tips on applying makeup with parkinson's

New Phototastic Collage.jpg

The tremor in my right hand has progressed so that I have a difficult time applying my makeup with it. I’m fortunate that I’m sort of ambidextrous, so it was relatively easy to switch hands. However, I’ve been wondering what I’ll do when my tremor migrates to my left hand.  Here are few tips that might be help. If you have any suggestions please share them.

1. If you stand in the bathroom, try to find a place to sit instead. It may help your tremor and you can rest your elbow on a counter or table for stability.

2. Use a magnifying mirror. You will be surprised how much more you see (good and bad) and catch little mistakes that you’d not see otherwise.

3. Find a place with good natural light to apply your makeup. You’ll see how your makeup will really look when you’re out and about, as artificial light can sometimes not be accurate.

4. Take your time and don’t rush. I made this mistake by giving myself the same amount of time to get ready as I did before I was diagnosed with PD. Little by little as my symptoms increased it was taking a little longer to get ready but I hadn’t realized it, so I found I was rushing around. Give yourself extra time so you can apply it in a relaxed state.

5. Drugstore vs. Department Store brands – I use both but I noticed that drugstore brands generally have less pigment than department store brands which means they can be a little more forgiving. However, that can also mean the application doesn’t last as long, so you may need to apply it again during the day.

6. If you use a foundation, use a primer beforehand. It really does help the foundation stay put longer.

7. Use transparent lip colors instead of opaque colors. They are more forgiving, and you don’t need to be as precise around the edges, particularly if you use darker colors.

8. Lip stains are also a good way to minimize having to retouch as often.

9. Cream or powder – Eye shadow, foundation, blush, they all come in both creams & powders. Try them to see which ones are easier for you to apply.

10. Application – You can apply makeup with sponges, brushes, or your fingers. Again, try them all and see which is more comfortable for you. I used to use a sponge for my foundation but now I use my fingers because I feel like I have better control in smoothing it out.

11. Double duty- Tinted moisturizer, BB or CC creams are a great way to combine skincare, moisturizer and foundation in one.

12. Lastly, permanent eyebrow or liner tattooing might be right for you. The eyebrow tattooing of old has progressed quite a bit and looks much more natural.

aloha friday

What’s going this weekend? I’d love to take a hike or a long walk in a new neighborhood, followed by a good read and a nap! That sounds perfect to me. Have a wonderful weekend.

~ Morgan Harper Nichols Instagram - Her site has such beautiful words of inspiration.

~ Recent books I’ve read: Little Big Lies by Liane Moriarity. I saw the HBO series before I read the book. The TV series is a lot more glamorous than the book but I still really enjoyed the book.

~Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep

~A Beautiful Mystery & How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny. Books 7 & 8 in the Armand Gamache mystery series. Love this series.

~Mrs. Beeton’s Book on Household Management - This is more of a book you will skim than read. She was sort of the Martha Stewart of her day and you get interesting information about life in that time with servants and everything basically being done hand. It made my housework seem easy after looking at this. It’s also a free e-book because it’s out of copyright.

~Inside Out: A Memoir by Demi Moore - Good as an audio book, read by her. Very honest about her family life and struggles and I really enjoyed it.

~I have a bumper crop of lemons on my tree this year, so I made lemon curd, which was super delicious with yogurt and granola, this lemon almond pound cake, which was on a recent episode of Milk Street TV. Now that it’s fall, I have this Butternut Squash & Ricotta Bruschetta from Ina Garten on my list to make.

~Are you looking for some new underwear? This article asks 26 stylish woman about their favorites.

~When we visited Japan, I was impressed with how clean it was without a public trash can it sight and this BBC article explains a little about why.

dear kai

I got this email from one of our readers and thought it would be a good post. If you have any suggestions for a topic or a question, please email me at and I’ll be happy to try and answer on the blog or in private.

 “Dear Kai, I’ve had PD for about six years and I’m finding it difficult to motivate myself to exercise. I’ve been a moderate on and off exerciser most of my life. I’m tired a lot and it’s easier to put it off for another day. Any suggestions?”

Motivating yourself to exercise can be extra challenging with a chronic illness. Fatigue, tremors, dystonia, balance issues, and physical weakness can add up to saying “maybe tomorrow”. And if you’re a person who didn’t exercise much before you’re diagnosis, it can be a tall order to start exercising after.  But we all know the mantra that beyond for normal wellness, we with PD must exercise as much as we can. Here are a few ways to help.

Make it fun – There is much ongoing research on which exercises are best for PWP but I say the ones that you enjoy will be the ones you do the most. There are so things to choose from and you may need to try a few before you find something you like. Is there something you did when you were younger that you enjoyed and could start up again?

Make it convenient – Do things that are close in proximity to where you live or work. Research shows that the farther away your exercise place is, the less frequently you will go.

Figure out your personality – Are you the type of person who will show up more often when you are accountable to someone? Then find an exercise buddy. Aside from the workout, you could get a cup of coffee afterwards and get a twofer of exercise and a nice chat with a friend. Do you prefer having a set day and time each week or would rather have flexibility if your schedule differs a lot?

Make it a family activity – If you have kids or grand kids, doing exercise together is a great way to bond. How about an easy hike, or hit some balls at a golf range. Or while you’re waiting for your kids at their sports practice, instead of waiting on the sidelines, walk around the field or neighborhood.

Write it down – Keep track of your exercise and you’ll see your progress and accomplishments. When you look at your monthly calendar and see how many times you actually did exercise, it can encourage you to keep going.

Change it up – I get bored doing the same exercises all the time so I do a variety of things. Kickboxing one day a week, walk with someone another day, go to the gym, do yoga at home, swim, walk on the sand. It keeps it interesting and fresh.

Cut yourself some slack – When you miss a day, that’s ok. Just get back at it the next day. Sometimes we are too hard on ourselves and are always looking at what we didn’t do, instead of what we did accomplish.

Every little bit helps – You don’t always need a hardcore workout. It seems we have designed our world to eliminate physical movement in our day to day lives. In his book The Blue Zones, Dan Buettner talks about the places in the world where their populations live longer and healthier, and that one of the common traits they have is they incorporate exercise into their daily lives. So walk to the store if you can, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Ask your yard person to come every other time and you do the lawn on the alternate weeks. There are many ways to incorporate movement into our daily lives if we look for them.







Balance. It means many different things to those with PD. I try to exercise most days with either yoga, weight lifting, kickboxing, stretching, or gardening. It helps me both physically and mentally and I’m always on a quest to find the right balance of pushing myself a little to keep my symptoms in check while not over doing it so that I’m overly tired.

Balancing our daily activities. Some days you’re looking forward to spending time with family and friends and other times you need down time. Your meds are not working properly or one of your symptoms is particularly challenging and you need time to yourself. Both are important. I know for some it’s difficult to get out and do activities but it can lead to feeling isolated, so sometimes you have to just do it, even though you don’t feel like it, and once you start you end up enjoying it much more than you thought. Other times don’t push and relax with a good book or take a nap.

Balancing our mind. There are so many things I’m grateful for and live a blessed life, but having PD can be at times mentally exhausting. Your always being reminded of it throughout the day, dealing with pain and other symptoms. Meditation, a gratitude journal, practicing mindfulness and being present, all help me keep a positive attitude when things are challenging.

Balancing our medications. Boy is this a fun one. Trying to take enough of, and the right combination of medications to feel our best, without having too many side or adverse effects. Also trying to coordinate our meals with our meds, makes Parkies the world record holders in the number of times we look at our clocks each day.

And then of course there is our physical balance. Tai Chi, yoga, and many other exercises can help with our balance. Doing little exercises during the day like standing on one foot when you’re at your kitchen counter or waiting in line while running errands can be helpful. I’ve been doing this one for a while now so it’s automatic. Whenever I wait for an elevator or stand in line at the store, I do it without thinking about it. I call it my mini flamingo pose.

summer of brazil


We just returned from a fantastic trip to Brazil. My son Bronson lives in Rio so we started there and enjoyed many breathtaking sights, fabulous food, and experiences. It’s the perfect time to visit as it’s winter there and the low tourist season, so it felt like we had many places to ourselves.

In Rio we stayed in Ipanema a block from the gorgeous beach. Some of the favorite foods we ate were the Pao de Queijo which are chewy bread rolls with cheese in the middle, the Portuguese custard pastries called Pasteis de nata, and a fresh farmers cheese and guava paste they call Romeu e Julieta. And of course the Caiparinha’s were flowing.

From Rio, our next stop was Paraty, a charming small colonial seaside town where we took a small boat to along the coastline which was incredible. Then to the big city of Sao Paulo and the falls of Iguassu. The people throughout Brazil were very friendly and welcoming, the scenery is spectacular, and the food delicious.


When I travel, my PD symptoms seem to lessen. It’s probably the adrenaline of being on the trip, coupled with wanting to keep up with everyone that keeps my focus on other things. I did rest when I needed to and did my best to eat well which did help quite a bit. It was a memorable trip!

aloha friday


I hope your week went well. This weekend there is a PD support group meeting and I’ll be getting ready for our trip to Brazil. My current dose of carbidopa/levodopa is starting to wear off before my next scheduled dose, so I’m thinking of adding Entacapone to help extend it. If you have tried it, I would so appreciate it if you would email me with your experience. Thanks and enjoy your weekend.

~ Great, more good books to add to my TBR list. 14 Books You Wish You Could Read for the First Time Again.

~ This summer cocktail looks strange and interesting at the same time.

~ Watched The Accountant of Auschwitz on Netflix. Very interesting doc about one of the last living members of the SS who went on trial for war crimes. Also really enjoying Big Little Lies on HBO.

~ Books I’m currently reading - The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer, Heirs and Graces (The Royal Spyness Mysteries #7) by Rhys Bowen, Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz, My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams.

~ The photo above Sweet Potato and Black Bean Freezer Burritos if from Molly Yeh. What a great idea for an easy lunch or dinner. I’m making a batch this weekend.

~ Melissa Clark has a new food podcast called Weeknight Kitchen with Melissa Clark. Listen to the intro episode and try her tomato salad recipe. It is out of this world.

~ Interesting article The Biggest Wastes of Time We Regret When We Get Older.

~ “It is not happy people who are thankful, but thankful people who are happy.”

practicing happiness

Being happy can sometimes be challenging when you have a chronic illness. First there is the lack of dopamine and all the other physiological reasons. Then there are the daily challenges that can rack up, and zap our ability to be happy or positive. On those days, we may need to nudge ourselves in a more positive direction. It doesn’t always work and sometimes I’d rather have a short pity party, but then it’s time to get back on track.  

 Here are a few things that can zap happiness:

- Don’t “should” yourself all the time. I should do this, I should do that. It comes from a negative place. Say instead “I’d like to do this” or “I will do this”. And while we are at it, try not to “should” others in our lives.

- Comparing yourself to others. As FDR said, “comparison is the thief of joy”. It really doesn’t matter what others have done. Do what’s right for you. When you have a chronic illness, it can sometimes feel that everyone is whizzing past you in life. But it’s not a race. You do you.

- When you’re having a tough day, don’t pile on. It’s easy to start adding on other negative feelings or thoughts. Try to keep it to just that situation. You’ll get through it.

Practicing these things can create more happiness:

- Do little positive things each day. It’s not the grand gestures that make you happier, but the little daily habits that build on themselves.

- Exercise. It’s shown in studies that it not only helps us physically but can help reduce anxiety and depression.

- Spend time outdoors. Exercise, read, people watch, anything. Do it now while the weather is good.

- Socialize with others. Not only with friends and family, but casual relationships are also beneficial. So, chat with your postman each day or the cashier in your grocery store each time you see them.

- Write down two things each day that you’re grateful for. They can be the smallest things but write them down.

- If you want to keep it, give it away. Helping someone else can make you feel happier.