let’s talk about skin, baby

disclaimer: i am no professional. i am just passionate about taking care of my skin and finding the products that it reacts to best.

growing up, i didn’t really value skincare, nor did i have any reason to be overly concerned with my skin.  i was blessed with non acne prone skin and i didn’t really suffer from anything but some hormone related acne and also have limited scarring or discoloration from it.

do you remember when you were younger and these products were what there was to choose from for skincare?! (i was a teen in the 90’s and these were what i remember using)

i look at these products now and the first things that come to mind are…..chemicals, super drying, more chemicals, gross smells, no hydration, ect.

my skincare routine has evolved a lot from when i was younger and the thing that i value most now is: natural (or as natural as possible)  you’ll notice that most of the products that i use are between 90%-100% natural.

cleansers:

i alternate between a couple different cleansers depending on the season or depending on if my skin is having a particular issue.

  1. my “ride or die” cleanser is one that i make homemade and i would say that i use this 75% of the time.

recipe: 1/3 cup Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Liquid Unscented Soap, 2/3 cup Distilled Water, 1 TBSP NOW Organic Jojoba Oil, 5 drops of Young Living Lavender essential oil, 7 drops of Young Living Melaleuca essential oil.  this is all combined into a soap pump container and i use 2 pumps, twice daily.

2.  the cleanser that i use when i need extra hydration on my skin is the fresh Soy Face Cleanser

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3. when my skin needs more vibrancy or brightening, i use the Andalou Naturals Cleansing Gel Citrus Kombucha

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4. if i am having hormonal related acne or blemishes, i always always always use the SheaMoisture African Black Soap Bar

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*this is not drying at all, smells fantastic and WORKS amazing!*

sponges or makeup wipes:

i wash my face twice daily with the Konjac Tumeric Sponge

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*i dispose of these every 3 months*

if i am in a hurry, traveling or just feeling particularly lazy, i will use Pacifica Cactus Water Makeup Removing Wipes

(i really enjoy these because they are made with cactus water as the primary ingredient instead of various different chemicals)

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moisturizers:

1. my absolute FAVORITE moisturizer is the Young Living Sandalwood Moisture Cream

*this moisturizer is pricey, but worth every penny. i love this as a morning moisturizer because it isn’t greasy or thick and soaks into skin quickly for makeup application*

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i also love to mix 1-2 drops (every other day) of Young Living Frankincense Essential Oil into the moisturizer before i apply.  Frankincense is a powerful astringent, meaning it helps protect skin cells. it can be used to help reduce acne blemishes, the appearance of large pores, prevent wrinkles, and it even helps lift and tighten skin to naturally slow signs of aging.

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2. my favorite night time moisturizer is the Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil Light

*i have afternoon oily skin and for a long time i didn’t use oil on oily skin, but that is a total misconception.  using the RIGHT oil on oily skin can help to reverse oily skin.  i still use this only at night because it doesn’t absorb as fast for morning makeup wear and it hydrates my skin all night while i sleep.*

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toners

my toner is one that i make myself.

recipe:  equal parts Rose Water and Witch Hazel (about 1/4 cup of each), then 8 drops of Lavender essential oil, 5 drops of Purification essential oilFrankincense essential oil, and Melaleuca essential oil all into a glass spray bottle

face masks / sheet masks

these are my FAVORITE part about skincare, i love relaxing in the evening while taking care of my skin!

  1. the mask that i use literally almost daily is the fresh Rose Face Mask
*this mask is to. die. for. it does everything that i claims and smells like heaven is being applied to your face.*

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2. my other mask that i tend to reach for more than others is the fresh Vitamin Nectar Vibrancy-Boosting Face Mask

*this has literal pieces of citrus fruit in the mask.  it will leave your skin feeling hydrated, but just wait till the morning after use…it will be toned and vibrant as well.  sticker shock for all fresh brand products can be a turnoff, but i can tell you that there are TONS of uses from each pot and it is well worth each and every penny.*

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3. a mask that i recently started using and it has quickly become my new ride or die product is the Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask

*this product is from Korea and kind of defies all my “natural skincare ONLY” desires.  i found this from a YouTube channel that i watch and was hooked when i heard the $10 price tag.  this mask LITERALLY bubbles up off your face (go to the link that i shared above and scroll down to the customer images to see what i am talking about)  it carbonates while on your face and i promise that if you try this, you will not be disappointed! not only does it leave my skin feeling like a newborn baby’s butt, but it is comical to wear and watch.*

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4. if you haven’t tried any products from Lush, you need to.  my favorite face mask is the Lush Mask of Magnaminty

*this is an exfoliating mask with a minty/tingly feeling while on.  all of Lush products are 100% natural, which is great, but the only downside is that because they are all natural, they have a shelf life that is quicker than most other products.  this is made with kaolin clay which rids pores of gunk, there is also aduki beans that naturally exfoliate the skin.*

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5.  the Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses Rosewater Mask is one that i use after a mask like the two that i talked about above or any other mask that could be drying or exfoliating.  this mask will add any and all missing moisture back into your skin and it smells like you’re living in a rose garden

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6.  the last face masks that i use are a variety of Korean sheet masks.

Dermal Korea Collagen Essence Facial Mask

Dermal Korea Collagen Essence Facial Mask

TONYMOLY I’m Real Mask Sheet Pack

*i love all of these packs of sheet masks.  i particularly like the TONYMOLY ones as they are some you can purchase in stores like Ulta, but purchasing on Amazon in a variety pack is much much cheaper.  i enjoy doing one of these sheet masks after i use the masks above to just pack in a little extra punch on my face.*

 

some might say that i am obsessed with my skin, which might not be too far off, but we only get one set of skin from birth to death.  i want to take care of it now so when i am older i won’t be trying to reverse my younger years 🙂

 

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web of lies

how many of you have ever told a lie?

can there be lies that are worse than others?  are the lies that we tell ourselves worse than the ones that we tell others?

i simply cannot count the amount of lies that i have told myself over the years:

 1. you’re not pretty enough

2. you’re fat

3. you’re not smart enough

4. you’re smaller than that other girl, so you don’t have a weight problem

5. i can hide my food addiction so it isn’t really a problem

6. i can lose weight quickly, whenever i want to

7. ect. ect. ect. ect….you get the point.

are those lies worse than the ones that i repeatedly told others? things like…

  1. i ate this healthy thing and that healthy thing today.  (when i really ate something horrible)
  2. i worked out today! (um, no, you didn’t)
  3. i slept wonderful last night! (besides that 30 minutes you spent eating in the middle of the night, right?)
  4. i am feeling great! (no, actually i am feeling bloated from that fast food that i just ate…that you clearly don’t know about)

i was extremely successful last year at losing weight, i had absolutely no reason to lie about what i was eating or doing because i was doing everything i could do to better myself.  when i took my hyper-focus off of losing weight, the weight came back, and it came back quick.  i was embarrassed, frustrated, mad, angry, defeated.  that’s when the lies started coming back.

first it was lies to others because i couldn’t have them knowing that i fell off the wagon, then it turned into lies to myself.  i let the devil creep into my life and i let him sign a year long lease.

i was a prisoner to the devil and the negativity i allowed him to feed me.  i became someone that wasn’t me, i don’t even know who that person was, well, i do, it was the devil disguised as a person named Emily.

my relationships suffered, my body quickly went back to an un-healthy state and i became a shell of what i once was….all of this while my relationship with the devil was flourishing and thriving.

the devil will keep renewing his lease in our lives until we evict him.  there is no easy fix, no “3 simple steps to kick the devil to the curb” book.  it takes work, and i am in the thick of it right now.

i came to the conclusion that my addiction to food couldn’t start with just simply changing my diet or going for a walk after work.  i needed help, professional help to have a better chance of overcoming this once and for all.  i sought the help of a professional Christian counselor that specializes in addictions of all kinds.

i have to figure out the “head game” part of this addiction.  last year i changed the way my body looked and felt, and i was successful, but i never tackled what was going on in my head.

i don’t claim to have the answers:

but, i KNOW that God is good and He is good all the time.  He is helping me break the lease that i signed with the devil.  He is helping me repair the damage that i allowed the devil to do in my life so that He can move in and sign a permanent lease.

addiction is hard and is generally out of our feeble ability to overcome, but God is always standing next to us willing to help, we just have to ask.

 

 

 

 

 

sex…or lack there of.

June 20th, 2015 was quite simply, one of the happiest days of my life.  My love, Stefan, got down on one knee and asked me to be his forever.  We celebrated that evening with our best friends in Ludington, MI.  The next morning, Stefan and I had some time to just be together and talk after the excitement from the previous day, and that is when he told me about a promise he had made to my parents when he asked for my hand in marriage.  He made a promise to them that when I learned of it, made me mad, devastated, and frustrated.

Stefan promised my parents that he and I wouldn’t have sex again until the wedding.

Okay, okay, okay….He is 38 and I am 31, I understand that this is a topic that isn’t normally discussed past the age of about 15 with your parents.  My parents are different, my parents promised to guide my siblings and me even after the age of adulthood and although they have never stopped us from doing what we wanted, they have always given their best advice.  Obviously, Stefan and I have had sex during our relationship, we have been together for 4 years, but it’s something that I know my parents never condoned.  I am aware that this topic seems elementary and no one really cares who is having sex, because everyone is, but, that doesn’t mean that we have to be everyone else.

In the beginning, the act of sex was something that was reserved for a husband and wife, but then Adam and Eve sinned and everything changed.  God is a very forgiving God and there isn’t a sin that He won’t forgive, if you repent and ask for forgiveness, but more importantly, if you do not continue to repeat the sin.  Having sex before marriage is a sin in God’s eyes, and therefore we cannot experience all that God intended for it outside the context of marriage.

When Stefan came to my parents to ask for my hand in marriage, this was something they asked Stefan to honor.  Stefan promised them that we would honor that request, before he talked to me.  When he told me the morning after he proposed, I will admit, I wasn’t okay with it.  I thought that it would be taking steps back in our relationship to remove it; I was scared that I would feel disconnected from him and quite honestly, I thought, “we’ve already had sex, who cares if we continue to.”  We sat down with my parents, at my request, so I could tell them how angry I was that they put Stefan in a position to promise something without talking to me.  But, I missed their most important lesson.

My parents weren’t going to stop Stefan and me from getting married if we didn’t honor the promise that was made.  They wanted open lines of communication, they wanted Stefan and me to connect on a deeper level, and they wanted us to be more intentional about our relationship.  They wanted us to put God at the center, and putting God at the center meant living a relationship like God intended.

I’ll admit, in the beginning, I abstained purely to prove to my parents that I could do it.  I abstained not because I knew it was the right thing to do, but because I am stubborn and when I am presented with a challenge, I don’t back down.

It’s been almost 6 months since Stefan proposed and we have until our June 25th wedding to wait.  I can now sit here and say that it is no longer just to prove to my parents that we can wait, it has forced Stefan and I to be more intentional with our time, to connect in other ways and has given us the ability to start our marriage pure in the eyes of God.

Yes, it’s hard and there are moments of weakness on both our parts, but we know that what we are doing, or I guess not doing, is right.  We talk more, we are spending time getting our individual selves ready to spend forever together, and most importantly, we are following God’s will for our relationship and I wholeheartedly believe that He will bless our marriage exponentially for it.

my reasons for being a big loser

When I started this journey, I was encouraged to start a lose list.  Something I could refer back to when the going got tough (because it would, I knew it), something that would keep me motivated, something to work towards.

If I didn’t have reasons why I wanted to lose weight, what was the point?

I am type A, I need goals, I need reasons. I needed to put everything that I was feeling down on paper; everything I hated, could’t stand, wanted to do, and wished that I could be.  I needed reasons to love myself again.

I had nothing to lose (well, not literally) but figuratively, I had no where to go but up, or lighter.

Here is my “lose list” (or start of it) that I created on November 21, 2014.  Some of the things on this list seemed un-reachable or un-attainable, some are funny and some are necessary for my health.  When I wrote the list, I was able to come up with 20 reasons, QUICK.  I thought to myself;

I just came up with 20 reasons why I want to lose weight, why did I let it get this far if I had so many reasons to change?”

1. my health

2. body image

3. my future

4. LOVE myself again

5. not to get tired walking up stairs anymore (I work on the 3rd floor)

**I should have been happy that my desk job was moved from the 1st floor to the 3rd to give me at least a little daily exercise, but no, I immediately thought about using the elevator instead! Seriously, Emily?!?!**

6. be able to participate in activities and not always be a bystander

7. when going shopping, I didn’t want to immediately flip to the bottom of the pile of clothes to find my size (if they even had it)

8. I want to be able to cross my legs when sitting

9. I want to enjoy the image I see in the mirror

10. I don’t always want to fee like the fat girl

11.  I need my high blood pressure to be lower

**I knew it was high, I could FEEL my heart want to explode when doing normal activity, let alone working out.**

12. I want to be able to wear skinny jeans

13. I don’t want to have a ‘muffin top’ anymore

14. feel comfortable in a bathing suit

15. I want to be able to walk into a clothing store and be able to buy/wear the “cute” or “trendy” clothes

16. I want to be able to donate blood

**My Iron and Hemoglobin were always too low to donate (some driving factors to low numbers….diet**

17. no more double chin

18. I would like to buy boots that are not “wide calf”

19. I want to be able to run again

20. I owe it to myself

21. my relationships deserve it

I have a million other reasons why I wanted/needed to lose weight, but those are the ones on my “lose list.”  Those are the things I am striving towards.  If you don’t have reasons and goals, you have nothing to keep you accountable.

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fraudulent

Have you ever felt like a fraud?  I have, and do.

Have you ever heard the statement; “weight loss is not a physical challenge, it’s a mental one”?  This statement could not be truer for my journey.

I wasn’t always fat.
I know what I should and shouldn’t eat and I am capable of exercise.

Making myself do it has been a completely different story though.  As I explained in my previous post, I have had a gym membership at the same place since it OPENED, and I never went consistently.  I would go a couple times one week, feel good for a couple days, lose motivation and then not go again for another month.  Not only would I either not go to the gym or simply just go to tan, I lied about it.  I could flat. out. lie to people saying things like, “oh, I just got done working out” (um NO, you didn’t Emily), or “I am headed to the gym right now” (I was really driving to Target with a quick pass through McDonald’s on the way)  Think there might be a problem, I knew so, but didn’t change it.

My first post explained my breaking point.  I was completely at rock bottom, unhappy and overweight.  I joined Weight Watchers and followed that strictly, along with working out quite often.  I dove into the new life with all that I had.  The weight came off surprisingly fast in the beginning (when I needed it to, to keep me motivated).  Before I knew it, it was a couple months in and I had lost almost 30lbs.  On the outside, I was feeling good, but on the inside, I felt like a fraud.

Those that know me well, know I am type A through and through, and when I set my mind to something, I push for it.  My family was (and sometimes still is) shocked that I have been able to stick to my goals, that I have not fallen off the wagon since November, because weight loss has NEVER been something I could stick to.  But, that all was before rock bottom.

Following Weight Watchers Points Plus was fairly easy for me, because I had a plan and when I have a plan, I follow it.  I enjoy cooking and being in the kitchen so it was fun to try new, healthy recipes.  But, in typical type A fashion, I took everything to the extreme.  I refused lunch out with friends because I couldn’t possibly count the points if I didn’t prepare it myself, I turned down date nights with my boyfriend because I was terrified to make a bad decision and I struggled with justifying the amount of points for a simple glass of wine.

I went from not caring about anything that went in my mouth, to stressing about the simplest/healthiest food choices.  Food had taken on a whole new extreme for me, one that also wasn’t healthy.

Although I was seeing very good results on the scale, my battle with food wasn’t (and isn’t) over.  I often ask(ed) myself,

where is the medium ground?
what does life on the other side of this addiction look like?”
“can I keep up this intensity forever”
“what happens when I decide to eat an ice cream cone, will I fall off the wagon?”
As you can imagine, after losing 30+lbs, people start noticing the change.  It feels good.  I felt confident sharing my “before” pictures on my Facebook and they were always accompanied by a positive and uplifting post about how well I was feeling and how far I had come already.  Posting about it kept me accountable, it made me feel proud and happy.  Why is it that I couldn’t/can’t make my brain as happy as my new healthy body is?  Or at least as happy as I “pretended” to be?  I. am. a. fraud.

I have led all of you to believe that because I sit here, 5 months into my journey and almost 40lbs down now, that I am changed.  Even typing the word, changed, makes me laugh on the inside.  Yes, I am healthier, I am happier, and I can wear smaller clothes now…my brain hasn’t caught up to my body and is still living 40lbs ago.

This journey is most definitely a mental one for me.  I can eat as many veggies as I want and work out everyday, that’s not my problem.  My problem is mentally dealing with WHYI got here in the first place and I feel as though I have misled you all into thinking that I have it all figured out.  This journey is d.a.i.l.y. and probably will be forever.  But, everyday that I make the decision to better myself, for myself; I win, not my addiction.

my breaking point

Have you ever told yourself that you would accomplish something by a certain date…then that date comes and goes….and the accomplishment didn’t happen?

That has been me WAY TOO MANY times.  My expectations were never unrealistic or unattainable, I just lacked the motivation to make the change.  Flash back to January 2014 and my New Years Resolution of being a “healthier and happier Emily” by the time that I turned 30 in September.  The funny thing about change is that you HAVE TO DO IT, and I didn’t, I wasn’t healthier or happier when my birthday came and went in September.  In fact, I had gained more weight.  I put on a happy face, smiled for pictures and celebrated with friends; but I was empty on the inside.

My relationship with food is very much a love / hate one.  I love food and I hate to say no.  It took my a long time to admit to myself that I am addicted to food.  Not only am I addicted to food, but I have self diagnosed myself with a “binge eating disorder.” *I have not been diagnosed by a doctor, but, based on the research and reading I have done, it definitely fits into my struggle.*

Here is a glimpse into what would happen when I was alone
potato chips, candy, peanut butter & jelly, ice cream
more ice cream
more candy
more potato chips
more peanut butter & jelly
all consumed within 5-10 minutes. by me, and only me.
 I would think…”where can I hide the containers and wrappers in case someone comes over”
I stop for fast food, park in the parking lot and eat alone so I can throw away the bag so no one will know.

I would feel content, uncomfortable, happy, fat, embarrassed, ugly…all at the same time.

This struggle is REAL, and this was me all. the time.  I ate my feelings, if I was happy, I would eat to celebrate, if I was sad, I would eat to mask the pain.
I would wake up in the morning thinking about breakfast, while I was eating breakfast I would be thinking about lunch, while eating lunch, I would be planning dinner.
Food was (and is) on my mind constantly.  
 
**pause to catch my breath that I just admitted this**
 
Food wasn’t my only struggle, I lacked motivation to make a change. I lacked the desire to actually go to the gym that I paid for every month.  Don’t get me wrong, I occasionally went to the gym…to tan, but I would tell myself that I just didn’t have time to stay and workout, or I would “forget” my workout shoes.  The only person I was fooling was myself.
My weight was out of control.  The clothes in the back of my closet and the photos in my apartment seemed like a distant memory of what I once was.  My reality was plus size clothes shopping and facebook photo untagging.  I would often ask myself, “when is enough, enough.”  but those thoughts would be gone as soon as discussion of food would be brought up.
My breaking point was just before Thanksgiving of this last year (2014).  I honestly cannot recall any specific event or reason, but I was broken and needed help.  I decided to seek help from my loved ones, as well as joining Weight Watchers.  Whatever program that I did to help lose weight and get on track needed to be something that I could fit into a long term lifestyle.  I needed to know that if I had a day that I needed to cheat, I could, without feeling the intense guilt that I normally associated with food.
I walked in to Weight Watchers on November 19th; filled out my paperwork, and got on the scale, it read 227.2lbs *insert tears*  I had NO IDEA that I had gotten that far out of control.
Even though I was feeling every negative/sad emotion that you could think of, I also felt this slight hint of relief.  I had taken the first step.  I started a journey in the positive direction.  I was ready for a different reality.
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