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Oct 20, 2017

When Self Care is More Than a Face Mask

Self care has become an incredibly trendy phrase in recent months, wouldn't you think?
And with good reason.
Human beings, especially women, SHOULD be taking more time to care for the person that cares for everyone and everything else. Themselves.

Women are hard-wired to care for everything else around them; be it inanimate objects, relationships, pets, careers, and other human beings.

I always thought self care meant making sure to try a new face mask or take a bubble bath every so often. To slow down and smell the damn roses you have been preening for months.

This year, I learned that self care means making myself a priority to stop pushing potentially bigger issues to the back-burner.

I had two sort of major scares pop up this year.

The first, when I found a lump in my breast. After months of putting off testing, hoping it would just go away, I finally sought treatment. After a painful biopsy and mammogram, the lump was indeed there, but benign.

Months later, after a trip to Madison on our boat, I started getting serious dizzy spells. Dizzy spells that doubled my vision and made it nearly impossible to drive. For weeks, I hoped the general floating feeling and fuzzy-brain feelings would go away. The symptoms would come and go, and I found that if my heart-rate jumped, or I was dealing with something that sparked my anxiety (which was constant), my symptoms would come back full-force. It became exhausting to keep trying to focus on busy patterns or be alert in crowded spaces, or even read sentences on a computer screen.

I went in to see the doctor, who gave me a thorough one-over complete with blood-work. Everything came back normal. Still desperate for an answer I headed in the following week for an MRI. The days in waiting for that procedure were tough. As much as I tried to keep a level-head, the worry and what-ifs would creep in every now and then. I wanted to cancel the appointment so bad, but I knew not knowing would be worse.

I asked to start a Z-pack after my labs came back normal...because what if all this fuzziness was just some sort of whacky sinus infection? I'm sure the doc thought it was a feeble attempt, but I was clinging to anything that would allow me to feel like a normal person again.

I finished the final pill the morning I headed in for my MRI. And to be honest, my head did feel a bit better. Not 100%...but a tad more tolerable, maybe...even if only a placebo effect.

You guys...have you ever had an MRI completed?
Not. Fun.
I knew I would be put in a metal hot dog bun for nearly an hour, but when the tech told me there would be loud banging, I thought she was joking.
That loud, repetitive banging, followed by deafening bouts of solid, loud humming was overwhelming. When the humming lasted for more then a couple minutes, I swear to Jebus it triggered whatever was going on in my head and forced a panic attack.

As someone who didn't know if she was claustrophobic or had serious anxiety problems...I sure as Hell found out that day. I am not claustrophobic. I do have anxiety.

I kept envisioning floating in the pool, with Burn, our Bulldog, lounging on the side. It was the only thing keeping me sane, because the country music in the background sure wasn't.

And the results? Not overly shocking.
The MRI came back normal. (praise the Lord!)

Shortly after the anxiety wore off from the MRI, I dealt with a sinus infection.

As my cold receded, I thought for sure...this was it.
It was over. I'll feel better in no time.

And I did, temporarily.
Because it was the weekend.

But the overall buzzing sensation?
Vision issues and panic attacks?
They came back with a fury.

I realized I had not been treating myself with the respect I deserve, with the self-care that is so important in life. I realized I had to stop putting myself on the back burner and take action.

It was more than a face mask and a glass of wine, that's for sure.
Stay tuned for what really happened.


Oct 13, 2017

Halloween Treats (without the hassle)

You folks know I'm a sucker for Halloween.
It is hands down my favorite Holiday.

And today is Friday the 13th, no less!!!

Anyways, I make a point to try an incorporate as much Halloween-goodness into the month as possible, without making myself crazy.

I have already been busy decorating a few areas of our home.
I love coming up with new ways to re-use all the decor I have collected over the years!

I also plan to make some treats for my office.
I found a couple quick recipes that you should totally try out.
They don't require ANY baking!

The first are these Mummy Pretzels.

Super simple to make.

Just break off some chunks of almond bark and microwave for 30 seconds at a time (stirring in between each round) until completely melted.
Dunk each mini-pretzel into the bark and lay on parchment paper to cool.
I melt more almond bark and pour into a ziploc baggy, snip a small corner of the bottom of the bag, and drizzle more almond bark over the cooled pretzels to give it the mummy look.
Before the bark is completely set, I place two edible googly eyes on the top "holes" of the pretzels.
Easy peasy!

Then I making these adorably spooky Bat Bites.

How to assemble:
The base is a mini Reese's peanut butter cup.
The wings are an Oreo Thin, cut in half. (I used a sharper knife to keep the edges crisp)
I affixed the wings and edible googly eyes onto the peanut butter cup using black piping gel.
Leave out to dry and you're all set!!

While I'm making these goodies, I like to have a Halloween-themed movie going in the background.
My go-to faves are Hocus Pocus, Beetlejuice, and The Nightmare Before Christmas.

What are your favorite activities during this ghoulish season?
Thanks for reading!! XO

Oct 6, 2017

Morning Bath + Body Products for Infertility

In my quest to max out whatever eggs I have left in the ole' baby-making reserve, I started reading It Starts With the Egg.

There is a lot of knowledge within these pages, and I spent many months incorporating as many lifestyle changes as I could to try and yield the best possible results.

If you missed my post on the supplements I started taking to help egg quality, check it out HERE.

To be honest, this goes far beyond me and my struggles with IVF.
I'm sure we could ALL benefit from applying a few less chemicals, right?

The good book says that among the many ingredients on the back of the bottles of goop we apply to ourselves daily, many of them aren't so good for us.

Additives like parabens and phthalates are among the worst.
Their descriptions don't necessarily sound intimidating, but the damage far outweighs their benefits.

In regards to male and female infertility, both of these chemicals cause major hormone imbalances within the body, that can lead to poor ovarian quality and reserve, uterine disruption, abnormal fetal development, and even cancer.

And the worst part? These words are disguised as less angry words like fragrance and additives.
Sneaky, right?

Prior to me seeking out better alternatives, I used common brand-name products like Pantene, Noxema, Suave, Oil of Olay, Jergens, Aveda (yes, even this one has the bad chemicals), and the list goes on.

And I threw them all out.

Over the last 3/4 of a year I have searched out cleaner brands that don't bother my skin (sensitive and oily, HELLO!) or break the bank.

Here is my morning routine!

EO Lotion
For years I used only Jergens brand (you know, the cherry-scented almond), but it always seemed like I had to keep re-applying. My skin would always feel dry and itchy. Enter this beauty. The texture is light and smooth and I swear, even in the dead of winter, I only have to apply to my body once!
Bonus that this product does NOT test on animals, and you smell like the beach!

I use this African Black soap option since it literally reads problem skin on the label. That's me. I have combo oily and dry skin. This moisturizer goes on after a shower and before make-up. It helps mattify my T-Zone and leaves my skin feeling hydrated but not weighed down. 

Body Soap
This soap really is magic. There are a million other uses for it besides just soap, but right now I am using it as a body wash and shampoo. The light rose hemp smell is fresh, and the bottle lasts for-e-ver. In the summertime I switch to the peppermint option to cool off!

Shea Moisture brand has a million options and I love so many of them. The 10 in 1 renewal system has been excellent for me. It rinses away clean without any weird leftover residue. 

For the size of this bottle, it sure does last a long time. Again, all good ingredients, makes my hair feel super clean and silky, and after about a week's worth of use, I swear it feels thicker, which I could ALWAYS use.

I was nervous to make the switch as I have been burned before when attempting to try another face wash. My skin is just too sensitive. But this wash is just amazing. It's gentle even when I get it in my eyes (which is a daily occurrence) and leaves my face feeling clean, but not too try. 
Plus, a little goes a loooong way which is a huge bonus considering it's pricier than my $3 Noxema. 

Who doesn't love the smell of grapefruit? It reminds me of summer and I'm pretty sure we could all use a little bit more of that right now. I have two bottles, one for each bathroom. I also use the lemon scented one in the kitchen.

I hope you find some of these products to be as great as I have found them. I feel more calmer in my skin, which in turn, makes me less bitchy. And I'm sure the world is a better place because of it. :)

Thanks for reading. XO