Deeper Thoughts #1: Social Isolation/Otherness

This post is not a “how to” or filled with self-help from a non-professional.  It’s merely my musings on the subject of dealing with moderate social isolation and otherness.

The older I get the more I’m able to understand society and humanity better, though I have no training or education in sociology or psychology. Life is a great teacher if you pay attention to it.

I know that, generally speaking, people are who they are, from infancy onward. I’ve seen it firsthand through myself and now with my daughter. Some of the struggles and issues I had as a child are still with me in my mid-30s. I often wonder if when put on this earth, we are each given an overarching issue that defines our growth in life. I wonder if mine is social isolation and/or otherness.

As a child, I always felt apart from my peers. I have never once in my life felt as though I belonged to any group or social circle. It hasn’t been for lack of trying, and it’s not as though I’m a hermit that doesn’t work or never talks to people. In fact, if you asked people who met me as an acquaintance, they would probably describe me as friendly and sociable. But being friendly is only indicative of how we treat a person in the moment – it has no bearing on long-term social relationships or bonding.

I always had at least a couple of good friends as a child, but it was always incredibly rare for me to bond very much with anyone. I yearned for it actually, but it seemed so elusive for me. Instead of trying to cling to people, I backed off, believing it would make things worse if I seemed needy. By the time I graduated high school, I had one good friend and had never had a boyfriend. I had learned to keep something of a distance between myself and others, for fear of being abandoned, hurt, or tossed aside.

The fact that I grew up and found a great partner in my husband is very surprising to me. As a teenager I was afraid I’d never develop a romantic bond. I think two things in particular are the reasons why I have a great relationship. The first is that as I got older I did grow more confident in talking to others and asserting myself and my needs/wants. Secondly, my husband and I are similar souls and can relate to each other on many levels. I have more in common with him than anyone I’ve ever met. Believe me, I feel very lucky and am grateful for our relationship every day.

But a good marriage is not a substitute for strong social connections and platonic relationships.  Although I am in my mid-30s, I have not had the easiest path to forming relationships with co-workers or other parents.  Case in point: I was married in my last two years of college and didn’t socialize on campus, which was also an hour from my home.  Upon graduation, I worked adjunct at a small college and did not have an office, so after classes, I generally left campus.  I stopped teaching to work at my current job, where there are only two other employees, both of which are 20+ years older than me.  I have had only one child who switched schools last year, and I have never been able to form a connection with other moms. It’s been tough!  And what I have to show for my adult years is the dissolution of friendships from high school and college, while not forming any new friendships due to not really having any interaction with co-workers.

It’s lonely.  There are plenty of times I wish I could grab a coffee one Saturday with a like-minded female.  I live in a small rural community and sadly, there aren’t a lot of social opportunities.  I think things would be easier when I someday work for a different company (who knows exactly when that will be, though) or if I moved to the city.  For now, I often feel isolated.

Ironically, I am quite the introvert.  I don’t mind being alone, and am rarely bored when I’m alone at work or home.  However, I do long for platonic companionship now and then.  After being friendless for years, it does take a toll.  All-in-all I’m a happy, friendly woman who likes meeting new people, but the connections never seem to happen for me.  And if a connection could potentially happen, I’m so gun-shy that I’m afraid to take a leap and ask someone to “be my friend” – I guess this is the equivalent of being too shy to ask a guy on a date.  I think I’m more shy about being around women than I would be around men if I were single.  How odd!

If you are dealing with feeling socially isolated for similar reasons, or maybe because you’re a stay-at-home mom, or because you’re shy, or because a good friend and you recently parted ways, I understand wholeheartedly.  I think someday I will make a few nice connections, but in the meantime, I do feel the sting of a life with no truly close friends.

All-Natural Haul: I Bought THIS Not THAT (a sort-of Anti-Haul…)

No doubt, I am a very budget conscious person.  I have a family, a dog, a mortgage, and am pregnant with my second child.  As such, I definitely do not have a lot of disposable income to spend on myself every week or even every month.  It is important that I weigh the pros and cons of each skincare/makeup/wellness product I buy.  Sometimes it really is worth it to buy the more expensive product, but sometimes it just isn’t.  Here are a few purchases I’ve made in the past few weeks and why I chose it over a more or less expensive option.  I’ll also talk about whether or not I would buy said product again. [Is this post an “anti-haul”?  Not really…but there are parallels…]

I bought Nourish Organics Face Cream NOT Osmia Organics Purely Simple Face Cream – With medical bills to pay and baby items to buy, I’ve been significantly curtailing how much I spend on my beauty products.  I felt a basic face moisturizer would be an easy place to buy a less expensive option.  After doing a bit of hunting, I settled on the Nourish Organics Face Cream, when what I really wanted was something like the Osmia Organics face cream.  The only upside to this was that I saved a lot of money – the Nourish cream was about $19 for 1.7oz, and the Osmia is $60 for 1.5oz.  Would I keep repurchasing the Nourish over something more high quality like Osmia?  No, not if I can help it.  The Osmia is vastly superior, feels better on my skin and seems to hydrate better.  However, it’s also possible there are still other more affordable options out there that I simply haven’t tried yet.  Then there is the matter of all the ingredients I prefer to avoid in my skincare and, well…it gets tricky.  I touched on this frustration on my post here.  In the end, it will still have to come down to how much I can afford to spend when the time comes to buy another moisturizer.

 

 

 

I bought Lily Lolo Mascara NOT Hynt Beauty Mascara – When I was placing an online order about a month ago, I really wanted to buy the Hynt Beauty Nocturne Mascara, but decided to purchase the Lily Lolo Mascara instead.  The Hynt is $24 and the Lily Lolo is $19.50.  Even though I’d tried the Lily Lolo in the past and disliked it, I thought I’d give it another shot because I was saving money.  A mistake.  I still really dislike the Lily Lolo formula, no matter how many people love it.  I find it to be very thick and it often makes my lashes clumpy.  I’m using it up because I don’t want to waste it, but that’s it for me – I won’t buy the Lily Lolo again, even though it’s cheaper than other non-toxic mascaras.

 

 

I bought Juice Beauty SPF 30 Oil Free Moisturizer NOT Kypris Pot of Shade – Personally, a chemical-free non-toxic physical sunscreen everyday is a must.  So many of the natural sunscreens are outrageously expensive.  Yes, they have amazing ingredients, but I cannot afford upwards of $100 on a sunscreen.  I was looking at the Kypris Pot of Shade Heliotropic, which looks very nice, but at $68 for 27ml (slightly less than 1oz) it is quite pricey.  Instead, I purchased the Juice Beauty Organics SPF 30 Moisturizer which is $29 for 2oz and it contains the same 20% non-nano zinc oxide as Kypris.  Yes, the Juice Beauty has a couple of less-than-stellar ingredients, like ethylhexylglycerin, but as it is one of the last ingredients, I compromised on this.  Would I repurchase the Juice Beauty sunscreen if I needed to save money again?  Yes.

 

 

 

I bought Desert Essence Organics Haircare NOT Innersense Organic Haircare – I’ve tried quite a few non-toxic/green beauty hair care brands.  Josh Rosebrook, Innersense, Rahua, Briogio, and more.  The problem with me and high-end hair care is that I simply don’t need fancy ingredients. Right now I have virgin hair that leans oily and all I really need is a decent non-toxic volumizing shampoo and conditioner for my fine hair.  Nearly all of the high-end green brands I’ve tried tout how moisturizing they are, which is great if that’s what you need…but I don’t.  I did play with the idea of trying the Innersense hair care line for volume but at $26 for the 10oz shampoo (“Hairbath”) and $24 for the conditioner (“Create Volume Lotion”), I find $50 for a shampoo and conditioner set to be completely unnecessary for my hair needs.  Thus I went back to my much loved Desert Essence Green Apple & Ginger Shampoo and Conditioner, which I can buy on Vitacost for around $6 per 8oz bottle.  I will say that their ingredients aren’t 100% ideal to me – but they certainly are far from bad.  My hair gets weighed down so easily by other haircare, and I know this set won’t do that.

 

 

 

I bought Raw Rev Glo Peanut Sea Salt Bars NOT Lara Bars or Luna Bars – Thus far, the Raw Rev Glo bars are the only protein bars that check every single box on my wishlist: high protein, high fiber, very low sugar, minimal ingredients, vegan, moist, tasty, and somewhat affordable.  I bought a box of 12 bars for $22, which equals about $1.80 per bar.  I can buy Lara or Luna Bars or close equivalents for around $1 per bar.  However, the cheaper bars always have something undesirable – the Lara bars are high in natural sugar and not as high in protein as I’d like.  Luna bars aren’t as high in fiber or protein and have a lot of ingredients.  I’m willing to pay more for a high quality bar I actually enjoy eating.

 

 

 

I bought Nature’s Way Alive! Prenatal Gummy Vitamin NOT Garden of Life MyKind Prenatal Vitamin – This has been a difficult choice.  On the one hand, of course I want to take a high quality vitamin while pregnant, but on the other hand, I’m not sure if there is a substantial difference between a medium quality drugstore prenatal and an exponentially more expensive natural vitamin.  I had the GoL MyKind Prenatal in my hand at Whole Foods, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay $40+ retail for a one month supply of prenatal vitamins.  Additionally, I have a very difficult time swallowing large pills that have a dry, grainy texture like these.  I took some early in my first trimester and the pill would usually get lodged in my throat and I began to dread taking my vitamin. The daily serving of the GoL MyKind Prenatal is 3 pills! I found the Alive! Prenatal Gummy for around $15, and while far from perfect, it was a reasonable cost for a decent vitamin.  I’ve read about how lower end vitamins are made – it’s not great.  But these seemed like a compromise.  They are gelatin-free gummies, have a fruit and veggie powder blend, and have all the vitamins I most need.  They do not contain iron, but I’m supplementing my iron.  Would I keep repurchasing more affordable vitamins?  I don’t know.  The high-end vitamin and supplement market is still a head-scratcher for me…I’m not decided on whether or not the extremely high prices are justified.  If money were no object, I would absolutely buy the most high-quality vitamin available, although that still doesn’t take into account how difficult it is for me to swallow large vitamins.

What products have you purchased lately that made you think about cost, quality, and value?  I’d love to hear in the comments!

 

Baby Wishlist: Natural, Non-Toxic Items

Here are a few items from my Amazon Wishlist for baby!  I’m due in July, so while I have a few bigger items, there are still a lot of miscellaneous and smaller items still on my list to buy.

 

FridaBaby The Windi Gas and Colic Reliever – Worth a shot as an alternative to gripe water.  I looked at ingredients for at least a dozen gripe waters; for me, even the most natural were still not natural enough for a newborn.  Virtually all babies get gas, and when they do, it’s painful for them and can result in a lot of crying and distress for baby and everyone else.  I’m definitely willing to try this natural alternative for relieving gas.

Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Non-Scents Shampoo & Body Wash – This is the bath product I plan on using due to lots of great reviews and fairly wide availability.  I also wanted to use a wash that had no essential oils or scents added.  Newborn babies are very sensitive and there really is no need for me to make my baby smell like vanilla or oranges – babies smell good enough on their own!

Natursutten Natural Rubber Pacifier – So far, this is the most natural pacifier I’ve come across.  It’s 100% natural rubber instead of plastic, and actually has no plastic components at all. It also meets more stringent European standards.  This is definitely worth trying if my baby is a pacifier lover.

Natursutten Glass Bottles – I’m not completely certain which brand of glass bottles I’ll purchase, but this is definitely a contender, along with the Lifefactory Bottles. The goal and plan is to breastfeed, but I also want to pump so that my husband has the opportunity to bottle feed.  Not only that, but at some point when I go back to work, I’ll need to pump anyway. Glass is a vastly superior bottle material to plastic if one can afford it.  I actually used plastic with my older daughter and cringe every time I think about it. But I also believe in doing the best we can with what we know and what we have access to, because no one is perfect.

Snuggle Me Organic Baby Bed/Lounger – This is seriously a “wishlist” item, because at this price I’m not sure I can justify the purchase.  However, I want to get an infant lounger and this is my first pick.

HABA Rattling Max Toy – This is such a sentimental toy for me.  When my daughter was about 2 or 3 months old, this was one of her first toys.  I still have hers, though when she was older she broke the bottom wooden ring.  I digress. One thing I do not want in my teething baby’s mouth is a conventional plastic toy. I want another Max rattle for this baby because not only is it nostalgic, but it’s made by a great German company with sustainable practices using natural beechwood and natural non-toxic colors.  Oh, and it’s a beautiful toy.

These are just a few of the natural, non-toxic items on my baby wish list.  Do you have any recommendations? I’d love to hear in the comments!

 

Non-Toxic Beauty & Skincare Wishlist

First, a little about my current approach to my skincare and beauty purchases. For months I’ve avoided purchasing products I don’t need.  Mostly, I purchase items as I run out.  Products like lipsticks and blushes are mostly a non-priority until I use up some of what I have.   The first reason for this approach is to budget finances better.  The second is that I don’t want to be consumed by materialism.  The third is that I find it ridiculous to accumulate more makeup or skincare products than I could ever use up before they went bad.

Having gotten that out of the way, here are some products that I’m interested in purchasing as I use up and replace my current items:

 

Purely Simple Face Cream

Osmia Organics Purely Simple Face Cream – It might seem as though something like this wouldn’t warrent a second glance – after all, it even says in the name that it’s a simple face cream.  However, all face lotions are not created equal…far from it.  I’ve tried lots, both mainstream when I was younger, and high end green brands.  This is my favorite and I want to repurchase soon.  It sinks into the skin quickly but leaves it hydrated, all with limited natural ingredients.  Let me just say that is no easy feat.

 

 

Rose Petal HydroSoul - evanhealy

Evan Healy Rose Petal HydroSoul – It’s been a while since I’ve purchased an Evan Healy hydrosol, but they are really great.  I love using rose water hydrosol in spring and summer when I need less moisture.  This one looks lovely and I love the packaging.

 

Image result for jordan samuel plie

Jordan Samuel Plié Treatment Cleanser – I feel like so many people have been talking about Jordan Samuel lately.  I love using a good cleanser that is also affordable.  For me, $20 for 3 ozs of natural face cleanser is very reasonable.  I’m really leaning towards buying this one when my other cleansers run out.

 

Earth Mama Angel Baby line – I want to try several of their products, primarily for my baby who is due this summer!  Currently, I plan on purchasing their Natural Nipple Butter for breastfeeding, their Natural Non-Scents Body Wash and Shampoo for baby’s bathtime, and some of their teas.

 

4.5oz Super Sensitive Organic Body Oil
California Baby Super Sensitive Body Oil – It’s important to me to use no fragrances (natural or otherwise) on my baby for the first few weeks.  Most baby oils contain fragrance or essential oils, which can potentially irritate delicate baby skin.  This is one of the few products I’ve found that is organic, affordable, and completely scent-free.

 


Kosas Lipstick in Undone – OK, I want pretty much every shade they make since I purchased Rosewater, which is an absolutely perfect lipstick.  If I must choose just one, I’d pick Undone, which is a makeup artist favorite, with good reason I’m sure. The shade is a nude pinky-brown and looks beautiful in every photo I’ve seen of it.

 

RMS Beauty Signature Set: Pop – I think these palette sets are brilliant.  RMS is probably my number #1 favorite non-toxic beauty brand if I had to pick, but they aren’t exactly affordable.  This is such a fantastic way to have multiple products for a fraction of the cost.

 

Image result for glossier boy brow

Glossier Boy Brow – I want to purchase a few of their products, but primarily Boy Brow in blonde. Doing my brows is pretty much a daily standard for me, even when I’m not wearing any other makeup.  I’d also love to try their Stretch Concealer and Cloud Paint.

What non-toxic, natural items are on your beauty/skincare/baby wishlist? Let me know in the comments!

My Favorite YouTube Channels

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I don’t have cable and don’t watch a lot of Hulu or movies (and when I do, it’s almost always in the evenings with my husband for an hour or so).  This means I get most of my “TV entertainment” from YouTube – which showcases a ton of quality content makers!  I’m always on the lookout for new-to-me channels.  What follows is a list of some of my favorite channels right now, by category.  I’d love to hear suggestions for your favorite channels!

 

Home (Design, Organization, Cleaning)

  1. AtHomeWithNikki – She has such a lovely personality and exceptional design taste.
  2. Do It on a Dime – If you like budget friendly home decor/organizing ideas, she is great.
  3. Molly Sims – I love Molly’s videos; topics range from home, kids, recipes, decor, and more
  4. VasseurBeauty – This girl is so likeable and has fantastic home hack/cleaning/DIY videos!
  5. Clean My Space – A recent find – I always love a good video with cleaning tips

Budget & Finances

  1. Sugar Mamma – Canna is smart, savvy, and fun to watch – lots of financial information
  2. Rachel Cruze – A mom who really knows what budgeting and financial freedom is all about

Natural & Inspirational Lifestyle

  1. Alli Cherry – This Cali girl hits on various topics, natural living being very prominent
  2. Christine Kobzeff – It’s beautiful to look at life through Christine’s eyes
  3. HolisticHabits – Although she sporadically uploads, her videos are all great
  4. Infinite Waters (Diving Deep) – Self-improvement from a West Coast vegan psychologist
  5. Kendra Atkins – Another lovable Cali girl.  Uploads are primarily beauty and baby related
  6. Laura’s Natural Life – A holistic nutritionist who also loves green beauty
  7. Shannon Sullivan – Well-rounded content on health, beauty, cooking, wellness, and more

Vegan Food & Recipes

  1. HealthyGroceryGirl – Registered Dietician with lots of healthy recipes and some miscellany
  2. Hot For Food – “drool worthy” vegan recipes
  3. SweetPotatoSoul – Unique and delicious vegan recipes are Jenné’s primary content

Beauty

  1. Caroline Hirons – International facialist and beauty lover who knows her stuff.
  2. Jenna Catherine – Natural beauty lover from Canada: tutorials, reviews, and more
  3. Kathleen Lights – By far the most loveable mainstream YouTube beauty guru
  4. L’amour et la Musique – Her words: “Beauty rituals as energy work.” Thoughtful.
  5. Lisa Eldridge – International makeup artist.  The REAL thing.  Amazing.
  6. MakeupTIA – Beauty lover with the best video and [occasional] vlog editing
  7. Sophie Uliano – One of the originals of green beauty and wellness.  Love her.
  8. ttsandra – I could listen to Sandra talk about makeup for hours.

ASMR

  1. Gentle Whispering ASMR – I love ASMR deeply.  Maria is classic!
  2. WhispersRed ASMR – Excellent quality, well thought out ASMR
  3. After A Fashion ASMR – Extended length ASMR with a great soft voice

Current Daily Makeup – MOTD

I typically wear makeup about 5 or 6 days a week – workdays M-F and usually one weekend day.  Lately I’ve been using the same products when I do quick makeup in the morning.

After skincare:

Juice Beauty SPF 30 Oil Free Moisturizer – I love the consistency of this. It is moisturizing but not greasy or heavy, contains 20% non-nano zinc oxide as the physical sunscreen, smells slightly citrusy, and retails for $29 for 2 ozs – one of the more affordable non-toxic face sunscreens on the market.
Fitglow Vita-Active Foundation in VF1 – I use two pumps and using my finger, dot it all over my face.  I then use a face buffing brush to work it into my skin.  I use a damp beauty sponge afterwords to blur any brush lines
Fitglow Beauty Eye Bright/Kat Von D Lock-It ConcealerW3LL People Bio Correct Concealer – I am trying to use up my Fitglow Eye Bright and the Kat Von D Lock-It Concealer – both are OK.  I can’t personally use the Eye Bright by itself – I always have to layer another concealer on top of it.  The Kat Von D concealer is good but a bit drying and somewhat difficult to blend.  I have a sample of the W3LL People Bio Active Concealer and really like it but my dark circles peek out after 3 or 4 hours of wear.  Next, I might try the Tarte Shape Tape Concealer…
Tarte Smooth Operator Pressed Setting Powder – under eyes to set concealer, around sides of nose

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz  – I use Taupe, and it’s the only brow product I’ve been able to find that is a close match to my eyebrows without having red tones.  The tip is precise enough to fill in my brows where I need it the most.  I like this better than the ABH Brow Definer because it gives more control of exactly where I need the product to be.

Everyday Minerals All Over Shimmer – for days when I want a subtle glow, I use a light dusting over my entire face
Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer – this is perfect for fair skin, and is more of a neutral toned bronzer that isn’t too orange and isn’t gray, either.

Jane Iredale PurePressed Blush in Cotton Candy – a pretty neutral rose shade with incredibly subtle shimmer
Anastasia Beverly Hills Renaissance Eye Palette  I can do neutral or smoky and anything in between with this palette.  For a very simple everyday eye look, I use Tempura all over, and Buon Fresco blended up to my crease, with Cypress Umber on my lash line.  There is some fall out, but the shades are gorgeous and blend very easily

Modern Minerals Moonstone Highlighter – So beautiful, so creamy and easy to apply
W3LL People Expressionist Mascara – an old favorite
Kosas Rosewater Lipstick – a beautiful everyday light-medium rose color with subtle mauve undertones, fantastic formula and wear time

What are some of your no-fail, go-to everyday makeup products?

My Frustrations: The Green Marketplace

You know the expression, “opinions are like a**holes, everybody has one.”

Well, here are a few of my gripes with the market known interchangeably as non-toxic/green/all-natural beauty.

I say this with love and respect for all those who strive to bring ethical, eco, non-toxic skin and beauty products to consumers. I will always buy and support non-toxic, ethical brands!  But I still get cranky about a few things.  Namely:

 

  • How many times have I struggled, staring at a screen, trying to decide what color or shade would work best on my skin tone?  I’d hate to know the exact amount of time I’ve spent on doing just that. Selecting the right shade of a product is a bit of a gamble at best, and downright frustrating and time consuming at worst.  Unless you are blessed to live in a major city that has a green beauty store, you’re like me and have to rely solely on reviews and internet pictures…or, if you’re super lucky, samples. [And of the websites that DO sell samples, they aren’t all that cheap.  Usually one sample is around $3-5 and many charge shipping in addition. Recently I wanted a sample of a product.  The sample was about $6 and the shipping was more than that.  I chose not to buy the sample.]

 

  • If you buy a product online and the color doesn’t match, your skin has a reaction, or you just hate the performance, 9 times out of 10, you’ve just lost your hard-earned money. It’s happened to me multiple times, and all I can do is toss it or pass it along to a family member who *might* use it. Yes, some companies accept returns, but most don’t and even when they do, it’s a hassle.

 

  • Desire for pure ingredients versus the higher the price tag. What to do when the price of a product exceeds what you can reasonably spend, but the alternative products are not “clean” enough?  There is no compromise sometimes.  A few times I’ve had to decide between the more expensive clean product and the less expensive dirtier product.

 

  • Off the top of my head, I can think of two or three beauty bloggers that I trust what they say.  Like, really trust.  The rest of the beauty bloggers I take with a grain of salt, or sometimes with a very suspicious eye.  Right now, there are a couple of green beauty bloggers I’m this close to writing off because they seem so insincere.  There are quite a few green beauty bloggers that receive lots of PR packages (i.e. free products!) and the reviews are almost always glowing.  It must be a double edged sword for some of these bloggers. Most people feel driven to say gracious, complementary things about gifts.  Think about Christmas time when friends and family give you items you aren’t thrilled with – you wouldn’t want to hurt their feelings by saying something negative, right?  I’m sure beauty bloggers feel torn, too.  Sure, most of them will include a disclaimer that says something about “all opinions are my own” and so forth…but, really?  I’d bet money that if they were all 100% completely honest, free PR products at least sometimes skew their reviews, even if it was done unconsciously.  [No, I don’t receive any PR.  No, I’m not jealous.  Even if I were given PR products, I’d be seriously upfront about my honesty, at the risk of losing that PR relationship.  But…that’s ME.]

 

  • There has been a major push towards “self care” in the women’s beauty space. While a lovely and beautiful sentiment, part of its mantra seems to say, “buy this expensive green product because you’re worth it.” But for women/families on a budget, you really have to think long and hard and make decisions on what to spend money.  Yes, I actually do believe in self-care whole-heartedly and I know that self-care doesn’t always mean you need to buy a product.  Self-care can be as simple as taking a walk or a hot bath or doing yoga.  But let’s be real – a lot of self-care harkens back to using products.

 

  • Some companies will proudly tell you that yes, their products are very expensive because they are luxury, high quality, all-natural products – and I get that, but it alienates people, too.  Why can’t one company have high-end and more affordable products as well?  The short answer is, they could – they chose not to (for various reasons, I’m sure). Everyone is entitled to do their own thing, and I respect that, but it’s disappointing when lovely brands are leaving out an entire population of more budget-conscious women and men.

 

I have been using non-toxic green beauty products for at least 10 years.  That doesn’t mean I went 100% non-toxic 10 years ago, but that’s when I started transitioning.  I wouldn’t go back to the mainstream dirty beauty items of my teens for anything – I’d rather go bare faced than use toxic makeup and skincare.  So, yes, we’re all sisters-in-arms in this green beauty space.  This is all said with love and respect, but it’s also healthy and natural to vent about the things that could be improved upon.

Baby #2: First Trimester Musings

Photograph from the book “Yoga: The Essential Positions” by Jacqueline May Lysycia

I received one of the biggest shocks of my life last autumn.  At an ob/gyn appointment for cyst pain, the doctor said she wanted to do a routine pregnancy test.  However, I really, really, really didn’t expect the doctor to come up to me 10 minutes later with a funny look on her face…and then tell me I was pregnant.

It has been several years since I had my one and only child, my daughter.  It truly feels like starting all over in many ways.  However, I’m older than the first time around, and hopefully more prepared this time.

The whole spectrum of emotions has hit me at different moments over the past several weeks.  I’ve felt shock, disbelief, scared, overwhelmed, anxious, excited, happy, and blessed.  Sometimes I feel several different emotions in one day.

As with my first pregnancy, my true prayer is to have a healthy child.  Here are some changes I’ve experienced as well as the things that have been the most useful and comforting to me thus far.  Now I am nicely into my second trimester, but I’m dealing with a second round of morning sickness, which stopped around 12 or 13 weeks and then came back about 2 weeks after that.

Symptoms & Body Changes

  • Nausea/Morning Sickness accompanied with dizziness and body aches
  • Discharge a.k.a. leukorrhea
  • Mild to moderate fatigue
  • Ovarian cyst pain around weeks 2-6
  • Tender breasts
  • Tender stomach
  • Beginning of a belly bump
  • Mild breakouts on my face, almost exclusively around my mouth and chin area
  • Bizarre dreams
  • Restless sleep
  • Very frequent urination

 

New Habits I’ve Adopted

  • Daily prenatal vitamin with folic acid/folate – pretty standard
  • Kegals – to strengthen the muscles in preparation for childbirth
  • Daily stretches and squats – again, to strengthen my muscles and be as fit as possible for childbirth
  • Walks – as applicable when the weather allows
  • Meditation/Relaxation practices, light yoga as allowed (when I’m not sick) – As an aside, this isn’t really a new habit – but I added it to this list and I think it is essential that when you’re pregnant and growing a baby, you try to have as calm and peaceful a demeanor as possible for YOUR set of circumstances.  I have many stress triggers in my life, but I constantly bring myself back to a state of relaxation and meditative peacefulness for my sake and my baby’s sake.

 

A Few Pregnancy Favorites So Far

  • Peppermint tea – for morning sickness/nausea
  • Pregnancy tea – soothing and mild, suitable for when I’m nauseous
  • ASMR – for relaxation when I have morning sickness or anxiety
  • What To Expect When Expecting book & app – for weekly summary of how baby is developing
  • Meow Meow Tweet Spot Treatment – for hormonal breakouts
  • Motherhood Maternity & Old Navy Maternity – for comfy, affordable clothes;  I’ve also purchased a few maternity clothes from consignment stores
  • Sea Bands – for nausea…I couldn’t say how well they worked, but I have them
  • Sour hard candies – for nausea…again, not sure how much they helped, but they were cheaper than Preggy Pops and essentially the same thing
  • Hot cocoa in lieu of coffee – heat almond milk and then whisk in cocoa and stevia.  Voila.

What are/were your favorites during pregnancy?  I’d love to hear about what you love(d) in the comments!