Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Treat Yourself without Breaking the Bank

As women we're always searching for the next big thing that's going to make us look and feel good. Beauty products and skincare are a big part of all of our lives, but the ones that claim that they'll benefit us the most are extremely expensive. Even when the economy wasn't so bad, it was hard for me to see myself paying an exorbitant amount of money to make my skin look better. Over the past 20 years or so, there has been a real shift in thinking and there has been more of an emphasis on all-natural skin care. Unfortunately, the all-natural stuff that's supposed to be better for you is just as expensive, if not more so, than all of the others. Through Twitter I was able to find a small business that makes all-natural products that are not only good for your skin, but they're also affordable. You can check out the site here: http://www.haileysdragonflygarden.com/.

I've ordered soaps and a body lotion and am very satisfied with my products. The skin on my upper arms was very dry and bumpy. I've often heard it referred to as "chicken skin". There's an expensive cream on the market that targets that particular problem. I've been considering buying the cream for quite some time, but just didn't want to spend the money. Even when I had gift cards for Sephora (where it's sold) I didn't want to buy it. Now I don't have to because Hailey's Dragon Garden makes a product that solves my problem. The Acai Berry Lotion with Calendula is one of the first purchases that I made. I use it almost every day on my arms and legs and it leaves my skin smooth and hydrated. I didn't even notice that the bumps on my upper arms were going away until the other day. I just happened to take a look at my arms when I was getting ready for work and noticed they didn't look dry anymore. Also, the texture of my skin has improved quite a bit. I'm very impressed with how well the Acai Berry Lotion has worked and I paid about an eighth of what I would've paid for the high-end brand.

As I said before, I've also tried the soaps and I love them! They lather very nicely, leaving my skin feeling soft and smooth. I highly recommend these products to anyone that's looking for an all-natural way to care for their skin, but isn't able to spend the big bucks.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The High Cost of Trying to Live a Healthy Life

There has been a debate about the so-called "soda tax" that has been proposed for sugary drinks. There are a lot of people who oppose it although it's an initiative that would go hand in hand with promoting healthier living. If it costs more to buy it, then you'll stop buying it and choose a healthier alternative or a healthier lifestyle. It's similar to what they've done with tobacco products. Also, they feel that the money from taxing soda would help to supplement the healthcare overhaul.

There's also a debate about high fructose corn syrup that's been going on for quite a while. The evils of hfcs are touted, but there are also councils that present information saying that it's harmless. It's very prevalent and shows up in the oddest places. For instance what the hell is hfcs doing in my Stove Top Stuffing? Yeah, some stuffing is made from cornbread, but hfcs isn't supposed to be in my cornbread either!

Debate about these things and the introduction of the soda tax are ways that our government is looking to fight obesity. There are now many more commercials about making healthy choices when it comes to food, and fast food places are offering healthier options. That's great, but it doesn't change the fact that in order to eat healthier you have to pay an arm and a leg for groceries. Processed foods and sugary drinks are much cheaper than fresh fruits, vegetables, and organically produced goods. Minorities continue to have problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. These are all diseases that could be controlled or stabilized with exercise and a healthy diet. While grocery shopping, when given the choice between fresh fruits and veggies or a bag of chips for their kids to snack on , the chips will overwhelmingly be chosen because they're cheaper. Also, grocery stores tend to run specials on the less healthy stuff, so that makes people more apt to buy them since they're getting a better deal than usual. In this economy every penny counts even more than ever, so if eating healthier means having to pay more for your groceries then it'll continue to fall by the wayside. That money has to go to more mundane things like the mortgage or the rent, heat, and electricity. Those are just the basics. That doesn't even take into account such things as clothing, car payments, and car insurance.

If you want people to have healthier lifestyles and lower insurance rates, you've got to give them alternatives that will work for them. The majority of the country does not live in a McMansion and drive their SUV to Trader Joe's or Whole Foods to pick out fresh produce and organic ingredients to make a healthy balanced meal for their children. They're living in small houses, cramped apartments, or trailers; hoping that the car will crank so that they can go to A & P for a box of frozen fried chicken, some instant mashed potatoes, and a can of green beans (oops forgot the packet of Kool-Aid) so that their children can have a hot meal.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Making Yourself a Priority

Last night in my Weight Watchers meeting we talked about taking care of yourself and putting yourself first. As women, we're very good at taking care of others, but we tend to let ourselves fall by the wayside. Wives and mothers have an especially hard time putting themselves first because most of the time not only do they have a household to run, but they also have a demanding job outside the home. By virtue of birth most women are nurturers. Nurturing others comes easy, but when it comes to nurturing oneself, it might take a bit more work.

Some of the things that might keep us from doing so are lack of time, the feeling that maybe we don't deserve it, or feelings of guilt for actually spending time on ourselves. The example we saw our mothers set can also be a factor. My own mother is a very selfless woman. She sacrificed a lot to provide a loving home for my father, me, and my two brothers. There are many things she wanted or wanted to do, but felt that she needed to put us first. Looking back on it now, I wish that she had put herself first more. I think she missed out on a lot because of us.

That realization is a big motivator for me to nurture myself a little bit. Deciding to lose weight is one of the ways that I'm taking care of myself. Not only does it help me physically, it also helps me mentally and emotionally. There are a lot of us out there who are emotional eaters. Whenever someone or something hurts us or makes us sad, we grab a bag of chips or a pack of cookies. In the moment that food tastes pretty damn good, but afterward you're pissed at yourself because you ate a whole package of cookies that will be taking up residence on your thighs momentarily. Once that thought strikes you, you get depressed. If you're depressed you might wanna reach for that pint of Ben and Jerry's. Now you just ate a package of cookies and hated yourself for it. Why are you reaching for the Ben and Jerry's? Because maybe it'll make you feel less depressed. It all becomes a vicious cycle, one that I've been caught up in many times. One day I reached my breaking point and had to put up a big STOP sign.

Now that I've done that, I'm able to look at my life and the world around me from a better perspective. We all want and need to be loved by others, but we also need love from ourselves. Breaking out a little bit of Whitney Houston "Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all". If you love and nurture yourself, you'll feel so much better about yourself, which will in turn enrich your relationships with other people. I find that when I take good care of myself I have better interactions with those around me. Funny how that works, huh?

Friday, October 2, 2009


Have you ever inspired somebody and not even known it? There you are going about your daily routine, trying to reach your goals, and trying to stay focused; meanwhile, someone's looking at you and what you've accomplished and deciding to take action.

That's what happened to me at my Weight Watchers meeting last night. During every meeting we do celebrations as a means of receiving positive feedback for our accomplishments, whether they be scale-related or not. Last night, during celebrations one of the other members said that she wanted to give a shoutout to me because I inspired her to start running. Prior to WW, I was not a runner at all, not even when I was younger. Back then it wasn't a matter of my being heavy (I was skinny until I was about 14), it was about me just not wanting to push myself to do it. During this past summer our WW group set individual 6 week goals and my goal was to be able to run for 15 minutes. In order to reach that goal I ran a little bit each week, increasing the amount of time until I got to 15 minutes. After I found that I could do that, I decided to push myself to run for 30 minutes. Once again, I just kept incrementally adding time until I got there. My final goal was to be able to run all the way around the lake near my apartment, which is 3.5 miles or so. A few weeks ago I was able to do it for the first time. I did it over Labor Day weekend. After that first day, I decided to do it again the next day to make sure it wasn't a fluke. Day 2 I was able to do it, so I decided to go for the hat trick and run around the lake 3 days in a row. On Day 3 I had to push myself a bit, but I still made it.

I used that story as a celebration in the meeting 2 weeks ago, and a girl in the meeting, Amy, decided that she'd give running a try. When she talked about it last night, she said that she was on a track and would run for 2 laps and walk for 1 lap. She did that 4 days in a row. She said the whole time she was doing it, she was thinking of me. That made me so happy because that was unexpected proof that I'm having a positive impact on someone else's life. I always say that when I die, I want to do so having made the world a better place for my being in it. Although things I do or achieve might not necessarily have a global impact, I'm glad that I can truly touch and inspire the individuals that come in contact with me. Not only does the fact that I inspired Amy to start running make me proud, but it also motivates me to keep reaching toward my goals.