Holiday Pet Care

Holiday Pet Care

Autumn is officially here (even though it feels like Indian summer) … the holidays will be here before we know it. To me, the holidays are all about spending time with family and friends ~ near and far. You may already be checking airfares to find the best deal. When you travel to see your loved ones, don’t forget about pet care for your fur babies … they are family too! Who will take care of them? Continue reading

Fall Reset

Fall Reset

Hope you had a wonderful Labor Day Weekend! It’s known as the “unofficial” last weekend of summer. I don’t know about you, but I am ready for Fall and I’m ready for a reset. I have had a fun-filled summer, including several camping trips, a road trip to Nashville & Mississippi and an amazing Alaskan Cruise! If you said that I may have over-indulged a bit, you would be right. If I can be a little vulnerable with you, my jeans are feeling a little tight right about now ~ it’s definitely time for me to get back on track!

Fall is also “Back to School” time. When I was growing up, I always loved starting school after a long summer vacation (I also loved getting new school supplies, and to this day I love getting new office supplies … but I digress). In hind sight, I think it’s because I now know that I do well having a steady routine. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the freedom that comes from having a break (summer vacation), I am truly at my best in a more structured routine.

In adulthood, I see so many similarities. When I’m on vacation or during the summer months, I truly enjoy the many freedoms – less hectic schedules, laid back/carefree atmosphere, as well as, food and adult beverage indulgences. However, once Fall starts rolling around, I am more than ready to get back to a regular routine.

I, of course, rely on my Isagenix products to give me the best nutrition while I lose pounds and inches. I get the complete nutrition that my body needs to thrive in a low-calorie meal. I know this program works if I follow the guidelines. If I go back to making really unhealthy choices, of course I will gain weight back (as with any other weight loss program) … follow the program = get results 😊 Go back to the way you used to eat = you go back to where you were (or worse).

Eat like crap = feel like crap

Eat like crap = feel like crap

What’s frightening about our diets is that most of the population consumes foods laden with additives, hormones, pesticides, herbicides and preservatives just to name a few. Yes, eating an organic diet is a great start to avoiding these health-hazardous chemicals, but it is actually more than simply ingesting the chemicals that should concern us. Our topsoil, the fundamental component to growing nutritious foods, is nearly depleted of all its former nutrients. So, what does this mean? We are left with foods that contain significantly less vitamins and minerals. We need vitamins and minerals to support our bodily functions in every aspect; without them, the body is left much more susceptible to disease and illness.

Unfortunately, we cannot avoid toxins altogether (unless you live in a bubble), but there are ways of cleansing the body to help rid of the toxicity that we are exposed to daily. This is where our intermittent fasting with nutritional support (cleanse days) comes into play. When our body is exposed to a toxin, it acknowledges the toxin as ‘foreign’ and it either expels or stores the toxin within a fat cell. Our Cleanse for Life product helps the cell release these toxins so the body can naturally eliminate them … aka cellular cleansing. Of course, this is oversimplifying it, but Isagenix has tons of scientific reports that explain it thoroughly (if you are a scientific report reading type of person, I will get them for you)

So, consider all the diet pop/soda consumed by our society today. I can only guess that people drink ‘diet’ anything because they think they are doing a good thing by avoiding excess calories. Yes, aspartame and sucralose are zero calorie sweeteners, but they may just pack on more fat than any soda drink derived of real sugar because your body has zero idea what to do with that zero calorie sweetener; so, into the fat cell it goes and there it will stay until you learn how to remove it. On a side note, even if you make no other changes to your diet, I hope you figure out a way to NOT drink pop/soda. They have no nutritional value, and tons of toxins … Your body will thank you!

How about you? Are you feeling like you want to get into a healthy routine – get back on track? Ready for a reset?  I know I have the tools I need to get back on track and I know they can help you too!

If you’ve been curious about Isagenix, now is the perfect time to find out for yourself. Jump on the wagon with a huge group of people (online) who are offering to coach, encourage and inspire you! Getting started is simple (plus, I am offering free shipping for a limited time) ~ Call me!!

Alaska Cruise Selfie

NCL Alaska Cruise 2019

It’s hard to believe that nearly a month has gone by since my cruise to Alaska. My husband and I cruised with 2 other friends. The natural beauty of the Last Frontier was breath taking. I have so many photos of spectacular mountains and waterfalls, each one more awe inspiring than the last. We were blessed with beautiful weather, sunny each day with not a drop of rain (despite everything I’d heard about being prepared for rain daily). It was an experience I’ll never forget. We want to return someday just to explore more inland. I highly recommend our travel agent, Terri, she was great – and put up with lots of questions 🙂 Continue reading

Top 10 Packing Tips for A Cruise Vacation

Top 10 Packing Tips: Cruise Vacation

As you know, I love to travel. You also know, I am a detailed-oriented, planning and list making kinda girl 😊 I want to share some of my tried and true travel tips with you (a little bit of a tongue twister there).

Cruising is one of my favorite ways to travel. I love being on a huge ship, it almost feels like you are in a city … a city at sea. I love that you are always moving, traveling from one place to the next. I love that you wake up in a different port each morning. I also love that you have the same room and only have to unpack once yet get to experience so many different locations. Continue reading

River at the end of the hiking trail at Mendotta Hills Campground

Review ~ Mendota Hills Campground

As many of you know, I love to go camping. I’ve decided to write a campground review of my personal experience during my travels. Of course, these will be my honest opinions based on my visit.

MENDOTA HILLS CAMPGROUND

6642 US HIGHWAY 52 ~ AMBOY, IL 61310 ~ 815-849-5930

https://mendotahillscampground.com/

Mendota Hills Campground is a family owned and operated campground. It has close to 200 campsites, with probably at 2/3 being seasonal sites, and the remaining sites available for overnight guests. There are 3 lakes stocked for catch & release fishing. There is also a swimming lake with a sandy beach and water toys. It seems the main mode of transportation once your camp is set up is by golf cart. There are couple nice trails for an easy hike. The staff is friendly and helpful. The camp store is well stocked with supplies you may have forgotten. In addition to ice and firewood, they have candy, novelty ice cream and an arcade room. They have public restrooms, shower houses and laundry room. There is a nice playground near a pavilion. Also nearby is a volleyball court, basketball court and archery range.

Everything you might expect from a family owned – family friendly campground 😊

I have stayed at this campground on 3 different occasions.

  • June 2016 (back-in electric/water site – it was hotter than Hades)
  • September 2018 (rental cabin – it was cold & rainy)
  • May 2019 (pull-thru FHU site – it was perfect IMHO sunny and 70’s)

Let me start by saying that I had a great experience all 3 times 😊 I mention the 3 different visits because I experienced a different type of campsite each time.

Here are some points that I feel they do right:

  • They have weekly themes
  • Family/kid friendly activities (mostly on weekends)
  • Pet friendly
  • Non-denominational church services are offered on Sunday mornings with a pot-luck lunch afterwards
  • Free Wi-Fi

Here are some points that I feel could be improved:

  • The back-in electric/water only site we were at was very unlevel
  • The pull-thru FHU site we were at had very odd placement of the power pedestal, water spigot and sewer drain (we had to borrow a 30amp power extension cord and 2 additional stinky slinky extension hoses to be completely hooked up)
  • General updating (however, we spoke with the owners and they were telling us that there are in the process of updating the campsites section by section)

Overall, I feel this is a lovely place to spend a long weekend relaxing and enjoying the great outdoors. I give it 2 thumbs up (although I have simple needs) 😊

Gut Health is Everything!

GUT HEALTH is Everything!!

The Gut/Brain connection is undeniable. The gut is literally like our second brain. Gut health is tremendously important when dealing with brain function. About 90% of your serotonin (happy hormone) is produced in your gut, melatonin (which helps you sleep) is produced in your gut, and about 70% of your immune system is in your gut.

Understanding gut health, along with infections, food allergies and intolerances, the gluten issue, bacterial overgrowth, yeast, heavy metal and chemical toxicity, hormone imbalance, high cortisol levels due to chronic stress, etc. is the key to living a life of good brain and body health.

I’ve learned that our SAD diet (Standard American Diet) promotes chronic disease by producing chronic inflammation in our bodies. Our food is literally making us sick in the brain resulting in a myriad of symptoms… what are yours?

Brain fog? Problems with memory? Forgetfulness?
Depression? Trouble sleeping?
Anxiety? Stress? Gastrointestinal issues?
Emotional, Psychological or Behavioral symptoms?

The simple system of nutrition that Isagenix offers works as a foundation for overall wellness and addresses these issues by delivering efficient and convenient nutrition, tackling toxicity and managing stress in the body. Along with our probiotics and digestive enzymes, it is no wonder that thousands upon thousands of people report feeling better than they ever thought possible. What may have started as a weight loss journey for some, has become a celebration of health and wellness that goes way beyond a number on the scale.

This article offers ideas to improve your gut health. Check it out! I would love to discuss this further … let me know when is the best time for us to talk.

We love our new camper!

We Are Happy Campers !!

Our New Home Away from Home

We did it! We finally bought a new (to us, anyway) camper! We did our walk through and took possession of it this morning! We are the proud owners of a 2015 KZ Sportsmen S302BH Travel Trailer! Eek! I feel like my emotions are all over the place ~ like a combination of excitement & anxiety!

Since I’m not sure if you regularly read my blog posts, or this is your first one, I’ll recap some of the story leading up to today. We first started camping about 10 years ago. That first year, we camped in a tent. We had a lot of fun, but it is also a lot of work. I also figured out that I’m not a big fan of sleeping on the ground 😊

The next year, we bought a used pop-up trailer. We loved that we could store all the camping gear / supplies we needed in the camper … not to mention sleeping in a bed. It was also nice to have a warm, dry place to hang out during rainy weather. We owned our pop-up for 5 years and usually went camping 4 or 5 weekends a year.

I think its human nature to want what you don’t have. Like after tent camping for a season, I wanted a bed off the ground. Then after 5 years of having a bed off the ground, not to mention a warm/dry space to play games or read a book on wet/dreary days, we wanted to have a bathroom.

So, the next year we bought a small travel trailer. We actually bought it on eBay. There were plenty of pictures and the owner was prompt in answering my questions. I placed a bid and then set the auto bid feature that stops when the auction hits our price limit. Then I sort of forgot about it until I got an email informing me that we won the auction. We were so excited!! ~ that is, until we got it home ☹ But that’s another story for another time (or you can read it here now if you want).

We only used that trailer for one camping season. If you’ve read the story, you know that purchase left me feeling taken advantage of and not so trusting. However, we knew that we loved camping and that we loved owning a camper. That summer, we learned the basics of owning a travel trailer. We also used our camping trips as a time to scope out other campers at our campgrounds, making lots of notes of what we liked and didn’t like. We ended up selling that camper in the fall and started saving money for the perfect camper.

For two summers, we cabin camped. It’s a lot more work than camping in a travel trailer. Think of it like tent camping except with a roof over your head.

We knew we need a bigger, more powerful vehicle to tow the type of camper we wanted, so we saved to buy our Yukon Denali. Then we started looking for a trailer that fit our tow capabilities. Lots of online browsing until I found a few that checked off most of our wish list boxes. We went to see them, and we fell in love with one. We thought the asking price was a tad high for a used model. It was the middle of RV Show season and most dealers usually offer great discounts. But we really liked this one, so we made a lower offer and they accepted it 😊

Today, we dotted all the i(s) and crossed all the t(s). We are now the proud owners of a 2015 KZ Sportsmen. While we were having our walk-through, we had them install a new weight distribution hitch on the Denali. We can’t wait to go on our maiden voyage, hopefully in May.

😊 Now to find the perfect campground …

I'm Over Winter

My Top 10 Reasons I’m Over Winter ~ Is It Spring Yet?

I’m so over winter this year. It seems to be dragging on forever. I am ready for some warmth and sunshine. I am ready to spend some time outdoors. I am ready for more daylight.

I haven’t done a Top 10 type post in a while … so here are my thoughts 🙂

1 ~ My skin is to dry, it sometimes cracks and bleeds

2 ~ I’ve slipped on the ice and fallen several times already

3 ~ I miss feeling the warmth of the sun

4 ~ The gas/heating bill is outrageous

5 ~ Driving can be treacherous during a winter snow/ice storm

6 ~ I hate having to scrap my car windows

7 ~ Everything has static electricity because the air is so dry

8 ~ It seems like someone in the family always has a cold

9 ~ Tt gets dark so early

10 ~ There is a lot more laundry because of having to wear layers to be warm

Sorry for my rant, but I feel better now 🙂 Do you agree with my Top 10? Can you add any of your own?

Coldest Chicago Temp -27 on 1-20-85

ICYMI ~ It’s COLD in Chicago!!

I’m from Chicago, born & raised. I never left (ok, technically I moved to the suburbs), but I still consider myself a Chicagoan. I’ve lived through some tough winters in my lifetime. I was around for the Blizzard of ’67 (kindergartner), and lots of snow storms during my high school years in the late ’70s. I made a lot of cash shoveling people out and setting up lawn chairs with brooms laying across them … It’s a Chicago thing – DIBS, you can Google it 🙂 I also remember Christmas week in 1983, it was so cold that my pet fish, Oscar, (he was a giant, you guessed it, Oscar) died because the power was out for several days and the tank nearly froze. However, my most prominent, vivid memory is January 20, 1985.

Ice Crystal Bird by Lorra Rudman - llinois Birding Network FB 1-30-19
Photo Credit: Lorra Rudman

Ironically, January 20, 1985, the coldest day in Chicago history, was the first day at my new job … as a ramp agent working at O’Hare airport. I remember coming in from running bags (as a trainee, I had to shadow each type of job position) from our incoming flight to the baggage claim … when we got back to the ready room, I had actual frost on my eyelashes (similar to my feathered friend above)! I was never so cold in my life. I kept asking myself why the heck I quit my job as a travel agent at a Michigan Avenue travel agency. I honestly have no idea why I didn’t quit then and there (I stayed close to 15 years), but I’m glad I didn’t because I have so many wonderful memories of my years there and met so many great people.

Delicate Frost Bubble

Which brings me to our current Polar Vortex. This time I was blessed to be able to stay indoors for the duration. I was blessed with a nice warm home to stay cozy and safe. My husband’s employer closed down for the extreme cold. We didn’t have any major emergencies, no broken pipes or furnace mishaps. My furnace was able to keep the temperature a reasonable 60 degrees, I wore layers and snuggled under a blanket to watch movies with my family 🙂 I also spent way too much time on social media. Everyone was posting about the temperature. Many braved the elements to throw boiling water into the air to watch it freeze, and some people recorded these beautiful frost bubbles. I am fascinated by them, they are so beautifully intricate and fragile … amazing! Sadly, they were also posting about some of the struggles they were having trying to cope with this extreme cold … frozen pipes, broken furnaces, etc. We had only one problem because of the weather, one (of 3) vehicles wouldn’t start. That’s OK, we had no place we needed to be yesterday. Late this afternoon, in a balmy -5 degrees, we replaced the battery and it started right up. They are predicting a high of 13 tomorrow … that’s practically a heatwave 🙂

holidays on typewriter

Happy Holidays ~ Looking Forward to 2019


I hope all of you had a wonderful Holiday season. My Holidays were nice, but somehow a little different, even though Christmas is generally one of my favorite times of the year.

Somehow this Christmas seemed very rushed, more like work. The whole month of December seemed to fly by for me. I felt like I was always trying to play catch up to get everything done. For some reason, I don’t think I ever really got into the Christmas Spirit.

I feel like society seems to put so much pressure on have a perfect holiday. You’re supposed to take the perfect family photo for the annual Christmas card, complete with a letter updating everyone of the happenings in your life during the past year. The holiday parties start early in the month. It’s stressful trying to get together with all your friends who have busy schedules as well.

Don’t even get me started on my Christmas tree lights … ugh … just don’t

Holiday baking didn’t go as planned either. On the plus side, I did get all my gift shopping and wrapping done before Christmas Eve 😊

I received numerous wonderful gifts, I enjoyed delicious holiday meals, I enjoyed the company of family and friends. Yet, for whatever reason, I missed the happiness & joy that the Christmas season is about. I’m sure next year will be better. I won’t let the stress and business rob me of the true meaning and spirit of Christmas!

I’m truly looking forward to a wonderful 2019 for each and every one of us!