It’s the Little Things…

little things“Ashley honey, I’ve never known you to have issues with acne,” my mother told me while looking intently at my face during a recent trip home.  “So what’s been going on with you up there?  Have you been taking care of yourself?” she gently prodded.

I hung my head.  The truth is I had not been.  My normally smooth, nearly flawless complexion had been marked with several acne scars with a few surface bumps scattered throughout my cheeks for good measure.  My cheap(er) concealer did a decent job of covering the imperfections, but it obviously wasn’t enough.  While I’d been doing a pretty good job of hiding behind my makeup and busy schedule, my mother saw right through the smoke and mirrors that nobody else does.  I was embarrassed.

“Well,” I hesitated.  “It’s hard Mom.  I’ve just gotten so busy and haven’t been eating like I should…”

“It’s okay baby.  It’ll get better,” she said reassuringly, sensing that I had gotten uncomfortable.  Wanting to avoid any conflict, she gently steered the conversation to more pleasant things but of course her words stuck with me.  Once back in NYC I found myself forking over my hard-earned cash for the expensive skin care products that never fail.

But isn’t that the thing with parents?  They have a way of honing in on those little things that seem to go unnoticed by everyone.  The next thing you know, you’re making all of these changes sparked by one seemingly minor comment.

Since visiting home while, I’ve worked on clearing up my complexion issues I’ve really gone overboard when it comes to cooking, cleaning and organizing.  I’ve lightweight overhauled my life.  My mother’s home was in impeccable condition and I was embarrassed when I walked into my own apartment and realized she would not approve.  While I’ve never been a messy person, there was no denying that my overflowing laundry basket should have been washed at least a week or two earlier, that my trash needed to go out, that my floors could use a good mop,  that my fridge could use more green veggies and less condiments…the list can go on for days.

Overall sometimes we need those reality checks.  We get so caught up in being busy that we forget to take care of those little things that when combined affect major change.  Since doing those little things, overall I feel more settled, more organized and more at peace.  It’s easier to be productive, to focus and to stay on task.  And when you have a busy schedule, these are the things that will make or break you.  Some days you eat the bear and other days the bear eats you.  Lately, I’ve been eating a lot of bears.

Thanks Mom.

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The Oil Pulling Bandwagon

If someone told you that swishing a tablespoon of unrefined, coconut oil around in your mouth for 5-20 minutes daily could detox your body, clear sinus congestion and drastically improve your dental hygiene would you believe them?

After trying oil pulling for the first time this morning, I do!

oil pulling

I first came across an article touting the health benefits of oil pulling on a healthy living instagram page.  The article went into detail about many of the health benefits that can be achieved from swishing and pulling unrefined, high quality vegetable oils around your teeth for several minutes a day.  Among the benefits that stood out to me are as follows:

  • Whitens teeth
  • Clears up acne, psoriasis, eczema and other skin issues
  • Heals cavities, gum issues
  • Limits migraines and other aches and pains throughout the body

Initially oil-pulling was a bit uncomfortable as I waited for the gobs of solidified coconut oil to liquefy in my mouth.  After a minute or so, swishing became effortless; the oil reached every crevice so I felt like it was ridding my mouth of all toxins and bacteria.  After rinsing, my teeth felt incredibly clean-so much so that a post-pull flossing session yielded zero plaque-the flossing proved to be useless and unnecessary.  While I pulled for a mere six minutes this morning, I immediately noticed congestion had cleared and a sensitive molar that had been irritating me a bit had stopped bothering me.

I am excited to see what other changes I notice throughout my body in the coming weeks.  I’ve shared this information with my health-conscious cousins, Shelby and Mia, as neither of them had ever heard of it before.  They now are on board and will be testing these results along with me.  Will my seasonal eczema clear up?  Will acne no longer be a nuisance in my morning make-up routine?  Will flossing sessions continue to be in vain?  I can only hope so!

A Personal Issue…Advice Please!

***Disclaimer: Men, you may be turned off.  If lady things gross you out, STOP READING NOW!!!***

            I’ve been on birth control for several years now.  After seeing how it had cleared up the acne on a cousin and how it had added to a “thicker” physique on a few other women, I knew that having those extra hormones running through my body could spell nothing but success. 

            After signing on board and receiving the Pill, all the side affects I’d seen in other women were also applying to me!  I rarely got a blemish on my face and I gained enough weight to maintain a solid size 2.  About two years after being on the Pill I learned of Seasonique-the pill that prevented you from having monthly periods.  I jumped on board immediately.  Before I knew it I was only having periods four times a year. 

            While the various forms of the Pill have all spelled success for me, the one thing that I wasn’t always the most efficient with was the correct dosage.  I would forget to take my pill ALL the time.  During any given week, 2 or 3 of those days I would forget to take it and would have to double up the next day, etc.  It got to be hectic.  It didn’t help that my closest friends began making me paranoid.  “Yancey, you can make yourself sterile by overdosing on hormones!” and “That’s not healthy, you’re abusing your body!”  They freaked me out so bad I wound up asking my fabulous Aunt Renee, a scientist, about the Pills.  She has enjoyed a nice career working for pharmaceutical companies so I knew she would know.  And she did-I was informed I was not at risk for anything and would be fine.

           Despite having Aunt Renee’s positive diagnosis, my friend’s assumptions were still lingering in my head.  Try as I might, I just wasn’t as comfortable with the Pill anymore.  There had to be an easier way to maintain the extra hormones in my body.  After seeing all of the commercials on television advertising the Nuva Ring I decided that it seemed to be a great option.  It wasn’t a sticker on the outside of my body (like the patch), I only had to change it once a month (because it’s an “internal” form of birth control) and, the doctor assured me that my extra bit of “woman weight” would not be going anywhere (the most important to me).

            Since October I’ve now been trying the Nuva Ring but I’ll admit my body hasn’t been the most accepting.  I won’t get into too many details here, but just understand my body has its ways of letting me know!   After noticing this, I recently went to the doctor last month and it was there that I discovered I’ve lost 15 lbs since October!  When I went to the doctor in October to get put on the Ring I was 122 lbs.  As of last month I was 107 lbs.  I am now freaking out.  Heck, I probably weigh even less now!  Augh!  While all of my jeans fit the same, some of my tops are loser.  Furthermore, earlier this week when I had to attend a few job interviews I discovered that NONE of my size 2 dress pants fit anymore-I was swimming in all of them! 

            To say I’m devastated by this news is an understatement.  While my body still has a little shape to it, I’m losing weight.  Who in the world has ever LOST weight being on birth control?  I have another doctor’s appointment in the morning and it is there that I’m switching back to the Pill.  I got on birth control to gain weight and have clear skin.  At this point, I’m losing…bad!

Ladies, have you ever had any issues with the Ring?  Any forms of birth control that haven’t worked well with you?  Have you all ever heard of this issue before?  This can’t be normal.