Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Art of Allergic Reactions and Well-being

Posted by Daring Delightful Digital Diva at 8:26 AM 0 comments
Perhaps you have been wondering what happens to me when I have an allergic reaction? OH you haven't??? Let me show you anyway. ;)

Instead of hiding in my home or basement dwelling office at work so that nobody sees me...I've decided to take pictures (which do NOT do it justice!)

My neck gets inflamed, full of rough skin and hives, and in general make me want to rip my skin off! Ice packs help soothe the burning sensation. And I look and feel pretty hot...NOT! I want to cover it up with a scarf so nobody can tell, but that makes it hot and physically uncomfortable.  So it is what it is, until it is healed.

The other joy is that shortly after my neck flares up, more toxins flush out my body through my eyes. And one or both swell up...This is actually fairly good today. It didn't swell completely shut! I can see out of it, and make it to work, only to avoid being seen of course! 

I choose to believe that my body is flushing out the last of toxins this week, as I've spent a week overhauling my home and office from formaldehyde-filled products. The problem I have had is that my exposure point could have been 7-10 days ago, then the hives and eye last a day to three, so for 2 weeks this can be brewing, when I haven't known what I was reacting TO! Now I know, have cleaned up my environment at home and work, and will believe that this is IT!!!!!

This will stop. This will be something I will laugh at...someday. My skin and eyes will be healed as I buy and use better products for my body from head to toe.

What I have realized is this:  While allergies may seem minor, and I may have poo-pooed people with allergies to everything...they ARE infectious to your life.  As an allergen infects you, causes reactions, it also affects not just your physical comfort, but your well-being, and well-doing.  Your time is spent on it, your concentration at perhaps thinking of one more thing that you hadn't thought of:  creams, lotions, products, acupuncture, massage, detoxes, you name it. You can bet I feel sexy as hell with my husband too!  As it affects you, so it affects your life.  And it is a ridiculous ALLERGY for pete's sake!

So today will be filled with healing thoughts, vibes, prayers, detoxing and flushing this out of me. I look forward to Thanksgiving with my family, looking normal, laughing, and enjoying, hopefully with a little makeup and all pertied up!

Disdainfully Dreaded Allergy Sufferer, aka
Daring, Delightful, Digital Diva

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

CRAZY??? Or allergic???

Posted by Daring Delightful Digital Diva at 11:24 AM 2 comments
I have spent the last year feeling like I was crazy!  I may very well still be crazy, but not in the realm of making my eye swell shut or my neck break out in a rash at least!  Crazy is for another discussion.
I wanted to share with you my story, as it may help any number of you.  I had been having seemingly 'random' eye swelling, rashes and I could not for the life of me figure out what was causing this.  Of course in the beginning you try the usual suspects:  did we change laundry soap, shampoos, lotions, etc?  We hadn't.  You spend time hoping it will stop.  Then you tackle the medical side from eye doctors, eye specialists, and more.  Finally I landed at the allergist/immunologist. He was amazing! He took his time, tried to help narrow, timeline, and more to figure this out.  He put me on two meds to simmer things down in my body from reacting so harshly.  That worked for a few months, then the worst month or so of all occurred.  Back to the allergist for skin panel testing to see if any product-related ingredients were the culprit.  INDEED it was!!!

And what am I allergic to you ask????

FORMALDEHYDE!!!  Which actually means about 20 chemicals of formaldehyde or derivatives or chemicals that release formaldehyde!

Now, where would I get formaldehyde??? It is in nearly everything from soaps, shampoos, lotions, make up - it is used as a preservative.  And I am allergic.  And we don't need it.  At all.  Period.

Well no wonder I couldn't figure it out, right??  I eliminated make up for three weeks, but since it was in my soap, shampoo and lotion, I still reacted at some point.  I couldn't narrow because it was in hundreds of things in my home and at work!  I spent a year trying things, and now I understand allergy sufferers sincerely.  You feel crazy, it interferes with your work, I had to miss a couple days simply because my eyes were swollen shut??  What a horrible thing to miss for and you feel stupid.

This allergy has resulted in an overhauling what I buy from head to toe. Why do we consciously buy CRAP?  Have you put Lubriderm or Jergens' lotion on?  Have you used All Free and Clear Hypoallergenic detergent?  Yup the one detergent in my house that contains it is the one I thought would be safe - hypoallergenic and free of dyes, perfumes...but contains formaldehyde ingredient!? How about a nice Bath and Body Works scrub or shower gel? I can't step foot in that store, it is in nearly every product.  It's CRAP!  And my husband pointed out that I had just bought more BBW stuff in the last few weeks.  Could explain the added inflation of my reactions. The picture shows all the things just in my home that I found. OY!

I decided in looking for formaldehyde and all those ingredients that I would buy from companies who do not use the "nasty 5", two of which are formaldehyde and all its little nasty partners that release it. The other three chemicals don't sound awesome and I don't need them either: Toluene, Camphor and DBP if you were curious.  And a company that doesn't use ANY of those, even better!

First, here are a few sources I used to comb through my stuff and I checked labels regardless.

  • EWG - Environmental Working Group - Their site has many resources available to you no matter what you would like to check. Their Skin Deep database has over 63,000 products listed with rankings and ingredients.  I still check as it could be outdated.  They have a phone app too! Love this! 
  • Cosmetic Ingredients - another source with hundreds of brands and the most wonderful thing about this site is that you can look up BY an ingredient and narrow to a brand!  Lifesaver!  If only they had a phone app too!  This serves as a nice heads up to then check the label to be sure.  
  • EcoWatch - I ran across this group in search of nail polish I could use, as I was off to a new salon to remove my acrylics! While further searches would verify sources, ingredients and philosophies, I have narrowed to 2-3 brands that I can use. 

So let me tell you what I have found so far and am LOVING!!!!  What a great side effect of this allergy - it has served as a wake-up call as to what I put on my body from head to toe and also supporting and buying from better companies as well!  Here's the list of goodies:

  • YoungLiving - I have signed up as a Wellness Advocate to share these products with others and get a discount. I do not care at all to make money, I simply want good stuff!  They make more natural products free of those nasty five and many more.  From a delightfully invigorating shampoo and conditioner, to hand soap and detergent.  They have essential oils as well that I can add to products as well.  I recommend this company to anyone!
  • Bare Minerals - their make up and products check out clean from these ingredients as well, so my intuition was correct when 6 months ago I changed from Mary Kay (in nearly everything) to Bare Minerals. I also simply love their products.  They last, stay on my face, and have a wide variety. They also make it EASY to simply see and check ingredients since it is a tab right on the item.  Up front, thank you.  
  • Aveda - While their products check out clean for me, they do not make it as easy to get to ALL the ingredients.  They have a philosophy and post many of their plant ingredients, but to be sure, I had to email in for the ingredient list.  For that reason, when I am out, I MAY switch to doTerra line. Aveda has hair products and even hair dye though, so I need to check into this as an option that I can use. 
  • Green Virgin Products - Ever heard of SoapNuts?  I hadn't until about a month ago when my friend mentioned it as an option for me even before we knew what I was reacting to.  They are little soapnut berries that are dried and release the actual sopanin soap.  I have an order coming to try it out!  Along with their cleaner and stain pre-treater.  More on this later, but also made in USA which is awesome! I emailed back and forth with the owner Ken just yesterday, which was amazing customer service and a fast response!
  • Nail polish/products - I ran across a couple articles on more natural nail polishes or products and have landed on RGB (Pricy though - not only 5-free, but also vegan, no animanl testing, made in the USA and fair trade), Zoya, and OPI contains only one of the big 5 (Camphor) but seeks to remove more and more chemicals.  I will use OPI for now, as it is in most salons, but have ordered a Zoya nail kit with top coat, bottom and polish to try. 

That's it for now! More to come as I try many of these new products, or run across more! Your health advocate, professional and new allergy sufferer at your service!
Dare to buy better,
Daring, Delightful, Digital Diva

Friday, May 22, 2015

You might be getting old IF....

Posted by Daring Delightful Digital Diva at 12:35 PM 0 comments
Having had the honor of capturing this delightful Dashing Diploma Miss Molly as she wraps up her senior year, her mother and I asked her one question that revealed - WE HAVE CROSSED THE LINE AND ARE OLD!!!   What did we ask you, you wonder?  We simply asked:
How many WALLET photos do you think you will need to give to friends!?
Harmless right?  NOOOOO!  It flew out of both our mouths with the quickest sense of regret and an AH-HA moment that kids these days don't even do that anymore!  We laughed and laughed, partially at ourselves and partially at Molly's face and reaction like we were crazy - of course kids don't do that! 

So, it is with sad news that I regret to inform any of you that if you have a senior, close to a senior or any kid that was born in the FACEBOOK and social media world - there is no ordering wallet photos for graduation, duuuuuuh!  So we jump in as I have too - and instead of handing someone a photo -
Happy Graduation to all these Dashing Diplomas!
Daring Delightfully OLD Diva ;)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Big-Little 4-0 !

Posted by Daring Delightful Digital Diva at 3:38 PM 0 comments
Milestone birthday in the midlde of an already milestone year!  The recent engagement winding up in 2014 has led to delightful and fun wedding plans (post coming soon), but also with a 40th birthday coming up TODAY, I have been thinking about my life. 

I have run across things like the "40 best things about being 40" to "20 things that were 20 years ago that will make you feel old" and more!  I decided that I will write my own list of things that I am HAPPY about at age 40! 
  1. I like not caring what other people think about me.
  2. I realize that not everyone will like me and that's ok!
  3. I no longer waste time dwelling on such little things - or try not to and catch myself quickly if I am!
  4. I love watching our kids grow, learn and experience - and we are inthe heart of dating, boys, girls, feelings, and with that will come the hurts, the pains and trying to make it better.
  5. With watching our young ones, comes thoughts and realizations that all those broken hearts, aches, pains and hurts - that we really did come out better on the other side of things, and we WERE OKAY....and that our kiddos will BE OKAY too!
  6. I can truly see most life experiences as 'life's learning lessons' - which helps lesson the worry, the stress, and the drama to keep things in perspective...that this too shall pass, AND I will learn from it.
  7. Learning is a choice that I take on in full force.  I will learn from a poorly cooked meal, a moment with a child that didn't go as planned, to a new skill - I know I make that choice to learn!
  8. I care about my looks, without caring about my looks!  Meaning that I CARE for myself, my skin, my health far better than I did at 20, but I don't get sucked into CARING about my looks - no vanity, I'll go out without makeup on without stressing.  It is what it is and I am who I am.
  9. I care about the world in a far bigger and smaller picture than my younger days.  I care how we will leave the world to the kids and do my best to take care of that.
  10. I like having the perspective to be older and wiser.
  11. And the energy to feel like I am 30, okay maybe 20!
  12. I like being 40 and considered a "cool mom" :) Mission accomplished, sort of!   When you quit caring about being cool, you oddly become the coolest that you have ever been!
  13. I like making decisions for myself and my family, and not for someone else, to please anyone.
  14. I like having the confidence to do what I would like.
  15. And if I have the confidence to do what I like, I also have gained the ability to set aside fears to try new things!
  16. I like my wiser selection in friends - bringing closer to me with like values, morals, lifestyles and thinking.
  17. I now will remove toxic relationships - or just not acquire them in the first place. Not worth it.
  18. I value my friendships deeply, and gravitate towards those who do as well. 
  19. I rock my own style - I find things that I like, and have the confidence to wear what looks good on me.
  20. I realize the BEST thing that looks good on my is a genuine smile, which I wear daily!
  21. It's nice when you realize nothing is the end of the world....even nasty bosses!  Just like on the surgical floor years ago when I had an 'icky' patient, I stepped back and realized 'this isn't forever, they will leave this unit adn go elsewhere at some point!' So, either myself or the other person will eventually move on. 
  22. Speaking of nasty people in the workplace, I have found that difficult people serve one purpose for me - they make me STRONGER and BETTER, so I thank them for this growth opportunity!
  23. And still on that note, I no longer take it PERSONALLY, which is a very hard thing to realize.  When someone is lashing out at you, doesn't handle their stress well, or that you see it with other people - it's NOT ME!  Take a deep breath on the inside and this too shall pass!
  24. I don't care that I have laugh lines and wrinkles - I LAUGH and it shows! 
  25. I have a backbone - I will stand up for myself and will not compromise my values, beliefs. 
  26. I will respect others and their beliefs even if I don't understand or agree.
  27. I love watching my children grow and develop into fine human beings, and I hope that part of that doing was my parenting skills.
  28. I like that I am educated in my field, work IN that field and have passion for what I do every single day.  Did I say EVERY. SINGLE. DAY?  YUP, that's me!
  29. I am comfortable being full of rainbows and sunshine...Life is TOOOO short to be any other way, and why so negative? 
  30. I laugh every day.  Did I say EVERY. SINGLE. DAY?  Yup, also too short of life to not fill it with as much joy as humanly possible!
  31. I find value in every person - and see their purpose in my life - for a reason, season or lifetime.  I revel in it, figure it out, then let things just happen. 
  32. I am happy that I left a marriage that wasn't working for years, and figured out who I was, raised my standards and waited for the right man to come along.
  33. I am happy that I had dating experiences, sometimes laughable, terrible, horrible, real bad dates...but I learned from every one of them!  I hope that our children learn from every date or person they have too!
  34. I am glad I am where I am today - everything happens for a reason, and every experience we go throguh brings us here. 
  35. I don't care that I am DIVORCED...and have been for a long long time.  Was it my intention?  Not at all!  But I do believe sometimes, everyone involved is better off after divorce, myself included.
  36. I am happy for my children that their father and I divorced.  Was it always easy, or still?  But the other side of the coin would be so much more worse for everyone involved, and for that I have no regrets, and I will not feel ashamed about it. 
  37. I am happy that I have three new bonus kids in my life, and that I like to say BONUS kids and not STEP kids.  They are an addition, a joy to add, so a bonus. :)
  38. I am very very happy to be engaged to a wonderful man, gaining a family, and making things official on April 10, 2015. 
  39. I am utterly in bliss with our relationship, could care less what other people think about him, or us, and that was a change for me.  What do you think?  Do you like him?  I never once worried about it.  And everyone, or nearly, just loves him, loves us, and are overjoyed for us.
  40. I am THRILLED that I will be getting married in my 40th year!  I have indeed waited a long time, I dated trial and error, lots of error, I didn't jump too far in, I took my time, I cut my losses, or was left with a broken heart.  It took me until now to figure this out, to feel solid, trust, secure, and truly IN this in order to SAY YES, and to soon SAY I DO as well - when I am forty!  AND I don't care what anyone thinks of our wedding plans, reception plans, we are doing this the way we want, with whom we want and celebrating this BIG LIFE EVENT! 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year, More Changes!

Posted by Daring Delightful Digital Diva at 2:27 PM 0 comments
Since moving exactly exactly 4 years ago to the DAY, I have spent some time reflecting on my life, my year, my move and the many changes and happenings that occur each and every year.  Some people may do this at this time anyway, but let me tell you it is hard not to reflect on a time that you took a chance on a job, knew nobody, and moved just you and two little ones to a whole new town for the first time in your LIFE!   Let's reflect...shall we?

2014 has been wonderful and full of challenges both, which I do always find value in - would we know or fully experience the good times and feelings without some imperfections along the way?  I think not...

This year has been full of BIG changes -
  1. Shoulder rebuilt in January, so stuck in a sling for 6 solid weeks, then months of rehab, but released fully in June and on my way!
  2. Bought a house with my sweetie and fully integrated all our 2+3 kids together under one roof! WOWSA, given what it is and the whole 'blended' thing, it has gone very well and the kids all love each other, and in our hearts are a family, JOY!
  3. Ran my second half marathon in July, followed by my FIRST mother of all relays - the Hood To Coast - 199 miles from Mount Hood to Seaside, Oregon - what an adventure of a lifetime and I guess we are IN for 2015 too - so training began this week, oy!
  4. Fall is beyond busy for us with 2 boys in football, big guy & little guy, and two girls in volleyball, junior high and freshman team.  Fun and so great to cheer them on and watch them improve each game!
  5. November I had my gall bladder out, and then turned around to head to Billings for my dad's open heart surgery.  We are blessed that things were caught pre-emptively and not emergent, and I will write a post shortly on this experience too - love my pops! :)
  6. Winter and December have proven to be quite amazing and have closed out 2014 with a proposal to marry my love on 12/19!  This will open the doors to 2015 and a wedding of some kind - engagement, proposal and wedding plans coming in another post! ;)  
ALL IN ALL, the year has had so many blessings, good times, fun, friends and family and I value it all - and reflect upon moving here to good ol' Butte, Montana and to this crazy family of mine!
Blessings to you in 2015 and beyond!
AND here's to more writing again! 
:-) Daring, Delightful, Developing Diva


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