Tag Archives: beauty

My Big “Fat” Secret

I haven’t posted in a LONG time, I know! Life this summer has been super busy.

The kiddos have been randomly participating in the Super Smash Bros Brawl tournament that is put on each summer by the Austin Public Library. ‘A’ has made it 3 rounds in once and the other 2 have both lost in the first round each time so far. They are troupers though, and keep going back for more.

We are also planning a move in the next couple weeks. Currently, my husband is driving from Austin to San Antonio every day. Depending on how light or heavy traffic is he has anywhere from a 90 minute drive to a 3 hour drive, one way. That’s a LOT of driving. In the fall, I will be attending Texas State University to work on a Bachelor’s degree in Family and Child Development. So, we will be moving to a small town in between his workplace and my school. The house we have chosen is amazing! The details are still being worked out, so I will post more on that when it is a done deal.

Oh, and we just got back from vacation! We spent the first (and largest) part of in in the Outer Banks of North Carolina for my in-laws’ 35th Anniversary. (We also spent a day and a half in our beloved city, New Orleans.) It was the first time in 5 years that the whole family was able to get together. We had a blast! I’m pretty sure my favorite (and the scariest) part was crab hunting on the beach at night. So fun!

Photo Credit: Paula Payne at http://inpayne-paula.blogspot.com/

Photo Credit: Paula Payne at http://inpayne-paula.blogspot.com/

 

The pictures taken that day are part of my reason for posting this blog today. And I’m sorry to say, it’s not exactly a fun one. You see, another picture that was taken that day, and has recently been added to Facebook was one of my husband and I.

E&J 2014

Photo Credit: Paula Payne

I seriously wanted to cry when I saw this picture. At the time when I first looked at it, all I thought was “look at how FAT I have become!” Now, you may be saying “Are you crazy? You’re beautiful! You’re in a beautiful place with a man who loves you.” And you’d be right. Those things are true. But to me, in that moment, that wasn’t MY truth. My truth was that over the past couple years I have gained about 20 pounds and have “let myself go” so to speak.

The problem was, I did a mental flashback and compared this picture to one from 5 years ago. Then, I actually placed a real picture from 5 years ago next to this recent one. This was the result:

July 2009 vs July 2014

July 2009 vs July 2014

The thing is though, I had to remind myself that in that picture from 5 years ago, there is a LOT that is not seen. What you can’t see here is that I was silently suffering from an undiagnosed eating disorder, depression, and anxiety. I had starved and overworked my body to the point that I had to supplement my baby with formula because my body didn’t have enough fuel to make enough breastmilk to feed him. What you can’t see here is that in the picture on the left, I thought I was so FAT and GROSS when I looked at myself naked in front of the mirror before stepping into the shower. The woman on the right sees her image as curvy and feminine and beautiful. That girl on the left gave into those demons that whispered lies about her body and her worth. The woman on the right knows she is worth so much more; she believes that she is full of strength and dignity (Proverbs 31:25) no matter what the camera might reflect.

A little over a year ago, I came across a blogger named Amber. She had posted a blog called Cellulite: It’s Time We All Just Get the Hell Over It. Everything she wrote really resonated with me. I read some more on her site, Go Kaleo (Kaleo being a joke about Kale and Paleo diets) and joined a Facebook group that she started called Eating The Food (ETF) that was kind of like a support group for people who were dealing with eating disorders and body image issues or were just trying to quit the diet-cycle and needed encouragement. I have learned so much over the last 16 months of trying, succeeding, failing, and trying again at ETF.

One big thing I learned was that I was not eating enough. I went here and calculated my BMR (basal metabolic rate) and my TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) based on my age, height, weight, and daily activities. BMR is basically the number of calories that your body would need daily if you were in a coma. TDEE takes into account all of the activities you do each day (exercise, housework, walking from place to place, etc.) and the amount of calories needed to fuel that amount of activity. My BMR is currently 1,367 calories. Honestly, 5 years ago my goal was to be UNDER 1,200 calories a day AND I was working out for at LEAST an hour each day, usually more like 2 hours. No wonder I was in such a mess psychologically!

I probably do a lot more that this daily, but this gives a pretty good idea.

I probably do a lot more that this daily, but this gives a pretty good idea.

Another thing I have gained from ETF is a heck of a lot of body positivity. That group is amazing! I don’t post a lot (cause I’ve got 3 kids who keep me super busy and away from Facebook), but when I do they are always so encouraging. For example, this morning I posted about my body-image dilemma about how my body has changed over the last 2 years, and especially compared with pictures from 5 years ago. Here’s some of what they wrote to me:

 

I’m going to be totally honest, you are smoking. Your figure is HOT. I know it’s hard for you to see, I’m the same way with my old pictures, but you look amazing now. You’ll get to that happy place, it just takes time.

 

Jen, I know I’m looking through different eyes, but you look great in that photo. You are also standing with a man that you love in a beautiful area. 

 

When I get into these moments, getting active somehow is the best way for me to break out of the negative ED headspace. Your body does amazing things! Taking a walk, doing a little yoga, etc., reminds me of that, somehow reconnects mind and body to work together 🙂

 

I don’t particularly like my picture taken, but something another member of this group said on someone else’s similar post has really stuck with me: when you try to take a picture of the moon with a camera, do you notice how different it looks than in real life with your own eyes? The moon never looks as beautiful in the digital representation so I’m taking the same view. I will never look as good in photos as I do in real life where my awesomeness aura can be measured on the Richter scale!

 

Try not to look at it as heavier = worse. Heavier can also be just a different version of yourself. Not better or worse, just different. You know how sometimes we enjoy changing up our hair color or playing with different styles? You are right now enjoying the experience of being this size instead of that size. You are still you underneath and are, as always, beautiful!

 

Jen, a lot of us have been through what you’re experiencing right now. 

What I like to tell people is to take more pictures!!!! For a while, I was taking pictures of myself daily. Then study the pictures – post them here if you want – study them and find all the POSITIVE things in the pictures. Soon, you’ll see pictures of yourself the way we see pictures of you. You’ll see the beauty and health and happiness first.

 

Both bodies are good bodies and I think you are already making progress in recognizing the state of mind you were in for the left photo. 

 

Seriously, how great are these people! They also have a TON of experience in all kinds of fitness from running to yoga to crossfit to you name it.

 

So there it is. I’m posting it out there for everyone on the internet to see. My big “fat” secret. I’m posting it because I don’t want to be ashamed of how I used to treat my body. And I don’t want to feel ashamed for my now healthier, properly fueled body. I’m also posting this as encouragement for anyone out there who is currently dealing with an eating disorder and/or body image issues. It does get better, if you let it. Yep, there are times when those urges attack at full force, but my hunger for life (and delicious food) gives me the strength to just say “no” to ED and say “yes” to ETF.

Today I have learned to look at this picture this way:

'Smiling on the Outside, Dying on the Inside' vs 'Smiling on the Outside, Joyful on the Inside'

‘Smiling on the Outside, Dying on the Inside’ vs ‘Smiling on the Outside, Joyful on the Inside’

The woman on the right looks different, not only on the outside, but also on the inside. And that change on the inside is the most important change of all.

 

Be blessed, my friends.

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Beauty Tuesday – DIY Facial Toner

It’s the first Tuesday of the month. That means: Beauty Tuesday!
Today I’m sharing a recipe for a fantastic facial toner. I use this toner not only on my face, but also as an antiseptic wash for small scrapes and cuts*.
The main ingredient in the toner that I use is witch hazel. Witch hazel is excellent for fighting blemishes, reducing puffiness on the face and under the eyes, soothing razor burn, healing bruises faster, locking in moisture, relieving eczema and psoriasis, and soothing sunburn.

The remaining ingredients are essential oils. The combination used depends on your personal needs. I use lavender, melaluca, and frankincense. Here’s a quick guide to help you choose the right oil or oil blend for your own needs:

 

For Dry Skin

Cedarwood

Clary Sage

Geranium

Jasmine

Lavender

Lemon

Myrrh

Patchouli

Roman Chamomile

Sandalwood

Ylang Ylang

 

For Sensitive Skin

Geranium

Jasmine

Lavender

 

For Oily Skin

Bergamot

Clary Sage

Cypress

Frankincense

Geranium

Helichrysum

Lavender

Lemon

Lemongrass

Melaleuca (Tea Tree)

Orange

Patchouli

Peppermint

Roman Chamomile

Rosemary

Sandalwood

Ylang Ylang

 

For Wrinkles

Clary Sage

Cypress

Frankincense

Geranium

Helichrysum

Lavender

Lemon

Myrrh

Orange

Patchouli

Rosemary

Sandalwood

Ylang Ylang

 

For Acne

Cedarwood

Geranium

Lavender

Lemon

Lemongrass

Melaleuca

Orange

Patchouli

Roman Chamomile

Rosemary

 

(Note that not all oils work for all people. Experimentation may be necessary to find what works best for you. I recommend no more than 4 oils be used at a time, but that is just my personal preference.)
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DIY FACIAL TONER

Ingredients:

1 16oz dark glass bottle (to preserve the integrity of the oils)

16 oz Dickinson’s Witch Hazel

40-50 Drops Essential Oil/Blend

 

Directions:

Pour witch hazel into glass bottle. Add essential oil(s) to witch hazel. (I use 15 drops each of Lavender, Melaleuca, and Frankincense.) Shake well. Apply a small amount using a cotton swab to skin, making sure to avoid contact with eyes and mouth. Shake well prior to each use due to separation of oils and witch hazel.

 

I hope you enjoy this refreshing toner as much as I do.

If you try this and like it, please leave a comment below and let me know!

 

*See Disclaimers Page


Influenster #UniVoxBox Product Reviews

I am a part of an awesome program through Influenster where I get free products to test out and review. You can find more about it at the Influenster website.

Recently, I received the #UniVoxBox filled with fun products.
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Here’s what’s in the box:

NYC New York Color Expert Last Lipstick, Rimmel London Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation, Broadway Nails imPRESS Manicures, Pilot Acroball Pure White, Red Rose Real Tea Premium Water Enhancers, and Playtex Sport Fresh Balance.

 

Pretty much all of these products are going to get raving reviews from me. Here are my thoughts and experiences with each of these products:

 

 

NYC New York Color Expert Last Lipstick in Forever Fuchsia

Here was my thought process about this lipstick:

“Wow! That’s pink! It’s not just pink, it’s fuchsia. Forever Fuchsia! Who in their right mind would wear such a color in real life?”

“But, ya know, I’ve got to review it, so I guess I’ll give it a whirl.”

*after putting it on, along with the Rimmel foundation* “Wow! This actually looks pretty good on me! I feel really cute and girly. I may be a fuchsia lipstick kinda girl after all…”

*after receiving, not one, not two, but three compliments on my new lipstick* “I LOVE this color!”

The lipstick does smudge off a bit on contact (kids cheeks, water cup, husband’s lips, etc.), but it doesn’t really fade much. In fact, I could still see a bit of fuchsia on my lips when I woke up the next day after having washed my face the night before.

For the price of this lipstick, I will be hunting this down when I run out. I may even give a try to another color I would have previously blown off.

 

Rimmel London Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation in Light Ivory

I really liked this foundation. I’m not much of a foundation wearer because I don’t like the feeling of makeup on my face. This product didn’t give me that feeling  at all. When it says “lightweight” on the tube, it means just that. The Light Ivory color was a bit too light for my skin tone. It was the color I picked because, if I remember correctly, it is the second lightest color they have available. I need to remember that I live in the south now, so I spend much more time outdoors in the winter and early spring months which leads to a slightly darker complexion than I’ve been used to for the large majority of my life. In hindsight, the Ivory alone or combined with the Light Ivory would probably be better suited for my new, darker skin tone. [Man, that last sentence really tells how white I am!]

The only downfall with this foundation is that it doesn’t have an SPF rating. I’m thinking it will remain in my cosmetic bag for date nights, but for times when I wear makeup during the day, I will stick with my Maybelline Dream Fresh BB 8-in-1 Beauty Balm that has SPF 30.
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I am wearing both makeup products in the pictures above. I’m just loving that Forever Fuchsia still!

 

Broadway Nails imPRESS Manicures

Ok, so these are fancy press-on nails with fun, funky patterns. They also sell them in solid colors, if funky isn’t really your thing. I honestly didn’t like these at first. They were super easy to apply, but they felt way thicker than my natural nails and were thicker than the nail wraps that I have used (and liked) a few times. I did get used to the thickness though, and even with manually doing the dishes every day, they did last the week that they promised to. I received several compliments on these nails from middle school girls to grandmothers. They are about half the price of some of as the fancy nail wraps that I have seen sold online. I’d say when you factor in cost and value, these are a great deal to make you feel super fancy and girly even on a budget. With the variety of patterns available, there is something for everyone’s style.
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Here’s me, having fun with patterns for a Ladies Mingle at my church. The nails were a big hit!

 

Pilot Acroball Pure White Pen

Oh, a pen. That’s cool. I love pens! Seriously, I used to collect pens from drug reps when I worked as a pharmacy tech. So, as an unofficial pen expert, you can trust my opinion on pens. This baby writes smooth, like butta! The colorful grippy part is comfy too, so it works great when you have to take notes or write a long grocery list. I got a yellow one, but I definitely will be using my $1.50 coupon to buy a pack that includes turquoise and purple.

 

Red Rose Real Tea Premium Water Enhancers in Blackcurrant Raspberry

I am a tea lover! This is a concentrated blend of tea that you squeeze into hot or cold water These are lightly sweetened with cane sugar, but there is very little. One serving is just 1 gram of sugar and 5 calories, so it’s not gonna blow your “diet” or mess with your diabetes. Unless you just squeeze in the whole bottle, which I do NOT recommend. I tried this tea both hot and cold. I prefer it hot, but I also prefer all types of tea hot. If you are struggling to get in your daily requirement of water because, like many people, you just don’t like plain water, this is a great product to try. One squeeze and a little stir and you’ve transformed your water into a yummy glass of tea. Now just 7 more glasses of water to go…

 

Playtex Sport Fresh Balance

These are tampons designed with active women in mind. If you’re like me, working out during a certain week of the month can be uncomfortable. But at the same time, I’ve read lots of research (that I’m too lazy to google and cite at the moment, so do your own searching if you want specifics) that shows many benefits of working out at that time, including a reduction in cramps. Ok, I’m in! These tampons have an Odor Absorber (that’s how it’s listed in the ingredients) and a light fragrance to combat that stanky feeling you get when working out while dealing with your period. I used them during yoga and while running and had no problems. The fragrance and unidentified “Odor Absorber” might freak out some of the more dogmatically health conscious (or just your random skeptics) out there though.

 

 

I am looking forward to reviewing more products from Influenster in the future. Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any of these products or if you are wanting to.  Happy Monday!

 

 

 

*“I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.*

influenster


Homemade Toothpaste DIY Beauty Tuesday

For the next few months, I’m going to be posting a DIY beauty recipe or trick that I use on the first Tuesday of the month. I love homemade products because they have fewer ingredients and are generally cheaper.

I’m starting out my first DIY Beauty Tuesday with a recipe I get asked about often: toothpaste.

I’ve been making my own toothpaste for a while now. I have read so many mixed studies about fluoride that I’m not really sure how to feel about it. Therefore, I’d rather be safe than sorry,  so I make my own homemade toothpaste without the fluoride.  It is super easy to make and lasts a LONG time because you don’t need to use much of it. The basic ingredients are coconut oil and baking soda. I add raw calcium powder to help remineralize. I also use my doTERRA essential oils to add flavor. Some people use xylitol to sweeten theirs up, but I don’t really feel that is necessary with the essential oils. I’ve been tweaking this recipe for a while now (because it lasts so long), and I have finally found what is, to me, the perfect formula. Please, feel free to use this recipe as a general guideline. What works for me may not work for you and what tastes great for me may taste terrible to you.

Oh, and be prepared. When you use this regularly, you may end up getting compliments on how white your teeth are, like I did last week. It was super flatteting and sweet to hear, especially since I don’t use any whitening products on my teeth anymore.

Here is the recipe I use:

DIY Homemade Toothpaste
1 TBSP (15 capsules) Calcium Powder (optional)
2 TBSP Baking Soda
2-4 TBSP Coconut Oil, melted
30 DROPS Trace Minerals (optional)
Essential Oils (to taste)
Stevia or Xylitol (optional, I don’t use)

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Mix calcium powder and baking soda (and optional stevia or xylitol) together. Add trace minerals and then coconut oil, one TBSP at a time until desired consistency is achieved. Add essential oils to desired flavor (10-15 drops total should be enough).

Essential oils I used this time: 10 drops On Guard and 5 drops Peppermint.
(If you are interested in doTERRA essential oils,  check them out here.)

Because of the calcium powder I use, my toothpaste ends up brown, so it doesn’t exactly look pretty:

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To use it, I just run my toothbrush under hot water (the heat helps melt the coconut oil) and then scoop a little onto rhe bristles and brush as usual.