This post was going to be a Top 5 Products for Your Christmas List, but unfortunately life got a little...busy. Let's just say that between another failed ivf cycle (sigh) and my husband falling down some stairs and tearing his patellae tendon, I didn't have much time to blog. Thankfully, things are starting to settle down now. My husband had a successful tendon reattachment surgery and is now in physical therapy mode. And I'm ready for a glass of wine and a little blogging time.
So here it is ladies, better late than never... here are my top 5 most fave products ever. Simply click on the name for purchasing information.You're welcome!
1 Perfect Core leggings or capris from Lucy ($69-$108). These yoga pants are life changing. They wick your sweat away so fast and keep you so dry, that you really can wear them all day, even after sweating in them at the gym. They are high-rise, so you actually look like you have a perfect core (hence the name) when you wear them. And best of all, I feel like they actually are working as hard as I do. I got my first pair when I was having joint issues and they actually supported me through working my way back into my weight lifting class. In fact, I'm wearing my black pair right now as I type this. Order 1 size up as they are very fitted.
2. Sweaty Bands:$15 These bands are truly the only head band that I have found that does not slide off my big head of fine silky hair. This headband is like the eighth wonder of the modern world because it is truly incredible that it stays put. And of course it helps that they come in super cute colors and patterns. Throw one on with that messy bun and look like you've got it all together. Yaaaas.
3. Beautycounter's vibrant eye perfecting cream. I was generously gifted the genetic fate of having, I-look-like-I'm-part-raccoon dark eye circles (thanks Dad). They have been there all my life and I've really tried everything. This cream has not made these circles completely disappear, but it has made a noticeable improvement. They are less dark and more supple. It leaves my skin feeling silky and buttery and you can use it AM and PM so you get more bang for your buck. My makeup goes on smoother and stays on longer with less settling into my fine lines. Plus, the smell is like a very light, fresh, hint of sunshine. the best part, is that everything from Beautycounter is safe and good for your skin, so there are no ingredients or scary chemicals that you can't pronounce. You know you are actually doing something good for your skin when you use it. Although this cream is not cheap at $55, it is worth its weight in gold and considering you only need to use a small amount each day, this jar will last several months.
4. ello glass water bottles (cue Adele) are a great way to finally reach your goal of drinking enough water every day. I am not a gimmicky person and I thought the glass water bottle idea seemed unpractical and frankly stupid...until I tried one and became a full-on believer. The silicone protects your bottle from breakage (and yes I have dropped mine on cement and it has not broken), it is 100% dishwasher safe, does not leak, has a wide mouth for drinking on the go, and my favorite part is how much better the water actually tastes. I even bring my bottle to bed with me at night and when I drink it in the morning, the water doesn't have that stale plastic-y taste that my other bottles' water always had. My sister borrowed mine the other day, and asked if she could keep it she liked it so much.
5. Lularoe's Irma top has elbow length sleeves and a high-low hem that just covers enough booty to leave you feeling super comfortable sporting it with fitted pants/leggings. I love this top because it was only $30 and I can wear it to the park to run after my toddler or with skinny jeans and ankle boots out on a date with the hubbs. It looks really flattering from every angle and washes and dries well. It's perfect for all body types because whether you have thick arms, a little belly jelly, or even some extra junk in the trunk, this top is guaranteed to flatter. I got it in a small because they tend to run a tad large. I usually wear a medium. Pictured below I included my other fave Lularoe top, the Randy. It is super comfy and casual and looks great with a pair of boyfriend jeans or yoga pants.
If you try or have tried any of these products I'd love to hear your opinions as well! Please share with us in the comments section below!
In my opinion (which actually counts because I've been there), there are several stages to infertility. I personally have experienced each of these fantastically fun stages and lived to tell (you) about them. I think when you are in the first couple of stages, your head is still spinning and it's incredibly hard to put into words what you are feeling. Thankfully, it does get better. It's a "new normal" and it's guaranteed to be lonely and isolating. Looking back however, I'm not sure I'd change anything as crazy as that may sound. I'm a different person because of what I've been through. I'm better and I'm stronger, so no regrets. I'm not a victim in my own life, I choose to be the heroine and I hope you do too no matter what hurdles you stumble over in your own life. May you clear them and live to tell about them.
So, the first stage is PANIC MODE. Panic mode is like this, you have been trying to conceive for 6+ months and you start losing your sh*t because you are wondering if it will everrrr happen. You are on WebMD, Mayo Clinic, and googling all sorts of PANIC MODE sh*t like, "early signs of pregnancy," "best positions for getting pregnant," "am I ovulating," and "tricks for getting pregnant," like all-day-everyday.
The second stage is the CALL-THE-DOCTOR stage. Most women seek out help from their OBGYN first and to be honest, those guys don't know a dang thing about it. They try the standard five steps, test the hubby, test your hormone levels, check to see if tubes are clear, prescribe clomid, do IUIs, and if you are real special, you get referred to a specialist, which is incredibly scary in and of itself, but in some ways comforting too because you are finally seeing someone that specializes in what you need. However, during this call-the-doctor stage, you are losing. your. damn. mind. Let's be real here, by this stage, you know something ain't right and your mind is all over the place. This is an awful place to be. You can't help but withdraw from friends with kids, feel less social, avoid baby showers and just want to crawl into a hole. You are exhausted and just going to work is an accomplishment. I can describe this stage in one word. Isolating.
The third stage is DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT. This stage is a roller coaster of emotions because there is hope then despair, then hope, and then despair...well, you get the picture. The treatments usually take a toll on your body too, like moodiness, bloating, and exhaustion. It is still incredibly hard to attend baby showers, baptisms, hang out with friends with kids, and even see pregnant women without wanting to snap, "quit showing off." I know, sounds so silly, but I'm just being totally candid here.
And finally, the last stage, which is the OUTCOME/AFTERMATH stage. Either your treatments worked and you have a child, or you don't. But either way, as far as I can tell, you are never truly "over" what you went through. It doesn't ever disappear. And it's really really hard to not ask what the h*ll you ever did to deserve everything you had to endure. Some people in this stage, move forward with their lives, be it childless or with their children. They do their best to put their experience behind them and not let it define them. Others will be haunted by it forever.
I personally have experienced each stage and I can say that I only became open about my struggle because I had to. Well, I had no choice. My sister was carrying my child. I couldn't exactly explain that one. Ha! I had to come out with it. And when I did, it was the scariest thing I'd ever done in my life. What would people say? What would they think? I just knew everyone would feel sorry for my husband for marrying this women that couldn't carry a child and I hated that thought. I hated to let down my husband's parents. I hated to put my sister through all she endured. It was just pure hell to be real.
But, oddly enough... being open about my experiences has been one of the most freeing things I've ever done. I don't feel ashamed or alone anymore. I feel stronger for what I've endured and I'm actually really proud of myself. Funny how strong you can be when you have no other choice.
So here are a few things not to say to your friend, acquaintance, or family member experiencing infertility. Hopefully this helps, but remember, no words are perfect words, just do your best to listen and be there.
DO NOT SAY:
So the moral of the story is, be patient with your infertile friends and consider which stage they are in. The best you can do is simply be there for them to lean on or vent to and definitely encourage them to go to a support group (best thing I ever did). The bottom line is that infertility is like so. many. other. things. It's a total plot twist in someone's life and it feels devastating and makes you feel like no one out there could possibly relate. In many ways though, we can all relate to that, can't we? So let's hold hands and do this thing together. We've got this.
I recently talked about being brave and it got me thinking... Embracing imperfections takes bravery. We all have them and sometimes I think we just spend way too damn much time trying to hide them. Why can't we just keep it real and not be so worried about being real?
Don't we all know that every image in the magazines, online, and in the movies is totally photo-shopped? Even Instagram just about forces you to pick a filter- I mean, why do we need all these filters? We are all perfectly imperfect and every inch of us should be embraced.
I'm thinking life is too damn short to spend one more day caged by your insecurities. Time to thank our bodies for what they do and all the ways that they work for us every day. Think about all the things you've done in this life so far, you couldn't have done any of it without your body. And on that note, let's embrace those things our bodies can't do because we all have those things too.
You probably have at least one friend that can hike Mt. Everest with two babies strapped to her, while wearing ten inch heels, and rocking a body-con dress, right? Or the one whose arms are so great she could wear strapless dresses until she's in her 80s! Oh and don't forget the one with that gorgeous, thick long, hair that is perfect when she rolls out of bed? But do not compare yourself to them because guess what?! Even THEY have things they hate about their images.
So what's the answer? Plastic surgery??? Maybe for some. And I'm not judging here. But, I am advocating embracing you for you. Imperfections and all. So here goes nothing ladies. I think we need to start a revolution. Are you in?!
Suck up those fears and get ready to be brave... I want you to share your most hated perfect imperfections with #perfectimperfectionsnofilter below. Inspire your friends to embrace themselves as they are too and don't compete with anyone else's image. Once you find it in your heart to embrace your every imperfection you won't believe how free you can feel And when you hear about others' most hated perfect imperfections... you will be shocked. Because we all have them. And it's time to let them go. Come on ladies, I want to see you be brave. Join me, and do it here. I dare you
Pictured above my, #perfectimperfectionsnofilter... my bumpy arms and my spider veins on the back of my legs, ugh, hide them at all cost.... but feels so great to just post them for everyone to see. Do it! Do it! Do it!!!!
You can be amazing
As a mom, I want nothing more than to protect my child. She is my little sunshine and it would kill me if anything bad ever happened to her. But I also know that in life, bad things do and will happen. I know that there is no person on this earth that can escape that truth. And when it comes right down to it, I believe that one of the most important things I will ever teach my child is to be brave in this life. I want to prepare my daughter for a life that will not always go her way. A life that is wonderful and harsh all at the same time. I want my daughter to work hard for her achievements and most of all, when the going gets tough, I want to see her be brave.
It's not always easy to be brave. Sometimes life throws us curve balls when we're at bat and we cannot simply duck and accept the strike. We have to face the music, stand in the box, and swing. We can't expect someone to bail us out or fix it. We have to do it for ourselves and we have to take our swings head on. When we look at an issue that seems so complicated or difficult that it could never be handled alone, we want to be saved by someone or something. We look for an easy way out. How can we bypass this? How can this be ignored? Can someone else "fix" this for me?
The thing is, that nobody can do that for you. Ultimately, there will always come a point at which no one can save you from what life has thrown your way, and you will either have the balls to face it and persevere... or you will allow it to weaken you, change you, conquer you, and ultimately define you.
Bravery is like a muscle and it has to be worked. It has to be strengthened and flexed and it needs to be exercised consistently. When I reflect on the many times in my life that my parents did not "rescue" me and did not "fix" it for me. Those times when I faced the music and exercised my bravery... I remember those moments as some of the proudest times in my life.
Two quick stories...
After college I had zero dollars in my account yet I would soon begin my first job as a teacher. I knew I'd soon have a paycheck and I wanted to go ahead and get my own apartment. I asked my parents for a small loan. I wanted them to help me with the down payment for an apartment and I told them I'd pay them back.
My dad told me frankly that this is the real world. And if you don't have the money to do something, you cannot do it. You have to plan and save and think ahead. He said he could not offer me the funds for the apartment, but he would allow me to stay in my old bedroom at home until I saved enough to do it on my own. Well.... I was pissed. I knew he could afford to help me and I could not believe he wouldn't! I was so embarrassed to tell my coworkers that I was living at home. I dealt with the reality of life and when I finally saved up enough money, my parents helped me move (physically not financially) into my beautiful new apartment.... I had never been prouder of myself.
Now, that's not to say my parents never supported me when was down. For example, I will never forget when my boyfriend of 3 years broke my heart in college and my mom drove all the way to Athens to pick me up in the middle of the night because I called her crying. She helped me pack my bag for the weekend and she brought me home and hugged me all weekend! That meant everything to me!
So the moral of the story is, I want to see my daughter be brave. I know it's hard and I know I will want to save her at every turn. I'd love to be her umpire and catch every curve ball ever thrown her way, but that's not my job as her mama. That's her job. It doesn't mean I won't support her and love her. It just means, I will have to find a balance between loving her and saving her because in the end, when all is said and done, and I'm no longer here to fix it... Honestly, I want to see her be brave.
I just have to vent here for a minute because I've needed to for a long, long time. And how many times can you tell your mom the same story? Sometimes, you just gotta take it to the blog, ya know what I'm saying?
Yes, I know the internet is very public and that it's possible that the person I am about to vent about could be reading this... However, I will not be using any names or identifiable information and trrrrrrust me, she would rather poke her eyes out than read anything I had to say, so I'm placing my bets on the idea that she will not be reading this. Like ever. Not in this lifetime.
So this person... Ok this woman... is someone that I would certainly not call a friend, and really not even an acquaintance. However, she is someone that I HAVE to see/run into like, allllllllllllll the time for the last year. Ok, I'm not going to say where I run into her, but let's just say it is more than one place and for a lengthy period of time. Sometimes more than once a day!!!!!
The problem is that she's mean. Did you just start laughing? I'm being so serious. She is just plain mean to me for no reason. For example, on many occasions I have chirped "Hi! Good to see you!" and "Is this your other son?" "He is so cute!" And "How are you?" To which every. single. question has been answered with silence and on many occasions, an eye roll.
Ok, so once I did try to say hi when she was on the phone, but I didn't see the phone, until she pulled back her long hair and pointed at it like, I'm on the damn phone you obnoxious little twit! Oooops. I was very embarrassed about that time. But that was not the first time she has rolled her eyes at me. In fact, I'm not even sure how she manages to walk straight with all that eye rolling she does.
But what did I ever do to piss her off you ask? I have no idea. No. I'm serious. We have never talked. I was introduced to her once by an acquaintance and since then seen her one to two times a day. Her kid has played with mine in more than one setting. We always make eye contact and I used to ALWAYS say hello. I mean it is just the nice thing to do isn't it?! And I guess I don't take a hint very quickly because I just kept thinking, well she didn't see me say hi. Or, she was not really rolling her eyes at me. So I just kept saying hi. Every day. Saying hi. And every day. Being rejected.
Until one day I just got pissed off. Yes. Because you know what?! Would it kill you to be nice? I know she has friends and I know she is not deaf nor mute. So what the heck?! No seriously. Come on. Is this high school?
So that's when I decided that I'm giving this woman wayyyyy too much power. She is actually hurting my feelings and I'm actually wondering to myself what I did to piss her off so much, but since we have never even had a conversation, I just cannot think of anything and I need to stop giving it one more second of my time.
Here's the thing. I'm one of those people that seeks approval. I want to be liked. I'm like Switzerland most of the time y'all. Are you nodding right now because you can relate? Or shaking your head vigorously like your neck is about to snap because you could care less what people think (you GO Girl!)? My greatest fear is letting someone down or hurting someone's feeling unintentionally. In some ways, that has served me well. But in other ways, it has made me a door mat for those bossy-biznatches that mistake my kindness for weakness.
The hilarious part is, that once I stopped speaking to this woman and even looking in her direction. She actually walked right up to me and complimented me on something I was wearing and asked where I got it. Like whaaaaaat?! I kid you not, I actually checked behind me before responding because I thought she must be talking to someone else.
So what's up with that? Are some people just not nice? I mean, doesn't it take more effort to be rude than to just be nice? And why did it somehow attract her to me once I stopped making an effort to acknowledge her?
In high school I was bullied, specifically by two girls. They were like this. Mean. But my mom always reminded me to "kill them with kindness" and to never sink to their level because if I did, I'd be just as low as they were. So I didn't. When they got in my face and called me a million names, drove to my house and work to "kick my ass," and even kicked me at my locker, saying "ooops! My mistake!". I always responded with a smile and said, "cute outfit! Hope you have a great day!" It wasn't easy, but I reminded myself every time, that I was not as low as they were and I'd never stoop to that level. I don't know how effective it was in ending the bullying. But, I definitely pissed them off. They wanted me to get mad. But I never engaged in it. It made them furious.
About 12 years post high school, one of them actually emailed me. Found me on Facebook and emailed me. She actually apologized. She explained that she was a mother now and had reflected many times on how cruel she's been to me when I'd never done anything to deserve it. It still bothered her that she'd behaved that way. I told her I forgive her. And I do. I mean for gosh sake, it was high school. We were just kids! But, it meant a lot that she remembered and apologized.
Looking back, it's hard to know how I feel now about what I'd want my own daughter to do in that situation. On the one hand, I have no regrets. I was never cruel. But on the other hand, I took a lot of abuse and never really stood up for myself... But, maybe I didn't need to. Maybe my kill-em-with-kindness responses actually did that for me...?
Anyway, the point of this long and babbling post, is that everyone DOES NOT have to agree with you or LIKE you. If you are confident in your own skin, you don't need others' approval. I'm still working on mastering this. It takes time and effort. But, if you are like me, don't give up. Kindness does not equal weakness and don't become jaded by those who take advantage of your kindness. It will never kill you to be kind. So keep the kindness coming, but don't be bothered by those that don't get it or like it. You don't need their approval. Amen?
So, how many of us have a battle going on in our heads all. the. time? Like, "I shouldn't have eaten that!" "Why did I eat that?" "My trunk has wayyyy too much junk lately" " Eww, I can't show these legs in public" "I need to start a diet" "That other mom has had 3+ kids and probably wears a size zero. I hate her." "I need to starve myself and hit the gym for hours tomorrow" "I'm not allowed to eat that"I could go on...but you know already. You've heard those b*tchy little voices inside your own heads I'm sure.
Do you ever say these things out loud to yourself? Think them often? Well, your child is picking up on all of your self hatred. He/she can sense that you're not taking pride in yourself. They can tell if you are unhappy with yourself or if you are constantly having negative self-talk. It's teaching them to feel like they too will never be enough and let's be honest, since NOBODY is perfect, they certainly never will be (except in your eyes of course). So it's time to become more mindful of what you're saying AND thinking. Plus, how can you be happy if you have the negative committee meeting in your mind non-stop? Time for the negative committee to get fired stat.
Remember, you are enough just as you are, but if you want to improve upon yourself, you have to start by loving the body you are currently in. I know, you might be thinking, impossible! But maybe you can work on changing your own perspective.
About 2 months ago, I started having hand pain. It was the craziest thing, my hands just started aching one day. They felt...broken almost. I had trouble opening a can of soda and even folding laundry and it seemed to be getting worse by the day. I had no idea what was going on and went to a hand specialist. He was pretty much dumbfounded as well, but had some concern that I might be getting rhuematoid arthritis. Not what I wanted to hear.
My hips started aching next and that ache turned into excruciating pain. I could hardly walk at all. Sitting for long periods was torture, and walking was almost as bad. I was panicking now. Full blown panic mode freak out mania. My general practitioner gave me steroid injections and they helped immensely, but I was nowhere near normal. He referred me to a rhuematologist who did a lot of blood work. He said that I either have RA, or I have a viral arthritis.Only time would tell because RA is persistent and a flare should return if it was RA.
Meanwhile, I had trouble with every.single. daily activity. I could hardly change my daughter's diaper or get her meals ready because my hands felt broken. She had to go to daycare full time temporarily. My anxiety was in-tense to say the least. Every day without my daughter was torture and I was so scared about my future. I wondered if I'd ever get better or be normal again. It felt like a cruel joke was being played on me.
Over those 2-3 weeks of pain and anxiety, I found a glimpse of this incredible strength and hope and willpower inside of me that I never knew I had. I went to talk therapy and we discussed my fears and I faced them head on. It helped me to remind myself that I was spending most of my time worrying about what might happen if I never recovered, but the truth is, I had no idea what the future held and I was wearing myself out worrying about it. I decided to start taking one day at a time and I put myself first. I decided that if I ever wanted to be the wife, mommy, and person that I had previously been, I had to start taking care of myself.
I meditated and said lots of prayers. I took warm baths and iced my joints. I forced myself to stay off Web MD and I fell in love with this song that brought tears to my eyes the first time I heard it. As cheesy as it sounds, it WAS my fight song. It helped me decide that I was not going to be this victim. I was going to be a fighter and a survivor.
I started to get better and was finally able to walk to the mailbox, and then a whole block. I attended exercise classes for seniors, and I stretched religiously. I would look in the mirror and tell myself I could do this and that I was going to take back my life.
And after about 6 weeks, I did. Completely. I got better. I feel normal again. My rhuematologist believes it was viral, but said he could not promise me it wouldn't return and that if it did, perhaps it is in fact RA.
I have been "back to normal" for about 6 weeks now and I could sit around and worry about whether it will return. I could be afraid to get back to my normal gym classes. I could be afraid of what my future holds. But, I'm not. I feel grateful for every single thing that my body can do. I'm even grateful for those really tough days when my toddler throws tantrums and hits and bites me because I'm just so glad to be able to care for her again.
My point of telling this entire story is to remind us that sometimes in life, the things we can't change end up changing us. In this case, I realized that it's so important to be grateful for your body's abilities. So important to love and care for your body and your mind. You can overcome huge obstacles with willpower and positive thoughts. I don't pretend to believe that I "cured" my illness with willpower and positive thinking. I just survived my ordeal because of my willpower and positive thoughts.
So I challenge you today to write down (or list in your head) five things that your amazing body can do. If you are working towards improving your body, be realistic with yourself and don't demand perfection. Set the example for your children. Love your body, love yourself. Change your thoughts, change your life.
This section is very random, but sometimes something pops up that has nothing to do with any of my other topics, so I need a place for some flexibility. I need your feedback here, so please join me! Let’s talk!!!