Things That You Should Never Leave Without When Hiking

Nature is endowed with so many amazing wonders which entice many who have an eye for what is essentially beautiful. For many, it is the path less traveled that gives them a deeper longing to uncover what is hidden in it. It can be an exhilarating yet a worthwhile undertaking when one plans to venture in the wild and hike.

It will never be an easy travel, however. This is most especially true if you dare to explore even those places that others have not trekked before. The best thing to do at any time, however, is to be prepared every second. You prepare not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally. Also, for either a long or a short hike, there are just some things that you should never leave without. Of these essentials, you should never forget to bring one of the best water bottles for hiking as you will need it in more ways that you think you will.

Don’t just do it, plan it

So you have anything planned for the weekend? If you intend to explore the wild and be close with nature, you need to make sure that everything needed will be ready even days before the date. It’s essential that you plan ahead and not just hit the road and go wherever the track leads you. Unnecessary troubles usually happen when people don’t plan ahead. That’s the reason why former American president and father of time management Benjamin Franklin hit the mark when he said: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

You owe it, first to yourself, next to those whom you will be tagging along, the quality of the hike, as well as the safety of everyone. You don’t need to rush just to satisfy your or everyone else’s curiosity and desire to know what’s beyond the horizon. For sure there will be great things there. But your safety should be the primary concern for you won’t enjoy the sight if you have already fractured a hip or have been lacking water because you forgot to bring the water bottle. You might not have the time left to do whatever you need or want to do if you did not plan to manage your time as well.

Needless to say, everything that you will do even before the day of the hike matters. Just to it only after you have thoroughly planned the possible risks and contingencies. And, as mentioned, you should never go on a hire with the following bare essentials, or you’ll go back barely surviving.

So, here are the things that you should always bring with you when you hike:

Comfortable footwear

The appropriateness of the footwear you need will depend on the intensity of your activity. For a short day hike that will not require a heavy pack or a very tough terrain, you can just wear a pair of trail shoes. However, for longer hikes, when you need to bring a bigger backpack for carrying heavier loads, or would need to trek through a more technical route, you may need to wear hiking boots as these will provide ample support throughout the journey.

Navigational tools

A map and compass/GPS will not only tell your exact location or how far you are from your destination, it can also help you locate nearby campsites, sources of water, and an emergency exit routes in case of emergencies or accidents. GPS units are quite useful. But then again, having a back up such as the ever handy map and compass is always a smart option.

Water and purifying equipment or a means of having a water safe enough to drink

Your body will consume water and you will also release water through perspiration and urination while on the go. Without enough water, your body won’t perform as they used to. Drinking too much of what your body requires will only make you even more thirsty. This can also make you at risk of hypothermia and altitude sickness.

Make sure to find the best water bottles for hiking where you can store the water or any beverage that you can sip smartly while hiking. There are so many available brands that offer water bottles with features that allow liquid stored to remain cold or hot for 12 or more hours. There some designed with a filter that can make even the dirtiest water be safe enough to drink.

One great option will be LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle with two-stage integrated filter straw. If you have one of that water bottle, you won’t have to worry if in case you really ran out of something to drink. Anywhere where there is a body of water will be enough to quench your thirst as this bottle features the award-winning LifeStraw hollow fiber membrane water filter that can remove harmful bacteria and protozoa from any water source.

Extra food

You need to be prepared for the unexpected. There could be things that could keep you out longer and away from your destination than expected. Even if you have your hiking gear there is still a possibility of getting lost. You may also lose track of time, or emergencies/accidents may happen. So, you need to make sure that you have extra food to keep the energy up and boost your morale.

Proper clothing and some extras

You just don’t know what the day may bring. The best thing to quickly adjust to possible weather changes is to dress in layers, but never wear cotton as it will keep moisture close to the skin. It will also be a good thing to wear a hat.

Fire, light, and a whistle

Your primary concern wherever you are is the group’s safety. You’ll never know what happens when you are on the road. It is a smart thing to bring essential safety items like fire, light, and a whistle. If something has kept you off the track or longer than intended, you can use these items to keep warm, to see where you are going, or to signal that you are lost and in need of help.

Emergency aid kit

You can find emergency kits for hikers at any outfitter. If you have the chance to take a first-aid class with the American Red Cross or a Wilderness First Aid class, get on the list. You will double your effectiveness in delivering first-aid in case of an emergency if you do.

Multi-purpose tools

These are all-in-one or multi-functional tools that can do most cutting, fixing, and performing a good list of repairs that you may need along the way.

Sun protection gears

You’ll need sunglasses and sunscreen to protect your skin and your eyes whenever necessary. To get the most of a sunscreen product, make sure that you bring one that gives full-protection coverage. That means it will protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays.

Backpack

Look for one that will allow you to keep all your gears intact and safe even from moisture. There are backpacks that come with a cover or water shield. Keep a list of all the things that you need to bring and place it where you can easily check what you have in your bag. That way, you’d know if you have everything packed.

Concluision

With everything prepared, you are now ready to hit the road and will be assured to have a fun-filled and safe journey.

Makeup Must-Haves If You Are Pregnant

When you are pregnant, you will see a lot of skin and hair changes that will require a change in the products that you use during pre-pregnancy. Your hormones acting up are mostly to blame for these changes. As a result, you may see either an interesting glow or an unappealing dullness of parts to your body. These can also be manifested in your hair and nails. Other skin problems like dark pigmentation, rashes, acne, and pimple may also develop. For such conditions, you may need to find the best foundation for pregnancy as this product can help you conceal the imperfections on your face.

To this end, I am sharing makeup must-haves for pregnancy that will help you showcase that inevitable pregnancy glow or conceal unwanted and unpleasant skin changes. You will also find some interesting tips and tricks that can help you manage oily skin, skin breakouts and as well as under eye circles from all the restless nights.

Foundation

If you fail to use the right foundation, you may feel frustrated and quite conscious if it turns out that the foundation made your skin be more oily, too dry, or if it just fades out quickly. You might have just wished you have worn your bare face instead. If you also put on a foundation that does not have the same tone as your skin, you may just freak out after seeing on the mirror for a retouch or a photo uploaded on social media how you really looked with the foundation on.

A great foundation is an absolute must for pregnancy. Having a foundation that stays in place longer than other brands will be a total lifesaver. An added bonus if the foundation you are using provides an absolutely transfer-proof finish and one that adds essential ingredients that won’t be harsh on your skin.

Concealer

You may find it difficult to rest at night because of the growing baby inside your belly. This will leave eye circles that just seem to add up as the days passed by. Look for a concealer that will provide a full-coverage and one that is just the same as the tone of your skin. Put it after putting on a foundation.

Setting Powder

Setting powders is a micro-finishing loose powder that leaves a light matte effect and smooth luminous finish on your face. Applying on some of this loose setting powder will make you look even better. It gives you a naturally glowing complexion which feels velvety. You only need to use a very small amount and blend evenly on your face.

Sculpting Powder

A sculpting powder is a unique powder that adds a subtle shadow to the skin to define and sculpt the natural features of your face. This product is designed to enhance, contour, and sculpt the look of your face. Sculpting powders are available in a variety of shades. Choose one which will be appropriate in accentuating the natural shadows on every skin tone.

Eyeliner

Apply eyeliner with a gentle flick on the eyes to open up your eyes. You can also put slight strokes of the eyeliner on your brows to sculpt them so that they may enhance your overall look.

Mascara

Applying mascara after using an eyelash curler on your lashes, will make your eyes even more attractive.

Blush on

Blush is a must have can make a drab-looking face a different appeal. It’s like giving your facelift. Look for one that blends well with your natural color.

Light colored lipstick or shimmer

Give your lips a hint of color with a nice lip shimmer. If you want to look bolder, wear a lipstick instead. It not only can complement and complete your look, it also adds confidence. As there are many lip colors and shimmers that are made with vitamins and conditioners, your lips will stay soft and kissable longer.

Conclusion

After these are said and done, the best way to keep you looking gorgeous even with a bulging belly and all is a great smile that you can wear any time and any wear. It can make a big difference in how people will perceive you. It will also make you feel lighter and will allow you to feel more relaxed and ready to go about your day.

Maternity Leggings 101

Both first-time moms and those who have already experience becoming pregnant several times get overly excited at the thought of bringing to life their next bundle of joy. This ecstatic feeling may wane over time, however, especially when you finally realize that there are a lot of things that you cannot do while you are pregnant. You may still disregard the thought and consider all the other joyful emotions and positive benefits of having a baby inside your belly.

But there will come a time when you will see the obvious: you just won’t fit in your pre-pregnancy wardrobe anymore. Panic attacks. But why so sudden? You may have to change a few of them, but will that be enough? You cannot even walk comfortably with your pants as they are just way too tight for you to even breathe. Can there just be any good alternatives to these?

Maternity Leggings: Pregnancy Game Changer

Maternity Leggings

Fortunately, you don’t have to ditch everything in your closet. Well, you may say goodbye to some of those tight-fitting tees and jeans for a while, but you can still use them after you have given birth to your baby.

However, you can add a versatile set of clothing to your wardrobe. These are so versatile that you can even wear them even after you have given birth. Yes, a good pair of good quality leggings can be a real game changer. They can help you get on with your day feeling great about yourself and about your pregnancy.

But how does a maternity legging help your pregnancy? Let’s have a deeper look at these amazing invention intended particularly for expecting mothers like you.

Maternity Leggings vs. Regular Leggings

Are Maternity Leggings Worth Their Price

Maternity leggings provide support to your growing belly. It is also a smart and gorgeous way to dress up. Keep your baby happy and still feel great about yourself in a pair of these versatile preggy leggings. They are not your regular exercise leggings, however.

These maternity apparel are designed to fit perfectly on the body at the same time stretch loosely to allow the skin to breathe. This will make you feel comfortable even while wearing something that covers your legs and even your bump. Some brands are even designed with shaped panels that cradle your bump and provide support to your belly as it grows.

Maternity leggings are made to be super stretchable and super soft so that it can accommodate your growing belly. They are also made with a slightly different material from that which is used for regular leggings. There is also a slighter shine to how these leggings are made. They can be worn over shirts and dresses.

They are made from several types of fabrics and colors to match your preferences. Can you imagine how this pair of leggings will look on you? This one is made of Nylon and Spandex so, I’m pretty sure that it will be totally comfortable when worn. It looks pretty with those chic hole design on them.

There are preggy leggings that are made to be extra strong to provide maximum support to your baby belly. There are pregnancy belly that comes as a full-length legging and others with a Capri style.

Not only do they function well to provide maximum comfort, you also find them to be totally wearable whatever the occasion may be. You can wear them while doing Kegels or other exercises. You can even wear them at formal events. Whatever the occasion, they will look great on you.

Are Maternity Leggings Worth Their Price

Preggy leggings can just be your best maternity for pregnancy. Find a few pairs that match your preferences. These leggings usually come in various colors, sizes, and style, so there will definitely be one that will match your needs. You will find buying a couple pair of these ingenious apparel to be one of your best investments ever.

Just consider a few of the benefits that you can get from these versatile apparels:

  • It’s easy to get feel uncomfortable with what you are wearing. But these leggings are simply irresistible as they are quite comfortable when worn. They look and feel like your second skin. Just see how they mold perfectly to your pregnant figure. It doesn’t matter whether you are in your early pregnancy or about to give birth. Wearing preggy leggings will just make you feel light and at ease with your pregnancy.
  • Put them on and pair with the perfect top and you can go wherever you want to. They will never run out of style.
  • This ingenious pair of leggings can serve multiple purposes. You can wear them if you want to head over to the gym or just stay cool inside the house.

To look your best in them, make sure to pair them off with a flattering top. A tunic will look best with them. Either a loose or a fit tunic that flows with your preggy curves will make you look great when paired with maternity leggings.

 

You can also wear a pair of these leggings under your dress or skirt. That will just make moving about more comfortable.

If you want to hit the gym, you might as well pair it with a loose-fitting tunic t-shirt. Put on a zip-up sweatshirt, a pair of fashionable sneakers and you will be taken as a trendsetter wherever you go.

Extending The Life Of Your Leggings

It’s not easy to find a good pair of leggings, much more part with it. You need to make sure that you care for it properly so you can have them longer.

Here are some things you need to consider to do just that.

  • Wash them gently in cold water. Then, place them on a clean, flat surface to dry. This will keep them from sagging and losing their shape.
  • Regularly examine the seams of your leggings. Don’t forget to check the inner thigh and rear parts of the leggings for signs of wear. A wardrobe mishap is the last thing you want to happen.
  • Invest in high-quality leggings to ensure that you can keep wearing them longer.

Conclusion

Pregnancy leggings could just be the best maternity for your pregnancy. If you have not considered buying one, perhaps this will inspire you to try a pair soon. Invest on a premium quality pair and you’ll soon love them like many others who find them to be comfortable and versatile pregnancy necessities.

Practical Tips For Acne During Pregnancy

 

If there is just a way to control hormones like androgens surging during pregnancy, no pregnant woman will ever see acne buildup on her skin again. Unfortunately, it will be against the natural law. As such, we just have to treat it as a natural occurrence that will eventually fade out as your pregnancy ends. Here we provide you some practical tips on how to treat acne during pregnancy.

How do hormones trigger acne breakout?

Acne appears as a result of the overproduction of natural oils in the skin. This oil is produced in the sebaceous gland (also known as oil glands). These glands produce what is called sebum, an oily substance that acts as a lubricant to the skin. This overproduction is stimulated by a male hormone called androgens (also present in women). The excess sebum goes to the pores of the skin through the hair follicles that are connected to the oil glands and the pores of the skin. Sebum, together with some dead skin that naturally sheds off when new skin cells push them up to the top layer of the skin. These dead skin cells clog up in the hair follicles as influenced by androgens. The accumulated dead skin cells and excess oil attract bacteria, which are scientifically known as Propionbacterium acnes. These form what we call acne.

Treating Acne During Pregnancy

Treating Acne During Pregnancy

Although acne is not considered a health hazard, it can cause a lot of stress to a pregnant woman. The more one worries and stressed out, the higher the tendency for pregnancy-related problems to be more visible or experienced. This will not only lower the self-esteem of the expectant mom but will also affect the development of the baby inside the mother’s womb. We need to be reminded that a natural pregnancy-related problem like acne will subside eventually as the expectant mom completes the pregnancy period.

The safest thing to do when acne begins to develop on your skin is to consider the most natural treatment to manage or cure the condition. Prescription acne medications may not be the best option as they may contain chemicals that may affect the development of the baby inside your womb. However you decide to treat acne, you will need to consult your doctor about it. If you will be using any medication, you need to use it only as recommended.

Skin problems are normally taken as manifestations of an unhealthy immune system. It is best to boost the immune system to prevent any skin condition, including acne, to get worse. It is also vital that the body is provided enough water as this will help flush out the toxins from the body. It is also important that you consider the type of water that you take in. The body is 70% water and every bodily function  depends on it. Anyone will die without it. However, not every water available should be taken in as not all water sources will be healthy for you. Consider drinking quality filtered water that contains antioxidants as this will be the most beneficial for your body.

Coconut Oil May Help Clear Your Acne

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is proven to be healthy. It is good for the heart, helps boost the immune system, and do so much more to make life healthier.

You can use coconut oil as a hair care, skin care, and weight loss product. It is also effective in treating a yeast infection, improving digestion, and in boosting the immune system to prevent several infections and diseases from affecting the body.

Massage a small amount of coconut oil on problem areas and you will see improvement of the skin when this is done regularly. Coconut oil contains anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that can help heal, repair, and revitalize dead skin tissues.

You can do so much more with this amazing natural health wonder than just use it to cook delicious foods. Use it on your acne and your skin will love it!

Practical Tips For Acne During Pregnancy

Tips For Acne During Pregnancy

Having said some of the important methods that you can do to prevent an acne breakout, you also need to consider these practical tips so you can keep your skin healthy. If you already have acne, do these reminders to help clear out acne soon.

  1. Do not pick, scratch, or pop your acne. This will just irritate your skin and allow bacteria-causing acne to spread and make the condition worse.
  2. Do mind your cleansing routine. Your skin needs to be cleaned with mild soap and water twice a day – in the morning when you wake up and at night before you sleep. However, you should not be tempted to over-wash your face or rub your skin as this may cause irritation and exacerbate your condition. Stripping your skin with oil will send a wring signal to the oil glands to produce more oil to moisturize it. This may later affect the natural oil production and, as a result, worsen the condition.
  3. Do not wear makeup if you can avoid it. If you really need to, use non-comedogenic and water-based brands as they don’t tend to clog the pores.
  4. Do eat healthy and a balanced diet. You may need to cut back on foods that contain bad fats as, sugar, as well as processed grains. Healthy greens are most healthy not just for your skin but for your whole body as well. Again, eat more of those foods that will help boost your immune system to keep your body system functioning well and keep skin problems like acne at bay.
  5. Do ask your primary health provider for the recommended medication. If you need to use medicated acne products, the safest thing to do is to consult your doctor for the right product to use.
  6. Do give your body adequate rest and sleep. This will allow your system to re-energize and while your body is at rest. This is, of course, good for your baby’s health as well.

Tips To Stay Healthy During Pregnancy

You have seen the signs. You are having a baby. Is there anything special in it than having to carry around another person inside your belly? Well, there is much more than just a baby bump that you will see and experience as baby grows. Your significant other, as well as other relatives and friends, will have a word or two on how to make your pregnancy enjoyable.

Your doctor will have more to tell you about what to do and what not to do during your pregnancy. It may be overwhelming. But as the days move to a month or two, you will soon find out that you are more expectant than apprehensive of all the things that have to do with the day when your new bundle of joy will be welcomed to this world.

Staying Healthy During Pregnancy

There are so many health risks for a pregnant woman. Everything that passes through your system goes into the bloodstream and may affect your baby’s development. You will be reminded time and again of the things that you need to do while you are heavy with a child. You may be familiar with some of them.

In this post, we provide you with more pregnancy tips that will help you and your baby safe and healthy throughout the journey.

  1. Take pregnancy health supplements. Pregnancy requires that you take more than your daily requirements of essential nutrients, like folic acid, calcium, and iron as your baby’s development also depends on these. Your doctor normally prescribes what supplement you will need for the optimum health of your baby. Your doctor may ask if you have any allergies, if you are taking any medication, or if you have any medical history that may require medical attention. Make sure to let your doctor know everything about your health condition.
  2. Have adequate exercise. You may feel sluggish as the baby inside your belly grows. Still, it is vital that you stay active as this will lessen the stress that you may feel, improve the blood circulation in your body, make you feel alive and enthusiastic and allow you to have a good sleep. Enlisting in a pregnancy exercise class or taking a walk for about 15-20 minutes a day in cool and convenient places and at a moderate pace will be a good start. You may need to consult your doctor for any activity that you would like to incorporate into your day. Make sure that you don’t exert too much effort or overdo as this will be more stressful for you and your baby.
  3. Prepare A Birth Plan. Get everyone involved. Write down everything you can think about how you would like your pregnancy to go about. Do you think it is best to have a doula to help you throughout your pregnancy? Is there anything that you would like to do or to have on that special day? Do you intend to have a natural birth or would like special medications that will ease labor and child delivery?
  4. Educate yourself. Preparation for the big day starts by understanding what the process and the condition entails. If you can attend a childbirth class, do so. This will give you the chance to discover more about your condition, childbearing, and child-rearing. You can also get to know more about your family’s medical history and if there are any previous birth problems you may inquire from your doctor of any danger related to it.
  5. Practice Kegels. This exercise will strengthen your pelvic muscles. Having strong pelvic floor muscles will make child delivery easier. You can do this simple exercise anywhere and no one will ever notice that you are doing it.
  6. Avoid strenuous household chores. Heavy lifting, using hazardous chemicals, cleaning the kitten litter, standing for a long time, and other risky daily tasks can put you and your baby to danger. This is the time to take them off your daily duties.
  7. Track Your Weight. Both gaining more and gaining less weight during pregnancy are not good for you and your baby. It is a smart practice to track your weight gain and check with your doctor regularly to make sure that you are gaining weight at a healthy rate. Note that a gain of about 15-25 pounds is considered overweight. A gain of 28-40 pounds is underweight, while a gain of 11-20 pounds is considered obese. A normal gain weight is from 15-25 pounds.
  8. Wear comfortable shoes. Your feet grow as your baby bump grows. Over time, you may feel that you are putting more pressure on your feet. This may cause your feet to flatten. You may also retain more fluids down there. As a result, your feet and ankle may swell. This will require you to wear comfortable shoes. It will also help to put your feet up while resting a few times a day as this will help prevent your legs and feet to swell.
  9. Eat folate-rich foods. Folate, in the form of folic acid, is essential in the proper development of the neural tube and in the creation of new red blood cells. Eat more foods rich in folate, such as oranges, orange juice, asparagus, and fortified breakfast cereals.
  10. Eat more fruits. The natural sugars in fruits will keep you energized.
  11. Add fish to your diet. Opt for those that are high in Omega 3s (nutrient vital for brain development), but stay away from the varieties of fish that contain mercury such as tilefish, shark, swordfish, and king mackerel.
  12. Wear sun protection and use safe sunsceen for pregnancy. Your skin is more susceptible to skin discoloration or pigmentation during pregnancy. It is advisable that you stay in the shade when you are outdoors. Wearing protective clothing, glasses, as well as sunscreen will limit the probability of the sun’s harmful rays directly touching your skin. When choosing a sunscreen product, opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen as it filters out both UVB and UVA rays.
  13. Pamper yourself. This is your time to relax and de-stress. Give yourself as much rest as it needs. Give in to your cravings but make sure that you set a limit or you may end up overweight soon.
  14. Travel safely. Plan ahead of time so you can prepare everything that you need for an enjoyable trip. While on the go, keep yourself hydrated, walk after every thirty minutes to prevent your feet from swelling and reduce the risk of blood clots. Make sure to follow the safety rules while on the go.
  15. Keep Your Lines Open. You don’t know when emergencies will happen. Always keep your phone lines open and have emergency numbers saved on your phone for easier dialing. Keep your doctor updated on what’s going on with you and your baby, especially when there are unusual indications like shortness of breath, palpitations, vaginal bleeding, strong cramps, and the likes.

Just a quick side note before Election Day…

Guys, I’m gonna talk about politics real quick.

I know, I know. You’re tired of hearing about politics. You’re tired of election coverage. And originally, the post I was going to write tonight did not involve politics at all, except perhaps a line at the end remind everyone to vote. That post will go up later this week. But right now, I just gotta do this real quick.

I know this isn’t a blog about politics. But guess what? This is my blog and it can be about whatever I want! If you want don’t want to read it, you can find someone else’s blog to read! I am a person who is wildly passionate about lefty politics, so I just can’t let this election go by without doing everything in my power to make sure a racist, misogynistic lunatic does not become the most powerful figure in the world.

You don’t have to read. But I have to write.

Let it be known, before I start that I am still feeling the Bern and will forever be feeling the Bern until death parts us. I still have Bernie sticker on my car. I still have a Bernie sign in my window. Bernie is my homeboy.

Anyway.

Like everyone else, I have been disgusted by this election. It makes my stomach hurt. At times, I have felt physically ill watching Hillary’s opponent spew verbal garbage all over the news and then watching other white old men defend him. It’s sickening.

I can’t say that I love Hillary either. But Hillary is the most qualified candidate in US history. Most people agree on that. She has been the First Lady, she has been a senator, she has been the Secretary of State. Basically, she’s a badass lady boss.

At its worst, the President of the United States is nothing more than a figurehead. We all know that Presidents don’t have as much power as we grew up thinking. Congress and the SCOTUS are there to keep checks and balances, to make sure that we remain a democracy. Hillary’s opponent cannot even manage to be a figurehead for the United States. We would be a joke to every other country in the world (moreso than we already are just with him running). He could not even fulfill the most basic role as President.

Then there’s the Supreme Court. Whoever the next President is will likely appoint the next three Supreme Court justices (although if you’re like me, you wish Ruth would just stay there forever #Ruthisthetruth). If you at all lean left or right, that is reason enough to vote. Naturally, whoever Hillary nominates will lean more to the left and whoever her opponent nominates will lean to the right. He’s pledged to select justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade. That would reverse all the progress and rights women have gained over the last 43 years. It would allow the state to have control of our bodies. Just writing that makes my stomach drop.

ALSO CAN YOU SAY SHATTERED GLASS CEILING?!

I feel myself babbling. And I apologize. But this election has turned us all into babbling, crazed nuts who will hopefully all be able to collect ourselves on Wednesday morning and get back to normal. At least, I hope so. Otherwise, you will find me crying in a heap on my floor, never to emerge from my apartment again until I’m ready to commit to the move to Canada (I’m half kidding).

So I’m just going to post my Facebook post from last week here because I have to go make some calls for Hillz and because I want people to VOTE. It is literally the most important thing you can do. You have a voice! And you should use it.

 

Guys, the election is tomorrow. I’ve posted a lot of political stuff and I’m not sorry because I’m passionate AF but this one is for everyone. I saw this a few weeks ago, when Lewis Black when on the Daily Show and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. I know a lot of people aren’t voting- I get it. The two candidates are both some level of horrible. The political system is not set up for third party candidates so it’s just not possible to get Bernie Sanders into the White House. Trust me, if it was, I would be the first one in line. But it’s not. I’m not saying I agree with that- I don’t- but that’s just what we’re dealing with right now. Hopefully some day it will change. But it’s not going to change by tomorrow (Worth noting that Sanders will be in charge of the Senate Budget Committee if Hillary wins which is a pretty big deal and a huge step in the right direction for the progressive agenda).

We’re either going to have a Trump or Clinton presidency. Fact. I don’t necessarily love Clinton but I won’t worry about my safety as a woman with her as president. I won’t have to worry about not having the right to my own body. I won’t have to worry that the cost of my medication is going to be hiked up astronomically. I won’t have to worry that my access to mental (and physical) health care will be cut.

I, along with many of you who are about my age, could very well bring another human into this world in the next 4 or 8 years. I’ll be damned if I bring my son or daughter into a world where it’s okay to hate, where it’s okay to discriminate against entire genders, races, ethnicities religions. Where it’s okay to criticize people on the size and the shape of their bodies, where it’s possible to be a fucking presidential candidate despite saying that you can grab women by the pussies. None of this is okay. And I don’t want my kid to grow up in a world where it is.

Also I want to get paid the same as my male counterparts, thank you very much.

Hillary is bad but Trump is worse.

VOTE. It’s fucking important.

P.S. Besides voting for President, there’s also senators, state reps, governors, town council, etc plus issues specific to your town to vote on, all of which have a direct impact on you. Vote. Votevotevotevote.

P.P.S. If you live in New Hampshire like me, you can register at your polling place! Also if you live in NH, PA, NV, IA, AZ, NC, CA, IL or WA- you have the chance to flip the Senate! What a world! Vote for your democratic candidate!

P.P.P.S. I’m really sorry about this whole post guys, really I am.

One last thing- I love you for making for making it this far. Take care, ya animals.

Refuse to shrink (and other recovery thoughts)

Hello world! How ya doin’?

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want this blog to be. It’s shapeshifted multiple times over the past year and a half- from just a general personal blog to eating disorder recovery to body positivity and now is at a place that is kind of a combination of the three. But after last week’s election, I am more inspired than ever to talk about feminism and oppression and social justice. It’s clear by the election results that there is still so much work to do and I want to help do it. It’s possible that those topics might leak more into my blog every week- this is your warning. You don’t have to read it. But like I said last week, I have to say it.

Today though, I want to talk about my recovery and my eating disorder response to the election.

My recovery has been going really, really well. I hardly count calories ever, except to make sure that I get enough. I order what I really want when I go into a coffee shop. I eat chocolate at 9am like it ain’t no thang. I am coming to a place where I really do love and appreciate and honor my body. It feels really, really good.

As I’ve forged my way into recovery, I have learned to stand up and speak out. I have never been one for confrontation (in fact, I am still not if I can avoid it). I also lived solely to please others. I lived in a world where isolation was easier, so that there would be no one else to please- but that self-isolation mostly just brought depression and anxiety. I felt trapped and like I wasn’t smart enough/important enough to speak out and say what I believed in. I felt like it was never my place. Now I can see that I have to make my place in this world. I can see that I am valuable and that I do have important things to say.

The election results were really, really hard for marginalized people of all sorts, including people who suffer from mental illness. The mental illness support pages I follow on social media were posting links to suicide prevention hotlines and other similar resources. Their messages were all the same. You matter. This is not the end. Do not give up here. We will make it through this. 

That is really scary. Scary that the election made marginalized people feel so hopeless, so worthless, so unimportant that advocates and sufferers alike were worried about taking their own lives. Scary that death seemed easier than dealing with the hardships that are, undoubtedly, ahead. I heard from friends and acquaintances who suffer from the whole spectrum of mental illness- no one took this news easily.

As a person who has suffered anorexia, my response was the urge to restrict (surprise, surprise). This election made me absolutely sick to my stomach (no matter what side of the aisle you’re on, this election was pretty sickening). I felt nauseas and sad and not even the teensiest, tinsiest bit hungry. It made me want to push away from the world, back into that little hole of isolation where I only had to worry about myself. It made food seem unimportant. In the days after the election, I wasn’t necessarily restricting but I certainly wasn’t taking good care of myself. And I was doing that for reasons that are obvious to me- I wanted control of something, at a time when everything seemed so wildly out of my control. I wanted to shrink my world back down to that little safe, sad hole where heartbreak like that didn’t exist because I didn’t let myself feel that hard.

Thank God that didn’t last long, amIright?

I let myself wallow for a few days and be sad. I am still sad. I don’t think this particular brand of sadness will go away for awhile. I did not, however, let myself skip meals or go for a 7-mile run to numb myself. I wasn’t my best recovery self, but I certainly wasn’t my worst eating disorder self either. Not even close. Not even a little bit.

After a few days of processing, I can see clearly that this is not the time to shrink. This is not the time to back away. This is not the time to hide.

Now is the time to stand up. To engage. To fight. To refuse to back down, regardless of what challenges lie ahead. And this goes for anyone who feels anything about this election. We need to stand up for what we believe in. Our beliefs are valid and worthy of being shared. The only way we will move forward is by sharing and seeing that we are all part of each other. We belong to each other. And we have to love each other really hard.

When I restrict, my brain gets foggy and I can’t think clearly. Anxiety and depression come more naturally. I don’t have energy and I start to lose that piece of myself that has forged her way into this world and found her place. I start to get a little lost.

We cannot let ourselves get lost.

To anyone suffering from mental illness or any other marginalized person: this is not the end. There is light and love and goodness in this world- we have to engage and be part of it. Let yourself be sad but then invite courage and strength into your world so that we can stand up and unite. I believe in you. I believe in all of us.

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Love Will Win

Earlier this week, as I was planning my posts for the week, I was excited to write one in particular about the power of a “me too”. How that’s what we’re all looking for in this life. How we’re all just searching for people who feel the same things, fear the same things, believe in the same things.

But like many of us, I find myself unable to think about anything but this election.

I am heartbroken in a way that I have never been heartbroken before. Tuesday night, I collapsed into tears multiple times but the one at 3am, when I awoke after drifting off to sleep for a mere 16 minutes to Trump making his acceptance speech, was by far the worst.

I sobbed uncontrollably in bed. I worried about waking the neighbors. I heard myself make noises that I haven’t made since childhood, when my mom or my dad would rub my back and tell me everything would be okay. I turned on Friends for a brief minute before realizing that nothing could make me feel better. I shut my TV off, laid in my dark apartment and cried. I woke up this for work two hours later and both my pillow and my t-shirt were soaked. I’ve hardly stopped crying since.

Throughout the election, I kept repeating to myself and others that love will prevail. Love will win, I said.

Love trumps hate. With everything in me, I believed that.

Today, I feel like hate won. It’s hard not to. Trump spewed blatant hate for the LGTBQ+ community, the Muslim community, females, Mexicans, blacks. I don’t have the capacity to understand it. I cannot understand it.

I made hundreds, if not thousands, of calls this election season. I have been at my local campaign office every week since August. I spent at least one night a week surrounded by like-minded people who cared about women and Muslims and every other oppressed group. People who felt, like me, that the world would end of Trump won. It made me feel better to be in that space every week. Plugging away at our phone calls, getting voters excited about Hillary, making sure they knew where and when they were voting. I ache to be in that space now. I think of my fellow volunteers and my heart breaks a little more.

We cared so much. We put so much into this election. We believed, with our whole hearts, that Hillary would win, that love would prevail.

When I joined the body positive community almost a year ago, I entered a world that honored and respected and encouraged inclusivity of all kinds. Not just body size and shape- gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicities. I surrounded myself with people like myself, who truly believe that diversity makes this country a better place. People who do not fear what’s unknown to them. People who unconditionally love and respect. People who embrace diversity and individuality.

I’m in a snow globe. The world has been shaken up and I don’t know which way is up or down, my feet can’t seem to find the ground. None of the pieces have fallen into place yet. It’s taken the most painful event to realize that the inclusive world I’ve nested myself in is the minority. Accepting, loving, compassionate people- they might win the popular vote but they will never get backed in our warped system, where compassion is seen as weak and the electoral college an do whatever the fuck it wants .

You see, it doesn’t matter if Donald Trump continues his hateful rhetoric. The damage is already done (although I fear it could be much, much worse). He has just confirmed that white, cisgender, straight men can say basically whatever they want and not see consequences. His win was all the white supremacists in this country needed to feel like they are getting their country back. This is a man backed by the KKK. A man who is on trial for raping a 15-year- old next month. And he is our President-elect.

If you are reading this and you’re thinking “well, not all people who voted for Trump are white supremacists”, then you are right. But a vote for Trump was a blatant disregard for every single marginalized person in our nation.

I am shattered thinking about my LGBTQ+ friends, my minority friends, my friends who are not natural-born citizens. I have heard from a few of them today and I can’t say anything to make it better, I can’t say anything to explain it. I can only promise them that I will not leave their side and that I will not stop fighting for them.

In the end, I do hope, as we all do, that love will prevail. The love I see emerging from broken communities everywhere is overwhelming. People sharing their stories, people comforting others, people sparing whatever love they can to give it to someone who needs it more. It’s amazing to me that a community that was so shattered 12 hours ago is already trying to rebuild, to pick up and keep moving forward.

My original post was going to be about the “me too”s . All the ways in which the power of that simple connection can ease worries and comfort the suffering. Slowly, all over the country today, people are sharing their stories of grief, of sadness, of anger, of anguish and sorrow. And people are standing up to say

me too. me too. me too.

Yesterday, prejudice and discrimination and hate won. People are hurting. But love will win. It has to win. And in the days to come, when the pieces begin to fall and confusion turns into clarity, we will wipe ourselves off and keep going. We will stand up.

The (un)happy days: eating disorders in college

Happy November! How is it this late in the year? How is it already 4 weeks from Thanksgiving? This is madness!

Anyways, I hope this post finds you well, wherever you may be as you read it. As much as I love October, I am excited about November and the opportunity to have a more peaceful and less hectic month- I don’t know about you but my October was a little busier than I would have preferred. I had a lot going on at work, in my after-work hours, in my personal life in general. I love this time of year- I love fall, I love Thanksgiving, I love chilly weather that requires cozy sweaters and LL Bean slippers. I love cuddling into my bed under all my blankets at night. I love the crispness in the air. I love it.

I’m going to be honest with you, friends. I have started and stopped approximately eight blog posts over the last few weeks and every time, they come to a crashing halt. It’s not that I’m uninspired. It’s that I’m so inspired I can’t pull down all my thoughts into one coherent sentence, let alone one post.

I’m going to tell a story because I like storytelling and this one popped into my head this afternoon. It made me pause and be grateful for this place that I’m in. And I wanted to share it.

During my 4 years of college, I went to a lot of doctor/therapist/psychiatrist appointments, especially during my last two years when things were really bad. My senior year, I was going to all three in three separate appointments every week. I was always running off to “meetings” or mysterious “appointments” when I was with my classmates (my good friends knew, but most probably didn’t know I was even suffering until this blog) and I was always finding excuses to leave work for an hour so I could go have a near nervous breakdown in my therapist’s office.

These were terrible times.

I went to my therapist every week, although all we did at the time was talk in circles because I wasn’t willing to make any changes to help myself. More accurately, my eating disorder wouldn’t let me make any changes that would possibly hinder his ability to function and control my body. I think about all the suggestions she made during those years and how unwilling I was to listen. I would leave her office and walk straight to the gym, where I would spend 75 minutes in sheer agony. I just wasn’t ready yet. I forgive myself for that.

I went to my psychiatrist every week because after years of refusing, I finally started on an anti-anxiety/anti-depressant. And I went to a doctor to monitor my weight, my heart and so he could beg me to stop exercising so much. He would tell me I was at risk of a stress fracture, of permanent damage of my joints. I would just ignore it and pretend it wasn’t as bad as it was.

The first time I saw him and he did a full intake and evaluation, he told me that I needed to cut back my running and fast. I so distinctly remember him saying “I’m not going to take running away from you but…” and my usual calm, peaceful, non-confrontational self snapped and told him he wasn’t because he couldn’t because it was mine. I went to my therapist the next day in a rage because she was the one who had referred me to him. (Break in the story here to say that I was so lucky to be on a campus where I had these services available to me free of charge. I may not have liked all this appointments or wanted to go. I may have cried all the way through and hated what they had to say but things would have been a HELLA lot worse without them. Shoutout to the Counseling Center and Health Services at University of Rhode Island. If you are in college and are having similar or different issues, please please look into the resources available to you. It’s pretty rad, man.)

Eventually, things got so bad that I was referred to an eating disorder clinic. Well technically, I was referred months and months before but towards the end of my senior year, I finally agreed to go to an intake appointment. In preparation for that, my doctor had to gather all sorts of information about me. He was blind weighing me every week (even though I was consistently weighing myself at home so it didn’t matter) but he had to get another weight for the clinic paperwork. Per usual, he weighed me without me knowing and I sat back down in my hard plastic seat. And then, being the curious and self-sabotaging person that I am, I leaned over and tried to read my weight off his computer.

I saw my weight.

And I freaked the fuck out.

Because it was more than I had weighed in months, probably years. Like I said before, I was still weighing myself every day at this point (when I creeped upstairs before my roommates woke up so I could use their scale, then ran back down to my room). The weight I saw was at least 10 pounds over what I expected, maybe more. I started spinning out of control.

It couldn’t possibly be true.

It couldn’t be right.

…it wasn’t. I read the computer wrong.

You know how I know? Because after 24 hours of sheer panic, shame and anxiety, I emailed the doctor in a frenzy. I said that I saw my weight, it can’t possibly be true, I’ve weighed myself on multiple scales, that can’t be right, it can’t be right! And he responded gently and told me that I had seen it wrong, that my weight was actually X pounds and that he would make sure it was accurate in the paperwork.

It was humiliating- to care that much, to send that email, to admit how much my weight actually mattered to me, how terrified I was at the idea of weight gain. Against my better judgement, I went back and read those emails tonight and I cried a little bit for that girl and I shed a few tears of gratitude that I am not her anymore.

That girl who panicked when she read her weight wrong? She is now at least twenty five pounds over that weight she mistakenly saw. She is now at least a few sizes bigger. She has rolls, she hasn’t run in 10 months, every single part of her body has gotten bigger including her feet. Her old jeans from college wouldn’t fit over her knees  and her old bras are so small they would be deemed societally inappropriate had I not finally sprung for new ones. She has cellulite. She gets bloated sometimes. She is wonderfully squishy.

And you know what?

She is really fucking happy.

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When you’re a little off center…

It took me awhile but after twenty-three years, I’ve finally found my center. You know, the place everyone is referring to when they describe themselves “centered”. The place where peace emanates from, the place where I feel grounded and whole. I am centered when I have a low (but not too low) stress level. I am centered when I am doing work and activities that fulfill me. I am centered when I am making time for myself. I am centered when I am eating regularly and enough. It’s in this place that I can think clearly, laugh loudly and feel good, despite what thoughts pop up.

I am very off-center.

Before anyone gets worried (ahem, mom), I am fine. I am just a normal person who sometimes has bad days and who sometimes doesn’t sleep well at night. Most importantly for myself, I am eating enough (although I do believe I could stand to eat more because I’m a bit more draggy than usual, even for this kind of mood. Oh, the wonders of recovery. Never know when your body suddenly wants to make more repairs).

I started moving away from my center this weekend. I spent my weekend in Rhode Island, which is where I went to college and where a lot of my friends still live. Let’s get two things out of the way first: I’ve had my panties in a bunch because my October weekends are getting eaten alive by life. I just want to slow down, enjoy my favorite time of year, go for a hike in these beautiful NH mountains by myself. I want to go to the farmer’s market on Saturday morning and get a cookie butter coffee while I’m over there. I want to write and read and bask in the beauty of the Earth. I regret to inform you all that I am selfish when it comes to my weekends. I love seeing people and spending time with my friends but I also love two whole days where I have no plans, no obligations, just me doing my own thang. And I have not a single weekend in October to myself which makes me (again, selfishly) grumpasaurus rex. Second, the full moon was this weekend so this moon child was feeling all sorts of nutty.

Also before everyone I’ve spent an October weekend with feels bad/mad/sad: HI GUYS I love you all so much it’s stupid, I am just being a greedy wench who wants it both ways. 

That being said…I went to Rhode Island this weekend. Which is a place where I spent four long, unhappy years trapped by my eating disorder and unbearable anxiety. It’s a place where I spent many nights crying, feeling unwanted, feeling bad about myself, feeling different, feeling every emotion under the sun. I had some very dark days there. And it’s a place I have not been back to since recovery.So basically, my weekend brought up some unexpected things. And for the most part, thatI spent most of my weekend with four of my friends, all of whom except one had not seen me since recovery (it is worth noting here that I was not worried at all about them seeing me and thinking of me differently. That’s just a thought I had now like hey, they might have noticed you gained 50 pounds but it’s totally not anything I thought of beforehand because they are all good and loving and funny people who don’t judge people based on the way they look. These are the kind of people everyone should hang out with). Anywho. I just wasn’t used to being my recovered self with them. Even when we went out to meals, I started having thoughts about who I used to be when I was with them and how I used to eat and who I am now and what I eat. It’s like looking at a picture from your childhood; suddenly, you are sucked back into the past and you forget where you are or what you’re doing or how you’ve grown.

didn’t stop me from enjoying the weekend. I had a swell time. I laughed harder than I have in awhile and loved up on people who I haven’t seen in awhile and ate delicious breakfast foods. But those thoughts sat in the back of mind, lingering there like smoke after you blow out the flame. And then I continued to let it smolder for a few more hours while I drove home. And then I decided that I didn’t feel like journaling (which I do every night, especially after a weekend of not writing) and I didn’t feel like reading and all I wanted to do was watch mindless TV and get mad over silly things and then walk by the river with a podcast in to distract myself from it all. Note: this is not helpful.

Yesterday, I was trying to be kind to myself but my tummy hurt and work was dragging by and I didn’t like my swollen belly and my hair was driving me crazy and my knee was bothering me more than usual and I went to bed later than I wanted to and I didn’t sleep hardly at all and this morning when I woke up, it was cloudy and colder than it was supposed to be and I didn’t feel like going to work and I had a headache and an ingrown hair and it was raining on me during my outreach stops and they gave me the wrong thing for lunch and I forgot my seltzer water home and how could anyone possibly happy when so many catastrophic things are happening to her?!?!?!

Yes, I am being a baby. But even still, this whole combination of things plus exhaustion brought up some very real depression/anxiety/body image thoughts for me. As I drove home from work today, I just thought to myself: what are you doing? Why are you making yourself miserable? Why aren’t you writing when you know it will help? Why aren’t you reading when you know you would rather do that than watch that episode of Friends for the 27th time (not that there’s anything wrong with that)? Why are you letting those body image thoughts take hold in your brain?

I’m not saying that depression or anxiety or eating disorders are decisions; they aren’t. They are very real, very scary, very distressing and unpleasant. But after seven years of dealing with these things, there are things I know I can do to make myself feel better. It’s easier, yes, to be enveloped by the bad thoughts and curl up in them like a blanket. That is a place I once took great comfort. But that’s not where I want to live anymore. That blanket that once felt warm and cozy now feels scratchy and harsh, like it’s been used too many times. That warm feeling comes when I’m at my center, when I’m honoring my truth in my little bubble of authentic life.

So I need to move back towards that space, back to to the place where I feel like I am serving a greater purpose and am fulfilled, happy, whole.It’s not easy. But it’s easier than getting sucked into that dark place, where the light gets so dim it eventually goes out. Fighting back against that by doing things I love to a place where I feel like I am beaming light? Yes please. That is where I want to be. That is where I’m going. We all have that center, the place where we emulate light and love, to the place where we’re all just feelin’ really good, man. It’s our job to find that place, figure out how to get there and then do everything in our power to stay in that sliver of life where joy and fulfillment and contentment and passion live. We all have that place. And we can all get there. Tomorrow is a new day.

Now I want you to tell me…
If you’ve had an ED, has going back to places/people you associate with that thing brought difficult thoughts up?
Does this post resonate with people who have dealt with mental illness in general? Do you feel like there are times when you are off-balance and can feel yourself being pulled in the opposite direction?
How do you find your center?
What’s the best thing that happened to you today? (In case anyone is wondering, mine would be writing this blog post in my sweatpants under this cozy blanket.)

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