of them, I think. However, the only one that we keep going back to is Marley Spoon. This is Martha Stewart's Meal Delivery plan and the meals are delicious!! You can view current menus here before you decide if this is something that you want to try. 

Each week, there are dozens and dozens of meals to choose from. We can cook up most of them in 30 minutes or less from start to finish. You can see the nutritional info and recipe card on the website before you choose which meals to add to your weekly choices. The ingredients are so fresh and we always feel like we are eating restaurant-quality meals each week. 


  • The ingredients are really fresh and they include almost everything that you need for each meal. If they don't include it, then the website lists what you will need to have on hand to complete the recipe.
  • The meals are delicious. I think there are only two meals that we said we'd never eat again. There are often choices for breakfast as well. I really like their Overnight Oats!
  • The variety of recipes is amazing! Marley Spoon may rotate their offerings, but not often. In six weeks of orders, I don't think I saw them same meal twice!
  • Portion sizes are good. Each recipe gives us the required two servings and we often get three servings as I think we eat less than some people. This gives my husband a "leftover" lunch or two each week!
  • I like knowing the nutritional information ahead of time.
  • Each recipe includes a nice-sized serving or two of vegetables and I am glad for that!
  • Cost for three meals weekly is $82 shipped, which makes it $13.67/serving. That is pretty comparable for a meal of this quality at a lot of our local restaurants, but I have knowledge of the nutrition and control over changing an ingredient if I want to. I consider that a win-win!
  • You can pause your subscription and restart it again at any time. I often pause it when we want a break from meal prep and cooking. It is also handy when going on vacation. I recommend you set up the pause about two-three weeks before you need it because I've gone to pause it and missed the deadline which means a meal would arrive while we were gone. 
  • When you are done cooking a meal, save the recipe card and use it to cook the same meal again by visiting your local grocery store. 


I only have two negatives to share. 

  • First, sometimes the delivery of the box is a day or two late. Usually, it's just a day, but really bad winter weather can delay it up to two days. With the current situation of shipping delays in our country, this isn't a huge deal for me as I have come to expect it from just about every company. The food is packed on recyclable ice packs and comes in metal foil envelopes. I've never had a problem with my food "going bad" or whatever, even in the summer, due to a delayed delivery.
  • The other negative is that there aren't enough low-carb choices each week to suit me. We buy three meals weekly and I can usually only find one meal with the carb count that I want. 
I am not an affiliate with Marley Spoon, but I can offer a special deal if you wish to try them. Marley Spoon lets a current member invite up to 4 people to try their program. Your first box is free and you get 25% off of your next 3 orders. That is a great deal and a month is enough time to figure out if this meal delivery service will work for you! If you are interested in trying them out, reach out to me by email and I'll be happy to help you out!

All in all, I would give Marley Spoon a 9/10 rating. If they'd add more low-carb meals, I think I'd give them a perfect 10!

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Anti-Aging Skincare that I Use

I started trying to take better care of my skin about five years ago. I was introduced to the idea of "medical grade skin care" at a doctor's office. I was trying various skin treatments like SkinPen and Hydrofacials and the esthetician told me about all of the benefits of really good quality skincare products. After using them for so long, I can definitely see a difference in my skin and I'll never use anything else. Yes, there are good quality products available "over-the-counter" but I know what is working for me and so I'm going to stick to what I know!

  • I love the SkinMedica line and use many of their products on a daily basis. The line consists of a lot more products than are listed here, but you can view all of them at the above link. Some products come in two sizes, a smaller version for an initial trial and then a larger bottle to help save a little money if you decide that product should stay in your daily routine.
  • I start my day off by washing my face with the AHA BHA Cleanser. A little bit goes a LONG way and one tube will last me about 6 months! I like to apply it to my Clarisonic Mia face brush several times weekly for a really good exfoliation! 
  • I used the Scar Recovery Gel after my facelift
  • The powerhouse product is the TNS Advanced Serum. Yes, it is pricey, but it truly is worth it. I use it every other morning (see below for the other product that I use in the mornings). From the description, "It’s the only growth factor product proven to address sagging skin. Visible results in just 2 weeks. Results continue to improve through 24 weeks of use." I only use it in the mornings as I have another product I use at night. Using it once every other means this serum lasts up to 6 months.
  • I have dark circles under my eyes and I was just introduced to the Instant Bright Eye Cream. Used regularly, twice daily, it is supposed to help with fine lines & wrinkles and as well as the dark circles. I've just started using it but will report back my results in about 3 months!
  • To take care of my neck skin after my face & neck lift, I started using the Neck Correct Cream. The texture of my skin has gotten smoother and it has helped with some of the discoloration on my chest area that I have experienced as I've gotten older.
  • The HA5 (hyaluronic acid) Rejuvenating Hydrator (1oz, there is also a 2oz bottle) is a wonderful moisturizer and provides a smooth surface for applying makeup. 
  • Sunscreen is SOOOO important for taking good care of your skin and I love their Total Defense and Repair SPF 50
  • After washing my face at night, I use their Dermal Repair Cream. This is described as a "rich moisturizer," but it is very light and a little goes a long way!
  • A product that I plan to add to my daily routine soon is the Lumivive System. It includes a day and a night serum that helps with blue light exposure and other damage caused by environmental factors. 
(Note: I am NOT an affiliate with SkinMedica or anyone selling their products. I'm providing these links so you can read more about the products and they link to my facial plastic surgeon's online store.)

  • There are a couple other facial skin care products that I use regularly. I have been using the AnteAge MD products for about three years now. It really helped my fine lines and wrinkles around my eyes and mouth.
  • AnteAge MD System - I use this system every other morning. You can only find this amazing growth factor product at doctor's offices. There is a regular AnteAge system available online, but it is not as powerful as the MD version. From the description, "The AntiAGE MD System contains twice the active ingredients as retail AnteAGE, along with 21 additional ingredients that are anti-aging, pro-healing and anti-inflammatory.
  • AnteAge also has a Brightener and I just started using this in January. My skin is already in pretty good condition, so I'm not sure if it has added any improvement to it. However, it was a part of a special Christmas set that included their new eye brightening cream, so I am using it!
  • The sales rep for AnteAge told my esthetician a little secret for stretching the products so they last a bit longer. Put one pump of each (serum, accelerator and brightener) in your hand. Mix together and apply to face, neck and upper chest. I promise that you will have enough to cover all of this skin very well! These products are not cheap so this will stretch your budget a bit and still give you all of the benefits of great skincare!

  • I have also tried a couple of Alastin products. The Restorative Neck Complex is supposed to be the best neck treatment cream out there. I have used it, but not exclusively and I'm not using it now. However, I do plan to try this again when my current neck cream is gone.
  • The Alastin TransFORM Body Treatment is wonderful to use after CoolSculpting treatments as it helps remove the fat quicker and easier. It also targets crepiness of the skin and has won several awards.
  • All Alastin products are currently 25% off at this link through 2/28/22).
(Note: I am NOT an affiliate with AnteAge or anyone selling their products. I'm providing these links so you can read more about the products and they link to a nearby doctor's online store.)

  • I have just recently begun using One Skin Essential Moisturizer prior to applying my Dermal Repair Cream at night. This product targets aging at a molecular level and was designed by a panel of aging/longevity scientists. There is so much wonderful information about this new product on their website, that I highly recommend you click on the above link and have a look around. They will be selling body lotion and a cleanser in the future, as well. 

  • I discovered a wonderful local esthetician that provides anti-aging treatments (microcurrent, thermage, nano-needling, etc - I'll be discussing these in a future post!) and she carries the Theraderm line of products. There are a couple that I will be checking out after my current skincare is depleted to see if I want to exchange some products or maybe just add another to my routine. Products often provide very different benefits so it is worth it to use several! I did buy the Theraderm NuPeel Natural Enzyme Peel and I really like it! (You can purchase this on Amazon, but just be sure it is directly from the Theraderm store to be sure you aren't getting a "fake" product.) This exfoliator helps to remove dead skin from your face, hands, knees, elbows and body! You can use it anywhere you like! My skin feels so much better after using it and it is safe enough to use several times a week. It stimulates cell turnover which is a good thing. 
  • The product that I have been encouraged to try is the Eternox Peptide Creme. If you could see the skin of this esthetician, you would be conviced to try the Theraderm products! She has been using the line for about 10 years and her skin is amazingly wrinkle free, smooth and just beautiful! She credits this peptide creme for her skin's appearance as it has kept lines and wrinkles at bay (she is in her late 50s and skin is amazing!).
  • If you can find an office near you that sells the Theraderm products, ask for their travel kits as they are a good price and include 5-6 products to "try before you buy" so you can see if you'll have any reaction to them first before investing in them.
I hope that you have enjoyed what I have shared her and that it may help to get you started down a path of better skin care if what you are currently using isn't achieving the results that you want. There ARE many, many, MANY good skincare companies out there. The key is to find what works best for you so that you are getting the benefits that you want for your skin. If you have a product that you really like, I'd love it if you'd leave a comment telling me about it! I'm always looking for great products to take care of my skin.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Anti-Aging vs. Pro-Longevity ... my new journey

I love the graphic above because it sorta describes my current daily routine (there just needs to be a line about crochet)! However, my health journey is now heading in a different direction. For about 5 years now, I have been very open about sharing the treatments I have undergone to attain a better level of self-acceptance of myself. I am very self-conscious of how I appear to others, an issue that I feel evolved as my parents moved us around the country fairly frequently. I attended 3 high schools in 4 years and those are the most difficult years as one grows up. Kids of all ages can be cruel, but teens are the worst! I was always trying to make new friends and fit in. I didn't care about being in the "popular" group, but I did want to make some friends wherever I was. 

Anyway, I believe that my opinion of myself was shaped by my experiences with how others saw me. I was always just a bit on the outside of everything even though I remember having some really good friends in high school. I, therefore, became very critical of my appearance and no compliment could dissuade me otherwise. I am lucky to have a fabulous husband who adores me and tells me all the time how beautiful I am to him. It took a long time before I truly believed him. He would love me the same even if I had never had my tummy tuck or my face & neck lift. Now, over 4 years after my tummy tuck, I am almost 10 lbs. heavier and I am not happy about it. I quit the gym when Covid-19 hit and I have only been going back on a regular schedule for a few months; in the meantime, I gained weight while not working out regularly. I have taken my measurements as a better way to track my fitness and am seeing some improvement already even though the scale has yet to budge.

So, all of this to say, that while I kind of started down a path of pondering methods of anti-aging, I am now just hoping to do all that I can to live as long as possible in a positive state of health. My mother died over 2 years ago from congestive heart failure. The sad thing is that I NEVER heard that term discussed before she died. We were always talking about her doctor's visits as she had a lot of medical issues, but she never once told me that she had been diagnosed with CHF! Looking back, I can see that she clearly had ALL of the symptoms, but I am not a medical professional so I didn't know then what I came to understand after her death. She was only 74 years old. 

Some may say that is old, but in this day and age, I think there are things we can do to lengthen our lives or, at least, stay healthier until that last day comes. I don't want to get ill and linger in an unhealthy state for years and years. I have learned from watching my mom's health decline, that there are things I can do to keep myself healthier longer. I have already started my research and will be posting here all of the new bits of information I come across that will hopefully help me live longer and stay healthier. While I will still be getting "anti-aging" treatments like Botox and facial lasers, I am trying to learn more about how to slow down aging at a cellular level. 

So, future posts will discuss:

- Vitamins and supplements that help with cell turnover

- What is the healthiest way to eat to promote longevity?

- Book recommendations discussing how to live longer

- How can red light therapy help internally?

- What part does exercise play in living longer and what is the best routine as you age?

- What anti-aging skincare products work at a cellular level to promote the best looking skin? I use these products, many which contain growth factors that help at a molecular level. 

I am now 53 years old and my husband is the same age. His mom will be 98 this year ... wow! Jim has aged much slower than I have and I do believe that he has genetics on his side. I started getting gray hair in my late 20s while he didn't see his first gray hairs until 20 years later! I want to spend as many years with him as I can, so I am excited to keep researching for the best information on how to attain this goal. I do hope you'll consider following along with me this year as I work to figure out the path that I need to take in order to continue my newfound journey to a healthier me! I have already found lots of great information to share and plan to post at least weekly over the next few months so that others can benefit from what I am learning.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

All Face Lift links in this post!

I have so many posts about my one-year face & neck lift journey that I thought it would be good to have them all linked in ONE post. Each link below the pictures will open in its own window so that you can read a post and then close the window to read another. These pictures span a year of photos from Dr. Hall's office. 

BEFORE - January 2020 
    October 22, 2020 - 17 days post op
November 18, 2020 - 6 weeks post op 
   December 17, 2020 - 10 weeks post op
 March 4, 2021 - 5 months post op 
 June 7, 2021 - 8 months post op
October 5, 2021 - one year post op 

     January 24, 2022 - 53 years old!

Lower Face & Neck Lift - Surgery Day

Face Lift - Post Op Day 2

Face Lift - Post Op Day 3

Face Lift - Post Op Day 4

Face Lift - Post Op Day 5

Face Lift - Post Op Day 6

Face Lift - One Week

Face Lift - Post Op Day 8

Face Lift - Post Op Day 11

Face Lift - 2 weeks post-op

Face Lift - 17 days Post Op

Face Lift - Post Op Week 3

Face lift - 1 month Post Op

Face lift - 6 weeks Post Op

Update on 6-week follow-up visit

Face Lift - 8 Weeks Post op

Face Lift - 3 months post-op

Face Lift - 4 months post-op

Face Lift - 9 months post-op

One Year AFTER My Facelift!! Final Results

My Facelift Journey - Final Thoughts

My Facelift Journey - Final Thoughts

UPDATED 2/24/22 - My podcast interview with Dr. Hall is now ready!  Listen (or read) more about my thoughts about my post-op journey after my surgery!

Hello again ... time for some final thoughts on my face & neck lift surgery! It has now been almost 16 months since my journey began and I've been thinking a lot about the changes I've experienced since I had my face & neck lift in October 2020. Obviously, a lot has happened in the world since early 2020 with the advent of the COVID virus. I was lucky enough that my surgeon, Dr. Jason Hall of Trillium Plastic Surgery, has his surgical facilities in his medical office building so I was able to have my surgery when I wanted as there were no hospital restrictions against elective procedures. 

I spent time today reading back through my photo journal of my procedure and it was interesting to watch my face change and read my thoughts again! ALL of my concerns about the healing process were for naught as everything pretty much resolved itself in the end. All of the "lumps and bumps" in my neck are gone even if it did take longer than I wanted - lol! I never needed any laser treatments on any of the bruising or scar areas. I know that I mentioned several times that I thought more skin or muscle could have been pulled back, but then I realize that I wouldn't look like MYSELF if he had done that. This was very important to me and something that Dr. Hall and I agreed was what I wanted as an end result - I wanted to still look like ME! 

One of the reasons that I chose Dr. Hall was because his "after" photos of his facelifts all showed people who looked like a better version of themselves in their "before" photos. Here is a picture of me from 15 years ago compared to a recent picture taken on 12-23-2021 ... Aside from the haircut and color (and a thinner neck - YES!!), I still look exactly like myself. That is what I call perfection ... and ALL credit goes to Dr. Hall's surgical skill as well as his willingness to listen to what his patient wants!

I turned 53 a few days ago and I've never been happier with myself. I had my tummy tuck and facial surgeries FOR ME ... these were areas of my body that I wasn't happy with and didn't want to live with as they were. Both surgeries have allowed me to wear clothing that I want to wear and to feel better about myself. I am eating healthier, exercising and taking better care of myself as well. I truly have had only positive changes as a result of my surgeries. Yes, I have spent a good chunk of change (ha!), but my husband was so supportive and encouraging and he is so happy that I am happy!

I highly recommend that you give Dr. Hall a call if you are looking to have any plastic surgery and are interviewing surgeons. He is in a very good central location in Knoxville, TN and only 3-4 hours away from Nashville and Atlanta, and only 2 hours from Asheville, NC or Chattanooga, TN. I will continue to visit his office for injectables and maybe some facial laser treatments to maintain the results from my surgery. Knoxville is lucky to have such a talented plastic surgeon in town!