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How to Look and Feel Amazing With Arthritis and Other Chronic Pain

Hi, I’m Shiree’ and I’m an interior designer, design columnist, author, blogger and… I have been diagnosed with six different bone conditions including osteopenia and osteoarthritis! 

This is an except from my new book. Enjoy!

Living in a beautiful home has many benefits right?  But if you’re unhappy with how you look and uncomfortable in your own body, no amount of beautiful furniture or custom window treatments are going to make you feel better. Good interior design will enhance a healthy, balanced lifestyle but it won’t make a difference if you don’t feel good about yourself. What affects the bones also affects the skin, hair and nails. So if you have degenerative bone conditions like me, your skin will definitely need the extra attention to look it’s best.

When you are uncomfortable, in pain, miserable with your appearance, when you have low energy, when you are cranky, even the smallest things can put you in a foul mood. But… if you are balanced, happy, attractive and energetic you will vibrate at your highest level and that’s a pretty intoxicating way to live! Trust me. I live this way not every day, but five or six out of seven! I’m going to share with you what you can do right now on a daily rotational basis to create super beautiful, healthy skin, eyes and hair.

Talk about upping your game. Rotate these total game changing, health and beauty techniques into your weekly schedule and people will be commenting on your vibrant appearance. I kid you not ladies. Total game changers.

I hope you’re already doing some of these. Don’t stress about them but slowly add them one at a time over a period you feel comfortable with. This is a new lifestyle you’re learning. You are in school! You can’t fit two semesters of learning into a three day weekend so don’t even try! Right now I just want you to experience each one of these things three times. When you’ve tried the first one three times, move to the second one and so on.

All natural beauty products

These beauty techniques are a whole new way of thinking about skin care. You won’t be buying or using on your skin any products that are not safe to eat! Yes, you heard me right! No jars of crèmes. No toners. No serums. Whatever you put on your skin goes directly into your blood stream.

Go ahead and buy your preferred cosmetics such as foundation, mascara, lipstick. You most likely don’t use them every day anyway. But skin care will come solely from pure castile soap, virgin raw organic coconut oil and raw unfiltered organic local honey.

If you have problem skin such as sensitive skin, rosacea or acne, it is most likely your diet. When you switch to the eating plan I shared in chapter six those issues will greatly lessen.

Coconut oil has several benefits when used topically. It’s antimicrobial and makes an excellent night time cleanser. Simply remove eye make up with coconut oil and wash entire face with warm water and a tiny bit of castile soap. After final rinse, apply coconut oil to a damp face and remove excess with a warm wet washcloth, leaving a bit of residue on your face as moisturizer. If you’re a back sleeper like me, you can leave on a generous amount without the probability of getting it in your hair.

Back sleeping

If you have neck pain, back sleeping will change your life. I’ve been diagnosed with osteopenia in my neck, sclerosis of the hips and scoliosis in my spine, in two different directions! Sleeping flat on my back without a pillow was too far-fetched an idea with sinus issues like mine. But once I gave up cow’s milk and most cheeses the sinus issues lessened and back sleeping became a great way for me to align my spine for 7 to 9 hours as well as wake up with beautiful smooth skin. Sleeping flat also enables the blood to circulate to your facial skin easier than if your head is elevated. It’s true that you’ll wake up puffy if you’re not eating right or drinking wine and other alcoholic beverages, but let me assure you that won’t happen, because you are going to eat right. Right?

If you find back sleeping impossible, I have a sweet little hack for you…satin pillowcases. They lessen the wrinkling that is caused by cotton and polyester sheeting by allowing your facial skin to slip across the sheet instead of being tugged.


Exfoliate daily. I know there are conflicting reports about this but they are just wrong. Exfoliation is imperative as we age to encourage cell division to turn over. One caveat to this is you must eat right and sleep well in order for it to work right. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells allowing new, healthy skin cells to take over. But it also does something that’s called controlled damage. Controlled damage is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s the opposite. Acid peels are too much damage. They are toxic and should be avoided. Instead, exfoliate manually every day. If you are eating right and sleeping well, these are healing mechanisms and they will take care of the rest.

There are product exfoliators such as apricot kernel washes and exfoliating tools such as exfoliating gloves. I much prefer the latter. I don’t like using store bought products because the ingredients are not good for the skin in the long run. Gloves require cleansing because they can carry mildew and bacteria that cause skin irritation and breakouts but if you buy several pair and launder them after each use, this won’t be an issue.

Like all the techniques in this book, begin slowly by exfoliating twice a week, then three times a week, then four, then five and so on until you are exfoliating at least five to seven days a week. I’m an aggressive, daily exfoliator. Your skin will never look amazing if you do not get enough dark and light leafy greens, raw colorful veggies and fruits, raw nuts, plenty of water and daily exfoliation. If I miss even one day of exfoliation my skin doesn’t look it’s best.

Exfoliate before bedtime or late in the day when you won’t be going anywhere in public. There is about a fifteen to twenty five minute window where the face appears red. This is the blood being drawn to the surface, cleaning out impurities and feeding the skin with fresh red blood cells!

Always, always apply a lavish amount of coconut oil to the skin immediately after exfoliation while skin is still damp. Blot off with a wash cloth or towel. If you have time, leave the coconut oil on for ten to twenty minutes before blotting off. Coconut oil absorbs nicely into the skin.


There are two types of facials I give myself at least two to three days a week. Daily is best but I seldom do them that often. These are massages I learned from reading Tonya Zavasta’s books. One is a deep massage with your knuckles. After your shower, slather plenty of organic raw coconut oil on your face and throat. With the knuckles of both hands, gently but firmly and deeply massage your entire face and throat applying more pressure to the lower cheek area to massage any comma shaped or deep marionette creases. Massage the creases between the brows. Use caution around the eye area. Take about 7 minutes to do this properly. This type of massage applies pressure while the next massage decompresses, or “lifts” the skin outward. Both are effective in their own unique way. Word of caution: go slow! You have to do all of these techniques gradually to train the skin. Once it’s trained you’ll be so pleased with the results.

The other is Tonya’s honey massage using organic, raw, unfiltered honey. Apply a small amount of honey to your entire face avoiding the upper and lower eyelid areas. Firmly pat the entire face, throat and neck and as the honey becomes tacky your skin will spring out and back. This lifts impurities, circulates the blood and softens fine lines beautifully! You’re going to love how your skin looks. Again, use caution and proceed slowly.

One more little trick I learned. Slather your face with organic extra virgin olive oil. Take a wet facial washcloth and warm it in the microwave about twenty seconds. Caution… test it before picking it up and before placing it on your face. Experiment with the degrees of heat and only use what you can comfortably tolerate. Place on face for twenty seconds then reheat. You can get the same results if not better with a facial steamer too, if you prefer.

Live Beautifully. Eat Beautifully, Shiree’

Click “Pain Free Design and Wellness” for a free chapter of my powerful new book that helps women with arthritis create beautiful, functional homes and take better care of themselves every day because home is where it all begins.