Peace Settles At Last…

Something broke at the core of my heart

Into millions of pieces…

A vague, uncertain feeling whispered:

‘Look through a magnifying glass,’

I did.

All the way down, at the very bottom

I saw a shape darker than the dark,

“It must have been my hope,”

I  concluded, but was not certain.

Did it matter anyway?

What it used to be, was now at the bottom.

It could not be saved!

It could have been love, or trust too,

All the noble ideals we invent 

To survive.

Especially hope.

My mind knew all it mattered

Was the  NOW, but the irrational Soul

Hung onto the past…

Millions of pieces crushed

Under the burden of lies, pretense,

The illusion of forever, the fear of death.

God answered me at last:

There is NO forever,

Only the dust  which suffocated me, 

The millions of crushed dreams,

Which sparkled in the darkness of life,

Giving me the illusion of hope!

I refused to believe,

I looked again, closer,

Through the distorted, magnifying glass 

Of human emotions.

The hole deepened,

More and more…

A bottomless hole!

Somewhere, deeper than the hope,

I sensed another shadow,

Darker than the dark,

I was not certain what it was…

I needed the artificial light of 

Human pretense and vanity

To dictate  the rules

Of what it was that,

Which I saw!!!

Perhaps it was FAITH!

I turned around, and around,

Faster and faster,

No matter where I turned,

I was blinded by random pieces

Of Truths.

They were senseless and hurtful…

The wider I opened my eyes,

The greater the hurt…

I closed them quickly,

Tight and forever…

Peace settled at last! 

Easy Tips for Beautiful Skin in The Summer (What to Avoid, What to Have Plenty)

Many of you know me from my various “other” lives, if we define flexibility as a MUST to survive in our changing world. Whether you knew me when I was a translator in the U.S. Embassy in Romania, or after I came to the U.S. and reinvented myself as an insurance  and mutual funds sales person, probably a majority of you know that for 12 years I was a Certified Massage Therapist and Licensed Esthetician in PA. Most of you also know that in 2005 I was forced to close my skin care business and just because in “my book” learning never stops, I went back to school and earned my Masters in Counseling and Clinical Psychology. Throughout my entire life, I continued to write and this blog is a testimony to not only my love of writing, but to wanting to continue to share and help those around me.

I wrote the above so you know I am a licensed esthetician  (skin care, beauty specialist) and qualified to write this post:))

Summer is here at last!!! Sun, heat, humidity, sweat… we’ll take these anytime over cold, ice, snow…

Our skin care “routines” need to change! Just like we wouldn’t wear a sundress in December or a heavy coat in July.

Generally, in all seasons, a good skin routine requires to be done twice a day: in the AM and in the PM and NEVER to go to sleep with make-up on. Brush your teeth too!

The steps are the same in all seasons, but the products are different:


Cleanse–why? Because if you apply anything, how is the product going to penetrate where it’s needed?

Tone– why?closes the pores after you cleanse — many toners have wonderful natural ingredients. Some people just use rose water 

Apply a serum or a day/night cream — this is the product which has the ingredients that will really help your skin stay beautiful!

In Summer apply a water-base sun-block that will NOT clog your pores. If you are inside an SPF of 15 is okay. If you spend time outside check the label to have both UVA and UVB sunblock, and use an SPF of 30. Unless you are guaranteed in writing:) that if you sweat or go in the water the sunblock stays on, REAPPLY!

Moisturize — I like the water-based ones and stay away from any mineral oils which clog your pores.

There are at least four types of skin  and combinations and it is important that you use the right products for your type of skin.

Types of skin: Normal, oily (generally a T zone-nose and forehead) dry, sensitive, also oily and sensitive and acne pro.

Of course each type needs different products for maximum efficiency, but no matter what type you have, you still have to cleanse, tone, apply the right facial cream or serum and moisturize. 

Also, no matter what type of skin you have, it is important to stay hydrated (drink water, not coffee or alcohol which give the “illusion of hydrating, while dehydrating you) Why is hydration important? Imagine a baloon filled with water and someone lets all the water out! Oh NO!!! now the baloon looks… wrinkled and hmm not that pretty! Our bodies are made of water about 65%-70% of water so, the water is clearly important for good health. WARNING: SOME HEALTH CONDITIONS LIMIT THE AMOUNT OF WATER INTAKE _PLEASE CHECK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN.

Products to avoid in SUMMER TIME

Glycolic acid products and treatments– this is an acid which does not do well with the sun. Wait until the fall to refresh your skin by treating yourself to a series of six glycolic acid treatments. Make sure you prepare your skin by FIRST using a product with a lower % of glycolic and  build up to the strength  of what is used in doctors’ offices. It stings:) but it does the job of getting rid of the layers of dead skin!

The product to use in SUMMER TIME: Vit. C Ester. This will  help the production of collagen (a protein essential to keep our skin firm)

An easy,  cooling home-made mask is:  a blend of fresh cucumbers mixed with a teaspoon of yogurt.

Yogurt in itself, applied on burns (if you didn’t apply your sunblock and fell asleep on the beach for three hours) is also soothing and helpful. Doesn’t have to be Greek:)

If yo find this post helpful and would like more information on this topic, please like or comment this post and ask questions. Let’s be a more beautiful world! Inside and out!

Happy Summer and Beautiful Skin!!!


Nonprofit Organizations, The Salaries of Some of Their CEO’s and Our Donations — An Unbiased Opinion

I must confess, I am a sucker for volunteering, donating to the causes I believe in and generally everything that takes money from me instead of making me money. Why? I am still in therapy to “discover” the roots of what makes ME,  as my friends say, despite being smart and educated not having enough money. And I do not mean millions, not even what by all standards is considered “average.” Not being superstitious, but may be because I was born on a 13th?

Anyway, because of many reasons, the financial hardships included, I suffer from insomnia.

Some times I sleep with the TV on, which again, all experts, me included, would tell you is a bad habit. And it is! Especially if in the middle of the night a woman’s voice crying for your help to donate only .66 cents a day to SAVE an animal, awakens you. Hmm .66 cents a day is nothing to save a dog or a cat. But WAIT!!! Remember my post about The Art of  Chunking? This is a perfect example. Take .66 cents a day and x it with 30 days (a month. Your donation is suddenly $19.80, lets calculate the yearly donation (assuming ALL months are 30 days) 19.80 x 12=$237.60 So, if you were told by the soothing voice on the TV commercial to give $237.60, what would have been your reaction? And I am not going to put words in your mouth or suggest what it might be, because I don’t know you. THIS POST is an opinion, MINE!

I was intrigued by the many TV commercials paid by charities, the nonprofits and just because clearly I have nothing better to do, I researched the topic and came across an overwhelming amount of information. A substantial part of it, the controversy about NONPROFIT CEO’S making compensation packages (including their salaries, benefits, pension etc) of over a MILLION a year!) Is this right, is this wrong? Hmm … lets see who makes what and could we really know where our donations go?

First I read an article entitled ” Where Your Donation Goes? Top Salaries of Non-Profit Companies” by Mark Hrywna 11/1/13

The analysis was based on the IRS Form 990 for the financial year ending 2012. The organizations are rated by total revenue but AT LEAST 10% MUST COME FROM PUBLIC SUPPORT (THIS IS US, THE DONORS)

I am not going to go through the entire list, but just mention that the Y came in first for 6 years in a raw, with a combined revenue of $4,556 BILLION ($827 mil in public support and $614 mil in government support) 

United Way, which provides grants  and help for MANY other non-profits, came  in 2nd. The largest recipient of United Way help being RED CROSS  with a total revenue of 218 Billion, followed by Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Salvation Army and the YMCA.

The total revenue represents a combination of: Public support, government, program services, investments and other) 

But this does NOT tell me the salaries of the CEOs. All it does, is tell me that these recognized fine charities have a lot of money. Good for them and those they help!

Then I came across Top 10 Salaries for non-profits

The Fiscal Times-Overpaid nonprofit Executives

The number one, with a total  yearly compensation of 2.5 mil came someone I didn’t know. L. Hoagland, Chief Investment Officer at William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. They give grants to cultural and educational Institutions. Okay, good for him, he must be an investment wiz!

Number 2 on the list is a charity I know, a charity to which I donated because my mom died of cancer!

John Seffrin, CEO of AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY  has a compensation package of 2.1 mil, of which his yearly salary is $561,927. NO COMMENT but from now on, if I have money to donate, I will go directly to a local research facility to make sure my hard earned money goes where I intend it to go.

And NUMBER 3 on the list of overpaid CEOs a woman! Well, my womanly heart melts. I am happy for her. In fact, who cares there is still a huge gap between what men and women are paid for same jobs, ONE of us, and of course Oprah, managed to overcome all standards and hardships! Roxanne Spillett, President of Boys and Girls Clubs of America, comes as #3 paid with a yearly compensation of 1.8 mil. and base salary of $455,829. However, I have to give it to her. She has been with the company for 30 years, she worked her way up, up and up.

What is the real problem? (as I see it)  The real problem is our assumption, as insignificant donors, those who give .66 a day that our insignificant donation goes to that poor cat or dog in the TV commercial. We, do not understand the inside workings of corporate America, this is why WE don’t make millions, yet donate!

The truth is though, leaving aside our personal emotions, hopes and bias, IF these CEOs are financial experts and the BOTTOM line is a better return and they and ONLY they do such a fantastic job at investing your .66 cents and triples it for the cause for which you donated, then there is NO problem. The question is what is the BOTTOM LINE??? and are these CEOs the ONLY ones qualified to do the same jobs? I really don’t know…but was curious enough to research and write this post.

The answer was expertly answered in Forbes -Personal Finance 1/23/13 Is A One Million Dollar Non Profit CEO Salary As Bad as It Sounds?

If you donate to the American Cancer Society or the Museum of Fine Arts, Huston or any of the other 18 charities the “Chronicle of Philanthropy” reported as having CEO’s Making a million and more, I’d be even more curious…

The same Forbes article mentions that many states tried to introduce legislation that would CAP salaries of non-profit organizations: NY, NJ, Florida and Massachusetts.TRIED is the key word, because the battle is still on! No such legislation passed. Although, frankly MA wanted a salary cap at $500,000… not too shabby is it, for a non-profit? Well Florida, what’s wrong with you? They wanted to cap a non-profit CEO’s salary at $129,972. Ridiculous for the CEO of a nonprofit!!Isn’t it? Oh, you work for Walmart… sorry! That is for profit. And yes, I shop there. I am too poor to be politically correct when it comes to food for my dogs, I go to Walmart.

Back to non-profits! An interesting point of view was expressed by Dan Pallotta, author of  “Charity Case” which was cited in the Forbes article. His argument is that all that counts is the bottom line… Our donations do not necessarily go DIRECTLY to the CEO’s million dollar compensation. NO!!! Pallotta’s argument is that an effective CEO will “MULTIPLY” the initial investment that ultimately will increase the MONEY RAISED for the REAL CAUSE! Remember, the poor kitty and the dog, and the children in Africa for which you donated .66 a day, actually $19.80 a month?

In other words if the CEOs paid  a million PLUS increase the bottom line, it is okay to be paid for their unique expertise in fund raising and  unique financial competency. 

I agree, but it took me two days to try and understand and figure out what is what. Also the CEOs come and go. For instance, in May 2013 the ASPCA hired a new CEO to replace the one whose salary was over $500,000 a year. Everything changes fast and who has the time to break down exactly where your donation goes? Of course, you, the one who donated your .66 cents a day, have the picture of a child you helped or a cat you saved.

It is a free country and as with everything else each person donates how and where they see fit best.

I personally, decided to make my donations directly to the source intended. I love dogs. I rescued dogs, so I go to the rescue Molly’s Place in Mechanicsburg, PA, from where I got my companions and bring food and money I know will go to transporting animals to safe no-kill shelters and foster homes. I make it easy and simple for everyone!

It is the small non-profits, run by people who put their monetary second to the cause that need help. So, I concluded, I am too lazy to navigate the way my .66 cents is used in a large nonprofit and only give to my local, small charities.

But remember the beginning of the post? I am not a rich person…yet!

Trying again:) to finish the Legal Consequences post…

For some reason, this is is the third time I write this new post, but only a portion prints…

Sorry about it.

The point I am trying to make one more time, is that after the post regarding the skincare line scheme Skin DM/ Rejuva Glow, I received hundreds of comments and tips which helped hundreds of people become aware, learn how to protect themselves and where to complain. This was the result not only of my post but valuable information in the comments. For those comments I would like to say, thank you!

Unfortunately, there was recently ONE comment (I assume computer generated, because it was in spam several times) which stated that somehow my blog profits from the scheme exposed and in reality connected to it (the skincare scheme!)

I feel it is outrageous that such an untrue  and hurtful statement was made and sent as a comment to me.

This blog does not profit from anyone or anything. To state that it is connected secretly with a scheme it exposed, is defamatory and there are legal consequences.

This is simply a FREE share of personal experiences which  hopefully helps others. NO one is forced to read it.

Perhaps the entity responsible  for the defamatory comment does not understand the legal consequences of their statements.

If one makes an UNTRUE, HARMFUL statement in writing and it is published, that is” libel.” If the statement is spoken, it is “slander.”

We all value our freedom of speech but people also have the right to protect themselves from defamation that may damage their reputation.

Meanwhile, if anyone is interested where that defamatory comment was published? I had the freedom to publish it in… trash!

I am clicking Publish Post again:)

Thanks for your patience!

The Possible Legal Consequences of UNTRUE, DEFAMATORY COMMENTS (libel)

We discussed this topic before, but it seems further clarification is necessary.

This blog was started in 2010 because I broke my ankle over the holidays and was confined alone, in a place in which I had just moved. Many of the friends and readers have been following it from the beginning and know that the first approximately 100 posts became a published book in 2011, The Gypsy Saw Two Lives.

I stopped writing on this blog for a few months but noticed people were still visiting the blog in more and more numbers and currently is read by people from 18-20 countries.

When I started to blog again, since the book was finished and published, I simply shared my experiences with others, so they may avoid  unpleasant situations and schemes.

The blog became more and more popular because it provides FREE and USEFUL INFORMATION.

One of the schemes I experienced personally and shared on the blog, concerned a so called “FREE” skincare line called