TMI Tuesday: My weight and my insecurities

 Ugh. Calories annoy me. Seriously. Why do they have to be in EVERYTHING? Calories should really only be in things  that I can’t stand. Like pickles and olives. Yes, I’m beginning a post complaining. My bad, y’all. But what can I say? Talking about my weight kinda makes me sad. Because here’s the truth….

I will always be “watching my weight.” Yep. I am a beauty blogger and I am not ashamed to admit that I have my share of insecurities. And most of them deal with my weight.

I’ve been watching my weight for as long as I can remember. It comes in spurts. I’ll go months with being obsessed with working out and eating. Something will happen and the next thing I know, I’ve gained all of the weight I lost. It’s a tiresome cycle. But it’s one that I will be dealing with for the rest of my life. And it’s not for the shallow reasons like wanting to fit into a bikini (pshht, never happening) or trying to look “good” for someone. My health will always be an issue for me because I’ve got to keep a close eyes on my reoccurring high blood pressure. It’s stressful, y’all.

Most of last year was my “down” year. I worked out a bit but not as much as I should have. I would go weeks between running or heading to the gym. I’d tell myself that I was too busy or too tired. And because of that, I gained a whooping 20 lbs. My size 12’s got tight and I was forced into a 14. I would see a developing double chin in the mirror and that alone prevented me from doing as many YouTube videos as I should have been doing. Self-loathing ensued; an emotion that I always deal with when I notice myself gaining weight.

In the Fall of last year, I got serious about my weight loss again and so I’ve been actively going to the gym (3-6 times a week) and doing what I have to do to get back in those 12’s. I’m getting there. And I have to remember that I am human. We all backslide from time to time and I can’t always fall into these depressive slumps when I realize that I’ve gained a pound here or there.

Keeping an eye on my weight is a lifestyle for me. I can’t just eat a breadstick without knowing that I’ll HAVE to work out the next day. Yes, I’ll eat my favorite ginger snaps, but never in peace. For I know that unless I work those cookies off, the pounds will pile up. This is my life. This is the way it has to be.

I’ll never be skinny. And I’m okay with that. I don’t mind that my thighs rub together or that my DD’s require my having to wear TWO bras when I work out. I don’t hate my body. But do I want to be in optimal health so that I can be around to keep bringin’ y’all mascara reviews in 2045? Hells yah.

I know weight is a sensitive topic for most of us women. Some of us want smaller boobs. Others want bigger boobs.  Some say they’re too skinny. Others long to be skinny. Mommas feel some kind of way about their post-pregnancy bodies and many of us fall victim to the lies society tells us. Is it important to be healthy? Absolutely.

But do you have to be a size 2, 4 or 6 to be healthy and beautiful. Absolutely not.

What say you? Are you happy with you weight? Or will it always be a struggle for you too?

TMI Tuesday: Why I fear birth control pills…

Birth control scares me, y’all. And by birth control, I mean birth control pills. I know, I know. I’m 27. I should be used to some form of birth control, right? The truth is – I’ve only just begun taking birth control pills for the first time ever this month. I think I am the only woman my age that I know who has never been on birth control before.

I started visited the crotch doc (thanks Kate!) as a teenager in attempts to alleviate my “die every month” menstrual cramps. At 15-years old, my doc suggested that I take birth control and I couldn’t slap him hard enough.

Okay – I’m kidding. I didn’t slap my doctor. But I wanted to. Even as a teen who wasn’t having sex, I still didn’t want to entertain the idea of birth control. For what? I wanted children. Not in the next decade, but the thought of preventing a birth (even if it meant easing my cramps) didn’t sit well with me. I had a hard time explaining this revelation to anyone because for them, birth control was great. My cramps worsened in college; an inconvenient time for me considering I was a full-time student living on campus and working several jobs. Girlfriends couldn’t empathatize with me because they were all on some form of birth control.

Every gynecologist I have ever been to has wanted to prescribe birth control for me. No one ever recommended natural or holistic options for my painful periods. I got smart and started doing my own research. For a year I tried every natural remedy in the book. My cramps continued to get worse and while I knew birth control was an option, I had made it up in my mind that I wouldn’t be popping any pills, tossing IUD’s in the nether regions, getting shots or wearing any patches.

Then this “thing” happened. I got married.

Esposo and I want nothing more than to be geeky parents to Clumps kids. But we’re newlyweds who plan to spend a life together and kids can wait. After visiting my gynecologist in November and telling him that my period had become irregular, he suggested birth control. Of course. I broke down inside. I’ve been turning down birth control for more than 10 years of my life. But here I am. A newlywed with an irregular cycle. Maybe, just maybe birth control can help.

So I’m giving it a chance. But can I be honest? I hate it. I really hate it. I hate how it makes me feel. I hate how it may make me gain weight. I hate how I never remember to take it. I hate that these little pills are tampering with something that happens so naturally. That these little pills could possibly damage some things and make it so that I am unable to conceive. There are tons of side effects of yaz and other birth control pills – so many that there are serious law suits surrounding them. Sites like DrugNews.net provide information on this if you need it.

There, I said it. That’s why I hate birth control pills. I have this inherent fear that they will make me infertile. I know plenty of women have healthy pregnancies and babies being on birth control for years. I really shouldn’t have anything to fear. Yet every time I pop one of those pills, I feel like crying.

I know. I probably sound loco and overly emotional. I do believe in birth control. I would just rather it not be by way of synthetic drugs with a string of symptoms attached. Esposo has been super supportive and comforting. I’m trying to get him on board with the fertility awareness method (FAM) because that is perhaps the only form of birth control that sits well with me. Well – condoms too but how effective can those be with longterm use?

I’ll be seeing my gynecologist again soon and will talk to him about how I feel. The fact remains – I can’t do birth control pills. Or shots. Or patches or IUD’s. They aren’t for me. And if the gyno can’t be supportive and help discuss other options with me, I will find a doctor who can. I don’t want to be the black version of the Duggar’s but I don’t want to harm my body either.

Chime in, gals!

Any others out there who fear birth control?
Or maybe you’ve been taking it for years with no problems?
Either way, let me know!

 

ETA: As of 2/4/12, I have gleefully stopped taking the pills. The constant spotting and morning dizziness became far too overwhelming. Oh…and the decreased libido is so not cool. You know…with being a newlywed and all. I have a very pessimistic attitude when it comes to birth control and don’t have any interest in shopping for other brands or synthetic methods. Since my irregular cycles have only been irregular for the past few months, I am hoping diet, exercise and keeping my stress level down can help get it back on track. As far as baby preventing; hellooooo condoms and FAM. I’d rather deal with monthly cramps (as painful as they are) than deal with my paranoia over these birth control pills. Good riddance, I say!

Happy Chinese New Year! – by LUSH

Oh LUSH. I’ll never know how you do it. In honor of the Chinese New Year (which is today!), LUSH has so beautifully crafted a Red Dragon Soap.

Pretty, isn’t it? Retailed at $7.95, this beautiful bar of soap is gently dusted with gold shimmer.

I’m no fan of glitter particles in my body products but the good news is, after one wash, this dust of glitter washes away. What’s left is a perfectly scented bar of soap that will leave your guests going “OMG, where can I get one of those?”

Scent-wise, if you’re a lover of LUSH’s Karma (I am! I reviewed the solid perfume here), you’ll love the soap. It’s highly fragrant at initial lather but becomes mellow while scenting the skin with that lovely spicy concoction of patchouli, lavender and pine. And it’s a vegan dragon soap too that will be make a perfect gift for your beauty lovin’ vegan guys and girls.

Ah yes, that’s another thing. I find the Karma fragrance to be fitting for men and women. Because of its spiciness, it can easily work for girly girls, manly men and everyone else in between. How thoughtful of you, LUSH. You can snag this at LUSH locations and online.

Some Chinese New Year facts:
-Considering many Asian cultures celebrate it, Chinese New Year is commonly called Lunar New Year.
-The Chinese year is based off of the cycles of the moon.
-2012 is the year of the dragon
-In anticipation for the Chinese New Year, many families thoroughly clean their homes. Metaphorically speaking this is to get rid of the previous year’s bad luck to make space for the new year’s good luck.
-Red is considered a lucky color in China.
(source)

Have you ever celebrated Chinese New Year?

 

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Giveaway! Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal bundle!

Remember that time I told the story about how I was in search for a natural deodorant that could control my Sweaty Betty steez? And then remember that time I found one?! Ooooh yeah, it’s been 4 months since I did that post and I am still rockin’ my Naturally Fresh deodorant. Instead of using the crystal, I’ve switched over to using the roll-on and it keeps me feeling so fresh and so clean without all of the harsh ingredients most deodorants on the market have.

And it keeps me from smelling like a goat.

Which is a good thing because:

I cannot tell I lie. I’m so serious. In better smelling news, the lovely folx at Naturally Fresh  Deodorant Crystal  have offered to sponsor a giveaway and I couldn’t be happier! One winner will win the following….

A Naturally Fresh bundle including:
-Roll-On
-Spray Mist
-MoistStick
-Crystal
-Footspray
-Pet Crystal

Considering the crystal lasts FOREVER, this bundle will probably be all you need in terms of deodorant for close to year. Enter below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Problems entering the contest? Email me at Brittany@ClumpsOfMascara.com.

 

Good luck!

TMI Tuesday: Diva Cup review

So the very first TMI Tuesday was all about something us gals know too much about. Our menstrual cycles. In that post, I talked about my desire to be greener and dump the hassle that was sanitary napkins and tampons. Instead, I said I was going to use a menstrual cup. Say hello to the Diva Cup.

After that post (which was almost 2 months ago), I was anxious for my cycle to come so I could give the menstrual cup a whirl. Mind you, I am NEVER anxious for my period to come. For me, my period’s arrival means cramps from hell, lethargy, the desire to stuff my face and tummy hurtin’ gas. I have to endure all of this while keeping a smile on my face at work and during meetings. It’s the worst. Sanitary napkins didn’t make it any better because I always felt…gross and unclean. I changed them far too often and when I couldn’t, I felt….even grosser. I am happy to say that the Diva Cup has SO made my period 10x more bearable.

WARNING: I’m going to do an in-depth description and review of the Diva Cup. If you are squeamish about period talk, discussing the female anatomy or blood, you may want to leave this post.

If you’re a gangsta and still hangin’ with me, pat yourself on the back. 8) I’m going to do this review in a Q&A format for easier viewing.

How does the Diva Cup work?

Here’s how….it sits snuggly right underneath your cervix and catches your flow. Tampons can disrupt our pH balance because of the harsh cotton stuffed up there. The Diva Cup, however, is made of high quality silicone. It does not contain chlorine, dyes, colorings or additives. It is also scent-free. Give me a side eye if you want, but let’s face it….sometimes being on the rag can be smelly. Not the case with the Diva Cup.

Is it difficult to insert the Diva Cup?

Not one bit. Listen here, ladies…learn your body. Seriously. I felt like quite a noob for not knowing where my cervix was. I actually had to Google it. Sticking some fingers up there and searching for my cervix REALLY helped me work with the Diva Cup better. Some women aren’t able to reach their cervices – which is completely normal. Your best bet is to ask your gynecologist where it is. Also, because my cervix tends to sit lower before and during my cycle, reaching it is a breeze.

Is inserting the Diva Cup painful?

No. If it’s painful, that means you have inserted it incorrectly. I find inserting tampons far more painful and uncomfortable than inserting a menstrual cup. I will say this, you have to be okay with feeling inside your vagina to get the Diva Cup in place. Some women don’t like feeling their fleshy parts and may be turned off with the idea of having to do so. I didn’t find inserting, wearing or removing the Diva Cup at all painful.

What about leaking?

My first time wearing the Diva Cup was rough. Simply because I didn’t trust it or my body. Before test driving a menstrual cup, understand your flow. Are you heavy the first few days? Do you have clots? Do you tend to leak at night? Getting an understanding of your period prior to wearing the Diva Cup can REALLY help you out. The one time I leaked was at night and that was because I inserted the cup incorrectly. It felt funny after I put it in and I was too lazy to re-do it. A midnight run to the bathroom left me with Shark Week-type panties. You gals know what I’m talkin’ about. It wasn’t pretty. So yes, the Diva Cup WILL leak if it doesn’t have a snug fit. I highly recommend wearing a pad the first few times you wear the cup. Just in case…

My period is really really heavy. Will the Diva Cup hold my flow?

I consider my period to be heavy for the first few days and don’t have any problems with leaking. On the first day of my period, I change the Diva Cup more often whereas when I’m getting closer to my period ending, I only have to change it twice a day. So yes, the Diva Cup WILL hold your flow. Just be sure to check it regularly.

How is removal? It seems nasty…

A lot of women may freak out at the sight of their menstrual blood in a cup. Quite frankly, it doesn’t bother me. If anything, I find it fascinating. I know. I’m weird. The removal is actually easier than you think. Grabbing the bottom of it and gently squeezing it can relive the Diva Cup’s suction. From there, you pull down and gently tilt the Diva Cup’s bottom toward the ground. Discard, rinse and reuse! I will say this…removal can be challenging in public restrooms. But it’s still 10x easier than dealing with the unwrapping of a sanitary napkin. Before I go in the restroom, I grab a few paper towels with me. I usually carry a bottle of water to rinse the cup in the toilet. I pat it dry with the paper towels and re-insert. I hate to say it, but if I can, I go in the handicap bathrooms when I’m rockin’ the Diva Cup only because it gives me more space to move around. And I can wash my hands without touching much of anything. Keep in mind, that the outside of the cup does NOT have menstrual flow on it. You shouldn’t get blood on your fingers at all.

A quick vid I did of the removal…

 

Do you clean it daily? And how long can you wear it?

It is recommended to wear the cup for no more than 12 hours at a time. Obviously, if you have a heavy flow, you’ll want to check it more often. The first few days I wore the Diva Cup, I checked it every 2 hours or so. Just out of sheer paranoia. I recommend doing this when you first wear the Diva Cup. Just so you know what your flow is like. At the end of each day and before bed, I wash my with soap, rinse and re-insert. There is also a Diva Wash you can purchase but I’ve found my unscented homemade soap works just fine.

How can you not feel it, B? I just don’t get that…

Seriously. You DON’T feel it. The Diva Cup is not recommended to stay in for more than 12 hours but because it’s so comfortable, I have accidentally forgotten that it was in. No more having to feel that “gushing” feeling when wearing a pad. I can wear thongs, sleep through the night, work out with ease and soak in bath water without fear of creating pools of blood. Which sounds gross, but come on, gals…I know we’ve all been there before.

I’m a teenager. Should I try the Diva Cup?

I’m 27 and I can honestly say that if the Diva Cup was presented to me as a teen, I WOULD not have given it a chance. Then again, I was a teen afraid of tampons. That said, I recommend teenagers consult with their gynecologists first before considering the Diva Cup.

How much is the Diva Cup, what comes with it and where can I get it from?

I scooped up my cup from a health food store here in Orlando. I have also seen it at Whole Foods and on Amazon. I got mine for $35. Pricey? Yes. But it’s the best investment I’ve made in quite some time. And did I mention that the Diva Cup can last for years? Years, ladies. Years. Meanwhile, those bloody pads and tampons go straight to clogging up landfills. The Diva Cup comes in a girly box with the cup itself, a nice carrying bag and a DIVA pin. And plenty of instructions.

There are 2 kinds of Diva Cups. How do I know which one is for me?

There is 1 for women under 30 and one for women over 30 OR who have had children. I got Model 1.

How do I clean and store and the Diva Cup until my next period?

When your cycle is over, it is recommended to boil your Diva Cup for 5 minutes. Obviously, you’ll want to designate a pot just for your Diva Cup in this case. Afterwards, put it in its pouch and leave it somewhere dark and cool until it’s time to reuse. I leave mine in my panty drawer.

Bottom Line:

The learning curve for the Diva Cup can be challenging. My commitment to greening up my period and finding a better alternative is what motivated me to keep going. I wish that all women would give menstrual cups a try, but I know they won’t. There are way too many “factors” that can turn gals away. The price. The fact that you have to reach inside your vagina to insert it. The removal. So yeah – I get why many women won’t consider the Diva Cup. Quite frankly, I would pay $100 for this menstrual cup. It has given me a level of confidence and peace that I didn’t even know existed during my period. No more having to run out and get pads because I’ve run out. Everything about the Diva Cup is wonderful. And if you still aren’t convinced, check the reviews online. Just about everyone that uses the Diva Cup loves it. The Diva Cup is antibacterial, comfortable and rocks in every way.

Pro’s:
-Catches WAY more flow than the average tampon and pad.
-Doesn’t disturb the body’s pH balance the way a tampon does.
-Doesn’t stink the way a pad can.
-Antibacterial and reusable which means no contributing to the landfills..
-Long lasting. Some Diva Cup users have had theirs for close to a decade.
-Comfortable for active ladies. I’ve played soccer, done yoga and ran with my Diva Cup with zero problems.
-Helps you monitor your menstrual flow. This may be important for women who need to keep a closer look at their cycles every month.

Con’s:
-A costly investment (although you do see a return in that investment in a good 7-8 months).
-Can be challenging to use the first few times.
-Takes some time figuring out how to use it in public.

What do you think? Think you’d try one or are you sticking to the pads and tampons? The Diva Cup website does an amazing job about answering almost every question under the sun regarding the cup.

 

ETA: The lucky winner of the Diva Cup was Selena in California! 

 

Schick’s Hydro Silk. The razor you need in your life.

A new razor has hit town, y’all. And it’s a big deal. Laugh if you want, but if you’re like me and endure an insane amount of razor nicks from dealing with crappy razors, you know finding a GOOD razor is a serious, mega and colossal deal. Shick is bringing us their new Hydro Silk Razor. And uh…I hope this doesn’t seem to forward but you need to get one.

Like fo real fo real. This razor is amazing. And for several reasons.

  • This is Schick’s first 5-blade razor. Finally! Why the fellas always got 5 blades and us gals didn’t is beyond me.
  • There are skin guards on the top of the blades to help smooth the skin while shaving.
  • The inclusion of water-activated moisturizing serum is genius. I don’t know how it works but this lubricating strip stays slick for several shaves.

 

Oh, and then you’ve got the nice handle that makes moving around easy peasy .

Because I suffer from razor bumps, burns, nicks, scraps, cuts (you get the idea)…I like that the razor has 5 blades.

That means, I’m not only getting rid of the hair with one swipe, but my skin is left smooth and irritation free. It’s a fantastic razor, y’all.

If you can find it in your drugstore, get it with the quickness. It retails for $9.99 for a razor and 1 cartridge. I loves it.

In extremely random news, how beautiful was the sky the other day?

I have this thing for glaring up at the sky and taking pictures of it. It’s the little things, you know? I get this calming wave of relaxation when I look up at the sky. Even if it’s in the middle of a lunch break.

XOXO –

B

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Cocktail Body Wash is la-la-lovely.

Guess who, for the first time in a looooong time, has stepped away from bars of soap to play around with body washes again? Meeeee! I think I’ve forgotten how awesome body washes are. I’ve been so stuck on making my own soap that I haven’t even touched body wash until a few weeks ago. This divine bottle of liquid gold that is Alba Bontanica’s Hawaiian Cocktail Body Wash broke my fast.

Have you seen these in stores? I’ve spotted them in Target and Whole Foods. The fragrance of this body wash is just absolutely incredible. It reminds me of Hawaiian punch with a citrus kick to it. Folx always hate me for bragging about how it’s a good 80 degrees in Florida in November, but a whiff of this body wash will transport you to a tropical paradise.

Like…for reals. The best thing about this body wash is what it doesn’t have.


Yep, my skin and I are both product snobs (unapologetically so) and I love how this body wash does a whole lot of omitting of the stuff that my skin hates. It is chock full of artificial fragrance but it smells so pleasant that I don’t mind using it for time to time.


Not bad for $8.95. You down for a tropical body wash?

Glitter bombs from Hard Candy

I don’t care how old I get, I’m always going to love glitter. I’ve heard these stories about how women should over a certain age shouldn’t wear glitter. Whatever yo. I’ll be 93 years old with glitter on my nails and won’t give a darn what anyone says. Shoooot. Life is short, wear glitter. Hard Candy would agree with me.

Who knew they had so many glitter bomb-y type products? I didn’t!

Check out this Eye Def creamy eye shadow for example:

While my oily eyelids won’t let me get down with creamy eyeshadows, I absolutely love the intense glitter in this baby.

In fact, there is so much glitter in it, that when you smooth it out, it becomes more of a pewter grew with a punch of magenta glitter. That said, this will probably be worn best solo than as a base. Throwing another shadow on top will take away from the awesomeness that is this Eye Def. If you’ve got oily lids like me, you better wear a primer. Not a bad deal for $6. These Eye Def shadows also come 7 other stunning shades. If you’d rather have your glitter be a little more versatile, check out the Show Girl All Over Body Glitter for under $4.

This is your basic arts and crafts-type glitter. And it’s loose alright.

Use too much of it and it will be everywheeeere.

Buuuut, if you need something a little more concentrated, there’s the Glitteratzi Body Spray for $6.23.

The distribution of glitter was there but the fragrance was just so…unpretty.

Yep. You’re better off rolling with the loose glitter. Still. If you’re a lover of glittah, Hard Candy at Walmart has you covered.