Friday, September 23, 2022

Fly On The Wall Of Financial Woes

     Welcome to another edition of Fly On The Wall group blog postings hosted by Karen of Baking In A Tornado. Today, four bloggers are bravely letting you into their homes for a sneak peek at what goes on behind closed doors. If you were a fly on the wall at my house these past few weeks, you'd hear a lot of complaining about expenses. First, we had to pay off the medical balance for my sweet fur baby's surgery and ICU time. As you know, we lost her despite making heroic efforts to save her. This hurt us in more ways than I can express. Then, we really got slammed with repair bills in August and September. My laptop needed a new battery, my home speaker system blew out, the car still needs a new alternator and the hot tub got fried when the power went out and now needs a new motherboard---all ridiculously expensive. Is Mercury in retrograde again?? Not to mention the increase in interest rates and oh-mm-gee, GROCERY PRICES! My youngest moved back home temporarily a few months ago and all he does is EAT.  

     But all is not lost. I am incredibly grateful to have my whole family living nearby and they are the joy of my life. So who cares if things are tight right now? Next month looks promising! Anyway, here is all the bitching that the fly overheard in my house this month:

"How do you like your expensive new lenses?"
"These progressive glasses make me feel progressively worse about my finances." 

"What's on your bucket list?"
"In light of our recent bills, you can forget my bucket list. I can't even afford the bucket."

"Since we can't afford to go out this weekend, why don't we make a picnic lunch and go to the beach instead?"
"No way--- the last time we did that, you forgot to bring the sunscreen and I ended up looking like a six-month-old forgotten potato in the back of the vegetable drawer."
"At least you didn't grow sprouts...." 

"It won't be like this forever once we get caught up on our bills. There really is a light at the end of the tunnel."
" I hope I see the right light at the end of the tunnel before I see the other one that says, 'Go toward the light..."

"This beach sand is impossible to remove from my feet. It sticks like glitter."
"Hey, that's a great idea---I could invent sand glitter foot scrub and get rich."
"Only if you invent the removal first." 

"Why are you making such an ugly face?"
"Because I'm reading our latest electric bill."
"Don't hold that expression for too long--it might stick."
"As long as we keep getting outrageous bills like this in the mail, this IS my new face."

     Well, it looks like we both have new faces now after paying all the bills. At least they're paid up!

***Want more Meno Mama? I've been super busy---buzzing around the web faster than any old fly. My latest articles for AARP include one for yummy dessert recipes (read it HERE) and a humor piece about my bucket list (read it HERE). And then over at Family Matters, I have a piece up about best historical dramas (yes, I'm an addict!) which you can read HERE. I have also been writing for a new website called The You can read it HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE Enjoy!


Buzz around these other blogs for a peek into some other homes:


Baking In A Tornado                      


The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver


What TF Sarah                            

Friday, August 26, 2022

Why Every Woman Over 40 Should Be Taking A Collagen Supplement

My body has been going through a lot of changes since menopause hit over 10 years ago. My hair has thinned and my nails are far more brittle. As expected with aging, my skin isn't as firm as it used to be and my body isn't quite as flexible. I wake many a morning with stiff joints and need to stretch before getting out of bed. 

When the people from Collagen For Her reached out to me, I learned all about the benefits of collagen for women like me and wanted to share the info with my readers. They have some really great products I know will interest you! Here's what they have to say:  

Why Every Woman Over 40 Should Be Taking A Collagen Supplement

Collagen often gets attention for its glamorous beauty benefits but there is so much more to collagen than just hair, skin, and nails. While collagen can be linked to beauty benefits like improved skin elasticity and hair growth, it also has a wide variety of benefits for joint pain, bone health, digestion, and gut health. Not to mention, it is also a pure form of protein that can be especially beneficial to women over 40. 

Many of us have already started to see some of these changes come about with age, so it is important to understand the science behind collagen and how it can have a positive impact. To better understand how collagen can have positive effects on all of these things, let’s first cover the basics of collagen, how it works, and how to pick the best collagen supplement for you (plus our favorite pick!). 

What is Collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. Collagen makes up 70% of the protein found in our skin, 90% in our connective tissue, and 90% in our bone mass. This is why collagen is often referred to as “the glue that holds the body together” because without collagen our bodies wouldn’t be able to perform a lot of their essential functions. 

While our bodies do naturally produce collagen, unfortunately, the older we get the less collagen our bodies are able to produce. Starting around the age of 25, our bodies naturally start making about 1% less each year. That means by the time we are 50, our bodies can have 25% less collagen than they did when we were 25! Since so much of our skin and bones are made up of collagen, a lack of collagen in our bodies can be a contributor to a lot of the signs of aging such as wrinkles, thinning hair, and joint pain. 

How Does Collagen Work?

The reason collagen has so many benefits is because of its unique amino acid profile. Collagen peptides contain a combination of essential and non-essential amino acids. Essential amino acids cannot be made by the human body, meaning the only way to get the amount your body needs is through dietary sources or supplements. Non-essential amino acids can be produced by our bodies even if we do not get them from the food we eat. Even though our body can make non-essential amino acids, we need to ensure we are getting the proper amounts because they are very important to our overall health! The various essential and non-essential amino acids all have different benefits that enable our bodies to function properly. 

When collagen is taken as an ingestible, it is absorbed into the bloodstream, helping replenish your body with collagen. We recommend looking for collagen peptides that are "hydrolyzed", which means that they have been broken down through a particular type of water synthesis to allow them to be absorbed much quicker than non-hydrolyzed collagen or gelatin. Hydrolyzed collagen then provides amino acids that are needed by the body to build connective tissue, help regenerate cell growth, and see all the potential benefits. 

Collagen for Joints  

Did you know that 90% of bone mass is made up of collagen? When there is a lack of collagen in the body, health issues such as joint pain, arthritis, and osteoporosis can occur, so it makes sense that one benefit of collagen that we are constantly hearing positive feedback on is joint pain, arthritis, and all those other aches and pains that tend to start popping up the older we get. 

Four of the amino acids in collagen that directly impact joints and bone health are histidine, isoleucine, valine, and leucine. These four amino acids in particular have been shown to help heal and repair muscle tissue, facilitate muscle protein synthesis and maintain muscle mass, support joint function and regeneration, and have anti-inflammatory properties that can help ease joint pain and stiffness. 

As an added bonus, these amino acids also can help regulate blood sugar, control weight and cholesterol levels, and prevent the breakdown of muscle by providing extra glucose for energy. 

Collagen for Digestion & Gut Health   

It is no secret that what we put into our bodies plays a huge role in digestion but aside from just the foods we eat, supplements can also help to regulate digestion and keep our gut healthy. Studies have shown that collagen can help aid digestion, reduce gut inflammation, heal stomach ulcers, and regulate acid secretion. 

Collagen for Hair 

Let’s talk about hair growth! Hair is primarily made up of the protein keratin. Our bodies use amino acids to build keratin. Since collagen is rich in amino acids, it can aid your body in the production of keratin and in turn, help to strengthen hair. The amino acid proline is the main component of hair therefore, consuming proline-rich supplements like collagen can help provide your body with the building blocks it needs to create hair. 

Collagen for Skin 

When we think about collagen and skin, the first thing that usually comes to mind is collagen creams or injections because these are the traditional ways that collagen has been used to improve skin; however, collagen powder has become increasingly popular in recent years. 

You’ve probably heard the phrase “beauty comes from within” meaning that the way we look on the outside has a lot to do with what we are putting into our bodies (food, drinks, supplements, etc). Collagen supplements have proven to be significantly more effective than topical products because our bodies can actually absorb the supplements whereas topical products just sit on our skin. When collagen is taken as an ingestible, it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, helping replenish your body with collagen more effectively than a topical product.

There are two particular amino acids that we want to highlight as they have been shown to directly impact skin: lysine and methionine. Lysine is an anti-aging agent that helps prevent hair loss, combats wrinkles, and strengthens the elasticity of skin. It also has additional benefits like helping leaky gut syndrome and improving bone health. Methionine is a powerful antioxidant and plays a critical role in your body’s metabolism. It has also been shown to help fight radicals in your body and slow the aging process.

Collagen as a Protein Source


As we mentioned, collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies and since collagen is a protein that comes from animals, collagen powders also contain protein. Protein makes up the building blocks of organs, muscles, skin, and hormones. Our bodies need protein to maintain and repair muscle tissue and can also help lose weight, decrease belly fat, and increase muscle mass. Getting enough daily protein is very important to overall health as we get older, so adding a collagen supplement to your diet can also help get in some extra protein. 

How to Pick the Right Collagen Supplement 

The most important factor when deciding which supplements to take is knowing how bioavailable they are, meaning how well they are able to be absorbed by the body. The definition of bioavailability is the degree and rate at which a substance (i.e. a supplement) is absorbed into a living system (i.e. our bodies). Anything we put into our bodies (vitamins, minerals, supplements, pharmaceutical drugs, etc.) will only take effect if it can be absorbed by the body. This is why it is important to know how bioavailable collagen supplements are before choosing one. 

Our favorite collagen supplement for women is Collagen For Her. All of their collagen products pass the bioavailability test and on top of that are non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, and soy free (plus, it’s a woman-owned company). A great place to start is either their Unflavored Collagen Peptides or Multi-Collagen Capsules. The unflavored collagen peptides are flavorless and tasteless, so you can add a scoop to coffee, tea, smoothies, baked goods, etc. One scoop has 11g of collagen and 10g of protein. If you prefer collagen in capsule form, their multi-collagen capsules are a great option too. 

If you are looking for even more benefits for hair, skin, and nails, check out their Marine Collagen Beauty Blend. This product is sourced from marine collagen, so it is pescatarian friendly and contains 100% daily Vitamin C, biotin, and hyaluronic acid in addition to collagen for added hair and skin benefits. This product is also flavorless, so you can add it to just about anything. One scoop contains 5g of collagen and 5g of protein. 

If you want to try out Collagen For Her’s products, you can use the code “MENOPAUSALMOTHERfor 10% off through their website here. All of their products are also available on Amazon and you can save 10% on every order when you choose the Subscribe & Save option. Shop on Amazon here!

Friday, August 19, 2022

Fly On The Wall In The Quiz Room

     Welcome to another edition of Fly On The Wall group blog postings, hosted by Karen of Baking In A Tornado. Today, four of us are bravely opening our homes for you to "fly" in and see what goes on behind closed doors. 

     The fly is all-a-buzz about the new school year now that the youngins' are back in the classroom this month. Some students started off their first day with a quiz from teachers who were overly optimistic that the kids actually read the three books assigned to them over the summer. I loved to read as a kid (and still do) so these little quizzes were a cinch for me. But how about a fun quiz for the grown-ups that offers a peek into our personal lives? There's a quiz that has been floating around Facebook for a while, and I always get a kick out of what people score. Oddly, it's the people I recall as being the shiest and quietest in school who surprise me the most with their answers. Apparently, some of them took a walk on the wild side after graduation. Good for them! Life is too short to stay bored!

     This is how the quiz works: 1 point for every item on the list you have NOT done. I'm sure there are some interesting back stories to several of your answers, so please feel free to share your score in the comment section below (and expound a bit on your answers. I am nosey, after all....). Here are my answers with a few explanations thrown in. 


1. Broken A Bone: YES. Broke my left arm in 2 places while playing a rousing game of frisbee my freshman year in college. Yeah I know, I'm a klutz. 

2. Skipped School: YES. My parents were out of town and my boyfriend came over. My older sister vouched for me, telling the truant officer when he came to our house that I was "sick.".

3. Fired A Gun: YES. A rifle, many times, for target practice. 

4. Been Skydiving: NO. I won't get on a plane let alone jump out of one!!

5. Ridden In A Limo: YES. I've ridden in several limos to special events. But I guess I can't count the time I rode in one to a funeral, right? We didn't even get a complimentary glass of champagne in that one!

6. Had Braces On My Teeth: YES. For 4 long, miserable years. My overbite was horrible from years of sucking my thumb as a kid. 

7. Had A Massage: YES. But I always feel a bit awkward having a stranger give me a rub-down. 

8. Gotten A Tattoo: YES. I'm up to 9 tats now and have plans for several more....yes, I'm addicted. 

9. Gone Swimming In The Ocean: YES. This is an easy one since I live near the shore. 

10. Dyed My Hair: YES. Blonde, black, brown. purple, pink, and candy apple red. 

11. Watched Star Wars: YES. Saw the original when it debuted in May of 1977. Shut up--I'm old!

12. Ridden A Horse: YES. But not in a gazillion years and I'd love to get back in the saddle again. 

13. Gotten A Ticket: YES. I was going 40 miles over the speed limit at 3:00 a.m. I was 21 and stupid. But the cop sure was cute.

14. Gone Scuba Diving: NO. Even though I live near the ocean, this activity does not interest me because SHARKS.

15. Eaten Sushi: YES. Not a fan of raw fish. I think it's gross. 

16. Been To Other Counties: YES. After graduating from college, I went to 23 countries in 2 months with a group of students. Soooo much fun!

17. Ran A Marathon: NO. I get out of breath in Zumba; there's no way I could run a marathon, let alone a few blocks. But I did win a pie-eating contest. Does that count? 

18. Ridden On A Motorcycle: YES. Many times. Dated a guy who had one. The bike was fun but they guy was not. 

19. Been On A Train: YES. Went from Spain to France with a group of friends when I was 21. Good times!

20. Ridden In An Ambulance: YES. Unfortunately, several times. Remember, I'm a klutz.  

21. Gone Ziplining: NO. But I plan on doing it during our trip to the islands in October. Bucket list item!

22. Needed Stitches: YES. More times than I can count. Again, KLUTZ.

23. Been Camping: YES. Several times and loved it. But now I prefer "Glamping."

24. Gone On A Cruise: YES. My first was last year. I fell in love with cruising and have another planned for October.  

25. Been Arrested: NO. Not even close. Wait, did I just jinx myself?

26. Been Married? YES. 38 blissful years together. Best friends and partners for life.

27. Been Divorced? NO. There were lots of relationships I've "divorced" myself from but legally, no. 

28. More than one piercing? YES. Relax--it's just three holes in each ear. I don't have any of that belly-button-nose-ring-lip-ring stuff going on. 

29. Been On TV? YES. Several times---I was on NBC to promote my first book in 2014. My husband and I were also guests on National Geographic twice for all the chinchillas we owned. I was on several talk shows about menopause and midlife. All fun experiences but damn, it really is true what they say---the TV makes you look ten pounds heavier. GAHHHH! 

30. Sang Karaoke? YES. After too many cocktails. Pat Benatar's "Hit me With Your Best Shot." It wasn't pretty. 

     How did you score on the quiz? I got a 6 out of 30. Not too bad for this old gal. Okay, kids, class is dismissed! 

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? Checkout my latest pieces for AARP on classic board games and another on yummy Summer salad recipes: I also have a new article up on ALWAYS PETS about dog-friendly restaurants:

Buzz around some of these other sites and see what you think. 


Baking In A Tornado                      

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Go Mama O.                             


Friday, July 22, 2022

Fly On The Wall In A Covid House

Welcome to another edition of Fly On The Wall group blog postings hosted by Karen of Baking In A Tornado, Today, there are three of us opening our homes to our readers for a glimpse at what goes on behind closed doors. What did the fly catch at our place? Covid, that's what. Everyone in my family has had it at one point or another including the grandbabies, but so far I have evaded it...until today, with a positive test. Husby has been home sick all week and then he generously shared his cooties with me. I woke up yesterday with a scratchy throat, runny nose, and a nasty cough. Thanks, Babe! And before you ask, YES we are fully vaxed and boosted! 

This virus comes on the heels of having to say goodbye to my favorite fur baby Savi last week (you can read about it HERE) which nearly did me in emotionally. I'm still trying to grasp that my sweet girl pug companion is gone. I was trying to stay busy this week to avoid the pain of her absence, and then BAM! I got Covid! 

Rather than focus on the craptastic week I've had, let me share some photos from a recent family outing in May that we had to celebrate my beautiful grandson's first birthday (the only person missing is my youngest son since he had to work a double that day and missed the party!). 

***All of the lovely photos below are courtesy of Amber Schnakenberg Photography at 

By the time you read this, I'll probably be in bed with a thermometer, extra blankets, hot tea, and....well, a cheese danish would be nice. Feel free to send some my way......

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? If you love classic board games, check out my latest article for Family Minded  HERE  Then, take a look at my latest pieces for Always Pets--- Unusual Rainforest Pets HERE and my absolute favorite topic--squirrels-- HERE. I also have some yummy summer recipes (smoothies and BBQ!!) featured in AARP/The Ethel which you can see HERE and HERE

Buzz around these other blogs for a peek into some other homes:

Baking In A Tornado


The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Saying Goodbye: A Little Eulogy For My Four-Legged Friend

Unless you have owned a pet that you loved more than you ever thought possible and considered a member of your family, you will not understand my need to write this eulogy for my four-legged friend. I know people are not supposed to compare the loss of a pet to the loss of a human, but grief is a tricky thing. No two people experience it the same way, and it's impossible to put a degree or timetable on the pain. 

On July 12 at 1:30 a.m., we had to help our sweet pug Savi cross the rainbow bridge. As many of you who follow me on social media know, our pup became unexpectedly and gravely ill 5 weeks ago. She was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease as well as a bad gall bladder. We did everything we could for her---got opinions from four different vets, numerous blood tests and ultrasounds, made sure she had the necessary surgery (removal of gall bladder and spleen), transfusions, multiple medications, and two weeks in a canine ICU. We spent every dime we had left because the prognosis for her was good---she had an 85% recovery rate. For a while there, we thought we had a miracle dog---she bounced back so quickly, even the doctors were astonished. But last weekend she had a major setback---she stopped eating, stopped drinking, and did nothing but sleep. I knew it was the beginning of the end for her and started counting the hours until the dreaded day came. Everyone warned me that I'd know when it was time to let her go by the look in her eyes, but I refused to accept that. I was confident she was not in pain yet and would hopefully pass peacefully in her sleep. But there was still that little spark of hope in me that she would somehow bounce back again. 

She didn't. Late Monday night her breathing became hard and rapid. I held her for the longest time, and when she looked up at me, I saw it in her eyes, just like everyone said I would. She was telling me it was time. My husband and I drove her to the clinic in the middle of the night and said our final goodbyes.

Next week, we would have celebrated Savi's 10th birthday. I have lost family members, friends, and numerous pets before, but this ranks right up there as one of the most painful losses ever---maybe because it went on for five long weeks of hell. 

Savi came to us from a pug rescue group 9 years ago, and it was love at first sight. She has been my constant companion, my fur baby girl, my sweet angel. She was family. She loved to sunbathe on the deck and her favorite food was salmon. Whenever I took warm clothes out of the dryer, she would hop on the pile, roll over on her back and take a long nap. I called her my "little piggy" because she had a plump, pink belly. There were so many kisses and snuggles with her---she was the most loving dog I have ever known. Savi sat on my lap every time I plopped down on the couch to rest, and she always slept beside me in bed for the nine years we had her. I got so used to her pug snores that they actually comforted me and helped me fall asleep. Now I cannot even sleep in that bed and instead have moved temporarily into our guest room. To say that my heart is broken is an understatement. My heart is completely shattered. 

RIP Savi, I'll see you on the other side, precious girl. This home will never feel the same again without you. 


Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Looking For Term Life Insurance? Here's Everything You need To Know!

Are you looking into Term Life Insurance for your family? There is a lot of confusion out there about the different types of insurance, but my guest today on the blog is here to answer all of your questions. 

When Should I Purchase a Term Life Insurance Policy?

Find out when you should start seriously looking at term life insurance quotes and how you can secure the best possible rate that works with your budget

For a lot of people, life insurance may seem like something that isn’t necessary until later in life. While it is true that having life insurance when you are older is essential, many people put off finding a plan for far too long. If you are unsure whether or not you should start searching for term life insurance quotes, we’re here to help! We’re going to be walking you through how term life insurance policies work and the best time to purchase a plan. Let’s get you one step closer to finding the best life insurance quote for you!

What is Term Life Insurance?

Before we can explore term life insurance quotes, we need to learn a bit about how term life insurance works

Many young people don’t understand how life insurance works.

There are two main categories of insurance policies that you need to be aware of as you begin searching for the best way to get insured—term life insurance and permanent life insurance. Permanent life insurance is sometimes referred to as whole life insurance. A permanent or whole life insurance plan is exactly what it sounds like—it never expires. You will remain insured for the remainder of your life and you will accumulate a cash value over time. As you get older, this cash value can be used to pay for essential services like healthcare. However, permanent life insurance is by far the pricier option which means that many people choose to go with a term life insurance policy that better fits their budget.

A term life insurance policy—on the other hand—lasts only for a designated amount of time. The average timespan for a term life insurance policy is anywhere from 20-40 years. Unlike permanent life insurance, term life insurance does not accumulate a cash value. As we mentioned, term life insurance is far less expensive while still getting you the coverage you need. For most people in their 20s or 30s searching for life insurance, a term life insurance quote is preferable over permanent life insurance.

When is the Best Time to Get Term Life Insurance?

The younger you are, the cheaper your term life insurance quote will be

Don’t wait too long to purchase life insurance.

Too many young people don’t know that they are in the best position to secure a term life insurance quote. There are a lot of factors that insurance companies look at when they evaluate your application. One of the main factors they look at to determine your monthly rate is your age. For a healthy person in their 20s, the cost of term life insurance can be as low as $25 per month.

Another sign that you should secure a low life insurance quote as soon as possible is if there is someone else in your life that depends on your income. This includes people who are married and new parents looking for insurance. In the event of your untimely death, you want to make sure those around you are financially secure no matter what.

Additionally, people in their 20s and early 30s need to consider life insurance if they have a lot of outstanding debt. This can include student loans, car payments, or mortgages that have yet to be paid off. Should the unthinkable happen and you are uninsured, your debts will be passed to your family members which can cause added stress. So, if you are in your 20s or 30s and fit any of the criteria that we mentioned in this section, the best time to secure a term life insurance policy is right now.

Why is it Better to Get Life Insurance When You’re Young?

Life insurance companies more readily insure young, healthy individuals

The older you get the more likely you are to develop chronic illnesses.

You might be wondering why we are recommending securing a low life insurance rate in your 20s or 30s. The reason is pretty simple—these are the years when you are young and in most cases healthy enough for the insurance company to see you as a low-risk investment. Of course, some factors will drive up the cost of your premium even at a young age. But, if you are healthy, you will have no problem securing a low rate from an insurance company.

The longer you put off getting insurance, the more likely it is that you will develop medical conditions or other risk factors. These risk factors can include chronic illness, tobacco use, high-risk jobs or activities, and your previous medical records. Not to mention, it is a much lower risk for an insurance company to insure someone who is 25 for 30 years than it is to insure someone who is 45 for 30 years. While it is still possible—and highly recommended—that you get coverage no matter your age, it is definitely far cheaper to secure a low rate while you’re young.

What Are Some Ways to Save Money on Term Life Insurance?

Beyond purchasing life insurance when you are young, there are some other ways to make sure you are getting the best rate possible

Minimize your risk factors for the best term life insurance rate.

For a lot of young people searching for an insurance policy, money is tight. That’s why we’re including a few tips to make sure that you can get the best term life insurance rate possible. Let’s take a look:

Undergo a Medical Exam - Some insurance companies offer no-exam insurance. While this may be a necessary option for someone who has a chronic illness or another underlying condition, it is not well suited for someone young and healthy. Without performing a medical exam, the insurance provider will assume that you are high risk and you will be presented with a higher-than-normal monthly premium

Quit Tobacco Usage - This is easier said than done, but it is a major factor that life insurance companies consider. People who use tobacco are far more likely to develop illnesses in the future, which drives up the cost of term life insurance.

Limit High-Risk Activities - When you apply for life insurance, there will be a section on the application that asks you to detail any high-risk activities you are involved in. This can include hobbies or your profession. High-risk professions include jobs with a high risk of personal injuries like mining or logging. High-risk recreational activities can range from skiing to dirt biking.

If you are considering purchasing life insurance, now is the time to start looking. The younger you are, the better rate you can secure for a term life insurance policy. That means the best time to purchase life insurance is right now! After you’ve purchased your plan, you can rest easy knowing your loved ones are financially protected no matter what. 


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