Culture, Daily Life, Health & Wellness, Mad About It Mondays, Rants, Society

Mad About It Monday: Never Enough

Welcome to “Mad About It Mondays”, a place to get that thing that’s been bothering you all week/day/night/month/year/your whole life off your chest. I want to try something new this week and, hopefully, every week going forward. I know that we all have things that annoy us. Maybe a driver cut you off on the highway and you wish you could tell them how you really feel or perhaps you went to purchase your favorite ice cream at the grocery store and they were all out or maybe you just need to vent. No matter what your story is, I invite to you to come along with me and share. I’ll post an Inlinkz link at the bottom so you can link up with me.

Mad About It Mondays

Finish this statement: I would be happy with my body (/with myself) if ____________________________________.

Warning: Things are about to get really real because I’ve got news for you…you’re never going to be happy. You’re never going to be perfect. Why? Because there is too much profit in a self-deprecating society. It’s everywhere, isn’t it? The idea of what society tells us is beautiful and the quick fixes (and sometimes not so quick, painful fixes) for how you, too, can achieve it. But the truth is, you’ll never achieve it because in the land of Photoshop and extensive editing, this beauty doesn’t even exist.

What happens when you confuse words like “healthy” and “happy” with “ultra thin” and “beautiful”? You get a society of women who think they’re not good enough. We all come in different shapes, sizes, backgrounds, hair types, skin types, etc. Why can’t we celebrate that?  The fact of the matter is that beauty is all around us but we’re so focused on these unrealistic ideas that we can’t even see it.

I plan to be more active and it’s not because I think I would be  happy  if I lost 30 or 40 pounds and it isn’t because I’m unhealthy now (because I don’t have medical issues)…it’s because I aspire to be a runner and, right now, I’m not in good enough shape for that. My point is that we have got to stop letting society define what makes us beautiful. We have to start recognizing that those magazine covers aren’t real- they’re edited versions of reality.

Perfection To-Do List

So maybe you’re not thin enough for “society” (read: marketers) to say you’re beautiful or maybe your hair isn’t thick enough or you’re too pale and need a tan. Let’s just say you fix these “imperfections”. Then what? What’s next? There will always be something. It will never be enough. So why don’t we just focus on being healthy and content with our own lives? Let’s stop trying to be just like (INSERT MAGAZINE COVER PHOTO OF CHOICE) and be ourselves. What’s healthy and right for you isn’t necessarily healthy and right for everyone else. What works for you doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. Your health is something between you and your doctor and is, quite frankly, nobody else’s business. You are beautiful. You’re beautiful with the stretch marks, with the blemishes, with the thin hair, the wrinkled skin, with no makeup. You are good enough.

We Are Beautiful Because We Are Us

You might be wondering why this made it to “Mad About It Monday“. Well, because I’m mad. I’m mad that I see people who think they’re ugly when they’re not. I’m mad because I see people who are so amazing, who were born differently, and most of society will never call them pretty. I’m mad because I see beauty in this world and I wish more people recognized it, too. I mad because I want you to know that it isn’t the skin creams, the makeup, the hair products, or anything else that makes you a beautiful person…it’s who you ARE that matters.

You are beautiful.




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“My Heart Warrior” A Pre-Post

My Heart Warrior

I recently ordered a book written by a good friend of mine from college. I am planning to do a book review post next month after I’ve had time to read it but I thought that it was important to spend some time today giving a brief back story on why the book was written in the first place.

Mike and his wife Gloria welcomed baby Aaron into the world in November 2011. Aaron was born with a rare congenital heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). What that basically means is that the left ventricle of Aaron’s heart was not developed. When an infant is diagnosed with HLHS, surgical intervention becomes a necessary requirement in an attempt to prolong the child’s life. Even with surgical management, survival is not guaranteed.

Aaron, his family, and his medical team at Duke Children’s Hospital in Durham, North Carolina, fought so hard for his survival but, unfortunately, he lost the battle in May 2012, on his six month birthday. This devastating loss inspired Mike to write a book, “My Heart Warrior: Living with HLHS Through a Father’s Eyes”. It outlines and documents their experience with baby Aaron.

I am confident that their story can help families touched by this heart wrenching condition and other medical issues. If you would like to read it along with me, you can purchase the book through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or directly from the publisher. I’ve included links for each of those below. They also have several products available for purchase through their website: My Heart Warrior.

Mike donates a significant percentage of the profits from each purchase to both the Ronald McDonald House of Durham, North Carolina, and to Duke Children’s Hospital Cardiology Department, who provided so much support during Aaron’s care. Your purchase will help families dealing with medical crisis in the Raleigh/Durham area.

BookLocker Publisher (Available both electronically and on paperback)

Culture, Daily Life, Society

Uterus: Vacancy (About Drinking)

wine cellar

I’ll be the first to tell you that I enjoy a nice glass of wine every now and then but I’m really not much of a drinker. When my husband and I first found out we were pregnant in September 2009, I stopped drinking. When we lost that pregnancy, we knew we wanted to start trying again as soon as we were in the clear so regular drinking wasn’t a habit I started up again. I would have a little every once in a while but it really only amounted to one drink a month. After C was born, I was giving her breast milk and so drinking was still not something that was on my radar. To be honest, I was glad for the excuse to turn down drinks when I didn’t want one. Now that C is older (she’ll be 2 in February) and we’re not trying to have another child, I don’t have the built-in excuse for not drinking.

I don’t have a problem with alcohol, I’m not sick, there’s nothing wrong with me…

I just don’t feel like having alcohol most of the time. And that’s okay.

For some reason, when women of childbearing age turn down drinks people automatically assume one thing: P-R-E-G-N-A-N-C-Y. Why?

I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve had someone ask me why I’m not drinking…or give me a smile, or a little wink when I turn down a glass of wine but really, honestly, it has absolutely nothing to do with the state of my uterus (which, as I’ve stated before, is empty). I really and truly just prefer iced tea over alcohol. It’s how I am and it’s what I like and I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

So this message goes to all of you who have friends and family in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties who frequently turn down wine or other drinks: STOP ASSUMING WE’RE PREGNANT. Please and thank you. I’m not holding some big secret and I have nothing to hide. If and (/0r) when we ever get pregnant again, I promise I will tell you…until then, let it go.

Daily Life, Health & Wellness, Reviews, Tutorials

Baking Soda For Whiter Teeth?! Come On In & Find Out…

I once did a little research (for a former client of mine) on ways to whiten teeth at home. I learned some things that I didn’t know like that the malic acid naturally found in strawberries helps to whiten teeth. I also re-visited a few things that I did know like that eating carrots, celery, and raw potatoes (the only person I know that will eat a potato raw is my grandmother) can help bring a brighter smile. One thing I came across, and have been meaning to try, is a combination of toothpaste, baking soda, and water. I will warn you, if you’re going to do this at home, try to limit yourself to once or twice a week since large amounts of baking soda have shown to reduce the enamel on your teeth (I’m not an expert on this matter, it’s just what I read).

Before:

Let’s begin…

  • You’ll need:
  • Baking Soda
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Water

I filled the bottom of one of my toddler’s meal bowls with the baking soda but I was also sharing with my husband (who did this too) so if you’re going solo you may want to use less (we had extra when we were done).

Mix in toothpaste…

And water…

Brush your teeth with a generous amount for two minutes, rinse, and repeat. After you’re done brushing be sure to remove any leftover mixture.

After:

Notice a difference?

Here’s a side by side (before on the left, after on the right):

 

 

Disclaimer (because I feel like I need to say this):

I am not a medical professional so my opinions are based off of what I’ve read and researched online.

No amount of online research substitutes for a healthcare professional so if you have questions…ask your dentist!

 

Daily Life, Health & Wellness, Pictures

The Week of The Broken Toe (Warning: Graphic Pictures)

We took a vacation this past week to Jekyll Island, Georgia for the husband’s family reunion. I hadn’t been to the shore in over a decade and C got to experience the sand and water for the first time in her life. It was a great adventure. As it goes with any journey it was not without its bump in the road which, in my case, happened to be an assumed broken toe on our first day in town. I dropped my camera directly on it. OUCH. It split open part of the top of my middle toe. At first I thought that’s the only damage that it did…I was wrong. Come morning on day two, it was pretty obvious the toe was broken.

When I first started taking pictures, it was really just for reference so that I could see progress from one day to the next but I decided to share with anyone who’s curious about what a broken toe looks like. I hope none of you have had the misfortune of breaking a bone, it’s not fun.

Day #2:

I woke up that morning with a throbbing, painful toe. Thankfully my in-laws carry around a mini pharmacy when they travel so I was able to score some Tylenol from them. I know there’s not much that can be done for a broken toe and since we were more than a thousand miles away from home, the prospect of going to an urgent care out of network didn’t seem all that appealing. I found the smallest little grocery store (the only one on the island) to buy some medical tape:

Like any former Girl Scout would do, I decided to buddy tape it to the next toe over:

 

Day #4:

 

Day #8 (today):

Even though it’s nowhere near back to normal, it’s definitely looking (and feeling) better with each passing day. I’d planned to start (/restart) the Couch-To-5K program this week but I may put that off until Monday just to give myself a little more time to heal. I’m planning to run/walk/jog (some combination of that) my first 5k since C was born in December. My goal is to complete one a month. Not only are these races/events a great way to participate in charity but they also keep me accountable for regular exercise, something I’ve been lacking lately.

I’m planning to do a blog series on the Couch-To-5K once I get started so stay tuned for that…