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!