All Things Beauty · Green Witchery · Self Care

An Initiation into the Realm of Goddesses

{I know this is way outside of the normal things I write about in this space, but my heart woke up, and I felt this was important to talk about. The next post will return to the normal broadcasting, but all of this is behind the drive of this blog.}

Earth my body
Water my blood
Air my breath
Fire my spirit

These words are chanting around my head today as I settle back in to “normal” life after an incredible weekend spent with warrior goddesses. This is a side of myself I have not shared so far in this space and I think it’s time to stop hiding it.

I am an aspiring Green Witch and am finding the things that make my spirit sing. Paganism, worshiping and honoring the Goddesses, and learning about the things that are the roots of legends and myths are the things igniting a fire within me. I’m still wading through the information I was given this past weekend, but it was my initiation into the realm of Goddesses and I couldn’t be more thrilled and eager to learn more.

So what is a Green Witch? Well, basically it’s someone who works with the earth, their environment, the native plants and flowers around them, and creates meaningful things from those plants and flowers. (ssssuper basic description) I discovered a book called The Green Witch: your complete guide to the natural magic of herbs, flowers, essential oils, and more back in April. I started reading through it and realized that I had finally found a part of Paganism that was deeply speaking to me. I both like the singular nature of being a Green Witch. There are no high priests/priestesses in Green Witchery. There isn’t a leader you have to follow. It’s more of learning and using and respecting/honoring what you have around you. Learning about the natural states of your environment, using the plants and flowers available to you, and respecting and honoring Mother Earth (Gaia). This really calls to me because it’s that mindful living that I’m striving for.

This is the current running under my desire to clean out my makeup, skin care, food, and overall habits of toxicity. It’s the thing holding up my desire to honor and respect my own body, and then pass on that desire to those around me. It is what is feeding my longing for acknowledging and uplifting the natural beauty around me and IN me.

I spent about 30 hours with 17 of the most beautiful and inspiring and incredible women I have ever met. We went through initiation into the beauty of being Mermaids and were introduced/re-introduced to the Goddesses. We were given tools to help us stay grounded as we work through our traumas surrounding our femininity and our womb space. Being a childhood sexual abuse survivor, this was especially potent for me as I am deeply aware of massive trauma around my womb space.

We spent time cleansing our bodies and floating in a saltwater pool while experiencing Reiki to help activate the healing of our womb space and to bring back our power. Then returned to the pool the next day to move and shift in a Water Shakti dance.

We stretched and pushed our bodies and spirits through morning yoga out under the morning sunshine and refreshing mountain air. Then called upon the Goddesses to join us as we lifted each other up and rejoin our spirits.

I discovered multiple soul-sisters and am so excited to know them better and to finally, after years of longing for, found my family; my community; the place my soul/spirit can solely call home. There up on that mountain top, in the fresh air, surrounded by warrior goddesses, meeting the Goddesses who have been with me for so long, I found my heart opening and my body moving in ways I’ve never experienced before. I shed lots of tears as I felt the releasing of trauma tension I’ve been holding in for a long time. I was held as tears overflowed and space was held for the trauma; respecting and honoring the pain as it was released. I was honored to then hold space for those around me as their own traumas were released and I hope healing was then able to start.

We all came from different backgrounds, but a lot of us came from very similar places. We were all different, but those very differences were what brought us together. We learned about some herbs and flower essences that are good for calming anxiety, uplifting the spirit, and releasing/healing trauma responses.

I left the weekend feeling tired but also like I had received an immense boost to my drive forward. I learned a lot, gained a lot of answers to questions I had been asking, or wasn’t even aware I had asked. I have been given next steps to take as I move forward, as well as cautions against shrinking and going backwards. After the health struggles of the first half of this year, it is a huge breath of relief to feel like I can finally move forward instead of just barely being able to hold my head above water. I am excited to see what the next few months bring.

I am a red woman, a mermaid goddess, and an aspiring Green Witch.

Now, back to the regularly scheduled broadcasting!

All Things Beauty · Fashion · Self Care · That Curvy Girl

Capsule Wardrobe = Yes or No?

Hello Beauties!

We are closing in to my absolutely favorite time of the year; FALL!! I adore the cooler weather, the weather when I can comfortable wear jeans and a sweater, or start pulling out my leggings and longer tunic like tops. But as we get close to pulling out those fall/winter wardrobes, I wanted to take a minute to talk about capsule wardrobes.

Now, the people who know me know that I have thing against capsule wardrobes. I am equally for them and against them. But before I get in to my reasons, let’s talk about what a capsule wardrobe essentially is.

Capsule Wardrobe –

  • Focused on minimizing one’s wardrobe/closet
  • Typically neutral colors with the emphasis on mixing and matching 10x over
  • Includes accessories (hand bags, shoes, jewelry, outerwear)
  • Usually includes 25-50 pieces (clothing AND accessories…50+ if it’s a year round wardrobe)
  • Focused on having clothes and accessories you really love and actually wear

There are a lot articles praising the pros of a capsule wardrobe, and even one of the things that drew me to researching them was the idea of only having what you completely LOVE in your closet/wardrobe. One of the deepest, consistent ideologies that go with capsule wardrobes is this idea of using what you love and using it consistently. Basically, if you don’t like a piece of clothing or an accessory in your closet, get rid of it.

This mindset of the pin above is where I sit with capsule wardrobes. I don’t think it’s helpful at all to have a closet full of clothes that you never wear or are only keeping because you liked it once. Or even hanging on to clothes that most definitely do not fit or have utterly worn out. There are creative ways of keeping or hanging on to clothes that you adore but have worn out and are not longer wearable the way they are. But, I’ll do a post about that another time!

Minimizing your wardrobe down to pieces you consistently use and wear I think it a smart use of space. It certainly cuts down on time getting dressed in the morning if everything you see when you open your drawers or closet are pieces you love. But here’s where I differ with the idea of a capsule wardrobe.

Almost every sample capsule wardrobe I’ve seen in my research consists of pretty neutral toned clothes, and styles that just do not work for my body shape. Now, okay okay, the beauty of capsule wardrobes is that you can create a capsule wardrobe around pieces you love. But for people who need a visual of what a capsule wardrobe “should” look like, all they’re going to find are blacks, grays, and beige! I get that having a basis wardrobe of neutral colors means there is a lot of room to play and add in fun accessories, but what happens if the clothes you gravitate towards are brightly colored, not quickly so easily mixed and matched?

That’s where my gripe with capsule wardrobes begins and ends. Like I said above, I LOVE the concept of having a closet full of clothes that you adore and love to wear. That is such a good mindset to have. I find that if I love what I’m wearing then that only helps me feel good about myself and my appearance and helps towards having a positive outlook about your body. So how do you have a capsule wardrobe when your clothes just don’t quite fit the “standard” guidelines of a capsule wardrobe? Well here are some tips that I’ve come up with.

Maeve’s “Capsule Wardrobe” Tips 

  • Wear what you LOVE – if this means having super bright colors and patterns, then go for it!
  • But keep it limited to only pieces you wear consistently
  • If you haven’t worn a piece at all during that season, get rid of it
  • If you only wear one (or however many) piece at least once during a season, then hang on to it


Getting More Detailed – 

My current summer wardrobe consists of the following –

  • 3 pairs of shorts
  • 5-6 tees and tanks
  • 3 t-shirt/swing dresses
  • flip flops
  • sandals
  • hiking shoes
  • Converse
  • tennis shoes that I can work out in or just wear

I do technically have 3 other short sleeve tops, but those work better in the winter as they are thicker material and don’t work so well with bralettes, which is what I’m wearing about every day right now. All three pairs of shorts can be mixed and matched all of my shirts. One of my pairs of short is literally falling apart at the hem, so I’m trying to make those last until the end of summer. Almost every one of my t-shirts has a pattern and certainly doesn’t fit the standard capsule wardrobe “guidelines. But that is what works for me. I am still whittling down my wardrobe and getting rid of tops I’ve saved from the past two summers, and now they’re going in the give away pile. I am constantly tweaking things and re-evaluating if I still wear something or if I haven’t worn it enough to warrant keeping it.

I read a tip once that said if you saw that certain piece on the shelf or rack would you grab it? If the answer is no, get rid of it. If yes, then keep it!

So I guess, long story short, yes, I recommend and love the mentality of wearing only what you love and what you feel comfortable in. But no, do not feel so rigid with your wardrobe. “Break the rules” and have those bright colors if they make you happy, or stick with the neutrals if those make you feel safe! Either way, whether capsule wardrobes are for you or not, I do strongly recommend going – at whatever rate is comfortable with you – through your closet and drawers and getting rid of the pieces that make you feel bleh, uncomfortable, or just never get worn. Not only is that a cathartic exercise, it also helps you see what exactly you like to wear and gives you the knowledge that you have clothes that you LOVE to wear.

Cheers, Beauties! I’ll see you next week.

 

All Things Beauty · Fashion · Products · Self Care · That Curvy Girl

Bralettes – My latest *COMFORT* obsession

Hello Beauties,

Ugh, I just can’t seem to keep up with posting. This past break hasn’t meant bad things though. I have been doing fairly well lately and the month of July was actually “crisis” free with my health. Considering every other month this year has contained at least one crisis with my health, it was a welcome break.

I’m going to do double posts today because there is something I want to write about that has been on my mind for a while and I think I’m at a place now where I can comfortably write about it. But first, let’s talk BRALETTES!

When I was a young budding woman, I was so desperate to having bigger breasts, that I almost exclusively wore push-up/padded underwire bras. I picked out and tried on and bought all of my own bras, and because of that, ended up wearing the wrong size for many years. However, when I had my first child, nursing changed things a lot. And that’s when I found out that I had not only been wearing the wrong bra size, my bra size had also changed! I used to wear a 36B, turns out I’m a 34D, and was a DD when I was nursing the first time around. Second time, second kid, I stayed consistently a 34D. Even after having gone through the post-nursing deflation, I’m still a on-the-smaller-side 34D. One of the things I worried about as a young girl, was having even a smidgen of a shadow of a nipple poking through my bra. I will not elaborate on this, but I am a childhood sexual abuse survivor, and from a very young age, breasts, the female body, was over-sexualized for me and not feeling full “protected” around my chest made me feel not safe.

This was part of why I felt like I had to look bigger “up top” than I really was. It was difficult for me to accept my body shape and size and it’s only been in the past three-ish years that I have been able to get to a place where I not only am okay with the shape and size of my body, but I actually have a decent relationship with my own skin.

With the addition of several more chronic illnesses, having dealt with significant rib pain the past 4 1/2 years, I have found myself surprisingly drifting away from underwire bras. Which, okay let me see if I can get the significance of this across – as a young girl, and most of my current adult life, I have felt a deep drive to make sure that my breasts look big, or at least bigger than they possibly/probably are. So to feel 100% comfortable NOT wearing an underwire/push-up bra is kind of a really big deal. My mindset has shifted, and for the past year and a half, my sole focus on my body has been comfort; still adoring and loving staying fashionable, but comfort is definitely key.

I went to visit a friend in April and she mentioned that she wears just bralettes now. I was still wearing underwire bras, but the idea of wearing bralettes began to get more and more appealing. I had my gallbladder removed 2 1/2 years ago but my ribs still both me on the right hand side. I strongly suspect my endometriosis has crawled up there, but eh that’s a topic for another time.

Anyway, since April I have kept my eyes peeled for bralette sales and specifically kept a look out for padded bralettes. I absolutely cannot do unpadded. Which is a bit annoying since there are some gorgeous UNpadded bralettes out there! I have managed to find some really good and comfortable bralettes. I don’t believe I’ve spent more than $15 on one pair, most $10 or less (or even for a few, $5 and less). I used to feel really uncomfortable about having any bra lines showing through my shirt, but one of the things I really adore about the bralettes I have, is most have gorgeous lacy straps, and when those show around my neckline I feel like it doesn’t matter if a texture shows through my shirt.

Really quickly though before I start sharing links, there is something super annoying about sharing my joy of bralettes with you. Bralettes are made with A-C (and some D’s) cups in mind. Anyone really bigger than a D/DD will find bralettes aren’t supportive enough. This is really frustrating to me because I’d love for all of my friends to thoroughly enjoy the comfort I’ve discovered in bralettes. So keeping that in mind, I am always on the look out for a supportive AND pretty bralette for the bigger gals. 

Okay, so! Here are links and references for bralettes I’ve found that are super comfortable, easy to wear, and decently priced.

Let’s look at American Eagle Aerie first. I have to say I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see some of Aerie’s latest ad campaigns. I’m glad to see more body types and presentations being shown in their ads. That being said, I kind of really hate AE’s clothes. I feel like their jean sizes are getting smaller and smaller. BBbbuuuttt, that’s a gripe for another time! I have had at least one Aerie bra in my drawer at almost all times. I really liked some of their older styles, but lately, I did get two bralettes and it was worth it grabbing them while they were on sale!

 

Aerie Bralettes (all images from American Eagle ae.com and all prices current of post time)

Product Image   Aerie Boho Padded Bralette – on sale for $17.97

(there are consistently deal codes, so I’d recommend waiting for one of those codes to show up)

 

Product Image    Aerie Lace Racerback Bralette – on sale for $14.97

– uhm, so the model wearing this one is definitely a much larger size than a C or D cup!! This makes me excited! I would love to hear if any of my friends who do not fit a typical bralette size can fit comfortably in this particular bra!

 

Image for the product   Aerie Softest Lace Classic Bralette – on sale for $13.77

– this one is actually NOT padded, but I happened to have extra removable cups I wasn’t using and cut two small slits on the lining of this bra and just wear it with cups. The cups do shift funny since the bra wasn’t made with removable cups, but I’m going to try to stitch something in place to keep the cups where they need to. BUT! I will say that this bra in particular is incredibly soft and comfortable. I really like that it is convertible – i.e. regular straight straps can be turned in to an “x” back.

 

Here’s the link to all of Aerie’s bralettes! I am loving the selection, and the one thing about AE or Aerie bras, they are made to last…at least for more than a year!

 

Target Bralettes(all images from Target.com and all prices current of post time)

   Xhilaration Longline Bralette – on clearance for $11 (but I did see several IN STORE for $4-5)

– I have this bra in a navy blue (found at a thrift store) and the mint. This bralette is very comfortable, but the only thing that can get annoying is because I’m short-waisted, the longline part rolls up when I wear it. Not enough for me to not want to wear the bra, but enough that I adjust the bra several times during the day if it bothers me.

 

  Gilligan & O’Malley Lack Back bralette – $14.99

– I do not have this bra right now, but I love the comfort/sleep bra look of it. It is padded, and looks like it would fit smoothly under a top.

 

  Gilligan & O’Malley Nursing Bralette – $16.99

– I will never need a nursing bra again, but for my nursing mama friends, I have LOVED Gilligan & O’Malley nursing bras in the past!!!

 

  Xhilaration Push-up Racerback Lace Bralette – $12.99 with a 15% coupon code for online and cartwheel code in store

– I have this bralette in a gray and I should have gotten a Large instead of a Medium. It just doesn’t fit as well as my other bras. It is still comfortable, but I also feel like if I were to get a bigger size it would fit in the cup area, but the band would be way too loose.

Here’s a link to all of Target’s bralettes 

 

Aeropostale Bralettes(all images from aeropostale.com and all prices current of post time)

LLD Classic Lace Bralette  LLD Classic Lace Bralette – $12.00

– this bra runs small and it about the same quality as the Aerie bralettes

 LLD Geo Lace Racerback Bralette – $24.50

– I didn’t get this bra, but one similar to it, again, I’d say they run small, but are quite comfortable. Also, I’d say this isn’t worth spending almost $25 on. Wait till it’s on sale.

Here’s the link to all of Aeropostale’s Bralettes 

Those are all of the bras I either own, or have tried on in store. I know there are a few other that are considered “cult favorites” but when I realized that first of all, they’re not padded, and they’re pricey, I didn’t want to share a link to those. I am all about affordable fashion and paying over $30 for a bra that I wouldn’t even be comfortable in is not worth it. Let me know what you all think, or if you have an obscure place to get bras and would like to share!

**This post may contain affiliate links. This means I get a percentage of whatever you purchase through a link I’ve posted at no extra cost to you. I use affiliate links to help a little with keeping this blog up and running. 

Chronic Illnesses · Endometriosis · Fibromylagia · Hypothyroidism · IBS · Self Care

Surgery #5 and other things

Hello Beauties,

I went through my fifth surgery yesterday morning. When I had another ovarian cyst a few weeks ago, I decided it was time to take a drastic measure; I went in for an endometrial ablation. Which means that the lining of my uterus was completely burned away, and my iud could be removed. My strong suspicion was that my iud was causing the cysts, especially since one of the biggest potential side effects of the iud I had was cysts. I had never had any issues with my first iud several years ago. And I really only had the iud for period management. So the only way I was okay with getting the iud removed was doing something (the ablation) that would manage periods. I wasn’t willing to keep risking my only remaining ovary with getting more cysts.

This was the third surgery I’ve been put under general anesthesia. The second one I didn’t wake up extremely nauseated from or in a lot of pain. I am hoping hoping this ablation will work and I won’t bleed during periods.

A week and a half ago, I hit a really really bad place. It was the closest I’ve come to being suicidal in years. The thing with having multiple interconnected chronic illnesses is that what may work for calming one illness down may cause another one of the illnesses to flare back up. It’s a battle of finding some sort of balance with managing all of my illnesses. I deeply hope that now that my iud is out, my body will have one less thing to deal with that contains foreign matter.

Hitting that low low place was really hard for me. Namely because I felt so alone and defeated. It was that feeling of rushing down a slide, knowing there’s a huge pit of mud at the bottom, and desperately trying to find something to grab on to to stop the falling. I could see what was coming, I knew how I had gotten to such a bad place, but I also didn’t feel like any of my catching mechanisms were kicking in.

Dealing with a singular chronic illness is hard, it’s seriously sucks. Dealing with multiple chronic illnesses is excruciating. Chronic means long term, long lasting, and even in some definitions, something that lasts for longer than 6 months (which, hahahaha, I’ve been dealing with chronic illnesses for over a decade now). Depression and anxiety are constant bedfellows with chronic illness. Not only that, there aren’t many people who can even relate or understand what it’s like to fight to get out of bed every morning, and dread going to bed at night knowing there’s a pretty high chance you won’t fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning. Oh and what about flare ups?! Battling chronic illnesses means that was may have been previously dependable is no longer reliable.

I hate making plans and then having to cancel last minute because of a damn flare up. This happens more than I’d like to admit. For those who are on the receiving end of the cancellations, understand it isn’t our fault, it’s our bodies deciding to take over and make our day hellish. This doesn’t mean we, those with chronic illnesses, don’t want to be invited or asked out for a girls’ (friends’) day out. Fighting with chronic illnesses is not something we can take a break from. We are literally at war with and for our bodies. Having people come alongside us and give us a boost on the bad days really does help.

Friendships falter and shift and end when chronic illnesses rear their ugly heads. Not a lot of people can handle hearing someone say over and over “no, I’m not okay.” It’s easier to leave the ill person in the dust and try to forget them. Those of us with chronic illnesses stop even answering the “how are you” questions. It is easier for us to tell lies than tell the truth and risk losing that friendship. That’s the thing with invisible illnesses – it’s hard for people to believe there is anything even wrong when the illness is not “visible.”

Coming out of my fifth surgery yesterday felt like my normal. I know that’s not how it should be. Having surgeries should not be normal. But I am hoping that this surgery will mean one more step towards getting my body to a manageable and mostly healthy place. I am waiting for labs to come back too, as I got 8 vials of blood drawn a week ago. I may have inadvertently messed those labs up. Whenever I’m getting labs done, I usually try to stop taking all of my supplements a few days before, and then stop using my progesterone cream the evening before getting labs done. This time, well, I forgot to stop taking my meds/supplements, and even put on progesterone cream the morning of getting labs done. I really really hope that doesn’t screw up the results.

The past 6 months has consisted of very careful counting of my spoons every day. Even still, that hasn’t been enough to keep me from falling down. My therapist mentioned a month ago that she felt like I was just maintaining and wasn’t feeling normal life ups and downs. Maintaining is my way of coping when things are really bad. Having four more chronic illnesses added to my list in the past two months has been absolutely hellish. I’ve faced a lot of anger because I’ve been dealing with these things for years, and my parents did nothing, and in fact, they sabotaged any doctor’s visits I had. I’ve been allowing myself to feel more, and I think that’s part of what hit me down so low the other week. I was finally letting myself feel the suffocating heaviness of my illnesses. Since then I’ve been up to high highs and down to low lows. Which yay? I’m feeling? I found my childhood medical records and found a lot of evidence that backs up why I’m so sick in present day. It was validating but also made me feel really sad.

Anyway, sorry this is a heavy post. My mind hasn’t been in the best place lately and I just needed to get these things out. Thanks for reading.

 

Chronic Illnesses · Endometriosis · Fibromylagia · Hypothyroidism · IBS · Self Care

5 Way I Cope Through The Flare-up Days

Hello Beauties,

I am feeling a little bit better today, more so because I have a game plan than my body condition is improving. Thus is what life is like living with chronic illnesses; the body rarely changes for the better, but outside circumstances can make you “feel” better.

I want to talk a little about the things I use, rely on, or do for coping through the really hard days/weeks. I used to use comfort as the one thing I went to when my body was screaming at me. But with having significant and un-diagnosed food intolerances that always made food really unsatisfactory. Besides, it usually made me feel worse, but I didn’t want to admit that. I’ve already talked about a few clothing choices for when I’m having flare ups, so this post is going to deal with some of the other coping mechanisms I use.

  • Yoga –I have been mostly consistently practicing yoga for roughly 6 years now. This is most definitely NOT a one size fits all practice for those with chronic illnesses. When I was diagnosed with Fibro 9 1/2 years ago, I blindly accepted my fate of always being in pain and never having any energy. I never did any research about what options I may have for *MANAGING* (<– that’s a key word there…more on that later) my pain and energy levels. When I started my yoga practice, I was amazed that within a week of doing yoga almost every day, I had gained a big increase in flexibility and my back didn’t hurt as much. It wasn’t until about 4 years ago during my first pregnancy that I really started consistently practicing yoga. I will however be the first to admit that on bad flare up days/weeks, I do not pull out my yoga mat and practice. When everything is flaring up, like things have been the past two weeks, my yoga practice is one of the first things to go. So please don’t take this as me saying you HAVE to do yoga. This is merely something I’ve used to manage my day to day pain and energy levels. I can do another post later on about what specific poses I’ve found helpful and why. But for now, I’ll just say I do yoga roughly 3x a week, and every yoga session includes some bit of core work.

 

  • Vitamins/Supplements –I kind of poo-pooed vitamins or supplements all of my childhood and early teens. I remember trying to take vitamin D and magnesium at one point, but I must not have been taking the right amount because I felt worse than before I had started taking the vitamins. I started taking a good prenatal vitamin 6 years ago and honestly even though I’m done having kids, I’m still take the exact same vitamin. Only, I’ve added a ton of other supplements now. I’ve noticed that most people who struggle with chronic illnesses have some sort of vitamin deficiency or multiple deficiencies. When the body is fighting constant inflammation then the cortisol levels are almost constantly raised. When this happens, the adrenal glands get drained and don’t do what they’re supposed to.**BIG NOTE** Have your doctor test for deficiencies. There are certain vitamins that those with hypothyroidism seem to be lacking, but not everyone’s body works the same way. So if you want to add vitamins and supplements into your daily routine, start with a multi-vitamin (the natural the better) and then work with your doctor to figure out what other supplements may be helpful for you.

 

  • Revamping My Diet –My first sign that something was wrong with how my body reacted to food was suddenly being hit with intense non-stop nausea for more than a month when I was about 14. Shortly after that I tried to eat a yogurt and spent the next hour huddled in the bathroom feeling like my entire gut was being ripped to shredded. When we got married, my hubby and I were a penny-pinching nanny and college student and we got the best food we could afford and I know that didn’t help my gut at all. But that was all we could do! and I don’t regret that time at all. Three years ago when I found out about my gallbladder rapidly deteriorating, my primary care told me to go gluten free; GF and as anti-inflammatory I could manage. I lost 10 pounds within the first week of eating strictly GF. I firmly believe all of that weight was all inflammation. Even after two years of eating GF, I still wasn’t feeling good, food was still an issue, and leading up to my surgery three months ago, almost every single thing I ate was making me sick (i.e. running to the bathroom with painful diarrhea after every meal). So in March I decided to cut out all grains and switch to a mostly Ketogenic diet. This was out of desperation due to how everything I ate made me sick and food was 100% the enemy at that point. I also switched because I found a good bit of studies and research papers talking about how Keto can help with IBS. Three months of keto has made a huge difference and I am starting to actually like food again, which is kind of huge. Because I’ve done so much work with managing what I’m eating and being strict about what I eat, my gut/stomach aren’t usually contributing to the bad flare up days. Even still, on those bad days, I will get even more strict with what I eat, simply meaning, I basically eliminate anything that could possibly contribute to the pain.So if you have chronic inflammation from your chronic illnesses, then consider looking into what you’re eating and maybe even try an elimination diet (removing foods, then slowly adding things back in to see if you react). I was never a huge supporter of diet changes due to food intolerances…that is until I realized how many things made me sick and I got the point where I just wanted a break from everything making me sick.

 

  • The Comfort Things –Ahhh, comfort. Although, those of you who deal with daily pain know that comfort with chronic illnesses is often hard to come by. My list of the things I turn to for comfort isn’t very long, and it changes. Right now, I have two pairs of shorts that leave minimal pressure on my abdomen and several t-shirt dresses that I’ve been pulling out more often now. Comfort also looks like having cold water in my water bottle that I constantly have with me, and curling up in front of the couch (yes, not on the couch) and binge watching a favorite show while the boys nap or have quiet times. Comfort looks like the fuzzy blanket I sleep with bunched up in front of me in bed. That fuzzy blanket has been a constant companion for nigh on 7 years now. My body physically sighs with relief whenever I curl up with that blanket. Let me stop right here though and say something I think is really important; there is NO SHAME in binge watching tv shows or movies because you can barely function. There is no shame and no guilt for barely being able to get a meal made because your energy levels are so low you didn’t even have enough spoons to get out of the shower this morning. There is no shame or guilt allowed for when you are so sick and so uncomfortable that bed is the only place that is only just tolerable. When it comes to chronic illnesses of ANY KIND, it is extremely important to create space and give grace to yourself to allow your body to rest. This means surrounding yourself with the things that bring you any kind of comfort that means you can rest or at least try to rest. I promise I’ll get to a spoon’s theory post sometime soon-ish, but for now, those with chronic illnesses, you know what it means to have to count spoons. Anything comfort means not using more than 1/2-1 spoon.

 

  • Distractions –Just after I had my first (who btw is turning 4 years old today!!!!) I started dealing with significant nursing aversion. I mean huge rushes of nausea and anxiety whenever I sat down to nurse him. The ONLY thing that helped at all with that was immediately pulling out my phone and scrolling through Pinterest. There’s a reason I have about 11.5K pins. On really bad pain days, almost nothing can be a distraction because high pain = severe nausea for me and that usually turns into a migraine. But Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, games on your smart phone, are all legit distractions. I have felt guilty in the past with spending so much time on my phone, but some days, that’s all I can do between feeding my munchkins their meals, making sure they’re happy and safe and then curling up in a corner to wait for a headache to past.

 

  • BONUS! Research – Research is overwhelming. Especially when you just have no idea what to research. I use and have used research in the past to help me understand something I’m dealing with. Whether it be the right types of supplements recommended for my diagnoses, or understanding the right kind of questions to ask my doctors when trying to get them to take me seriously. This is one of the reasons I like Pinterest so much; researching on Pinterest adds an extra layer of focus to the research.

These are just a few of the ways I work through bad days/weeks. And honestly, all of these go out the window if I’m having such a bad day or week and nothing seems to help or make me feel better. These are just the options I tend towards on the mild pain days.

What are some of the things that make you feel comfortable or are able to manage flare ups better?

All Things Beauty · Fashion · Self Care · That Curvy Girl

For All That Is Curvy – Jumpsuits, A-line, and Pencils

Hello Beauties!

Well, I think I have discovered something to keep me consistently blogging! Fashion! I adore fashion, it is something that makes me feel alive, and I love talking about it and sharing the things that have made dressing my body shape easier.

Alright, so before I jump in to some of the things I’ve recently came to a significant conclusion on, I want to share my review on the jumpsuit I just got! I purchased it off of a website called Zaful.com. I will say that the sizing is Asian sizing, so I would highly recommend paying attention to the measurements for each size.

 

 

I kept seeing this jumpsuit on my suggested pins on Pinterest. Every time I saw it pass by on my feed, I got this little starry-eyed feeling creep up in my chest. I LOVE the colors and style, but every time I went to click on the link I’d see that it was a jumpsuit. I have never owned a romper or jumpsuit, but decided to take the plunge with this one. As with several things I’ve gotten online before, this will require a few modifications, but for once I know exactly how I want to modify it and I just have to go get the extra material and things I need.

I am so thrilled with this outfit! The only thing I don’t like is that the back has this smocked elastic band at the top of the “pants.” That means it is easy to pull on, but there’s a lot of excess material there, and if it’s going to show off my butt, then it needs to be fitted! I’m planning on cutting off that elastic band, getting it fitted, putting in a zipper, and a wide black band at the top instead of the elastic. Being a seamstress, this is an “easy” project, and I know exactly what I want to do. I’m really excited because besides the extra material at the back, it fits really well and actually feels comfortable!

There is this weird stigma of sorts against women who are curvy and jumpsuits or rompers. Like for some reason, if a person has a wide butt and hips (hello, it me) and is short or wider than they are tall, then they shouldn’t wear rompers or jumpsuits. For some reason “no one wants to see your fat or cellulite.” Well, I say screw society’s ideas! Show your curves! Show your dimples! Or heck, cover them up if that makes you more comfortable. But please? Do what really makes you happy and love your own skin? Please don’t cover up if you’re only doing that because that’s what the culture around you says is best.  If there is something you have always wanted to try but have never felt brave enough to do so, here’s my hand, hold it, and you go for it! Me ordering this jumpsuit is a perfect example of just going for something I adored and have always wanted to try. You’ll hear me big a HUGE advocate for wearing whatever you want to wear.

Okay, so this space is not the place for me to talk about my past, but one of the things that still sticks with me today is having spent many years wearing long skirts and dresses. To call them fashionable would be a massive overstatement. They were long denim skirts, very a-line, swishy, and very “modest.” When I was my thinnest (thanks to constant severely high levels of stress) I had a very thin waist, but could never hide or get rid of my hips and butt. Do you know how hard it is to dress a curvaceous butt and hide its shape?! Nearly impossible to do so. Because of those years of wearing loose and non-form fitting skirts and dresses, I still find it hard to wear dresses and skirts in the present day. I went through a period of only wearing pencil skirts and sheath dresses, but even though were still triggering. I put a lot of effort into what I wear because I know that if I am comfortable, I like the garment, and it feels good, then I will feel better. So if I feel like something reminds me of the days that were my own personal hell, then I can never touch that garment again.

However! I believe I have found a work-around. But first, can we talk about something? Inner Thigh Chafing?!

This may be one of the biggest reasons I haven’t worn dresses or skirts over the past 10 years (outside of the association with my past). I would try to wear a dress or skirt in the past and would end up with painfully red and inflamed inner thighs because of that darn chafing. And let me tell you, ingrown hairs in that area are totally a thing! And chafing only makes ingrown hair and blisters even worse. So obvious solution, never wear dresses and skirts, right? Well, kind of wrong. The past two years I’ve done some experimenting with shaving and waxing and hair removal creams. I have discovered that if I wax my inner thighs, then I don’t get ingrown hairs and the chafing is significantly decreased. I purposefully don’t wax until I have plenty of hair for the wax strips to grip. Too much personal information? Oh well, it is so difficult to find solutions for this problem. Trust me, I’ve spent hours trying to find anything that would help.

I personally prefer Veet Wax strips (commissioned link).


It’s quick, easy, a little painful (not really though…but then I do have a pretty high pain tolerance…), and when the hair grows back in, it’s softer, thinner, and not prickly at all. And for something like me who has a pretty significant sensory intolerance, not being prickly or feeling like I want to crawl out of my skin as hair grows back in is a big deal.

Alright now that that is out of the way, let’s move on!

Having done the whole shapeless, unfashionable dresses and skirts, and slim fitting, form fitting skirts and dresses, I think I’ve found a middle ground; swing dresses. At least for the summer, t-shirt dresses are the perfect companion to the hotter weather. I have actually been wearing my two dresses more and more frequently. With my tip of waxing my thighs instead of shaving (because yay dark hair) I have discovered that wearing a dress or skirt that is looser around my legs and hips means that a. I don’t sweat at much and b. I have a significantly less amount of chafing. Also, big plus! The swing style dress conveniently hides my uncomfortably swollen abdomen from the antibiotics and hormonal imbalance that I’m dealing with right now.

 

Here’s the thing, I ADORE curvy beings in pencil skirts or sheath dresses. I think those styles were made for those of us with curvy bodies. But, they just aren’t very conducive for summer wear! At least that’s what I’ve found so far. So for the summer, it’ll be swing and t-shirt dresses when I want to just throw something one. Here are a few swing and t-shirt dresses on Amazon that are rated really well and decently priced!

BELAROI Womens Comfy Swing Tunic Short Sleeve Solid T-shirt Dress – commissioned link click on picture)

levaca Women’s Scoop Neck Pockets High Low Pleated Loose Swing Casual Midi Dress – commissioned link click on picture – this one has pockets!!!

Viishow Women’s Swing Dress Casual Loose T-Shirt Dress – commissioned link click on picture


Well, I’m going to wrap up this post and give myself a congratulatory pat on the back for having written it through an episode of antibiotics induced nausea. Gosh, I really hate that stuff.

**This post may contain affiliate links. This means I get a percentage of whatever you purchase through a link I’ve posted at no extra cost to you. I use affiliate links to help a little with keeping this blog up and running. 

All Things Beauty · Fashion · Products · Self Care · That Curvy Girl

For All That Is Curvy – Starting out with Undertones

Hello Beauties!

Thank you so much for the response I got on yesterday’s post! Like I said yesterday, I have gotten so tired of trying to find fashion bloggers whose style I find inspiring. Not that I find the fashion bloggers I follow uninspiring, but they aren’t even close to my size. There is nothing quite so frustrating and disappointing than adoring a certain style only to find out that it is so not a style that works with your body type.

Same goes for colors! I am a huge advocate of knowing your undertones (warm, cool, neutral) and knowing what colors compliment YOU. This is not me saying you can *only*  wear the colors that go with your physical attributes. I think there is certainly merit to wearing the colors that make you happiest and feel the most alive, even if that means a wardrobe full of grays and blacks. That is 100% okay and if that makes you feel the most like yourself, then by all means do it! But, may I put a little bug in your ear? Something to think about? Do a little research and figure out the colors that line up with your undertones. Consider it an experiment and in no way something you absolutely have to stick with.

I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered something called Dressing Your Truth. Yeah, yeah, I know, sounds super cheesy. However, their approach to colors and clothes and makeup is rather different. The founder of DYT uses a method similar to personality tests and she calls them energy types. There are 4 energy types, but each type has one of the other three types as a sub type. From what I recall of the tests that I went through to find my own type, I don’t believe a lot of consideration is given to undertones. And I was a bit surprised by some of the makeovers (and not in a good way). Honestly, I think it’s because of my energy type and personality. I don’t like super bright colors, I prefer to be a bit more in the background, and some of the makeovers on the DYT website are very very bright. But I think those actually matched the person who was made over. I personally believe that one’s fashion, beauty, style is reflective of a whole person, as cliche as this is, inside and outside. How you feel about your body and yourself as a whole being includes what you wear and how you feel in your clothes.

Okay, now, let’s move in to undertones. This is important, especially if you’re into wearing any colors other neutrals. Every person’s skin has an undertone, whether those be warm, cool, or neutral*, one of those three is present. Frankly, I think undertones when it comes to fashion and ESPECIALLY makeup because if you don’t have the right undertones in your makeup then you can looked very washed out and sick. I’m sure this seems overwhelming, so here are two examples of what I mean when I reference undertones.

Here’s a better visual of the colors the pin above is referencing

The veins on my wrists are quite prominent, especially when my carpal tunnel is flaring up. The colors of my veins tend more towards neutral, but I believe I’m halfway between cool and neutral undertones. This means that I gravitate towards colors that have blue and purple-ish tones to them. Please know that matching undertones is something that gets easier over time. I’ve been matching undertones of fashion and makeup items for years and even still I have trouble at times trying to see the undertone of a certain item.

Here’s an example of cool and warm undertoned colors

See how the warm shades have a more yellow undertone to them? I know this is only a small sampling of colors, but I don’t want to get in to seasons of colors! That’s a whole other ballgame, still fits under the cool or warm undertones category, I just feel it complicates things.

I hope this is simple enough. I know it can certainly feel overwhelming trying to add color to your wardrobe. I am speaking as one who had mainly blues, blacks, and grays in my wardrobe for a long time. When I added color,  deep cool colors in particular, I discovered an entirely new love of fashion. There are a few outfits I have that make me feel refreshed and awake merely because of the colors. Colors and how the clothes fit.

Next post I’m going to review the amazing jumpsuit I just got and talk about some of the things I’ve found work best for curvy fashion bottoms (skirts, dresses, pants, shorts…).

* quick note about neutral undertones. Neutral is basically the free for all undertone. If you are neutral, you can pick and choose colors that are on the cool side AND the warm side. However, take my own undertones as an example, as I am what I’d call a cool neutral, I tend to stay away from warmer tones. 

All Things Beauty · Chronic Illnesses · Curly Curls · Fashion · Self Care

Brain Dump, Counting Spoons, Body Image, & Strep Throat

Hello Beauties!

Ugh, so life have been…a whirlwind to put it lightly. We were in Maryland two weeks ago, came back home to our A/C being broken, and the apartment complex not being able to get it fixed right way (took an entire week of 80 degree weather, no A/C, and uncomfortable children), then both my boys got sick, my spouse got sick (possibly allergies??), and then I came down with strep throat and an absolutely nasty cold (possibly sinusitis?). I have had so many fantastic blog post ideas and things that I want to do with Chronically Curly, but have just not been able to find the energy to make them happen. But, here’s a brain dump on something that has been at the back of my mind like a busy bumblebee for the past few months.

I follow several fashion insta-bloggers (women who post a lot of affiliate/commissioned links to fashion items, skin care, and makeup that they use or have been given to test) on Instagram and a few on Facebook. I have found several good deals through those women, but there is something about them that is constantly slightly irritating. It has nothing to do with the women themselves, but more so the fact that I don’t feel like I can really relate to them. Almost every single one of the fashion insta-bloggers I follow are a size 4 or smaller. Let me make something abundantly clear here though before I move on.

I AM NOT SKINNY SHAMING AT ALL. I THINK THESE WOMEN ARE DOING AN AMAZING JOB LOVING THEIR BODIES AND SHARING DEALS AND FAVORITE OUTFITS AND ITEMS TO THEIR FOLLOWERS. 

But, I am not a size 4, or 2, or even 6. I am a curvy 10, sometimes 12 depending on the brand and style. I am short, I have wide hips (my hips usually measure at 41″ around at the thickest part), and I love my body and am learning to take care of it more and more with each passing day. I struggle to relate to these fashion bloggers because half the clothes or fashion items they share or find deals on, I can’t wear merely because of the shape and size of my body. I have looked around for fashion bloggers who are more my size and shape, and quite frankly, those are very difficult to find. Almost non-existent. There is something I struggle with, and it has nothing to do with body image, I’m sure of it. I struggle with constantly scanning crowds or comparing friends around me, looking for someone who looks and is shaped like me. It’s a desire to have a role-model and stems out of never having had one when I was a young girl.

I was made fun of how I was/am shaped by my mother when I was growing up. She always made me feel ashamed of my body, and like I couldn’t love my curvaceous rear end and wide hips, and thick calves. There were multiple times I was so excited about an outfit I had found at the thrift store, went in to show my mother, and she made some snide comment about how she “guess it looks okay.” I have struggled with almost daily nausea for most of my childhood through current adulthood, I have struggled with losing a ton of weight to gaining weight because I was finally “free” of my parents’ abuse, to losing weight again, to gaining weight and then not being able to lose anything. I have often felt like I’m in a battle against my body, and felt like my body has betrayed me over and over again. I have felt completely disconnected from my body and felt like my body was no longer my own. None of these things are helpful for having a “positive body image.” All of these things means I’ve had to fight that much harder just to say I even LIKED my own body.

 

This is why fashion is so important to me. On the days when I’m not feeling well, feeling comfortable in not only my own skin BUT also my clothes is crucial. When I like what I am wearing, I feel comfortable, I feel like my clothes are a second skin, then I feel like I have the mental and physical strength and energy to face the day. But if what I’m wearing does not fit well, does not encourage or strengthen the bond I have with my body, then I spend my day shifting, pulling, and tugging on my clothes, and there goes all of my spoons or energy for the day. Think of it like this, when I feel like I look good and adore the way I look on the outside, it makes the pain, illnesses, and discomfort on the inside of my body that much more manageable.

Comfortable, affordable, cute, fashionable, and complimentary colored clothes are things I am not willing to compromise on. Living with multiple chronic illnesses means that my day to day life involves daily pain and discomfort and exhaustion. If wearing things I love and I think look good on me helps, then by all means I’ll do it! And now circling back to the fashion bloggers I follow, I love using their feeds as inspiration for discovering new styles and colors that I have maybe never tried before. Such as this adorable jumpsuit that should be arriving here tomorrow.

However, if I am struggling to relate to half of the styles they share because I know those things will simply not fit on my curvy thick body, it starts becoming depressing and discouraging.
Sooo, here’s what I want to do. I want to try to incorporate more fashion ideas for those who are the short/tall/wide curvy types. I’m sure there are other beings out there feeling the same frustration I am and I’d like to use this space here to give fashion tips and share deals I find on things that fit and work better for curvy body types. Once again, I am not skinny shaming, not at all, I merely want to create a space that’s more focused for those with curves because I know that space is still lacking. Although, I’m not even sure if I can really do this. With my health right now, it is difficult to stay consistent with anything, and frankly I quite hate myself for that. But on the flip side, I am finding more patience and compassion for myself because I know that right now the focus is on my body and health and trying to get things figured out.

What do you all think? Think it’s worth it? Is this all something you could relate to and would want to read/see on here?

Please let me know what you think!

All Things Beauty · Chronic Illnesses · Endometriosis · Fibromylagia · Hypothyroidism · IBS · Self Care

Keto, AIP, Weight Loss, and the “D” word

** Content Note! – if you have in the past wrestled, or are currently wrestling, with an eating disorder or anything along those lines, please read the following post carefully? I’m aware these are sensitive and rough topics to work through. I will not be linking to different things I’ll be talking about, because I don’t recommend those things, nor do I want to give a certain company any more business.

 

Hello Beauties!

I’m sitting here in a slightly darkened house, trying to keep it cool in here while the temps get up close to 80 degrees today. And the windows are closed because there are a few nasty fires down in Arizona and we’re getting some of the smoke.

Anyway, I’ve been wrestling with something for the past week and felt the need to write it out. About two months ago I switched how I was eating to following a fairly strict ketogenic food plan. I did this after my surgery at the beginning of March because how I was eating before was just not working. I strongly suspect Endometriosis to be on my bowels, and that is what is causing my IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) symptoms. BUT, since my [mostly competent] doctor didn’t look around when she was taking out my ovary, I am not willing to go through another surgery right now to get things looked at. Thus, I turned to how I am eating to see if I could manage the symptoms of my IBS better and maybe, just maybe, get to a place where I could at the very least, like food again.

Enter Keto. I did a lot of research on diets that affect or can help manage endometriosis symptoms, IBS symptoms, as well as hypothyroidism. An AIP (autoimmune  protocol) “diet” is highly recommended for managing inflammation, but something about that irks me and I’ve had difficulty convincing myself to strictly follow AIP with my eating habits. I stumbled upon several medical studies talking about using Keto to treat and manage IBS. Ironically, how I am modifying my Keto intake is very close to an AIP diet. Which is good to know and makes sense why Keto can help inflammation.

Here’s a little bit of information about Keto – it’s HIGH fat LOW carb. With counting my macros, my calories should be about 1700, Fat 145 grams, Carbs 22 grams, and protein about 65 grams. 22 grams of carbs seems really low, but when you take out all grains and just about all sugar, it’s very doable. I thought it would be really hard to cut out grains, as I’ve sort of clung to gluten free pasta and rice as needed additions to a lot of meals. However because I had been having an increasingly uncomfortable reaction to even gluten free flours, cutting out all grains was easier than I thought it would be. Which is quite the opposite of what happened when I was told to go gluten free – I cried as I thought it would be sooooo hard to cut gluten out of my life. The thing that made it easier to do so was realizing that gluten really did make me very sick. I thought maybe if I give it a year then I can go back to eating those gluten-y comfort foods. But nope. I tried to eat gluten and it made me feel like my stomach was being shredded from the inside out. Due to this discovery, it is very easy for me to avoid gluten.

Being in pain of some sort 24/7, 365, has given me a very low tolerance for anything that causes me pain that can be avoided. I had a feeling that if I were to cut all grains out that I wouldn’t be able to add them back in. Especially with how I felt eating prior to surgery. I was willing to change how I was eating to see if it would help me feel even just a little bit better. After a month and a half of eating Keto, I tried to add plain cooked rice back in and whoa boy, my stomach felt similarly to how it feels if I eat gluten – absolutely shredded. For now, I’m going back to avoiding all grains.

Alright, here’s what I really wanted to talk about.

I hate the word “Diet.” I hate the connotations that surround that word, and the misuse it’s been through. I believe in honoring the body and feeding the body with the foods it needs and giving room to be whatever it needs to be. I have seen so many MLM consultants raving about certain “diets” and about how you could lose so much weight. I have watched people flock to the wraps, the dieting powders, the exercise programs – and I admit, they’ve appealed to me. I’ve wrestled with gaining and losing and maintaining my weight and having a positive body image of my own body for a very long time. Better understanding of how skewed my hormones are and have been for a very long time has given me more grace for my body. Not being able to lose weight now makes sense, as does gaining a lot when I was really sick. BUT! That doesn’t remove my desire to have a quick fix. My desires started shifting a year and a half ago when food turned fully into an enemy. I went from limiting how much I ate and feeling sad every time I did allow myself to eat a big meal to pretty much saying “f*ck eating, everything is making me sick!” To be honest, neither perspective is a healthy way to approach food. The first was something I was doing to myself, the second view point is what was being done to me. It felt like my body was turning against me – again. Even though I felt so helpless with my body, I instinctively knew it wouldn’t matter if I put myself on a diet, diets don’t work. At least they don’t work long term. So what was the point of dieting anyway?

Dealing with chronic illnesses took away any energy I may have had to stay active. Dealing with chronic illnesses took away any drive I had for “managing my weight.” On the okay days, it was merely a success to have gotten three meals in during the day. But I wasn’t happy. I didn’t feel good about my body, and I felt like I was barely maintaining a grip on where I was at that point in time. I love following Instagramers like BodyPosiPanda, and I love her take on loving your body and eating what you want and being comfortable with who you are. But I struggle with accepting that for myself. I, at least now, cannot eat whatever I want. I am up against significant food intolerance issues now. The other side of that is I struggle to wrap my mind around “eat whatever you want.” Clothes and how they feel and fit are deeply important to me. If I gained weight and my clothes didn’t fit comfortably, that would be more devastating to me than gaining weight. It would feel like I was wasting money on finding clothes that felt comfortable on, only to have them not fit in a few months. So how does that work? I sincerely ask. How do you maintain a good body image and yet stay practical with clothes? (just something I’ve given a lot of thought to in the past year…)

It was difficult to not getting sucked into the whole “Keto for weightloss!!” trend. I remember Keto being really big a few years ago and how it was the new trendy diet. I hesitated to tell anyone I was starting to follow Keto with my food. I felt like there was this huge unspoken thing when it comes to Keto – I’m just doing it for weight loss. I would be lying though if I said I wasn’t partially following Keto for weight loss. But it is also so much more for me. I am glad Keto is helping me at least lose some fat. But I am also glad it feels like my body isn’t struggling as hard, and I am feeling so much more satisfied and comfortable with food. I’m not reacting as much after meals, and that in and of itself is the biggest advantage of eating Keto. But every other article or recipe I read about Keto gives warnings about how you may lose a lot of weight but you will gain it all back if you switch back to how you were eating before! Which sure, I get. It’s a very different way of eating and it’s the complete opposite of almost every other diet. And that’s why after a month and a half of doing Keto, and seriously craving fresh fruit that wasn’t “allowed” on Keto, I went looking for something else. I doubted how long term Keto could be for me. And I was losing sight of the real reason I switched to Keto to begin with.

I stumbled upon and tried something for a week called IIFYM (If it Fits Your Macros). Talk about conflicting information – IIFYM is the complete opposite of Keto – HIGH carbs LOW fat. Even though Keto was making me feel better, I don’t think I really had realized just how much of a difference it was making in my body. I started researching more information and one article would say that high carbs and low fat is how you should diet. Another article would say no, it’s just the caloric intake that matters! Yet another would say that if you really wanted to lose weight, high fat and low carbs is the way to go. The deeper into the articles I went, the more I lost sight of why I had actually started Keto in the first place. Body image insecurities and doubts that I wasn’t doing things the right way starting creeping in. At the end of the week of following IIFYM protocols, I felt worse than I had at the beginning of the week. I felt so conflicted about what was best for my body (read: best for losing weight). I felt no desire to step on the scale and it felt like my body was getting really inflamed. And inflamed = water weight, bloating, achy joints, and swollen crampy abdomen for me.

When I sat down with my therapist on Saturday, I laid all my conflicted feelings out in the open. I began to see how my desire to find a way of eating that would make me feel better had turned in to how can I lose the most weight. I was scared of trying something and the end result being having gained a bunch of weight. I can accept where my body is at right now, but deep down, I still don’t feel like I am enough, or that my body is thin enough. I realized that in trying to follow IIFYM, I was close to getting obsessed with my weight and counting my macros. I knew this was not healthy and if anything, my body was starting to feel sick again. I tried to put aside all desires and confliction I felt about losing weight and compared Keto and IIFYM side by side. I needed to get back to the root reason for why I decided to start Keto in the first place. As I sat there and took stock of how my body felt and what my body was asking for, I saw that it didn’t matter what “diet” I followed, as long as my body felt comfortable and [almost] healthy. With Keto specifically, I felt fuller and more satisfied by my meals. I wasn’t having a food reaction after everything I ate or drank. When I was hungry, I was really hungry, not just oh I guess I could eat hungry. Can we take a moment to process that? I have not felt hungry hungry in a very long time. This was huge. My body hadn’t felt as inflamed and even though the amount of fresh foods “allowed” with Keto wasn’t very much, I realized I had no issues adding in a higher fruit sugar food if that’s what my body needed.

Then I came across an article about AIP and the foods recommended and I realized that how I’m eating with Keto is very very close to an AIP diet. This gave me the reassurance that my original decision to follow Keto was the right one. If I lose weight following Keto, then that’s great! But that is not my goal with Keto. I know that I need structure, even if it’s just a little bit, to feel comfortable in my day to day life. So having a title to give what and how I’m eating helps. I am counting my macros with Keto, but it is only to make sure I am actually getting enough fats and calories and eating the right amount of carbs. I know by following the macros set for my body I feel the best. Once I feel like I have a routine again, I won’t track as much. But again, for me, it’s giving myself the structure I need. I know this does not work for everyone, and those who struggle with getting obsessed with their weight and tracking things, this could be very harmful. If structure helps you, then track or follow a specific “diet.” But if structure leads you down an unhealthy path, avoid it!

My therapist asked me what my body was asking for. If I was take away all diet protocols, or “allowed” foods, what was left? What did my body say it wanted? This was a helpful way of looking at things. It gave me the space to give my body the space to tell me what it needed. And I know if I’m not listening to my body, then I’m going to end up in the weeds, feeling very sick.

I have a lot more thoughts about dieting and weight and body image that I’ll share in another post. Thank you for making it to the end of this long post!

 

All Things Beauty · Beauty Favorites · Products · Self Care · Skin Care

Target’s Beauty Boxes!

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Hello Beauties!

If I can get a good deal on a beauty box, I will jump on it. I love getting a box of different samples! It’s a great way to try new brands and products without spending money on a full sized bottle or box of something you don’t end up liking. I have tried Boxycharm, Birchbox, Ipsy, EarFleek (more specific for earrings), FabFitFun, but had never tried Target’s beauty boxes or Walmart’s. While I was at Target this morning with my littlest one, I ran across a display of 4 differently themed beauty boxes. For $7 and for 7(!!) products, I figured it was worth trying. I liked that there was a list of the product samples on the back of the box.

I chose the box Treat Yourself.

The brands included in the box are Bodycology, Dr Teals, ME!Bath, Luxe by Mr. Bubble, Burt’s Bees, Olay, and Honest Beauty. There are three bath products; two bath bomb/melts, and a foaming bubble bath product. I’m excited about using the Dr. Teals foaming bath product as it’s the same scent/makeup as the epsom salt I have from the same brand – Pink Himalyan Salt. This may just call for a bubble bath tonight!

I’m always looking for a good quality hand/body lotion. During the fall/winter/spring, my hands tend to get extremely dry and prone to cracking, so I am constantly applying lotion to keep my hands moisturized. With a 1 year old, changing diapers, washing bottles, and such like that means I wash my hands a lot. The Bodycology Free & Lovely Coconut Rose Body Butter sounds really intriguing. The smell doesn’t seem that strong, but I do smell the coconut and it smells like possibly rose water a lot more on my hands after applying some of the body butter. Hmm, it’s not as moisturizing as I’d like. I feel like I would have to apply two or three layers of the body butter before the moisture really soaked into my hands and my hands didn’t feel dry and scratchy.  So I’d say it’s a thinner body butter and I don’t think I’ll be getting a full sized container of this, unfortunately.

Ironically I had purchased a Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Red Dahlia about 5 years ago and have been needing to throw it out. So getting a new exactly same lip balm in the beauty box was a nice surprise! I love the creaminess but not overwhelmingly so of the Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm. I’d say they’re comparable to Burt’s Bees regular chapsticks, but it’s a nice little splash of color for your lips. Especially when you don’t want to use a gloss, or keep applying a lip stick, this is a perfect alternative! I have never tried any other color than the Red Dahlia, but I do like that color. It’s a bluer toned reddish color, which with my skin tone (cooler undertones) works the best.

I have been hearing about the newer Olay Regenerist Whips products. While it is a specifically anti-aging focused product, I don’t have any qualms about using something like that now. I’d rather be proactive about protecting and taking care of my skin that reactive. The smell is really gentle, and I’m curious about using it tonight after I wash my face. The consistency seems to be closer to a gel/cream than an actual cream. I discovered a few years ago that I prefer gel/creams than actual creams when it comes to facial creams and skin care. From my experience, a gel/cream provides a lot more moisture (good for dry skin and combination skin!) and absorbs slightly better than a straight up cream. I will mention that this is the most expensive product in the entire box. I kind of hope I don’t like the cream! (I’m all about affordable skin care!)

Have any of your tried any Honest Beauty (Jessica Alba’s company) products? I have looked at them several times, but have never tried any of her products. I’m excited about this Refreshingly Clean Gel Cleanser! While this is a sample size, it looks like a full sized bottle has a pump top. I prefer facial cleansers to have a pump bottle top, it’s easier to get the product out that way than having to open a cap and squeeze the cleanser out. This gel cleanser has lavender, fir needle, palma rosa, geranium, and chamomile oils in it. I have been using geranium oil specifically for helping my incisions heal, but I know it is good for facial skin care as well!

I’ll have to review the bath bomb from ME!Bath and bath melts from Luxe by Mr. Bubble (I can’t find a link to these, so maybe Target is no longer carrying them?) later. I’ve never used bath melts before, but they look super cute and hopefully will work well!

I’m waiting for paint to dry on some curtain rods and I’m about to leave to go pick up my oldest from preschool! It’s supposed to get up to 75 degrees here today, so this calls for windows open and flip flops. Enjoy the rest of your day!