Monday, July 13, 2015

Where I've Been. What I'm Doing.

Sorry I have been MIA lately.

In the past few months I was taking an 18 credit hour semester, all upper division, preparing for the MCAT, and graduating.  I also lost two people that were very important to me within 5 months of each other, which has had a significant impact on my life.

I was getting back on the fitness bandwagon until about 3 weeks prior to the MCAT when it became crunch time and all non academic activities ceased, and it hasn't been easy getting back on it, after all, I am taking summer class for my second degree, but I am getting back in the groove of things and wanted to give an update.

I have begun to make a major diet change as I have decided to drastically cut back my meat consumption, a little for health reasons but mostly because of the environmental impact of raising meat.  Four weeks ago I started eating meat once a day and, for 3 weeks, I was successful at that.  I then moved into my second, hopefully permanent, phase in which I plan on being strictly vegetarian Monday through Friday and only eating meat once a day or less on Saturday and Sunday.  I'm not strictly tracking my macros but I am tracking my food somewhat as I try to balance my protein and carbs with my new diet.  It's easy to overcompensate with carbs in order to feel full but it won't help me reach my fitness goals.  I am also taking a multivitamin and iron supplement to make sure I don't have other diet deficiencies.  I have also had the luck of becoming friends with a vegetarian and vegan who have been very helpful in giving me advice on my transition.  So far I can't say I feel any big changes in my body, though it does seem to be confused by the increase in fiber it's getting, but it is early in the change.  This change has also been surprisingly easy seeing as, until this point, I mostly considered myself a meat and potatoes person.

Okay, so that's the update on my diet, here's a little about fitness.  I have just begun to get back to the gym/out doing exercise shit.  I am trying to do at least 30 minutes of cardio 5 days a week, which has been easier since I bought a new bike.  I would also like to do 30 minutes of weightlifting 2 to 4 times a week but that hasn't happened yet, mostly because I started this plan 2 days ago.  Here's where I stand as far as numbers go:

Weight:  165.0 lbs
% Body Fat (according to my not so accurate home scale): 33%
Arms: 13.5" (L), 13.0" (R)
Chest: 43.0"
Waist: 35.0"
Hips: 42.5"
Thighs: 26" (L & R)
Calves: 15.0" (L & R)

Going forward I am not going to make any promises but I will try to update things more regularly.


Friday, October 31, 2014

Quick Tip 11: Cheap and Easy Makeup Removal

Happy Halloween, everyone!

I wanted to put a last minute tip out there for everyone who's going to have a lot of fantastic Halloween makeup to remove at the end of the night.  If you don't want to use your expensive makeup remove or don't want to have to scrub with something sub-par, use Vaseline to remove your makeup!  It is my all time favorite makeup remove and works on even the most heavy duty products!

Everyone have a great time tonight!


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Let's Talk About Makeup

Let's talk about makeup.  Not tips and tricks.  Not reviews.  Not favorite products.  Let's talk about what makeup is, what it can be, and what it means to me.  

I was scrolling through Pinterest pins the other day and came across a great photo of a fun, colorful, rainbow eye look, and below it, a comment that just didn't sit right with me.  It was something along the lines of "I thought makeup was supposed to be tasteful."  This got me thinking.  While makeup can be tasteful, it can also be colorful, extravagant, transformative, bold, and so on, but makeup doesn't have to be any one of those things.  

As far as I'm concerned, makeup should be one thing: Fun!  I often love the days where I have time to exercise some creativity muscle and take the time to think of and execute a makeup look, but there are other days where I can barely be bothered to brush my hair, and doing my makeup on days like the latter seems just about as much fun as walking on Lego's, so I just don't do it.

Yes, I blog about make, I love makeup, but I don't wear it every day, and I don't think anyone should feel pressured to wear makeup every day if that's not something they want for themselves.  If you love makeup but neutrals are what get you excited, go for it!  If bold and colorful is what you love, go for it!  If you range from no makeup to neutrals to crazy colors, like myself, go for it!  Don't let someone make you feel bad about your makeup choices, they don't have to wear it!

There are ways to make your makeup look more professional, but you don't need to worry about perfection if you're enjoying yourself, getting better at makeup comes with time and practice and, for me, a lot of YouTube video watching!  There are also colors that look better on some people than others. but if you love a color, fuck it!  Rock the shit out of that color and just enjoy yourself!

Go out into the world with makeup that you do for you and you'll make the most important person in your life, yourself, happy.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Quick Tip 10: Dealing with Makeup Fallout

While there are several ways to deal with fallout, under eye adhesive shields, holding a tissue under your eye, simply redoing your under eye concealer, I recently learned a quick way to resolve the issue without having to redo anything or buy additional products.

In case of fallout, use a clean brush to quickly flick away the particles.  If streaks are left or some dots didn't quite make it off your face, use a dab of primer, face or eye, on the end of a q-tip and simply buff away the fallout.  This method effectively erases any trace of the eyeshadow without disrupting the underlying makeup.

Hope this helps!


Thursday, September 25, 2014

I Have Fibromyalgia

I've said in several posts now that I would address my hiatus during this summer, and while I did mention this in my 50 Facts About Me post, here it is again and with more detail ... I have fibromyalgia.

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain that can also be accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood problems.   It used to be diagnosed by a doctor checking 18 specific points on a person for pain on depression, this is how I was diagnosed, but now it is a diagnosis based on exclusion.

These nodules, or “trigger points,” can be felt but what is baffling to doctors and researchers is that, when these nodes are biopsied, the tissues appears normal under a microscope.  This lead to some skepticism that the disorder actually exists.  While fibromyalgia has been described since the 1800s, it wasn’t until the 1970s and 80s that it began being diagnosed and treated as it is now.

Though the exact reason fibromyalgia hurts is unknown, researchers believe that repeated stimulation of certain nerves cause the brains of fibromyalgia patients to change.  These changes include an increase in neurotransmitters that signal pain and pain memory that can cause an overreaction to painful stimuli.

My Story

When I was 14 years old I began to notice an increase in my pain level, without having done anything to cause myself pain until one day I woke up and my body felt like it was on fire and it wouldn’t stop.  Nothing made it stop.  Something was very wrong.

A lot of people talk about how difficult it was to get diagnosed.  How they struggled for months, weeks, even years to get diagnosed.  I was lucky, I didn’t have that problem; my difficulty was in convincing my mother something was wrong.  Freshman year of high school I was a kid at a new school with a flair for the dramatic, and I wasn’t reacting well to my new environment, so I don’t blame my mother for having doubts about my sincerity in the situation.  And, ultimately, it only delayed my trip to the doctor’s a week or so.

My trip to the doctor’s went nearly seamlessly.  I’ve had the same doctor for 24 years now and he’s pretty much Dr. House without the Vicodin addiction and antagonizing nature.  He did a trigger point exam, looked at me intently, and told me that, while he couldn’t provide the official diagnosis, he was sure I had fibromyalgia, and provided me with a referral to a specialist that could confirm the diagnosis.  Two days later I had my official diagnosis and the “honor” of being the second youngest person in the state of Colorado to be diagnosed.  I’m not sure if my record still stands.

While getting diagnosed did not prove difficult, getting my pain under control has been an entirely different story.  To give you some insight into what having a flare feels like, think of what it might feel like to have your body on fire and add to that that it feels like your bones are being crushed when someone pushes on you or squeezes your hand even very gently.  To this day I will not shake someone’s hand while in a flare state.

Medicinal options for pain treatment when I got diagnosed pretty much extended to narcotic painkillers at home, IV pain killers at the hospital when things got really bad, or intramuscular trigger point injections.  Hospital visits aren’t fun for anyone and painkillers come with a lot of risks including organ damage, organ failure, and, let us not forget, addiction.  Yes, I have painkillers and use them, no I do not abuse them, as I have always been hyper aware of the risks and, because of that, have always been aware of what I am taking.  The other options that were recommended to me were those of the alternative medicine type, things like massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, diet, and heat therapy (I’m not sure heat therapy and diet count as “alternative” but I’m not sure where else to include it). 

I’ve never been one to choose Western over Eastern medicine, I don’t think treating illness is that simplistic, so I was absolutely open to the alternative types of medicine, but I had to get to a point where someone could touch me without it being pure agony first, which, unfortunately, met many a painkiller, hospital visit, and injection.  But things really started consistently improving when I started getting massages (sounds terrible, right?).

I started a regular regime of massage, chiropractic, swimming, and stretching.  Painkillers and hospital visits when times got desperate.  Slowly the hospital visits became less and less, and so did the need for painkillers.  Eleven years after I was diagnosed, I had two years without a hospital visit and less than two pain pills a month…until this year.  This year presented another struggle with my fibromyalgia leading to a hospital visit, regular pain pills, and injections.  But I am glad to say that I have reached the other side of that flare now and realize more than ever why a workout routine and maintenance are so important.

When you have fibromyalgia self-care and trigger avoidance or minimization become key.  Triggers are different for everyone and some are nearly impossible to avoid.  I’ve found that one of my main triggers is rapidly fluctuating weather, which is a fact of life in Colorado.  But knowing this means I can know what to expect from my body and do my best to arm myself against it.  It also gives me a better idea of where I should move after I’ve completed school so I can lessen the regularity of this trigger.

If you have fibromyalgia there are more medication options than ever before, such as Lyrica, as well as a greater knowledge of the disease and how to treat it among both traditional and alternative medical fields.

There are two things to remember if you are newly diagnosed or just struggling with it: Not everything will work for everyone and it can get better.  If you can learn to manage your fibromyalgia, your fibromyalgia will not control your life.  Some days you won’t even think about it.

I hope that some people find this comforting or, at the very least, find it informative.  Be well :)


Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday Mantra

Today is the beginning of a new school year for me but, more than that, it is the year that I take my MCATS, start internships, gather recommendation letters, and, finally, apply for medical school.  While getting into medical school is extremely competitive, I can't distract myself with thinking about others applications or standings, I simply have to be the best that I can be and remember that is enough.

While this quote is linked to my future career goals, it is also a reminder to not compare myself to others when it comes to looks, figure, and so on.  It is okay to look to others for inspiration, I do it for makeup and outfit ideas all the time, but it is not fair to yourself to try to be a different person.

I hope everyone has a good Monday, a good week, and self love.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Mantra

As I enter my senior year of college I think of how many years it has taken me to get here, but I also think of all the experiences I've had, people I've met, and things I have learned that have brought me to this point.  It may have been a long time, but it was time worth taking.

Cheers and happy Monday,