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?

Chronic Illnesses · Endometriosis · Fibromylagia · Hypothyroidism · IBS

The Pain of a Lose/Lose Situation

This is a weary venting post, so just ignore it if you’re not okay reading this sort of thing right now. 

Hello Beauties,

Three months ago last week I had surgery to remove my right ovary. After months of consistent cysts, I scheduled surgery to have it removed. Lo and behold, my right ovary was, at a bare minimum, 4 times bigger than my left ovary. It was full of cysts and my doctor also found a significant amount of scar tissue, or adhesions, within my pelvic cavity as well. I talked with multiple other gynecologists after that surgery and one even said he wanted to put me on a mini birth control pill to keep my left ovary from developing cysts.

However, because of how seriously unbalanced my hormones are right now, and because my entire system is still fighting again a Mono/CMV flare up, I am glad I didn’t go with his advice. A birth control pill would only make things worse. But, since surgery, it has been a deep seated fear of mine that my left ovary would start getting cysts just like my right. Since surgery, my cycles have been like clock work (which doesn’t even make sense considering how much stuff is going wrong with my body right now) and every month has felt like my body has been trying to cause a cyst. Well, this past Monday, that is what happened; my left ovary had what I believe to be a cyst that then ruptured in the evening on Monday. From the pain it caused, I’d be willing to say that it was close to the size of the cyst that sent me to the ER back in January.

Endometriosis sucks. Ovarian cysts suck. I am in a lose lose situation right now as I feel like it’s a valid point to consider it my Mirena IUD causing the cysts. Even though I had my tubes removed a year and a half ago, I got the Mirena to manage periods. So I could get the iud taken out, and hopefully no more cysts? But then I’d be dealing with massively painful and extremely heavy periods. OR. I could keep the iud in, have barely any bleeding during a period and no extra pain, but probably keep having cysts.

I know I’ve talked about how fashion/beauty products help when my insides feel like they are wrapped in barbed wire. The past two weeks though have been at an even higher level of discomfort and pain. My go-to’s for clothes have been bralettes because having anything tight or even fitted putting any sort of pressure around my ribs is excruciating. And t-shirt dresses or swing dresses have also been my first choice. My abdomen has been swollen and painful due to the 6 days of antibiotics I did for strep throat, and then the ovarian cysts made having any sort of pressure around my waist extremely uncomfortable. It’s a special kind of exhausting to look at your wardrobe and pick out clothes based on where they put pressure or don’t.

I am so worn out and just exhausted. It has been non stop health issues since the first week of January 6 months ago. I wonder how much of this is my body going okay you took care of the mental trauma last year, and now we’re going to dump all the health issues on you because you’re strong enough now. The hardest part is realizing how many of my health issues have been there for a very long time and no doctor ever caught them. I am feeling like it’s a higher and higher chance that I have chronic Epstein Barr, meaning it’s chronically flared up and I have a constant flow of EBV symptoms that never really go away. This would make sense with how I am pretty much back to my “normal” and I know there’s no way a full blown Mono/CMV flare up would die down that quickly.

I’d love to go a month without having doctors appointments every week or even several times during a week. Heck, I’d love to go two weeks without having to get blood drawn, or sit across from my doctor going over lab results and having another chronic diagnosis thrown at me. Let’s see, I’m up to four chronic illnesses now?

Endometriosis

Hypothyroidism

Fibromyalgia

Mono/CMV

Plus….

Gluten intolerance/possibly celiacs

IBS

Adrenal Fatigue

Estrogen dominance/hormonal imbalance

 

I sort of long for the days I thought I *just* had fibro. Oh the ignorance is bliss sort of thing. But even then, looking back, I never ever felt healthy, or whole, or like I could do anything I wanted because I had energy/spoons to spare. I have been wrestling with all of these unknown chronic illnesses for most of my life and that fact alone makes me want to curl up in a hole and disappear. There aren’t any cures! There aren’t any quick fixes. There isn’t any way for me to suddenly feel fine and like I have some sort of quality of life back. I’m just worn out.

All Things Beauty · Beauty Favorites · Curly Curls · Hair Care · Products

Curly Girls! *Heads* UP!

Hello Beauties,

I guess it’s time to spit out a curly post considering “curly” is in the name of this blog!

My hair currently is an a-line bob that I am slowly growing back out. Up until about 7 years ago, I had waist length hair, didn’t know how to style it, never understood how to properly take care of my curls, and well, let’s just say it was a frizz bomb about 90% of the time. Then, a few months after I got married, I got it cut short. Still though, looking back at pictures, I didn’t get it cut very well for my curls. With my hair, I NEED layers, more the better. The more layers I have, the more my curls bounce up, literally. I even tried straight across bangs too for awhile, but eh, I was pregnant during most of that time, and I feel like my face was too round for bangs at that point.

I grew my hair out back to my waist again two years ago, this time, I knew better how to take care of it! I even figured out how to cut my own layers. With waist length hair, cutting my own layers was super easy. After my second was born a year and a half ago, I said forget this, and got my hair chopped off in an a-line lob with lots of layers. Fast forward a month and I got it cut even shorter, off of the back of my neck, and whoa boy, that was quite an adjustment!

I have done years of research on how to take care of curly hair before even narrowing it down to how to take care of MY curls. Feel free to take a look at one of my curly hair boards on Pinterest.

One of my favorite curly bloggers is Christina over at Hair Romance! Go check out her posts! I have found some of the best tips on her blog.

Anyway, when I had longer hair, my favorite curl products were cream/gels and argan oil. One specific product of oil in fact.

Marc Anthony Argan Oil Exotic Oil Treatment – Amazon

This oil is AMAZING. And the only place I’ve ever been able to find it is Amazon and every once in a while ONLINE Walgreens. It is not carried in stores, and in fact, besides Amazon and Walgreens, I’ve never been able to find it anywhere else. It is a very light oil, smells really good, and never weighs my hair down.

My other favorite cream/gel that I used all the time with my longer hair was from Tigi.

TIGI Catwalk Curls Rock Amplifier – $10 Amazon
The thing with this curl cream/gel is that you don’t need much. I definitely relied on this product the most with long hair, but found with short hair it was way too much for my hair.

Now with the short hair I’ve had for the past year, I found mousse was one of the best products that worked with my hair. I hated mousse with long hair, but with short hair, not sure what made it different, it worked. Then I totally chopped up my hair a few months ago; took a pair of thinning shears to my locks, and holy cow, uhm, took WAY too much off. Que the biotin, hair growth vitamins, and strategic situating of my hair. It’s finally back to a manageable thickness, and when I was working on the personal care budget for this month, I stumbled upon a new product at Target.

A little backstory first; I’ve used Aussie brand curl mousse before and really liked it.

 Aussie 24 hr Curl Lock Mousse – $3.39 Target

This mousse has a very light hold, but does add some volume and definition. My curls are actually pretty thin comparatively speaking. The curls I do have are the only things that give my hair volume. Thanks to the hormonal imbalances I’ve been dealing with for years, and my thyroid being off, my hair is not as thick as it used to be. BUT! Having short hair definitely helps with creating that voluminous look.

I had run out of this mousse and wanted to switch back to a cream for my hair…IF I could find one that was affordable and worked. That’s when I discovered Aussie has a new line of products! Miracle CURLS!!! Needless to say, I was SOOOO excited since I already knew I liked the other curl products from Aussie. What made me most excited was that there is a co-wash included in this new line. I primarily use a co-wash for my hair nowadays, only using regular shampoo and conditioner maybe once a week or less.

And they’re all affordable!!! I grabbed the creme pudding and tried it out a few days ago. So here’s the thing, I have been wrestling with my hair trying to get the most out of my curls, and despite my best efforts, by the end of the day I washed my hair, my curls are fairly flat. I don’t really like it when a product makes my hair really crunchy, but I decided to go full bore with this cream. I thoroughly coated my curls, roots to ends while soaking wet, with the creme pudding. I immediately thought I had done something wrong and I was going to have to re-wash my hair. I kept going through because I could see that legitimate curls were forming.

Once I pulled out my hair dryer and diffuser, I really had a lot of curls going. One of the things I’ve learned over the year with my hair in particular is that I need to give my hair time to completely dry before I decide if I like it or not. The recommendation on the back of the miracle curls creme pudding is to air dry, but I always use a diffuser. This helps minimize frizz significantly, and I have a little bit more control over how my curls set.

Really quickly, before I get to the pictures of my curls, this is the diffuser I use. I HIGHLY recommend it. One of the best curl diffusers I’ve ever used. Plus! It’s collapsible, so doesn’t take up a lot of room, and you can really use it to direct the air flow and push curls up.

 The Curly CO. Collapsible Diffuser – $14.99 Amazon, $14.99 The Curly Co.

Okay, so now, here are pictures of what my curls look like!

I have some serious curl definition and even though my hair feels a bit crunchy (I’m continually fluffing the curls and crunching the molds) I have lots of volume and I’d rather have that then soft flat curls.

Overall, I 100% recommend at least trying the new curl line from Aussie. They are affordable products, and I think that warrants at least trying them.

Enjoy! and let me know what you think if you do try them! The co-wash is next on my list as my current Pantene co-wash is almost out.

**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 · Naturals & Non-Toxic · Products · Skin Care

Skin Care Routine…Ritual?

Happy weekend, Beauties!

My body feels like it’s been put through ten different wringers, but, I’m almost back to my usual normal. Which means that my level of fatigue is almost back to what it usually is, the bodily aches and pains, feeling like I have a constant low grade fever is just about back to how I usually feel. I’m not blogging today to talk about my body though! I mean yeah, in a way, but not to give too honest of a look into my day to day pain levels.

I’m writing today because a. I actually feel like it, and b. I figured it was time to talk about all of the natural skin care products I’ve switched to and what I think about them. Taking care of my outside is one of the ways I do self care. If the outside of my body feels somewhat okay, then I can handle the chaos of the inside of my body a bit better. Taking care of my skin has become almost a ritual for me. Every morning and every night, I do the same things. I used to feel so ashamed of how bad my face broke out as a kid and teenager. It is still a thorn in my side at times, but I am understanding better how what’s going on inside my body affects the outside. I understand and can have a little bit more compassion for myself because I know it’s one of my body’s ways of telling me that something’s wrong. Having a good skin care routine has helped too though. Having products and ways of consistently managing break outs has done a lot for my mental health.

So first off, cleanser! I’m going to list the products I use in the order I use them.

 CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser$13.99 Amazon, $13.99 Target

I honestly haven’t swapped this for a more natural option because I have been using this for 2 1/2 years and it works really well for me. I also get the 16 ounce container and it lasts me for 6+ months. So $14 for a bottle of cleanser that lasts for 6+ months? And it doesn’t dry your skin out? Check. I mainly only use this cleanser at night to get everything off my face from the day; makeup, dirt and oil from being out in the elements and having touched my face during the day.

I do however use an all natural facial scrub.

Acure Brilliantly Brightening Facial Scrub$8.49 Amazon, $8.49 Target

I first got a little sample of this in an Ipsy bag years ago, and really liked it. It’s a pretty constant addition to my weekly facial routines. I found that if I exfoliate in the mornings (yes I know that’s the opposite of what is usually recommended) 3x a week, not only have I managed minimize the amount of random flaky dry spots I get, my makeup sits a lot smoother. Every time I wash my hair, I exfoliate my face. I do recommend this scrub for how gentle it is too. My skin has never felt irritated by this facial scrub. One tip though, I find that exfoliating at least 2-3 times a week is just right for my skin. If this is too much for your face, then definitely back off.

TruSkin Naturals Rose Water Toner$14.95 Amazon

I used to make my own rose water years and years ago, and while it smelled so good and I have no remembrance of it actually doing anything for my skin, I do remember it molding fairly quickly with each batch. I use rose water in the mornings to help my face kind of wake up. This one bottle lasted me for 2 1/2 months and when it was almost out, I just put witch hazel into the bottle and mixed it with the rest of the rose water. Both witch hazel and rose water are good toners and both of them are soothing to your skin. I’m really happy with the TruSkin Naturals brand, but I think once this bottle finally runs out I’m going to look back into making my own rose water.

TruSkin Naturals Vitamin C Serum For Face$19.99 w/$1.00 coupon Amazon (Target C serum options – $16, $19.59)

Okay, so this is one of those products that I’ve come to believe is a very good thing to add to your facial routine. I don’t really have an opinion on “anti-aging” products as I don’t believe it is a good or possible thing to try to stop  your face from aging. BUT! I think it is prudent to protect the skin you have been given, and nourish your body inside and out. I have used three different Vitamin C serums for the past 6 months, and I think I like this one the best. I have noticed less breakouts, and my skin feels smoother and calmer. With how much is going on with my body right now, the breakouts I do have around my jawline I have expected. But my forehead and around my nose have been clearer and haven’t felt as inflamed. I have had some “beauty experts” tell me that vitamin c isn’t good for acne, but I seriously beg to differ. I have done a fair bit of research on the effects of Vitamin C serum specifically for acne, and have heard and can attest to all good things. Vitamin C serum can break out your skin when you first use it, but I haven’t experienced that, and my skin is the type that breaks out almost the instant I try one new thing that my skin doesn’t like.

Christina Moss Naturals Facial Moisturizer$25.99 w/20% coupon Amazon, $25.99 +S/H Christina Moss Naturals

Do you know how darn expensive “non-toxic, all natural” moisturizers are?! When I got my estrogen dominance confirmed, I knew I needed to changed the things I use on my body. I know, I know, this is one of those sayings that crunchy mamas say, but your skin is the biggest organ, and with how badly my hormones are imbalanced and how sick my body is, doesn’t it make sense to pay attention to ingredients of the products I’m using? Which then leads me to the frustration I had with trying to find even one decently priced non-toxic facial moisturizer. Not only that, but from a brand that I knew wouldn’t make me break out. Besides the Rose & Abbott moisturizer (click here & here) I’ve used, this is the second one I would highly recommend. It comes in two different “scents;” unscented and anise or original scent. I got the one above and it is extremely concentrated, so I barely even need a half pump. Also, because of the design of the bottle, it is an airless pump which means even though there are very few preservatives in the moisturizer, it lasts for a long time. Some of the reviews even said a bottle lasted them 6 months.

LaMav Organic BB Creme$17.95 Amazon

So I use a bb cream just about every day, and I prefer one with SPF in it, but to find an organic/all natural one that didn’t break the bank and felt okay on my skin was nearly impossible. I tried Pacifica’s bb cream, cc cream, AND dream foundation, and all of those were too…luminous and drying. I tried Juice Beauty’s cc cream, and whoa, talk about feeling like a walking highlighter. I highly recommend Juice Beauty products, but dang, I’m not sure what’s up with their foundations and cc creams. Way too brightening I guess. I don’t actually remember how I stumbled upon this LaMav bb creme, but I liked that it was organic, has natural sunscreen in it, and I could actually use it as a moisturizer and bb cream combined. It is not drying, it is thin, but besides breakout spots on my jawline, I don’t feel like I have to hide under any foundation anymore. My only complaint is that it is definitely NOT for very fair skin tones. I wish there was an even lighter shade available, but I make this one work. Because it’s the summer time, my face is not quite as pale as it is during the winter. I will have to find a lighter bb cream for the winter, but I’ve got a handful of months to go before winter comes back around again. It also has no scent either, so that’s another plus.

I will do another post some time soon about all natural foundations. I have found a few that I mostly like, but I am waiting on one other brand to get here before I do reviews and give recommendations.

Night Time Routine

My night time routine is a little different and that’s when I will spot treat any breakouts I have. I usually use Eucalyptus, Lavender, and Tea Tree oils for spot treatments. I will apply this after I’ve washed my face and applied a toner. To apply the essential oils, I will put a few drops of each on a cotton ball and then dab on the breakout spots. I usually put the essential oils on a cotton ball in the order of the oils listed above. I’m not sure it really makes a difference, but I have had the best luck with those three oils clearing up raging breakouts fairly quickly.

Dickinson’s Witch Hazel Toner$4.69 Target

I prefer this toner, and both Phil and I use it every night. One bottle lasts us both for two months…I think? I don’t have to buy it very often and that’s with two people using it daily. I will use this typically at night, using the rose water in the mornings, and then will apply the essential oils. Once I’ve given the oils about 30 seconds to settle on my skin, I’ll then apply about a 1/3 of a dropper of the Vitamin C serum to my face. I will let that dry completely before putting on a night cream.

 Avalon Organics Wrinkle Therapy Night Creme$11.70 Amazon

I didn’t think I liked this when I first got it, but I am rather enjoying it now. I don’t actually notice a scent, and it is also an airless pump bottle. This means that there’s no “straw” inside the bottle, a little disc slides up with each pump of the top. This minimizes waste left in the bottle, and means you get about all that you can get out of the bottle. I honestly picked this night cream because it was not only the cheapest one I could find, but I hadn’t ever tried Avalon Organics before. The fact it’s a night cream for wrinkles doesn’t phase me, as I didn’t buy it for that purpose! It also does not have any added fragrances or parfums. That’s a hard thing to find and the product also be a reasonable cost.

So those are the products I’ve switched to and I got to say I feel like my face doesn’t get as inflamed as much as it used to, and I am noticing whenever I put something on my skin that isn’t “natural.” I guess that’s one of the frustrations of cutting out “bad” things out of your diet or skin care products – you try to add that bad thing back in, and your body/skin freaks out. Just goes to show how negative of an effect the body has when exposed to toxins and chemicals that aren’t good for it.

**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 · Chronic Illnesses · Endometriosis · Fibromylagia · Hypothyroidism · IBS

Chronic Illness Strikes Again

Hello Beauties,

I am now a week into dealing with strep and what I know now to be reactivated mono (Epstein Barr Virus…EBV) and CMV. I just found out yesterday, or rather got confirmation of what I strongly suspected due to my lab results, that I got sick with both of those viruses at some point in the past. And now, because of how compromised my immune system is due to stress and everything else going on with my health, both of those viruses have been reactivated.

I feel the most worn down and sick today than I did a week ago when I was hit with major sinus congestion. 6 days of antibiotics helped get rid of the strep in my throat, but my primary care believes that it has now migrated to my sinuses. yay. more antibiotics. I am doing a nasal antibiotic ointment, but I think it’s still messing with my stomach/gut. I feel a bit defeated with my health too since it’s going to take at least another 3-4 weeks of trying to rest (ha, ha, I have two kids 4 and under), and trying to bolster my immune system before we can retest my thyroid and hormone levels. AAANNND, the chances of me having chronic EBV are actually quite high.

I don’t really have the energy to do a long post today, merely because I think now that the strep is pretty much out of my system, I am feeling the effects of the mono and cmv. It makes me feel like a walking contaminate, even though I know I’m not contagious. Then, because of where I am in my ridiculously annoying consistent cycles, my endometriosis is flaring up and it feels like my body is trying to pretend I have another ovarian cyst. That ovary is gone, body! Add that endo flare up pain on top of my stomach already being ripped up from the antibiotics and let’s just say food and I are not meshing right now. Now that I can finally mostly breathe again, my taste buds are slowly waking back up, but geez, things taste so weird right now too.

So with antibiotics destroying any progress I had made with healing my gut, endo flaring up, food not sitting well with me, my poor abdomen/belly area is all swollen and sore and heaven forbid any sort of pressure from clothes be put on it. Thus a follow up from my last Curvy post; bralettes and swing/t-shirt dresses are my go-to’s right now because no tight bra straps around my ribs (yay endo pain!) and nothing touching or putting pressure on my abdomen (yay antibiotics damage and endo!).

I think I am going to take a break from posting over the weekend, but who know’s, maybe the muse will strike.

All Things Beauty · Naturals & Non-Toxic · Products · Skin Care

Switching to Natural: Skincare by Rose & Abbott! Update

Hello Beauties!

I thought I’d take a break from my Curvy posts and do an update on the skincare I got from Rose & Abbott. First, here’s a little background on Rose & Abbott before I dive in to my review.

Rose & Abbott is a company that allows you to purchase customized moisturizer. As far as I can tell, it is only a facial moisturizer; facial and neck and decolletage. I really like that you can customize different skin issues you want addressed. Think beyond dry, oily, or combination skin. Things like big pores, rough texture, breakouts, redness. The only thing I didn’t like is that you can only pick two skin care concerns. Granted, the rest of the ingredients in the moisturizer have dual purposes. All in all, I don’t regret ordering a bottle of this moisturizer.

Alright, let’s start with how it arrived. I ordered my customized moisturizer on the evening of May 9th, it shipped on May 11th, and it arrived on May 14th. Honestly, I was impressed that it arrived so quickly!

My moisturizer arrived in a little purple box, and included the bottle of moisturizer, a little pamphlet with a full ingredient list on it and “instructions” on how to start your own skin care ritual. My initial impression was wow, that’s a really small bottle.

Rose & Abbott actually suggests using the moisturizer day and night. I originally started doing that, but suddenly felt like I had used more than half the bottle in only two days! The bottle is supposed to last 30 days if you’re using it for both day and night cream. Which I mean, only one product for day and night? Yes please! But, I was worried of using up the entire bottle in less than 30 days if I used it day and night. This is what I mean…

See? The bottle seems to be almost empty. That’s how it looked less than a week of getting the bottle in the mail and starting to use it. It is now what, three weeks after I got it? It’s still going strong and I use about four tiny pumps every morning. Rose & Abbott does recommend using up the moisturizer in 30 days as there are very few preservatives in the moisturizer and it can go bad. Which yay! You don’t want to use a product with a ton of preservatives in, but also ugh, I like longevity products. Products that last me longer than a month and I don’t have to reorder every month. I will say that this moisturizer is really concentrated, so I do not need much to cover my entire face and neck. I really enjoy the slight rose scent it has as well. That’s another big plus to using this company; you get to pick your own scent and how strong or light you want that scent! Or! Even better, you can pick no scent for those who are extremely sensitive to scents.

Alright so I would give this moisturizer a 4.5 out of 5.

Pros:

  • it doesn’t make my face feel oily
  • I swear it’s made my skin less red/inflamed
  • hasn’t aggravated any breakouts I have
  • Customized for your personal health concerns
  • Pick your own scent OR no scent

Cons:

  • a little bit pricey – I used a coupon code and got the one bottle for $23 shipped. Usually $29 regular, or $26 with subscription (which you can cancel at any time)
  • Only lasts 30 days
  • Can only pick *2* skin care concerns

I am going to message the company and see if I can get a coupon code for anyone who’d like one. Keep an eye out on the Facebook page for a link!

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 · Beauty Favorites · Naturals & Non-Toxic · Products · Skin Care

Switching to Natural: Skincare by Rose & Abbott!

Hello Beauties!

Happy Hump Day! Truth be told, this feels more like a Monday to me than a Wednesday, but yay for the week being almost half over?!

Here’s a quick update on a new product I have decided to try! As I’m working on switching out my beauty routine products and skin care products, I opted to go for a company that makes personalized moisturizer. Yes, you read that right, they make moisturizer specific for your skin. The brand is called Rose & Abbott. As far as I can tell, they use natural ingredients and avoid toxic chemicals in their moisturizer.

I do like that they have a skin care quiz you go through before check out. The only thing I didn’t like about the quiz is that you can pick just two skin concerns. For someone who has combination skin, easily breaks out (thanks hormone imbalances…), and have uneven skin tone, I had to pick the two things that were the “biggest” concerns for my face. I picked large pores and uneven skin tone. I should receive my new moisturizer in a few days, I hope. I am going out of town in a week, and would love to get it before I leave!

In terms of how long a bottle lasts, their bottles are 1 oz in size and according to their FAQ section, using the cream morning and evening, 1 bottle should last 30 days. Sooo, if you only use it as day cream, it should last two months. There are 6 different scent options (the first being no scent) to pick from, as well as whether you want the scent to be Light – Medium – Strong. No scent, Roses, Bergamot & Lime, Plum, Neroli Flowers, and Unicorn. I picked Roses for mine.

I just got the ingredient list for my personalized moisturizer, and there is one ingredient that is not entirely preferable, but compared to the rest of the ingredients I’m not terribly upset about it. I am double checking to see what the “Rose Fragrance” consists of. I believe it’s essential oils, but I know that “fragrance” can really mean anything. (edited to add: just heard back from Rose & Abbott, all scents are created with only essential oils! yay! this makes me happy!)

Ingredients for Maeve’s Personalized Rose & Abbott Moisturizer

Water (Aqua); Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride; Coconut Alkanes; Coco-Caprylate/Caprate; Olive Oil Glycereth-8 Esters; Dicaprylyl Carbonate; Glycerin; Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer; Sodium Hyaluronate; Tocopherol (Vitamin E); Propanediol; Silica; Aminopropyl Kojyl Phosphate; Pureoxin; Burnet (Poterium officinale) Roots; Seaweed (Ascophyllum Nodosum) Extract; Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract; Licorice Root Extract (Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate); Water Lily Extract; Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Cassia) Bark Extract; Ginger (Zingiber Officinale) Root Extract; Great Burnet (Sanguisorba Officinalis) Root Extract; Rose Fragrance; Disodium EDTA; Caprylyl Glycol; Chlorphenesin; Phenoxyethanol (<– this is the ingredient I’m not too thrilled about)

I’m excited about getting my new cream, especially since my current moisturizer is just about empty! I think this link will work, but try this link for an extra 10% off!

If I don’t like this moisturizer, I will be trying Christina Moss Naturals Organic and Natural facial cream. The Rose & Abbott moisturizer is roughly the same price as the Christina Moss Naturals cream – the price being $26-29 for Rose & Abbott and $26 for Christina Moss Naturals. The reviews on the Christina Moss Naturals cream say that because you don’t need a lot of the cream it lasts for several months with a shelf life of over 6 months. I really like the ingredient list for the Christian Moss Naturals cream, but we’ll see! I am super intrigued with the whole personalized moisturizer that Rose & Abbott offers!

**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.