Friday, 5 June 2015

My favorite natural skin care products

For the past two years, I've been slowly transitioning from my usual skin care products (full of toxins and parabens) to more natural, organic based cosmetics and skin care. I've always battled skin issues like acne, eczema and rosacea but in the past few years, those issues have only gotten worse. I've worked on my health by eliminating dairy and gluten and feel a whole lot better, but I still battle my skin issues. I knew that finding a natural skin care regime would help my skin to heal and would reduce my symptoms. It is definitely a work in progress - I'm always trying new products to see what works best with my fussy skin. I wanted to share some of the products that I've fallen in love with and have helped to transform my skin from being red, dry and irritated to plump, dewy and bright.

Finding a cleanser that removed all of my makeup at the end of a long day but did not strip the oils from my skin and irritate my sensitive skin was hard to find. This is hands down my favorite skin cleanser. It is so gentle yet cleans so much dirt and makeup from my face. After a long day, my skin feels so soft and clean after using this cleanser. You don't need to use a lot - a small amount goes a long way. I use this twice a day to keep my skin clean and fresh.

The name of this product says it all - super soothing skin stuff. That's exactly what it is! I've struggled with irritated and dry skin and this cream is always a go to for me. It turns any dry patch or eczema flare into calm, soft skin almost overnight. You don't need a lot - just a little bit goes a long way. It's also great on dry winter hands and summer feet. I cannot live without this stuff!


3. Logona Naturkosmetik Blush

Finding natural cosmetics has been a challenge for me. I heard about this beautiful, natural blush from skin guru, Joy McCarthy. I purchased it online and have since fallen in love with it. I use it almost everyday to compliment my fair skin. It goes on beautifully and does not irritate my skin. Other blushes would leave my skin dry and filled with little bumps. This blush feels great going on, lasts all day and comes in 3 lovely colours. 

4. Holistic Vanity's Comforting Camellia Oil

As a sufferer of rosacea, I often find it difficult to find products that won't irritate my already sensitive skin. Holistic Vanity has come out with an entire line dedicated to rosacea skin! My favorite product from this line is their Comforting Camellia Oil. I use it everynight to help moisturize and soothe my skin. It smells great, and my skin loves it! It sinks in and overnight, transforms my skin - calming it and bringing down any redness that I might have. This is my must have before bed! Love this oil!

5. Pure & Simple Purifying French Clay Mask

Just thinking about this mask makes my skin happy. I use this nutrient rich clay mask at least once a week to help purify my skin, reduce oiliness and help with blemishes. Once I've washed my face at night, I will put a good layer of this mask on and just let it sit for 10-15 minutes. After I wash it off, my skin looks calmer and clearer - it's just happier. If I have a nasty pimple, I will put just a dab of this mask on the spot before going to bed and when I wake up, the spot is noticeably smaller and less red and puffy. Do yourself a favor and spoil your skin with this amazing mask.

I can't say that the battle with my skin has ended, but these products really do help keep my major issues at bay. I feel good knowing that I'm putting natural, organic products on my skin. I used to suffer from such dry skin but now I feel like my skin is dewy, soft and glows from the inside. Switching to more natural products is not an overnight task - it takes time. Try switching one product at a time and see how your skin likes it. Not every product is right for everyone so you really need to listen to your skin and find the products that will make your skin sparkle!

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Why didn't mom ever tell us about miscarriages?

Ok, so I know this is a bit of a heavy topic, but it's something that I really felt like I needed to write about. This past holiday season, my husband and I were crushed by a miscarriage. I can't begin to describe all of the emotions that go along with that - disbelief, shock, immense sadness, anger, frustration, sheer devastation... the list goes on. When we got pregnant back in October, we knew the risks - we knew that a miscarriage was possible but as we all often think, it won't happen to us. We just were not prepared for what was to come - like, not even close. When it hit - when the news hit that we had lost the baby - we didn't know what to think, who to blame, how we should feel and what was going to happen next. I had never felt so unprepared for anything in my entire life. I was an educated woman, in her 30's, pregnant and ready to be a mom - how did I know nothing about what comes with a miscarriage? Why had I not talked about this with my girlfriends who had experienced it before, why did I not even know that many of my closest friends and family had been through this... but said nothing.

When the news hit us, we did what felt natural to us - we reached out to our friends and family. We were on the phone all night talking, crying, sharing in our pain. We were not embarrassed or ashamed - we were honestly confused and scared and looking for as much support as we could get as we moved forward into this enormous unknown.  

As the days went by, I was shocked at how many friends, co-workers, friends of friends approached us and told us stories about their miscarriages. It was like we had suddenly become a part of an elite club - for members only - and we were inundated with stories and heartbreak. Why hadn't I heard about these stories before now? Why didn't our friends tell us what was going on with them? I just couldn't understand this part. Knowing that others had gone through the same thing was helpful - made us feel less alone and honestly, less responsible - we didn't blame ourselves as much. But all I could think about was that I could have used this information before  all of this happened. Why did everyone remain so quiet about their struggle when my husband and I were here ready to shout it off the rooftops. We wanted to talk about it and we needed to talk about it. Did that make us weird? We felt a little weird .... many people we talked to were very uncomfortable with the news and really didn't know what to say. Many people tried to avoid the topic and wanted to talk to us about the weather or the upcoming holiday season. What? We just had a miscarriage - why the hell do I want to talk about your stupid holiday plans. Miscarriages make people feel uncomfortable - that's a fact. 

I remember feeling very  hurt that people were not reaching out to us. They heard the news and obviously felt badly for us, but because of whatever reason - I assumed it was their own discomfort with the topic - they never followed up with us to ask how we were doing. Did they think that we didn't want to talk about it? Or by bringing it up, it would just  make us remember it and feel worse? I wanted nothing more than for this to feel normal - like a death - it happens and we do have to move on - but I felt so avoided. No one wanted to acknowledge the life that we had lost and I simply couldn't understand that.

Sadly, a couple of months after our first miscarriage, we were struck down by miscarriage #2. At this point, I just looked to the sky and said "seriously... two in a row?" But, once again, we rallied together and found our own way to grieve and accept what was happening.

As little girls and young women, we learn all about what it means to be a mom and the joys and turmoils that come with being pregnant and delivering a baby. I have watched my sister and my close friends all have babies and I can say with confidence that I know a lot about being pregnant, the delivery process and what it takes to care of a new born baby, but sadly, I knew nothing about what happens when that baby is taken from you. Mom never told me about that.... no one did. 

I don't have any answers to most of these questions that I've posed here... these are just my thoughts that I felt I needed to put down on paper or out into the universe. I know that its hard to ever be prepared for a death in any way - there is no 'how to' manual for dealing with a miscarriage (well.. maybe there is). Everyone has to deal with it in their own way I guess. For us, what has helped the most, is talking about it - we have not buried it away in our hearts and put smiles on our faces pretending it never happened. Our hearts are still broken but mending a little more everyday around that scar that will never fade and our smiles are real as we face the reality of our situation and are hopeful for our future. I'm going to keep sharing my story with others not only because it helps me in my grieving process but because I hope that in some small way, it might help another couple sharing the same experience. 

Friday, 20 February 2015

Ok, so maybe the bride didn't wear vintage...

I thought I should post a follow-up to one of my most popular article from back in September of 2013 when I wrote about whether or not a bride should consider wearing a vintage dress. Back when I was planning my summer 2014 wedding, my goal was to incorporate as much vintage - real and faux - as I possibly could without pushing my husbands modern taste over the edge. I wrote this article because I was on the look out for a vintage dress and figured there had to be other ladies out there in the same boat that I was in - turns out there were! 

In the end however, I was unsuccessful in my search. I just could not find a vintage dress that really made me go 'wow, this is it!'. I decided at that point to shift my search. I started looking for a modern dress that was designed with a vintage feel - it would be soft and romantic, with lace and a full skirt. Every store I went into, that is the description that I gave. If I thought finding a real vintage dress was hard, well, finding a look-a-like is not a walk in the park either. I visited many shops that had beautiful dresses, but - alas - they just didn't have what I was looking for. I don't think I even knew what I was looking for, I just knew that it would find me and it would be my gown. I was beginning to lose hope however...

After months of searching and quite honestly coming very close to not getting a dress in time, I finally found it! A wedding dress that checked all of the boxes. I chose an ivory, off the shoulder, lace Tara Keely gown (it also came in blush, but that just seemed like a stretch to me)

This dress stole the show! It is all I heard about for days and weeks following my wedding. Friends and family still comment on the day and always go back to that dress. I think what made this dress so memorable (besides how great I wore it) was that it was unique. It wasn't anything like other brides we wearing and it really stood out - and that is exactly what I wanted. I didn't want to look like every other bride - I really wanted the dress to be 'me' and to look like it was made just for me. I think I succeeded :) 

In the end, the bride did not wear vintage, but she did live happily ever after...

Photos thanks to Alyssa Alkema