Friday, July 31, 2015

The Importance of Taking a YOU Day

When you are chronically ill, so much of your time is spent waiting.  Waiting to feel well enough to get out of bed.  Waiting for the pain to go away.  Just, simply, waiting.  Everyone spends much of their life waiting, but for us our entire life can be caught up in waiting for something.  Because of this, it is important to find things that help you through those periods or waiting.  Something I do every week is take a day for myself, usually a spa day. Now going to the spa is not something I am healthy enough to do, so I set up my day to do things at the house that you would do at a spa.  I do a facial, exfoliating, painting my nails, and sometimes put on some makeup, even if I don't plan on going anywhere.  Why do this?  Well, its simple, it makes me feel a like my life is a little bit more normal, beautiful, and pampered.  When so much of life is pain, feeling relaxed and simply pretty can really do a world of a difference and give you renewed strength to go on fighting your chronic illness.

Everyone has something different they find that helps them truly relax and revive their strength, the important thing is to do something for yourself once a week, if you can.  Adding some regularity gives you something to look forward to, and, in a way, that in itself gives you strength. Having a day once a week that is devoted to something that makes you feel strong, confident, and beautiful can change your outlook on how you fight your chronic illness, and help give you strength and hope.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Makeup Tip #1: Bronzer and Blush - A Chronic Girl's Best Friend

One of the most difficult things about being chronically ill is having so little control over my body.  In sick times I am always super pale.  Being fair skinned, when I get pale I become a ghost.  If I do go out with friends during ill times it can be very obvious how sick I really am by how pale I am.  Sometimes this is not a big deal, but other times I simply want to feel a little more confident and spruced up when I go out.  Some of my favorite makeup products that help me with this are bronzer and blush!

Bronzer is meant to contour the face and can also be used to give a little warmth and glow during times of illness, when I am super pale.  I usually apply it to the low points on my face, below the cheekbone, and around where my hair meets my forehead.  When using the proper shade of bronzer this can really add a little life to my face, even at my palest.(Don't get me wrong, I love being pale...but sometimes when I am ill it is a bit more intense than just pill. :P)

Blush is also a great addition and can add a little color to your face.  When used with bronzer, the two can make even the sickest and palest individual trick anyone into thinking they are 100% fine.  Sometimes that can be a problem, but for situations where I want some privacy about my condition by not making it so obvious, like a job interview, these two items are a lifesaver.

When using blush, I apply it to my cheek bones. I always apply the bronzer first and then the blush, and apply quite a bit of both, and then blend I the heck out of them.  Once they are properly blended my face face looks much more vibrant and healthy, and this can really be a confident booster for anyone who is uncomfortable and desires a little more privacy about their condition.  Always remember though, that it is about what makes you feel confident and beautiful, and with or without makeup each of us can be and feel beautiful!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Weighing In: Living With The Constant Weight Changes From Prednisone And Other Steroids

Throughout my life, starting around the age of 12, I have been off and on steroids for my various medical conditions.  Because of this, my weight is always changing and thus my wardrobe is in constant flux.  This can also make maintaining a cute wardrobe difficult, as what pieces you can fit into are also constantly changing.  This post is all about giving you a few tips on how to handle your wardrobe with constantly changing weight and keep everything organized and ready to go!

First off, when your weight changes a lot it is not a good idea to get rid of clothing because chances are you are going to need them again(especially if your chronic illness is very active), even if you think you are going to be a certain weight for awhile.  I have given away tons of nice clothing, thinking I was done with steroids and would be my non-prednisone self for a long time.  Sadly, this was not the best idea as a few months later I was on prednisone again and gained some weight, and was back to having nothing to wear. Doing this a few times, I have learned that when you have a chronic illness and are on a lot of steroids and/or are constantly going up and down on those steroids, throwing away clothing of ANY size is a huge no no. Saving your clothes and putting away ones that don't fit you can help you be prepared for when you may need them again.  This is key to not only being confident with your wardrobe but also not breaking the bank with a new wardrobe every few months.

Another way to make life easier is to have bins and have them labeled by size.  Then place all of your clothes you can't wear at the moment in the appropriate boxes according to size. This will make finding clothes you need when your weight changes easier AND your closet won't be a mess, full of clothes you can't wear at the moment. Whatever size is the one you need at the moment is what you fill your closet with and all the other are stored out of the way!  (NOTE: As a female it is also important to have a few different bra sizes. Whenever I have weight changes the first place I gain or lose is in the chest, and a bra that is the right fit is important.  ALSO, having Crohn's, sometimes it is better to wear a bra that is slightly larger as this can be a lot more comfortable.)

Lastly, a good way to not break the bank when needing new clothes is to check out large thrift stores. Take a look around and be sure to try on everything if that thrift store has a fitting room.  This is always good when funds are tight, because if something ends up not fitting a few months later you did not spend a small fortune on replacing your wardrobe.  With thrift stores it is important to look through everything, because that is the way you find the really cute stuff!

Keeping your clothes, keeping them organized, and having a variety of sizes and types of clothing can really make steroid related weight changes easier to handle.  When you feel like you don't have control over your body it can be devastating, but the key to fighting through that is find solutions to make YOU feel confident. There are a lot of ways to look amazing at any size, and in future post I plan to go into more detail about what types of clothes are best at different sizes.  Having gone from 105 lbs. to 185 lbs. then back down to 110 lbs. in the course of two years has forced me to be creative and really learn what makes me feel beautiful ,and how I can fight against insecurities by looking for solutions to the problems that cause those very insecurities. If anyone else has any tips they want to share please share them in the comments below!

Stay Beautiful!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Importance of Exfoliating

When you have a chronic illness, often taking care of your skin becomes a low priority, because so many things don't seem to help at all.  For me, good skin and body care have always been something I am passionate about.  One of the most important and helpful things you can do to help your skin is to use an exfoliant a few times a week.  Being on medications like Prednisone our skin is much more prone to infections and dry skin, and all of the chemical changes in your body reak havoc on our healthy skin. One of the best ways to avoid this is to scrub away the top layer of old, dying skin. This removes oils as well as impurities that can later lead to little infections and pimples.  Exfoliating can help reduce the amount of infections and pimples on your skin, and over time helps your skin stay looking younger, leaving the top layer of your skin healthy and bright.

There are many types of exfoliators, some of which are great and others that actually hurt the environment!  I love microbead cleansers, but most actually have a large negative impact on the environment as they are not water soluble.  I used to LOVE the neutrogena grapefruit microbead scrub, BUT after learning the impact it has on the environment I had to make a change and use a non water soluble microbead cleanser. I did some research and found some microbead cleansers that are actually made with microbeads that dissolve in water and won't have a harmful impact.(Want to learn more about how microbead scrubs are harmful to the environment? Click here!)  There are also plenty of other types of exfoliators that work great and are not microbeads, but I prefer microbead cleansers as they really seem to get the job done.

Also, it is really important to make sure whatever is being used to exfoliate your skin, even if not a microbead scrub, is water soluble.  Some scrubs use things like walnut shells which leave microtears on the skin and can lead to cellulitis!  When on medications that lower your immune system this is particularly important because you are more prone to infections.  It is also important if you have a problem with skin infections to choose a scrub that has an acne fighting agent like salicylic acid, as this will help preemptively fight infections.

There are also a plethora of tools that help the exfoliating process, including electric face brushes.  There are many different brands of these, but a good one to start out and try that won't break the bank is the Olay face brush.  When you pair a face brush with a good exfoliate your skin feels amazing and is significantly healthier.Your body is important too!  When you shower or bathe use a loofah or other slightly abrasive cleaning cloth. This will help scrub away impurities and will help cut down on infections and leave your skin healthier, especially when paired with a good body scrub! Whatever scrub you use, as someone with a few chronic illnesses I can say that since I have started regularly using a face brush and exfoliator my skin has been healthier!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Beauty in the Time of Crohn's (And other chronic conditions!)

Beautifully Chronic, because everyone deserves to feel beautiful.

Today I decided to start a blog about two things that are important to me and I have always been passionate about, my chronic conditions and beauty.  When you have a chronic illness, finding the right beauty and skincare products that are both good for sensitive skin AND are strong enough to deal with the many side effects of the various medication required when you have an active chronic condition, can be tiring and sometimes overwhelming.

I have Crohn's, Takayasu's Arteritis, Arthritis, Psoriasis, Osteoporosis, Abdominal Migraines, AND Acid Reflux Disease, so needless to say the side effects of the many medications I am on can be overwhelming and disheartening.  My weight also varies widely and I can be anywhere from 105 lbs. to 185 lbs. and that can make finding the right outfits that complement you at different weights trying.  My hope is that through this blog I can help use my experiences as well as learn from others to help address the many different concerns individuals with chronic conditions have when it comes to beauty.