Anniversary Weekend

Technically our wedding anniversary was last Tuesday, but we have three kids, and that was a school night.  So A and I decided to have our celebration this weekend, and my wonderful mother was able to keep the kids from Friday evening until Sunday lunch.  It was bliss.  It is so rare to have time together sans responsibilities that we were almost giddy.  Even though I did eat well all weekend I managed to stay within the calories allotted me by My Fitness Pal. Granted my macros were skewing way over in carb land, but I was within my calories which was all I really cared about.

This week we have an IEP meeting at school that I have a feeling will not go the way I want. sigh. However there is a doable backup plan in place, so I am not going in as angry as I was at the last IEP meeting where 2/3 of the people did not show up, or bother to cancel. Oh public school systems! They are the best, really.

Last week I started a kickboxing boot camp and Zumba.  I kind of love and hate them both.  They are hard, but I need to burn off some major calories, consistently to get where I want to be.  A and I have a wedding to attend on my birthday and I am hoping I can either find or rent a dress from Rent the Runway that makes me look less of a whale by then.  It is about 15 weeks away, so I am hoping for some overall loss of weight and toning. I am looking at you, miss protruding tummy.

Anyway, tomorrow begins my week 2 of bootcamp. I am looking forward to it so much, even though I have been nauseated all evening.  I know definitively I am not pregnant, so I am chalking it up to the chef salad I ate at lunch with my mom.  Something has set off my IBS.  I am just hoping it is over by tomorrow or I will be running for the bathroom in between exercises. And on that note, I am off to take my shower and get some sleep before getting up for school bright and early.



Skincare Sunday

I recently read that sensitive skin ages ten years faster than normal skin.  This would mean that my skin is now in its forties.  Eek! As part of my whole self care regime, skincare needed to be near the top.  I started following blogger Lex Gillies at TalontedLex.  She also has rosacea and does tons of product reviews and comparisons.  Not being a blogger who receives tons of samples, I am frugally dipping my toes into the well moisturized world of better skincare.  These are the products I used this week with mini reviews to help me remember what I do and do not like.

Clinique Take the Day Off Makeup Remover for Lids, Lashes, and Lips:  First of all I use it on my whole face, and it does the job.  It may leave a little waterproof mascara behind, but overall, it works just fine on heavier eye makeup.  It does leave a greasy residue behind so I follow with a cleanser, which gets any leftover makeup off.  I will probably buy this again. This product retails at $19.00.

Neutrogena Hydroboost Hydrating Cleansing Gel:  I love this cleanser.  Love it. It is a gel cleanser, so you pump a little into your wet hands to lather and then rub over your wet face.  It does not produce much lather with our water, but this cleanser removes makeup residue like a champ.  It doesn’t make my face feel hot or tight afterward, and it does not burn my eyes.  The hyaluronic acid helps lock in moisture, leaving my skin softer than it has been in a while. Total win.  I will definitely keep this stocked.  At a retail price of $7.97 at Walmart, you can’t beat it.

Neutrogena Hydroboost Water Gel:  This gel moisturizer turns to a watery consistency when applied to your face.  It does not dry tacky or oily.  The hyaluronic gel helps lock in moisture, which is critical to the fight against aging.  I use it near my eyes with no burning, which is wonderful.  Retail price is $16.17 at Walmart.

Neutrogena Hydroboost Gel Cream for Eye:  This was a no-go for me.  As soon as I put it on the delicate skin below and above my eyes it started burning and did not stop.  I immediately washed it off, and used the water gel instead.  The search for an eye serum continues.  Retails at $13.84 at Walmart.

Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel:  Okay, at first I was very leery of using any exfoliant after doing so much damage to my skin in previous times using mechanical exfoliants. However, Lex Gillies writes quite a bit about using chemical exfoliants with good results.  I had this little peel sitting in a drawer from a Birchbox, so I decided to give it a whirl.  It did not burn or itch at any point.  You just spread a thin layer over your skin, allow it to sit for about 20 seconds, and then massage it in for 2-3 minutes.  I read the science behind it but here is the gist: you get little rolly bit coming up within moments of starting to massage.  This is the chemical proteins bonding to your dead skin cells.  After a couple of minutes of massaging you should stop having new solids come up and you can rinse and moisturize.  My rough patches on my cheeks were significantly smoother.  My rosacea was not aggravated by this product, but that does not mean it will work for everyone.  Rosacea is a very individual disease.  At a retail price of $48.00 on Amazon it is pricey, but you would only use this product weekly and it did not take much product at all to be effective.

This week I am going to try Simple micellar water to see how that works in conjunction with the Hydroboost Cleanser.  I have an ongoing skin care wishlist based on Lex Gillies’ product reviews and recommendations.  She really raves about the Avene line.  What I am most likely to do is try out some more affordable eye serums from Walgreens since they have a great return policy, and order one Avene item this month to try.  I am eyeing the Physiolift Smoothing Day Cream.  Next I will review the makeup and primers I have tried recently.  No longer am I complacent, I am taking back these important parts of my femininity.


Letting Go

Here in the South the term, “let herself go” usually refers to a woman who got married, gained some weight, and stopped taking care of herself, or at least no longer prioritizes her health and beauty routine over taking care of her family.  I think a more accurate phrasing would be she “let go of herself.”  That is what I did.  I let go of myself.  I stopped trying to control my weight, a lifelong issue.  I stopped trying to care for my rosacea.  I stopped trying to find cute clothes for myself, or cute underclothes.  I stopped getting my hair done and wearing makeup.  I let go of things that make me feel happy, and pretty, and feminine.  It makes me sad to think about that.

Why?  Why did I let go of myself?  I think the main factor is having undiagnosed  bipolar disorder.  It is hard to take care of your outsides when your headspace is in chaos.  I am so thankful my husband did not give up on me or our marriage as I went through years just struggling to cope with all these crazy emotions all the time.  There was so much anger and anxiety.  It was like being on a treadmill going just a little bit too fast and just a little too high of an incline to feel secure all the time.  It was exhausting.

Now things are different.  I was diagnosed as bipolar type 2.  I am appropriately medicated.  I see both a licensed counselor, who I love, and a psychiatrist, who is the gentlest soul I have ever met.  Keeping me mentally healthy is now a team effort.  I have found relief from the constant struggle inside my head.  So now what?

Well, my house is a wreck and never clean, so that is always on the list.  The kids have school stuff, and the hubs has hubs stuff.  The toddler is a rambunctious handful who seems to have my temperment, poor baby.  I do love his cranky little butt though.   So I spend a lot of time and energy on all of them.  So where do I fit in?

I fit in the space I make for myself.  At least that is what I am finding.  I have to make time for myself.  Which means I have to have a plan of attack or I will continue to be fat with bad hair and red skin.  Unacceptable. My Mawmaw, rest her soul, would have disowned me if she had seen the state I am in.  So I made a plan.

First, get control of the weight issue.  I am becoming a familiar face at the gym.  It has daycare, which is awesome.  Next is handle what I eat and drink.  This means really cutting out the soda and sweet tea and sugar.  That is first, and then the rest of diet will follow.

Next, is tend to my hair, which means regular appointments at the hair salon.  I tried a new lady today and liked her.  She cut a whopping 6-7 inches off my mane.  I feel like a new woman. Tomorrow I will see what my hair looks like after it is dried and decide if I like my new haircut.

Then there is makeup.  I am going to start wearing it again, not just on special occasions.  I LIKE makeup.  So I am now following this awesome beauty blogger, Lex Gillies, at TalontedLex, who has rosacea and does tons of product reviews and comparisons.  I have purchased some foundation and primer and a new face cleanser.  Love the cleanser (Neutrogena Hydroburst cleansing gel), hate the primer (Neutrogena Healthy Skin Primer) , indifferent to the foundation (L’Oreal Match Super Blendable Makeup).  I have a wishlist of skincare and makeup that I will gradually purchase and try.  The purpose is to just keep trying, not to be perfect every day.

A and I are discussing going back to school together to get our MBAs.  I am unsure of whether I:  1) can do it, 2) can get a job after it 3)find ways to get experience before trying to get said job.  My counselor was more enthusiastic over getting an accounting degree, but A is adamant about the benefits of an MBA.  I just really want to go back to school and will find a job when I get out after Elijah starts school.

So those are some of the plans to get myself back.  To carve space for myself that is beyond my family.  I am thinking that if I can get some of my outsides in order, it will help me keep my insides in order.  This is my hope, anyway.

Almost Scampi

In our household dairy allergies abound, so many Italian dishes have gone the way of the dodo bird. However, tonight I was in the mood for simple, quick, and semi Italian. What’s a mom to do in situations such as these but hit the Google. 

I found several recipes for shrimp scampi, and saw that happily the only ingredient I would have to leave out was Parmesan. Happy Dance in my Mommy Pants! Fast forward to an hour later and my small horse of humans has been fed and no one missed the Parm. The dish turned out really well and hit the spot, which means I have yet another recipe in my arsenal of, “I really don’t want to cook but the minions will revolt if not fed” meals. We just might make it to spring break after all.